Category Archives: Criminal Watch

FEMA Withdraws Aid Withdrawal Amid Backlash, Raises Stakes with Seedy Power Provider and Drops the Ball on Puerto Rican Food Delivery; Congress Shits on Taxpayers Again; Your Location and Face Broadcast to More Federal Agencies

FEMA threatened to cut Puerto Rico off their particular division of the federal teat at the end of January, congratulating themselves for distributing over 30 million gallons of potable water and nearly 60 million meals since the island was largely destroyed by last autumn’s Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Updates

The agency estimated after pumping $500 million of “public assistance,” and $3.2 million of unemployment aid into the island, just 1% of its inhabitants still require emergency food.

Remaining supplies were transferred to the island’s own disaster agency, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA)–not to be confused with the floundering state-run power supplier, PREPA.

Some far-flung areas of the island were slated to continue suffering. NPR cited Mayor Carmen Maldonado of Morovis, who was not contacted by PREMA regarding the 10,000 citizens of her municipality still dependent on soon-to-evaporate FEMA rations.

Days after that story broke, the Feds sought to save face:

As the New York Times reports, FEMA now claims that it never intended to end the aid and that it has no plans to at this time. Instead, the Jan. 31 cutoff date was “mistakenly publicized by the agency[.]”

If it really was a mistake, they might have just sacked an employee for pressing the wrong button and promptly reassigned him to continue soaking the taxpayers with his “public service.”

Rather, the hapless agency apparently folds on deadlines at the first hint of (justified) taxpayer discontent. And believe anything disreputable contractors say:

Those millions of FEMA meals may not have included 30 million promised by Tiffany Brown (below) of Tribute Contracting LLC in Atlanta in her October 3 bid. (At $5.10 per meal, Tribute was the lowest bidder.)

Brown bagged (pun alert) one of the biggest contracts for brown bag meals to send to the island (only they didn’t include the required heating pouches, which would have made them fancier than traditional brown bag lunches): $156 million for 30 million meals. At the mid-October deadline for the first 18.5 million, Brown’s one-woman operation had delivered…none. 

Apparently, she farmed the job out to a subcontractor: an eleven-person caterer down the road (who curiously managed anonymity across multiple media outlets). They did have the heating pouches, however:

PHOTO: A photo in Tribute Contracting, LLCs contract with a catering company show examples of self heating meals that include a meal in one pouch with a food heater, water pouch, cutlery, and seasonings.

The caterers weren’t too interested in working either, it appears. Tribute was fired.

“My biggest mistake was not asking for more help.”–Tiffany Brown

Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the House Oversight Committee noted this is Brown’s sixth terminated Federal contract. Four were failures to deliver food to the Federal Prison System. The fifth fuck-up came in 2016 for the Government Printing Office, who issued a decision in 2016 that “no agency in the executive branch” would enter contracts with Tribute until 2019. But FEMA said […]that exclusion only applied to GPO.

The GPO angle is interesting: the feckless Feds only banned Tribute from contracts over $35,000, and only until January 2019. And all Tribune did to GPO was fail to put the Marine Corps logo on both sides of some tote bags. Wait. New York Times:

An investigation by [GPO]’s inspector general found that Tribute “altered and submitted a false shipping document and subcontracted the predominant production function on two contracts without proper authorization,” according to a 2015 report submitted to Congress.

Which doesn’t explain why GPO returned to Tribute for the tote bags a year later.

FEMA never gave Brown any money. She is now suing the government for $70 million in debt accrued for the 50,000 meals she managed to almost deliver.

Brown told FEMA officials in an email exchange on Oct. 19 that, because of issues with suppliers, all 30 million meals would instead be delivered by November 7 – two weeks after the deadline.

She told ABC News on Friday that the original schedule in the contract was flexible and that she had been communicating with FEMA officials about the changes.

You can check out her website, but we took some screenshots just in case she stumbles upon some shame and takes it down:

Brown, who reportedly lost family in FEMA’s other notable success story, Hurricane Katrina, spoke with ABC on Friday:

“I think there’s a lacking of seeing the human aspect of everyone, the human aspect of the citizens of Puerto Rico and how they feel, the human aspect of the business owners trying to support them just trying to help out maybe that doesn’t have the larger infrastructure but out of the kindness of their own heart they want to be able to help they’re not seeing the human aspect they’re only seeing a lowest possible bid or trying to meet a budget and not about the people.”

She also fingered “a lack of infrastructure, particularly payment infrastructure on FEMA’s part.”

It appears the 50,000 meals (which actually made it to Jacksonville, FL for shipment before FEMA pulled the plug) actually came from Brown’s other partner, the non-profit Breedlove. Not to drag them into this, but their website is here.

*

As we noted above, Cobra Acquisitions may be picking up the slack. Nasdaq reported the subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based energy giant Mammoth (which is reportedly flirting with serious self-enrichment if the new Puerto Rico power grid is built to run on fossil fuels)…more than doubled its contract to rebuild the Puerto Rican power grid on January 28, from the $200 million already invested in quarter four of 2017 to a cool $445 million.

PREPA requested FEMA clear the contract as “reasonable” and “in compliance with emergency procurement provisions of Puerto Rico;” the federal agency obliged in late December.

*

Everyone knows the only solution to government incompetence is to pour more confiscated taxpayer cash onto the fire. So last week, as the seventeen-day stopgap fizzled out and the Feds ran out of borrowing power for the second time this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) huddled to further destroy the livelihood of their subjects employers.

Wading through the details, the disgustingly unaffordable package funds the Federal government for at least another month.

It blows through the 2011 Budget Control Act‘s limit on domestic spending by $57,000,000,000$117 billion more than Trump requested.

Military spending will swell to $700 billion this year, a monstrous 13% increase from 2016, if our numbers are correct.

In Defense of Defense

It bumps up to $716 billion  for 2019.

$90 billion for hurricane and wildfire relief was shoved in there, which sounds generous if you don’t factor in that the victims of these disasters now have more debt to pay off when McConnell and Schumer are long dead.

Some choice goodies that were slipped in, according to New York Times, include: tax credits to prop up renewable energy (it’ll be cheaper and safer for everyone, just wait); extension of a tax break for racehorse owners; exemption from a new college investment income excise tax for the non-tution-charging Berea College (conveniently located in McConnell’s state of Kentucky); funding for abstinence-only sex ed (can’t trust condoms, guys); repeal of $1.35 billion for an Obamacare public health program; repeal of Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, which ostensibly controls Medicare spending; faster implementation of shrinking the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole;” and extension of temporary subsidies to rural hospitals and underserved areas’ health provider tuition loans.

And also billions for the VA, billions for NIH, billions for community health centers, billions for “infrastructure”…all of which Vox suggests will yield major fiscal stimulus.

The deal did not address protections for DACA recipients, the catalyst for last month’s Federal shutdown (and a vote McConnell had promised Schumer to end the impasse). Like the rest of the country, these people appear to be utterly disregarded by McConnell’s rabid lust for accumulating debt. Schumer forgot his earlier advocacy as well:

“After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “After months of fiscal brinksmanship, this budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship.”

He proclaimed the deal has consigned “the pointless and arbitrary sequester caps to the ash heaps of history.”

A speed bump emerged when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) forced a procedural delay because the leadership would not allow any amendments to the fiscal depravity. While railing against idiotic government grants (including $700,000 studying whether Neil Armstrong inserted an extra “a” in his famous moon landing line, and coming up empty), Paul pointed out Republicans famously struck the Budget Control Act merely to slow down the rate of spending growth, and decried each and every deficit from the Obama administration.

The 2018 deficit, with this added $300 billion, is projected at $955 billion. Trillion-dollar deficits have become typical since George W. Bush in 2008. TheBalance.com shows how much we’ve added to our over $20,600,000,000,000 in national debt in each of recent years (which is slightly divorced from deficit).

“The reason I’m here tonight is to put people on the spot,” Paul said. “I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, ‘How come you were against President Obama’s deficits, and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?'”

Paul’s fellow Republicans were pissed, as several are up for re-election this year and all reportedly wanted to start the weekend early. The most bone-headed reaction to Paul’s pragmatism came from our favorite crony cow, Lindsey Graham:

“It appears ‘General’ @RandPaul is at it again. He just called for the immediate withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan as a way to give the US military a pay raise,” Graham tweeted. “Fortunately, only ‘General’ Paul — and the Taliban – think that’s a good idea.”

[America has been in Afghanistan, killing and being killed, without declaring war, for over 16 years.]

CNBC noted:

The vast majority of the Republican lawmakers who are opposing the budget agreement, including Paul, voted for the GOP tax law. The massive tax cuts are estimated to add more than $1 trillion to budget deficits over 10 years, even after economic growth is taken into account, according to the CBO.

The bill eventually passed early Friday morning, 71-28, and technically shuttered the government for several hours before the House could ram it through and get it to Trump to sign. It’s unclear if anyone read all of the nearly 700 pages.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave a House-record eight-hour speech advocating for DACA protections, largely reading testimony from Dreamers (DACA recipients) threatened with deportation next month, as the program was not extended by the crooked Schumer-McConnell generational theft. Pelosi voted against the bill, but it passed the House 240-186.

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As we boosted the defense budget with fake money we don’t have, it emerged as the Pentagon undergoes its first-ever audit that its own Defense Logistics Agency (annual budget: $40 billion) lost track of $800 million in construction projects.

Image result

The outside firm Ernst & Young who discovered the glaring errors (and warned more will be uncovered) are just one of the third party consultants who comprise $367 million of the nearly $1 billion audit. Politico reports the rest is to go back and fix broken accounting systems that are crucial to better financial management.

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Customs and Border Protection continues to safeguard your liberties…by expanding locations at which it scans your face. To better patrol the U.S.-Mexican border, the McAllen, TX checkpoint will now catalog the face of every driver and passenger. About time:

The agency will use the results of the South Texas effort to set the stage for a wider rollout along the southern and northern borders, where the technology someday could be used to identify fugitives or wanted terror suspects. Customs and Border Protection already operates facial recognition exit programs at nearly a dozen international airports, including Houston’s, aimed at making sure travelers are who they say they are.

Traveler acceptance is really high, and we can thank the Apples and the Googles for that,” said Colleen Manaher, CBP executive director of planning, program analysis and evaluation, in an interview at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio, where she revealed the Anzalduas project. “It’s a game-changer.”

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

[our emphasis]

Colleen Manaher

Manaher (above) called the prospect of getting her grubby fingers on identification of just 50 percent of faces crossing the Port Anzalduas bridge “a home run.”

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And in the wonderful state of Kansas,

Kansas: Helpful Public Servants and Meddlesome Neighbors

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! December 12: Kansas Lawsuit Settled

 

the two-party duopoly cracked down on attempts by the country’s debt-laden youth to gain representation.

After six teenage boys filed to run in this year’s gubernatorial election, the state House committee swiftly passed a bill from Rep. Blake Carpenter (R) requiring candidates to be “qualified electors”–that is, at least 18 years old, and able to vote.

The bill, which would not take effect until after the election, was reportedly co-drafted by Libertarian candidate Ethan Randleas (who happens to be 18). It is lauded as TRIGGER WARNINGcommon sense” by 17-year-old Tyler Ruzich (Republican candidate) and slammed as “reactionary” and “disenfranchis[ing]” by Jack Bergeson, 17 (Democratic candidate).

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It’s turning into a rocky year even for Kansans who are eighteen or older: renewing a drivers license may require residents to obtain new social security cards if their middle initial, not their full middle name is currently displayed; new state-issued birth certificates if all they have is a hospital document; and a marriage license, if they’ve ever changed their name. This will transform one’s license into a Federal Real ID.

Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of a holistic national security strategy.

–DHS website, our emphasis

The Federal Real ID Act was passed over 12 years ago on recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, but, like Common Core, has faced massive public opposition. It mandatory compliance has therefore been extended for various states (yellow, below).

On October 10, residents of non-compliant states will no longer be granted access to airports or military bases with their state-issued drivers license.

The veil is sliding off DHS’s threat to states refusing to funneling all your passport, birth certificate, marriage license and other ID info into a single police state card with a literal TRIGGER WARNING gold star  (they’re calling it a yellow star, for obvious reasons) that can pool all surveillance of your life at the filthy fingertips of the Federal agent manning the bar code reader:

It has been 12 years since the REAL ID Act was passed and half of all the states have already met the REAL ID minimum standards. It is time that the remaining jurisdictions turn their commitments to secure identification into action.

[our emphasis]

Fortunately, according to Charlotte Observer in 2016:

By 2010, more than 25 state legislatures had passed laws criticizing or refusing to comply with the law.

Kansas is currently “in compliance” until 2020. The Feds are signaling that for other, less obedient states that later this year,

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/29/581511023/fema-to-end-food-and-water-aid-for-puerto-rico

https://www.theroot.com/fema-cutting-off-food-and-water-aid-to-puerto-rico-1822558738

https://www.theroot.com/tiffany-brown-head-of-the-one-woman-company-which-deli-1822897056

http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/cobras-puerto-rico-contract-increased-to-approximately-445-million-update-on-puerto-rico-activities-20180129-01030

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-contractor-scapegoat-controversy-canceled-contract/story?id=52915221

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/372748-senate-leaders-agree-to-two-year-budget-deal?userid=115887

https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-democrats-split-on-budget-deal-1518115903

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/08/politics/budget-vote-congress-shutdown/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/08/politics/rand-paul-analysis/index.html

http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/07/news/economy/rising-deficits/index.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/08/shutdown-news-rand-paul-holds-up-senate-budget-vote.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/pentagon-logistics-agency-review-funds-322860

https://www.mystatesman.com/news/facial-recognition-scanners-tested-soon-texas-mexico-border/K5zgnDYPlrvASb1k5c2vIP/

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article198664404.html

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/feb/11/new-drivers-license-requirements-causing-headaches/

https://www.dhs.gov/real-id

Refrigerators, ICE and Ex-Im Updates

Trump is under fire for his proclivity to keep food cold.

The Guardian tore into two new refrigerators slated for installation on Air Force One, replacing the current 1990 installations for $23.7 million.

The military apparently requires the jumbo 747’s five coolers to carry 3,000 meals.

Lost in the food fight is Boeing (the largest corporate welfare cow of the Export-Import Bank), who scored the culinary contract last year to install the fridges on their own 747 model and deferred reporters’ questions to Air Force One.

EXIM

As we have previously reported, the infamous Ex-Im backs loans for foreigners and sticks American taxpayers with the bill.

Ex-Im Bank Updates

According to this recent rosy budget request, the agency “operates at no cost to taxpayers,” “supports 180,000 jobs” in 2018, and generates $492.2 million in deficit-reducing receipts” (about half of 1% of fiscal year 2018’s projected deficit of over $1,000,000,000,000).

This apparently justifies their $95.5 million demand for operating expenses.

In Ex-Im’s defense, the 2018 request reduces their staff by 15 (fifteen!) full-time employees, and shrinks the operating budget 17.7% compared to fiscal year 2017. Which isn’t that difficult when you justify your existence with net income to the Treasury, then pocket a paltry (by Washington standards) budget.

But there are bigger fish to fry (cooling the leftovers in the president’s new refrigerators).

Ex-Im, which dodged dismantling in late 2016, still lacks a quorum on its board of directors to approve loans over $10,000,000. (Recall Ex-Im’s primary objective is to help small businesses actually located in America.)

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 29: Michigan Congressman Bucks Party on Ex-Im Bank

Scott Garrett is pictured. | AP Photo

Trumps’ pick to lead Ex-Im, former New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett (above) didn’t even make it out of the Senate Banking Committee vote in December, much less to full Senate confirmation. Garrett twice voted against reauthorizing Ex-Im while in Congress and faced opposition from U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Acting chairman and president, Obama appointee Charles Hall, left in December, lamenting the lapse in fee collections due to a backlog of bigger loans for lack of quorum (which Hall exacerbated by leaving): “If we don’t get a board, probably sometime in 2018 I would anticipate that we would cease to be self-sustaining.”

The government website shows three of the seven board positions currently filled. No quorum for you!

Image result for soup nazi

Interestingly, Delta Airlines spent millions lobbying against the Ex-Im reauthorization in recent years (though they were outspent 7 to 1 by Boeing). Apparently, European countries are tempted to buy Airbus (the only other double-wide jumbo jet manufacturer in the world) if U.S. taxpayer-backed loans are not offered for Boeing contracts.

Delta’s beef is the Ex-Im guarantees save international competitors like Air India enough on borrowing for jets that they can slash ticket prices and siphon Delta customers.

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Meanwhile, NBC spotlighted Scott Daniel Warren, a volunteer at No More Deaths, who was arrested January 17 for allegedly lavishing a pair of illegal immigrants with food and shelter in Ajo, AZ.

Carlos Diaz, a division chief of ICE’s Customs and Border Protection, denied the arrest was related to a video the non-profit released earlier that day, which showed CBP agents dumping water jugs left in the treacherous stretch of desert for illegal immigrants to consume. Diaz alleges agents are instructed to leave water jugs intact.

Should immigrants evade death, their movements will be newly scrutinized in a fashion sure to violate the privacy of law-abiding citizens as well.

Vigilant Solutions

ICE recently inked a contract with Vigilant Solutions to tap into 2 billion license plate photos and recordings of 100 million “sightings” (including date, time, and GPS coordinates) monthly. The purpose? Better “law enforcement” of illegal immigrants. (Vigilant also contracts with smaller enforcement agencies, presumably to collar real, dangerous criminals.)

ICE agents would be able to query [the] database in two ways. A historical search would turn up every place a given license plate has been spotted in the last five years, a detailed record of the target’s movements. That data could be used to find a given subject’s residence or even identify associates if a given car is regularly spotted in a specific parking lot.

ICE will get email alerts when a plate they’re watching pops up anywhere Vigilant is installed–on local police dash cams, traffic cams, who knows.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson reportedly killed a similar program in 2012, presumably because it’s unconstitutional.

Related:

Air Surveillance of Baltimore Little People

Homeland Security reassured the horrified public that while ICE gets flags for anything tagged by Vigilant, none of ICE’s ham-handed enforcement terrorizing of non-citizens will flow back to Vigilant. (Probably convenient for ICE.)

How this private-sector database of citizens and non-citizens’ movements will be shared or disseminated with other Federal thugs remains to be seen.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/26/donald-trump-refrigerator-air-force-one

http://www.defenseone.com/business/2018/01/air-force-one-needs-new-refrigerators-they-cost-24-million/145457/

http://fortune.com/2017/12/19/scott-garrett-rejected-export-import-bank/

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2017/12/depleted-export-import-bank-hit-another-vacancy/144272/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/volunteer-arrested-after-giving-food-water-undocumented-immigrants-arizona-n840386

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/26/16932350/ice-immigration-customs-license-plate-recognition-contract-vigilant-solutions

Irma Survivors Murdered

A Federal Government contractor killed two men in a botched robbery.

Squeezed between hurricanes Harvey and Maria last year, Hurricane Irma laid as much as $190 billion of damage on America, destroyed large parts of Caribbean islands like Barbuda, and killed at least 72 Floridians (including, for example, victims of a nursing home without power and carbon monoxide poisoning from emergency generators).

FEMA to the rescue!!!

Gerjuan Jackson (below, left), 18,  dispatched by the Feds to perform the work they take your taxes to ostensibly perform themselves, assessed the Polk County, FL home of William Reiss (below, right) for Irma damage last year and apparently returned two weeks later to purchase a pair of pistols from the 68-year-old for $800.

Gerjuan Jackson, 18, was arrested for killing Reiss, whose home he assessed after the devastating storm.  

After he was collared in Alabama for traveling strapped without a gun permit last November, Jackson brought Kenley Campbell (below), 22, and Darril Rankin (below), 22, back to the Florida residence to lift the rest of Reiss’s firearms on January 3.

Campbell and Rankin are accused of helping boost up to 25 firearms from Reiss' home.

Reiss and his roommate Kenneth Maier (below), 57, were home. So Jackson (who has already confessed) plugged Reiss four times and wounded Maier. Maier, loaded with at least three bullets, reportedly flagged down a passing motorist in the driveway to save his friend. Both men eventually died.

Jackson and his friends loaded 25 guns and a flat-screen TV into Reiss’s truck, which they promoted for extra capacity. Most of the guns were sold on the street in Alabama and later recovered by the Feds.

The Polk County sheriff alleges Jackson told the friends en route that he intended to kill Reiss.

The three suspects are from Mobile, AL. Campbell and Rankin were pinched on January 6 and sold out Jackson, who was captured January 9.

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FEMA, a $14 billion behemoth bureaucracy best known for mismanaging the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, offered a “not our fault” statement, according to WFLA:

“FEMA is aware of an alleged incident that occurred in Polk County, Florida, and are looking into additional details on this matter. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.

FEMA’s Inspection Services are handled by contracted firms, and not FEMA employees. Currently, FEMA contracts with two private sector companies for disaster survivor home inspections. Questions about individuals employed within those contracted companies, or those companies’ hiring practices, must be pursued through their individual contractors. FEMA works closely with law enforcement on a regular basis, and will provide appropriate coordination with law enforcement on this incident.”

FEMA logo.svg

Contracting out work to others who then contract to fourth parties to ensure your disaster rebuild since 1979!

The FEMA contractor is Vanguard Emergency Management, who blame-shifted by citing Jackson’s successful FEMA background check. They confirmed his contract with Vanguard ran from September 14 through November 13.

Jackson and company are expected to be extradited to Florida for first degree murder charges. First, though, Jackson was in Mobile on Tuesday to get charged with: carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and promoting prison contraband. It’s unclear if these all stem from the November incident.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.vox.com/explainers/2017/9/18/16314440/disasters-are-getting-more-expensive-harvey-irma-insurance-climate

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41182991

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/weather/hurricane/fl-reg-hurricane-irma-deaths-20171120-story.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/about-1-5-million-mostly-in-florida-without-power-in-irmas-wake-idUSKCN1BQ1C6

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/fema-contractor-charged-killing-irma-vic-befriended-article-1.3756358

Sheriff: Alabama FEMA contractor traveled to Polk City, murdered man he met after Hurricane Irma

2nd victim dies after being shot by FEMA contractor in Polk City

Polk County mother shocked to learn man who helped family file FEMA claim arrested for murder

http://www.theledger.com/news/20180112/2nd-victim-of-polk-city-shooting-dies

http://www.fox10tv.com/story/37279080/polk-county-murder-suspect-appears-in-mobile-county-court

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Observed

Jorge Garcia, 39, of Lincoln Park stands at the ticket counter at Detroit Metro Airport checking his bags on Jan. 15, 2018. He was to be deported to Mexico.

Jorge Garcia, 39 (above), a landscaper from Lincoln Park, MI, was removed by ICE to his native Mexico despite the Federal holiday. The undocumented immigrant, brought to America at age 10, leaves behind a wife and two children, all citizens. He has reportedly never committed a crime, and because he paid taxes, Washington will lose some revenue as President Trump encourages removal of law-abiding non-citizens.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 18: Crime and Punishment

A spokesman for ICE said he could not immediately comment Monday since it was a federal holiday, and their offices are closed.

Supporters of Jorge Garcia hold up signs that read "Stop Separating Families" at Detroit Metro Airport on Jan. 15, 2018. Garcia was being deported to Mexico after living in the U.S. for 30 years.

(But apparently he was still at the office?)

The day of rest and reflection for non-deporting government paper pushers shortened the time frame the Feds are entertaining to pass the next short term spending fix. The cancerous central government’s credit card runs out January 19, and Democrats are pushing to include protections for 800,000 beneficiaries of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the last-minute meltdown to continue confiscating.

DACA is scheduled to expire March 5.

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) told ABC the DACA provisions, which shield certain young immigrants from deportation, must be included to earn his vote on the spending bill.

Meanwhile, Trump is pushing for inclusion of $18 billion to construct a “Great Wall” on the Mexican border.

Yesterday the President tweeted, “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) reportedly pitched a plan to include border wall funding and extension of DACA at a meeting on January 11, where Trump made a holiday weekend news cycle-dominating remark characterizing African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “all these shithole countries” that do not contribute useful immigrants to America. Negotiations apparently collapsed shortly thereafter.

While Durbin confirmed Trump’s words, Republican senators at the meeting obscured the story. Tom Cotton of Arkansas denied the remark on Sunday, and seems to currently maintain he does not recall. Lindsey Graham (SC) half-halfheartedly confirmed the president’s words.

Rand Paul (KY), who was not present, lamented the media for blasting Trump as a racist, because it “destroy[ed] the setting…for immigration compromise.”

“I don’t think the comments were constructive at all, but I also think that, to be fair, we shouldn’t draw conclusions that he didn’t intend,” Paul said.

Trump told Twitter today: “Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t be made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our military.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2018/01/15/jorge-garcia-daca-deported-mexico-immigration/1033296001/

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/detroit/after-30-years-in-us-metro-detroit-immigrant-deported-to-mexico/508218873

https://nypost.com/2018/01/14/john-lewis-says-he-wont-vote-for-government-funding-without-daca-deal/

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/15/trump-dicky-durbin-shithole-dreamers-340621

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-referred-haiti-african-countries-shithole-nations-n836946

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rand-paul-donald-trump-racist_us_5a5b839ee4b03c4189669449

http://abc7chicago.com/politics/trump-tweets-sen-dicky-durbin-totally-misrepresented-daca-comments/2948444/

Puerto Rico Updates

Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico sicced his Justice Department on Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (logo, below), the beleaguered island’s government-owned electric authority. They’re looking for possible crimes against the public interest.

PREPA, who hold a monopoly on the U.S. territory’s electricity, may have hoarded electrical repair supplies as nearly half the island continues without power following Hurricane Maria last October.

Puerto-rico-electric-power-authority-authority-emblem.jpg

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and heavily-armed guards raided a PREPA warehouse in Palo Seco last week.

“Critical materials” were reportedly distributed to contractors immediately.

PREPA denied to Associated Press it failed to spring the warehouse contents. The agency is reportedly reneging on its earlier decision to forgo mutual aid agreements with other power authorities to hasten the rebuild. These new partners include utility companies from New York and Florida, according to The Intercept.

Related:

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 6: Whitefish Revisited; Bronze Star LLC Bungles Tarps for Puerto Rico

PREPA holds $9 billion of the island’s estimated $120,000,000,000 debt from its 2016 bankruptcy.

Related:

I PROMESA You We’ll Default on National Debt

Besides the questionable deals through the mainland Federal disaster assistance we previously uncovered, The Intercept speared another big tuna in the race to profit from government incompetence: Cobra Acquisitions.

Cobra doesn’t have a cool logo to go with its name, but its Oklahoma-based parent oil company, Mammoth, does.

Unlike the [failed] [$300 million] Whitefish contract, the Cobra deal [for $200 million] involved heavy input from the Federal Emergency Management Agency[.]

[our emphasis]

CNN reported in November the cash-strapped PREPA dropped $15 million up front for Cobra’s services, noting the “pay first, get reimbursed by FEMA later” practice is commonplace in disaster cleanups.

Mammoth CEO Arty Straehla reportedly signed the deal to secure “stable cash flow” for his larger company.

Intercept suggests the Cobra deal undermines Puerto Rico’s previous goal to decrease dependence on imported oil, as the private company’s rebuild will further stymie the switch to renewable energy.

Cobra (like Whitefish) was formed just months before the storm hit.

*

According to Intercept, some of the island’s mayors have given up on the island government and started rebuilding their cities’ grids out of the local budget, through coalitions such as the new Pepino Power Authority–made up of volunteers and retirees. It remains to be seen if Federal overlords will pull the plug.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-puertorico-storm-energy/puerto-rico-governor-orders-probe-of-discovery-of-hurricane-recovery-materials-idUSKBN1F02VU

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/10/puerto-rico-electricity-prepa-hurricane-maria/

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/31/puerto-rico-electric-contract-cobra/

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/06/news/economy/cobra-power-deal-puerto-rico/index.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! December 12: Kansas Lawsuit Settled

The University of Kansas paid out a combined $395,000 to Daisy Tackett, whose alleged rape we reported (below) and another KU rower, Sarah McClure.

Tackett got $95,000 more.

Campus Sexual Assault–UPDATED

$165,000 (over 40%) was pocketed by Brown and Curry Law Firm of Kansas City, who represented the women in separate suits.

McClure alleged the same football longsnapper who raped Tackett in his room in 2014 groped McClure in her apartment in 2015. Both assaults reportedly occurred in the Jayhawker Towers dorm. Tackett’s lawsuit sued KU for false advertising in claiming its dorms were safe.

The longsnapper, Jordan Goldenberg Jr. (below), left KU in 2016. In an interesting twist, his KU coach, Gary Hyman, was hired by Indiana State University in February of that year. Goldenberg transferred onto the ISU team, but was removed before the season started.

Tackett and McClure alleged in their lawsuit that as members of KU rowing, they were required by the university to attend football games and encouraged to “party” with football recruits.

Douglas County District Attorney’s office found insufficient evidence in McClure’s complaint to charge Goldenberg. Tackett reported her assault after hearing McClure’s story.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article188879754.html

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article98208707.html

UPDATE: Motel 6[66]

Washington state is dealing with more Motel 6 employees selling out undocumented guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Related:

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 13: Customs & Border Protection Keep Their Clothing Borders in Place for Harassment; Immigration and Customs Enforcement Force Their Authority on Undocumented Motel 6 Customers

From 2015 to 2017, over 9,100 guests’ names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and room numbers were handed to Federal authorities without a warrant by four Seattle-area corporate-owned Motel 6 locations. At least six individuals were arrested as a result.

Fifteen additional Washington locations, all franchises, are under investigation.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing the chain for violating state consumer protection and anti-discrimination law. He alleges Motel 6 trained employees to hand over lists of all guests (without a warrant presented) when the Feds regularly stopped in.

Agents then allegedly combed the lists for guests with “Latino-sounding names” to attempt to link them to immigration violations.

Motel 6 told Associated Press they specifically prohibited employees from surrendering guest lists to government agents back in September, when two Phoenix locations got 20 guests arrested in similar secret police-style raids.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/immigration-border-crisis/motel-6-gave-guest-information-immigration-authorities-washington-ag-says-n834566

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/04/575567251/motel-6-gave-guest-information-to-immigration-agents-lawsuit-says

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! Awan Updates

Updated 1/7/18.

Suspected bank defrauder Imran Awan and his circle of crack ex-tech employees of the Federal Government were back in the news over the past several months.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 25: Debbie, Derelict of Any Responsibility

In September, Awan’s wife Hina Alvi, at large in Pakistan from bank fraud charges after Federal agents intercepted her with a bag of cash at Dulles airport in March, then let her board the plane out, bargained with the Feds to return to America to face an arraignment. It is unclear if she actually returned, but Washington Examiner reported the deal scheduled the homecoming for the last week of September. In exchange for her children not watching her arrest, Alvi agreed to give up her passports.

We already reported on Awan’s stepmother, Samina Gilani‘s allegations that Awan coerced her to sign over assets, wiretapped her and threatened to kill family members back in Pakistan. Daily Caller found Gilani and two other women filed police reports in Virginia accusing Awan of abuse.

Salam Chaudry‘s December 2015 injury was redacted from the domestic dispute report. Awan lawyered up when the officer asked him questions. Both Awan and Chaudry insisted they were only roommates. Chaudry and her two young children stayed while Awan left the apartment that night.

Seven months later, Samara Siddique summoned police while Awan was out, claimed to be in a relationship with him, and asked for information on obtaining a restraining order.

Gilani told police Awan threatened to hurt her and a cousin in Baltimore, and that Siddique is Awan’s second wife by Pakistani law.

*

Update:

Daily Caller also fingered the Awans for a Hillary-esque, Federal-oversight defying Secret Server operation whose existence was only reported by other apparently conservative outlets.

While Politico acknowledged in March that Awan and his four relatives and friends were fired for stealing equipment from [Congress] members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network, the ex-employees are now alleged to have compiled server data from Democratic House members onto this unknown server as well as “Dropbox.” Since Dropbox use was prohibited, Awan allegedly used a fake account and could have accessed the data after his official clearance was revoked in February.

(In his defense, Federal officials often use fake accounts to get around FOIA requests.)

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! February 27–Justice Department and EPA

The secret server (“connected” to the House Democratic Caucus, according to Daily Caller) came to light when outgoing HDC chair Xavier Becerra (D-CA) (below) resigned to become California’s attorney general and requested the server be wiped.

Xavier Becerra official portrait.jpg

Police asked to see the server (right around the time Awan and entourage were fired by everyone except Debbie Wasserman Schultz), and Awan turned in a false copy for evidence, which may carry a charge of interfering with a criminal investigation.

Awan had access to office files from 45 House Democrats prior to his removal. Mrs. Alvi reportedly received at least $25,000 per year (in addition to her salary) from Becerra’s office during his 2013-2016 chairmanship of the HDC.

*

In October, when Awan (on house arrest for bank fraud charges) argued through his attorney he should have his GPS monitor removed and curfew rescinded, the FBI’s finding that he wiped all data from his cell phone–just prior to being arrested at the airport fleeing to Pakistan–came to light.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mirando stamped out the counterargument that the phone contained no data because it was recently purchased by producing the phone’s time stamp from three hours prior to the arrest.

*

On November 11, the Congress Committee on House Administration announced two STUPID PHRASE ALERT “listening sessions” to brief House members behind closed doors on the future use of “shared employees.” Politico suggests Awan and four associates’ charges of lifting IT equipment and illegal activity on the House network may have motivated the seminar.

*

But the strangest development was the revelation of Cars International A (CIA), an auto dealership Awan’s brother Abid (below, not feeling very photogenic) ran in tandem with his recent $164,980 “shared employee” position in for House members.  He reportedly omitted  loans to finance the dealership from his Congressional ethics form.

Abid Awan, a House IT technician suspected in a security breach, leaves court after separately being accused of insurance fraud. DCNF photo

A 2010 loan of $100,000 to CIA came from internal medicine Dr. Ali Al-Attar, who was indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein for tax fraud in 2012. Al-Attar has reportedly fled to Iraq to shake additional charges.

CIA apparently took orders for cars, then procured them from AAA Motors across the street. Nasir Khattak (also from Pakistan) ran AAA, and revealed in deposition that his business subsidized Imran Awan (the actual mastermind of CIA).

Other dealerships tried to move cars through CIA, and sued when Awan screwed them. Daily Caller:

It’s not clear where the dealership’s money was going, because it was sued by at least five different people on all ends of a typical car business who said they were stiffed. CIA didn’t pay the security deposit, rent or taxes for its building, it didn’t pay wholesalers who provided cars, and it sold broken cars to people and then refused to honor the warranties, the lawsuits say.

*

Chris Gowen (below), Imran Awan’s attorney, worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton when Hillary was a Senator.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/democratic-it-staffer-who-fled-the-country-strikes-deal-to-return-face-charges/article/2633528

EXCLUSIVE: DWS IT Guy Was Banned From House After Trying To Hide Secret Server

House IT Worker At Center Of Scandal Allegedly Abused Three Muslim Women

https://www.forbes.com/sites/frankminiter/2017/10/09/congressional-it-aide-wiped-his-phone-before-being-arrested-heres-how-the-fbi-found-out/#1efe9142e139

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/07/house-lawmakers-it-probe-244662

House IT Aides Ran Car Dealership With Markings Of A Nefarious Money Laundering Operation

https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/baltimore/press-releases/2012/two-physicians-indicted-in-a-conspiracy-to-defraud-the-irs-by-concealing-their-income-and-filing-false-tax-returns

https://medium.com/@TelescreenMedia/we-the-people-have-been-compromised-imran-awan-timeline-a25a5c9d4c80

http://gowenrhoades.com/christopher-gowen/

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 26: Rivera Updates

TV star Naya Rivera, 30, was collared for domestic battery in November after she allegedly hit husband Ryan Dorsey in the face.

According to BBC, Rivera and Dorsey had recently called off the divorce of their rocky two-year marriage.

PHOTO: Naya Rivera and husband Ryan Dorsey arrive at the 2016 InStyle And Warner Bros. 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Jan. 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The estranged couple.

Dorsey showed police cell phone footage of his beat down (who doesn’t film marital strife these days?), which occurred in West Virginia.

Related:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 10–Dylan Roof; Naya Rivera; Rahm Emanuel Loses Revenue

Rivera reportedly went before the judge wearing a baggy hooded sweatshirt, leggings, sandals and handcuffs.

She was released on $1,000 bail to her father-in-law.

On December 5th, the couple re-filed for divorce. They will share custody of their 2-year-old son, Josey (his actual name).

*

Rivera’s brother Mychal Rivera, an NFL tight end now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, spent the 2017 season on injured reserve.

Thanks to our sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/glee-star-naya-rivera-arrested-charged-domestic-battery/story?id=51391563

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42128435/glee-star-naya-rivera-charged-with-domestic-violence-against-her-husband

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/naya-rivera-is-divorcing-husband-ryan-dorsey-for-the-second-time_us_5a27f47ce4b044d16726374f?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/naya-rivera-ryan-dorsey-agree-joint-custody-2-year-old-son-article-1.3729893

http://www.jaguars.com/news/article-JaguarsNews/Roster-at-75-Notable-names-among-transactions/2052c97a-5b4b-49f6-a846-b4bc1622c399

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 8: Ross Ulbricht Update

Shaun Bridges, corrupt Secret Service agent already “serv”ing 71 months for money laundering and obstruction of justice while investigating Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, got an additional two years for lifting over 1600 Bitcoins from a Secret Service-controlled wallet.

This was separate from his Bitcoin theft from the Silk Road investigation itself.

As we previously reported, Bridges could have received up to 10 additional years for the latest offense.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: WannaCry Savior Arrested; Ulbricht Hunters More Guilty Than First Admitted

Engadget reports:

Bridges was actually caught a day before he was scheduled to turn himself in for the first theft with bags containing a passport, offshore account records, a non-US citizenship application for his wife and multiple bulletproof vests. In other words, he was apparently set to get out of Dodge and cash in his ill-gotten Bitcoin chips at the time of his second arrest.

They also noted in 2016 Bridges was suspected of perpetrating multiple Bitcoin thefts from US law enforcement agencies months after the agency was urged to block his access.

*

As we reported above, Ulbricht lost his 2017 appeal to the Second Circuit Court. He is now appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn that decision.

According to Nasdaq, the unlikely challenge hinges on the Federal Government’s warrantless surveillance of Ulbricht’s internet activity and the prosecution’s reported withholding of criminal activity by Bridges and fellow investigator-turned-criminal Carl Force (of the DEA) during Ulbricht’s trial.

Ulbricht, 33 (below) was moved to a high-security prison in Colorado to continue the double life sentence for his nonviolent crimes last fall.

Ross Ulbricht Moved to Colorado, will Petition Failed Appeal with Supreme Court

Kannon K. Shanmugam (below), who defended Alonzo King in the horrifying Maryland v. King decision, will reportedly argue for Ulbricht if the Supreme Court picks up the case.

Kannon Shanmugam Photo

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/08/silk-road-secret-service-agent-more-prison-time/

https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/01/disgraced-us-agent-may-be-responsible-for-multiple-bitcoin-theft/

Ross Ulbricht Moved to Colorado, will Petition Supreme Court

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/lyn-ulbricht-rosss-latest-appeal-about-constitutional-protections-and-freedoms-for-us-all-cm898602