Category Archives: In the News

$22,000,000,000,000 and Counting

The Trump Defense Department should be taking fire for presumed upcoming abuse of the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

The account is separate from the Pentagon’s mere $576,000,000,000 budget for fiscal year 2020. But unlike the “defense” budget, OCO funding is exempt from budget caps.

The Trump administration is seeking roughly an additional $150 billion (possibly as much as $174 billion, which would bring the overall budget for defense to $750 billion) for the war fund […] Entire programs, such as the U.S. Army’s accounts for ammunition and training, will be moved to this war account, according to multiple sources.

[our emphasis]

OCO spent just $90,000,000,000 last year.

Is the President’s request a harbinger of an upcoming endless war that need not be bound by a budget, as Trump’s batshit crazy, warmongering national security adviser John Bolton (who Wall Street Journal reported in January started drafting plans to bomb Iran after an explosion near the American embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, a completely different country, last year) would prefer?

The funds can be shoveled to less nefarious purposes, such as a troop pay raise as the waning days of the Obama administration brought us in f.y. 2017’s bloated National Defense Authorization Act. We reported:

But it’s ultimately another venue for the Dirty Dems and Rotten Republicans to come together and skirt the budget caps that were supposed to curtail federal spending over the past decade in exchange for short-term increases to the debt ceiling, succeeding in achieving only in the latter.

For example, in 2016 the Government Accountability Office reported the vast majority of these “emergency war” funds in the f.y. 2017 appropriations supported our decades-long, unconstitutional occupation of Afghanistan.

In fact, according to this January https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R44519.pdf report from Congressional Research Service, fighting abstract “terror” outside of legislators’ purse string control is so ingrained in the “emergency war” fund, terror has entered the acronym:

“Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has appropriated approximately $2 trillion in discretionary budget authority designated as emergency requirements or for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism (OCO/GWOT) in support of the broad U.S. government response to the 9/11 attacks and for other related international affairs activities.”

[our emphasis]

Extra budget wiggle room certainly can’t solve the recruiting woes of the most expensive defense force on the planet. The Army missed its goal enrollment by over 6,000 last year, “despite pouring an extra $200 million into bonuses and approving some additional waivers for bad conduct or health issues.”

Heritage Foundation recently reminded us that just 29% of 17-to-24-year-old Americans are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces. Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 [t]he ineligible typically includes those who are obese, those who lack a high school diploma or a GED, convicted felons, those taking prescription drugs for ADHD and those with certain tattoos and ear gauges[.]

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Disgraced FEMA director Brock Long has resigned, boasting that “[d]uring my tenure, the Agency worked more than 220 declared disasters[,]” which is slightly greater than the number of days on the job he spent getting chauffeured to and from North Carolina.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering making the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 look more palatable. Politico reported the large-headed enforcer kicks off a tour of early primary state New Hampshire this week, continuing a trend of quality candidates from the Empire State.

Probably good to start self-promoting in a state with fewer citizens viscerally offended by the phrase “c.p. time” :

Politico suggested Bombastic Bill is already floating slogans:

“There’s plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands,” [de Blasio] declared at his State of the City address last month.

De Blasio seized the occasion to pitch socialist policies including ten mandatory paid vacation days annually for everyone working in the city.

“I’m not aware of any other state or city that requires [paid vacation],” said Rick McGahey, an economist at the New School for Social Research who served as an assistant secretary for policy in the U.S. Labor Department during the Clinton administration.

Puerto Rico does mandate paid vacation days, McGahey said[…]

Puerto Rico recently went bankrupt.

The part-time mayor, full-time Red Sox fan’s travel bill is covered by his federal political action committee…Fairness PAC.

De Blasio did not, that we can find, characterize the devil the “richest man on earth” Amazon‘s sudden decision Thursday to scrap plans for its New York City location as “unfair.” Instead, he found the move “disappointing” and “disrespectful.”

“Working people are very smart and very discerning. They want jobs, they want revenue, they want the kinds of things that government can do for them,” the mayor lectured WNYC’s radio audience, explaining that industrious New Yorkers would have valued the opportunity to work hard so their earnings can be redistributed. Working people can’t be trusted to responsibly spend their own money. They’re smart, but not that smart.

This would put de Blasio at odds with hometown social justice warrior, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,(D-NY), (below), who according to CNN had publicly railed against the tech company’s incentives extended from New York’s layer cake of municipal regulators to build in Long Island City, Queens. New York Post reported these included $2.5 billion in tax credits, a $500 million state construction subsidy and the ability to sidestep the city’s laborious zoning process.

[our emphasis]

Apparently, that pot of honestly confiscated taxes was not worth sacrificing for an estimated 25,000 jobs with wages averaging 150,000 [sic].

Ocasio-Cortez announced on Twitter:
“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

The first-term representative also recently proposed legislation to eliminate the country’s airplanes, which are only used by those making $150,000 or more annually.

New York governor and family mobster Andrew Cuomo (D) (below, jowls), desperate to brand his third term with something besides the murder of Eric Garner, a decrepit subway, and millions of dollars of illegal state-sponsored street signs, was nearly as angry as de Blasio.

Syracuse.com reports Cuomo blustered that “[t]he New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”

Amazon said Thursday that local opposition was the main reason it is dropping its New York City plans, despite 70 percent of Empire State residents supporting the investment.

While he apparently didn’t single out Ocasio-Cortez, the governor’s spokesperson noted Democratic State Senator Todd Kaminsky (below, squinting) “tanked the Amazon plan by placing a stalwart Amazon opponent on the government approval board to pander to the local socialists.”

It’s unclear whether that board had a representative in Wednesday’s [trigger warning] powwow in Cuomo’s office. Amazon’s people were hammering out the proposed employees’ ability to unionize, aided by representatives of AFL-CIO and Teamsters. Union bosses directly determining the fate of corporate satellite headquarters must be a key element of de Blasio’s declaring New York “the greatest city in the world” while pouting on WNYC.

According to Bloomberg, the meeting was productive, and one of the AFL-CIO affiliate’s presidents was about to deploy his–this is the actual self-important term for union regulatory writers–*wordsmiths* to solidify union influence in the deal when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pulled the plug the following day.

*

Mr. Bezos, by the way, alleges National Enquirer publisher David Pecker–again, his actual name–is using a subordinate to blackmail Bezos into dropping his investigation of the sources behind the tabloid’s article, “Jeff Bezos’ Raunchy Text Messages That Prove Illicit Affair.”

Dylan Howard, an Australian national and VP of Pecker’s AMI‘s National Enquirer, (below), reportedly has damning images of Bezos, some involving a Lauren Sanchez. These include a fully-clothed “selfie,” a “selfie” in which Bezos wears“just a pair of tight black boxer-briefs or trunks,” and
“Ms. Sanchez wearing a plunging red neckline dress revealing her cleavage and a glimpse of her nether region.”

https://medium.com/@jeffreypbezos/no-thank-you-mr-pecker-146e3922310f

https://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/jeff-bezos-lauren-sanchez-text-messages-affair-scandal/

As we reported earlier, Pecker himself, whose empire Vanity Fair describes as “Trump’s most powerful media ally next to Fox News,” rolled on the president last year, corroborating Cohen’s “hush money to Trump mistresses” scheme in exchange for federal immunity. Howard, an Australian national, has also been protected by the deal.

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Delta Airlines‘ latest scandal has also dragged soft drink giant Coca-Cola into the gutter.

Getting an early jump on the Valentine’s Day festivities, the soon-to-be-Green-New-Dealed-Into-Obscurity carrier apparently tried to spark in-flight stalking while reminding passengers to keep it trim by sucking down Diet Coke. Twitter went peanuts nuts, and the inflammatory line of napkins was pulled starting last month:

Thanks to our sources:

https://nypost.com/2019/02/15/de-blasio-rips-into-aocs-amazon-opposition-working-people-want-jobs/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/politics/amazon-aoc-democrats-future/index.html

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/10/02/love-ny-signs-removed/1496503002/

https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/7/18215314/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-resolution-climate-change

https://www.syracuse.com/politics/2019/02/cuomo-blames-other-dems-for-amazon-exit-as-aoc-celebrates.htmlhttps://www.theverge.com/2019/2/7/18215314/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-resolution-climate-change

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-14/amazon-was-holding-talks-wednesday-to-make-nyc-deal-happen

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2019/02/06/delta-airlines-apologizes-creepy-diet-coke-flight-napkins/2796432002/

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/08/donald-trump-national-enquirer-allies-defect-david-pecker-michael-cohen

https://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/australian-journalist-dylan-howard-reportedly-granted-immunity-could-give-info-on-trump-payments/news-story/14439dc2474d2971cde68851b5e6b85c

https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-68

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-sought-options-to-strike-iran-11547375404

http://www.newser.com/story/264957/us-army-falls-short-of-2018-recruiting-goal.html

https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/the-looming-national-security-crisis-young-americans-unable-serve-the-military

http://time.com/2938158/youth-fail-to-qualify-military-service/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/13/politics/brock-long-fema/index.html

http://www.fox5ny.com/news/mayor-progressive-agenda-paid-vacation

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/new-york-mayor-bill-de-blasio-explained-his-loyalty-to-the-red-sox-on-the-jonah-keri-podcast/

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2019/02/11/de-blasio-heads-to-new-hampshire-as-he-contemplates-run-for-president-848323

State of Discontent

INFECTED!!! The holier-than-thou Pacific Northwest is battling a measles outbreak that has triggered a state of emergency declaration in Washington (State, not cesspool).

All of the 35 confirmed patients suffering from the rarely fatal virus (which according to the CDC was eradicated from America in 2000) were either unvaccinated or have not had their vaccination status verified. We need to investigate that latter group so Twitter can attack the appropriate side.

NPR reports:
Before the vaccine was introduced in 1963 measles was the single leading killer of children in the world. To this day, it still kills 100,000 children a year worldwide, most under the age of five.

Popular locations to pick up this outbreak: if you picked someone up at
Portland International Airport in neighboring Oregon; attended a pick up NBA game featuring the Portland Trailblazers; picked up groceries at Wal-Mart in Vancouver; patronized the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry; or stumbled upon any of the other “four dozen locations” teased by Associated Press.

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It’s still a terrible time to live in Chicago. Although thug mayor Rahm Emanuel (below, duck face) mercifully realized last month he would be the city’s first mayor in generations unable to buy his reelection if he didn’t step aside, the “Windy City” will still be frozen in hardship, namely due to dangerous winds this week from the polar vortex.

Specifically, the high temperature Wednesday of -13 degrees F will drop to a “feels like” of -50 when wind is factored in.

ABC7 of Chicago spotlighted our next online outrage mob victim, Jane Bozym, who whined from O’Hare airport:
“I am going to Phoenix [AZ], where I live now, I moved there a year ago. I am a little bit sad that I am actually going to miss the cold, just to say that I lived it.”

The Metra train service has deploy[ed] crews to set fires on switchers to keep the tracks from contracting.

Related: https://www.techspot.com/news/73061-all-20000-boring-company-flamethrowers-have-sold-out.html

Reportedly, “several inches” of snow fell on the city Monday.

But the race to replace burned-out ballerina Rahm won’t be smooth sledding. USA Today noted the four top-funded candidates, including reported frontrunner and current Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza (above, gesturing), have all been forced to explain away associations with city council member/ “alderman” (since 1969) Edward “Ed” Burke (below, mafia costume).

The wizened former police officer and attorney, accused of extortion (maximum penalty: 20 years of prison or 5 months of forced residence in Chicago) earlier this month, allegedly [tried] to steer business to his private law firm [Klafter & Burke] from a company seeking to renovate a fast food restaurant[Burger King] in his ward. Burke denies trying so brazenly trying to have it his way.

[T]he FBI found 23 guns in raids on Burke’s City Hall and ward offices. As a condition of his bond, [he] was ordered to surrender the firearms and any others he may own within 48 hours of his release.

Mendoza was married by Burke’s wife Anne, a judge on the state Supreme Court (who was quietly sworn in to a second 10-year term on Nov. 29, the same day her husband’s offices were raided), in the Burke house. She is donating to the Montford Point Marines veterans group $141,550 in campaign contributions banked from alderman Danny Solis, and organizations run by him and his family (including, ironically, this being Chicago–see below–a debt collection firm). Why should we take solace in her dissociation from a different career criminal?

The Sun-Times noted Mendoza’s decision came one day after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Solis, retiring chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, has spent the last two years wired up to help federal investigators build their corruption case against Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th). Normally, elected officials agree to go undercover only after they themselves have been caught in corruption scandals.

The suddenly-virtuous comptroller blasted rival mayoral candidate,
Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle, demanding she likewise relinquish $116,000 Preckwinkle bagged from a 2018 fundraiser with Establishment Ed:

“By waiting until the end of March to return this tainted money, [Preckwinkle] is choosing to use dirty money to get her through this mayoral election. That’s shameful.”

Preckwinkle (above) has called on Burke to resign from the City Council [and] proposed prohibiting council members from holding outside employment.

Preckwinkle said later in the month she would return the money, and characterized Burke as “Susana Mendoza’s mentor.” More problematic may be her advocacy for Ed Burke, Jr.’s (below, mugshot) most recent employment.

[D]espite the fact that Burke Jr. was under investigation on allegations he made inappropriate sexual comments to co-workers at his prior job *in* the Cook County sheriff’s office, Preckwinkle forwarded his resume to the Department of Homeland Security for a promotion to their Cook County Emergency Management Department. Sun-Times reported Preckwinkle admits the recommendation came after she personally met with Burke Sr.

[our emphasis]

A Preckwinkle official said her office was not aware of the investigation when Burke was hired for the homeland security job.

Sun-Times notes a $10,000 contribution from Burke Sr. to Preckwinkle is mentioned in the extortion charges. Burke Jr. retired from the $110,000/year gig last year prior to a June domestic battery arrest in which all charges were “swiftly” dropped (sort of like his pants, as the arresting officers found him “extremely intoxicated, naked, acting violently, and destroying furniture inside [his] residence” not three hours after police originally escorted him there earlier in the evening), according to Chicago Tribune.

For his part, Burke Sr. has endorsed former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico to succeed Emanuel.

Klafter & Burke reportedly helped Trump do his taxes until last year.

*

Last November, Chicago caught up with Sony to enforce a new 9% cloud tax. PlayStation streaming services just became more costly. The 2015 job-discouraging measure was already kowtowed to by other gaming platform streamers like Xbox. (This is in addition to special Chicago taxes on movies, bottled water and cell phones, according to Fee.) Apparently,

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department, Bill McCaffrey, recently said,”If a business is not collecting the tax where we believe it applies, the city takes the necessary steps and works with the company to ensure compliance with the law.”

[…]

When Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel approved the additional tax on streaming services, it was done so with the explicit purpose of helping to fund the $530 million increase given to Chicago’s police force

[our emphasis]

Homicides? No, we need more resources to harass people binging Storage Wars.

But wait. Illinois Policy reported:

The city’s amusement tax used to mostly apply to purchases of concert and sporting event tickets. However, the Chicago Department of Finance ruled in 2015 that the tax covered streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify. This expansion of the amusement tax is commonly dubbed the “Netflix tax” or the “cloud tax.” In addition to being regressive, it is also likely illegal.

Liberty Justice Center has sued the city, but lost the first round. They are currently appealing to First District Court of Appeals. Labell v. City of Chicago argues the city is violating the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which
prohibits states, counties and municipalities from levying taxes that discriminate against electronic commerce.

LJC notes the mendacious metropolis takes the tax from everyone with a Chicago billing address, not necessarily only from those watching Netflix in Chicago.

Apple (who have reportedly refused to confiscate the tax from users) sued with a similar suit.

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The best reason to steer clear of the Midway surfaced earlier this month, when the city was (again) exposed for confiscating and selling for scrap the vehicles of unfortunate denizens violating the city parking sticker system.

The eventual sale of scofflaw-related cars — 8,000 cars in 2017 alone — doesn’t wipe out any tickets, towing costs, or storage fees. […]

Here’s what the city’s own website says regarding the seizure of cars for ticket debts: “The signing over or involuntary surrender of your vehicle to the City does not waive or decrease any outstanding debt you owe the City.”

The city tickets aggressively for sticker noncompliance […], and at rates far higher in low-income neighborhoods, a WBEZ/ProPublica Illinois investigation found.

[…]

The city faces a class-action lawsuit over fine increases; plaintiffs accuse the city of exceeding legal caps on parking and compliance tickets.

Interestingly,

After Mendoza’s candidacy became official, [fellow candidate,
former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul] Vallas issued a statement slamming her for presiding over increases in vehicle sticker fees and penalties as clerk during Emanuel’s administration.

*

No word yet if the sinking ship SS Chi-town will try to pull what California did in the news-ignorant haze of the holidays. Their Public Utilities Commission briefly tried to tax text messages after voice call revenue plummeted 33% since 2011. They circulated some sob story that “Public Purpose Programs” now have less confiscated wealth to subsidize low-income residents.

But the Federal Communications Commission forced the state to abandon their latest shakedown, ruling that text messages are an “information service” (like internet and phone) that cannot be discouraged by additional grabbing from a revenue-drunk government. Probably because poor people relying on government subsidies for their phones would be regressively raped by a text tax.

Also (duh):


The wireless phone industry argue[d] added fees would put carriers at a higher disadvantage since messaging services like Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger would not be charged under the proposed legislation.



Thanks to our sources:

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/28/689549375/washington-state-officials-declare-state-of-emergency-as-measles-outbreak-contin

https://apnews.com/88fde6e095424d348d1321cf41a6d9b0

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/04/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-wont-seek-re-election/1191517002/

https://abc7chicago.com/weather/live-temps-chicago-weather-wind-chill-advisory-in-effect-tuesday/5110996/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/23/chicago-federal-political-corruption-scandal-mayor-election-alderman-ed-burke/2581411002/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-alderman-ed-burke-charges-20190103-story.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/state-comptrollers-susana-mendozas-announcement-of-chicago-mayoral-run-leads-to-barrage-of-political-attacks/ar-BBPK11A

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/mendoza-contributions-solis-doyle-burke-investigation-montford-point-marines-preckwinkle-chicago-mayor-election-2019/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-ed-burke-jr-domestic-battery-charge-20190125-story.html

https://fee.org/articles/chicago-s-new-playstation-tax-shows-how-greedy-politicians-can-be/?fbclid=IwAR0Xed22MouRFRqFqQ6GkalQGh_WBicreIiqqLMkBa_7eGabolCZoT2q7xQ

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/chicago-slaps-playstation-users-with-expansion-of-9-percent-amusement-tax/

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-seized-and-sold-nearly-50000-cars-over-tickets-since-2011-sticking-owners-with-debt/1d73d0c1-0ed2-4939-a5b2-1431c4cbf1dd

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/california-considers-charging-residents-tax-190318852.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/16/tech/california-text-tax-vote-canceled/index.html

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

Delta Updates

New year, same Delta Airlines.

Image result for delta airlines

The Atlanta-based monstrosity sent flight 284 out of Hartsfield-Jackson International at 8:15 PM on Tuesday. The London-bound 737 jet was back by 9:45 PM after (per passengers), a loud “bang” was heard on board.

Related:

Delta Drops the Ball Again

Delta Out-Winged by Unidentified Bird Species

Delta initially blamed the return on “emergency engine trouble,” and, indeed, emergency vehicles were captured meeting the plane at the gate on return.

(Courtesy: Bill Sengstacken / Twitter)

A different 737 was enlisted to get everyone to London. They took off just after midnight…and came right back after another “bang” was reportedly heard.

Passengers told Fox both times the planes took off it was reported that someone had left an unclaimed coat in the gate area, and that both flights’ pilots said there were no mechanical problems.

The Heathrow hopefuls were placed in hotels and reportedly scheduled to try a third time Wednesday evening. All bags remained in the custody of Delta for the overnight stay.

FlightAware.com reports Delta #284 (the same physical plane from the second attempt early Wednesday morning) successfully landed at Heathrow at 8:25 AM on Thursday.

Fox got a statement Wednesday evening in which Delta admitted to returning in an abundance of caution when an abnormal noise was observed in the aircraft, and again when a similar observation was made on the replacement plane.

Thanks to our source:

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/emergency-landing-at-atlantas-airport

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 16: Keystone Spillage and Keystone XL Approval

We previously covered the Dakota Access Pipeline:

Pipeline Postponed–Now Plural!

Just as divisive is the Keystone pipeline, which accidentally poured 210,000 gallons of oil near Amherst, South Dakota, the second Keystone spill in the state since 2016.

TransCanada, the Canadian outfit shipping Alberta tar sands oil to U.S. refineries in Texas, reportedly estimated the line would leak less frequently and in smaller amounts than what has actually transpired.

Image result

The affected area is near the Sioux tribe’s Lake Traverse Reservation, which is home specifically to the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.

Unfortunately, according to Inside Climate News,

A preliminary assessment from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) suggests damage that occurred during TransCanada Corporation’s construction of the pipeline was likely the cause of the spill.

Therefore, other parts of pipe could be poised to pop.

*

Days later, the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline (which will expand the Keystone line) was approved by Nebraska’s Public Service Commission regulators. All states along the proposed route have now cleared the project, but it could still be shut down by the courts, according to NBC.

Trump approved Keystone XL in March, reversing Obama’s decision on the new line.

BUT, to the elation of landowners opposed to the pipeline, on December 19:

The Nebraska Public Service Commission unanimously rejected TransCanada’s request to amend its application for a route across Nebraska. TransCanada said it would “take some time” before considering whether to build the $8 billion project.

Apparently, the route approved in November was undesirable, and runs parallel to the existing (original) Keystone pipe. It is unclear whether this version of XL will proceed, as both sides have 30 days to file with the Nebraska Court of Appeals.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/16/us/keystone-pipeline-leak/index.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/keystone-xl-pipeline-gets-approval-nebraska-regulator-n822526

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pipeline-keystone-spills/keystones-existing-pipeline-spills-far-more-than-predicted-to-regulators-idUSKBN1DR1CS

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/29112017/keystone-pipeline-oil-spill-south-dakota-permit-transcanada-construction-weights

http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/future-of-keystone-xl-pipeline-becomes-more-muddled-after-psc/article_63053116-e4e6-11e7-8a21-3b6e865ae887.html

Delta Out-Winged by Unidentified Bird Species

Delta Airlines flight 1943 out of Detroit returned shortly after takeoff because the pilot found a small bird in the cockpit “potential[ly] distracting” for the trek to Atlanta.

Washington Post reported the pilot initially kept the December 30 plane grounded for an hour while a search for the bird (spotted at boarding) commenced. The pilot announced as the doors closed, “We’re going to take off, but if I hear any chirping in the cockpit, I’ll turn around.”

An eyewitness told WP the bird was re-discovered just minutes after takeoff. The online tracker data suggests the Detroit-to-Detroit flight lasted 34 minutes. Yellow-breasted vested security people (above) then removed the bird.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/12/31/how-a-small-bird-managed-to-take-over-a-delta-flight/?utm_term=.bd36547cb020

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/DAL1943/history/20171230/1510Z/KDTW/KDTW

Breaking: Erica Garner Deceased

Eric Garner‘s daughter, Erica Garner, passed away following her heart attack last weekend.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 24–Eric Garner Update

Erica was 27 and supported Bernie Sanders for the 2016 presidency. She had an previous heart attack following the birth of her son earlier this year, named Eric for her father. While Erica learned she had an enlarged heart at that time, her mother, Esaw Snipes, reported the Christmas heart attack was due to asthma.

Erica helped raise awareness of minority citizens’ disparate treatment by police after her father’s 2014 homicide by the NYPD, and was reportedly a prominent member of the social justice movement Black Lives Matter.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/erica-garner-died-obituary_us_5a446518e4b0b0e5a7a49a79

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/25/us/eric-garner-daughter-heart-attack/index.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 27: Boente Bows Out

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente is ready to cash out, announcing his resignation in October (pending confirmation of his replacement).

Image: Dana Boente, acting U.S. attorney general, listens during a county sheriff listening session

Politico reported the career “government servant” and 2015 Obama appointee to EDV, 63, who briefly took over for Sally Yates as acting Attorney General upon Yates’ firing for refusal to enforce Trump’s travel ban, is reportedly still in charge of Justice’s national security division.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

MSNBC suggests Boente’s resignation was solicited by Trump after the veteran Justice employee was retained at the beginning of 2017. Rachel Maddow emphasized Boente “was in a position to investigate the president when Trump decided unexpectedly to fire him.”

Justice bit back on November 29 via a letter to Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Mr. Coons asked the Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Boente’s resignation, apparently sensing something nefarious.  The letter indicates Trump’s nominee to take over for Boente as AAG–national security division, John Demers (below) is merely the next expected link in the chain of succession.

Mr. Demers is a big man at Ex-Im Bank beneficiary Boeing, and will reportedly retain over $1 million of their stock in his new position.

If he gets confirmed. Demers reportedly helped author the 2008 Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, a monstrous justification for the Feds to scoop up your phone records and emails.

According to AllGov:

At his confirmation hearing on October 31, 2017, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain a warrant from the FBI before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.

[our emphasis]

Later on in December, Senator Rand Paul blocked Demers’ confirmation vote to the Justice position. It is unclear when the vote will proceed.

Section 702 is scheduled to expire next month, and neo-conservative thugs are eager to reauthorize the privacy-and-constitutional-rights-be-damned program.

Daily Beast:

If confirmed, Demers will be one of just three DOJ officials with the power to sign off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications. 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/27/dana-boente-justice-departments-national-security-division-244268

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-ouster-us-attorney-dana-boente-matters

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/dana-boente-senior-federal-prosecutor-obama-holdover-submits-resignation-n815331

http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/assistant-attorney-general-national-security-division-who-is-john-demers-171107?news=860356

https://www.thedailybeast.com/republican-senator-rand-paul-freezes-trump-nomination-over-nsa

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 9: Flint Update

Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of Michigan, racked up involuntary manslaughter and misconduct charges to go with her obstruction of justice charge from the summer relating to the Flint water crisis.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 14: Flint, MI Update

Michigan Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon (also charged with OOJ and IM) may have tipped off prosecutors, as special prosecutor Todd Flood (below) credited “some revelations” from Lyon’s testimony leading to Wells’ extra charges. Like Wells, Lyon remains in his position amidst the charges.

Flood

As a refresher, the Flint water crisis du jour is not the elevated lead levels that tipped Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to government-regulated brain damage in Flint’s children, but the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease three years ago. Unlike the lead (due to pumping acidic water through antique lead pipes to sell to your citizens), the Legionnaires’ was apparently due to contaminated water at the Flint River source.

Robert Skidmore, 85 (below), was one of twelve Flint residents who died of water-borne Legionnaires’ from 2014 to 2015. Prosecutors have fingered Dr. Wells and five other government officials for the involuntary manslaughter of Skidmore.

*

On November 20, as Wells’ hearing for alleged interference in the research of the Legionnaires’ outbreak loomed, Michigan governor Rick Snyder appointed her head of the newly-formed Public Health Advisory Council, according to Michigan Radio.

However, Michigan.gov reports “Eden Wells” as chair of the PHAC, with a specific notation that she was not appointed by the governor. Wild!

Snyder has not been charged in the disaster.

*

Flint mayor Karen Weaver won her November recall election, capturing almost 53% of the vote among 18 candidates.

She appears to have evaded investigation into allegations of pouring crisis relief funds into her personal account:

Lead Astray

Thanks to our sources:

A Michigan Official Was Just Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the Flint Water Crisis

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2017/10/09/obstruction-hearing-eden-wells/106463504/

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/11/flint_mayor_karen_weaver_wins.html

https://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2016/02/06/dr-mona-hanna-attisha-goes-doctor-global-hero/79772514/

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2017/06/14/flint-water/102838154/

http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57738_57679_57726-454407–,00.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October: IRS Cozies Up with Equifax

On October 3, Politico reported the IRS had lavished credit report agency Equifax with a no-bid, $7.25 million contract to “verify taxpayer identities and prevent fraud.”

Image result

Yes, this is the same Equifax that announced in September they had discovered a security breach earlier in the year that compromised many Americans’ social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, and (in some cases) drivers license numbers. You have likely heard of the breach, because the number of Americans affected was over 140 million.

(It really makes the 2015 Office of Personnel and Management breach that exposed just 21 million social security numbers and  millions of sets of fingerprints, leading to the resignation of director Katherine Archuleta, look absolutely pathetic.)

Atlanta-based Equifax created a website for affected consumers to see if they were affected and obtain a free “credit freeze.” (The abominable Delta Airlines is also based in Atlanta.)

The fallout was insufficient to stop head IRS thug John Koskinen from allowing the crooked contract to gamble several million in taxpayer cheese on an unreliable company; he observed, “Our estimate is a significant percent of those taxpayers already had their information in the hands of criminals.”

Now, as stellar an agency as Koskinen’s IRS has proven to be,

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 10: IRS Takes From Little People; Squander Millions on Unused Email, Faulty Fraud Detection

we should probably take a pompous “notice” explaining away their idiotic contract award with a grain of salt:

[A] notice [posted on the Federal Business Opportunities database] describes the contract as a “sole source order,” meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service. 

And according to Gizmodo, Equifax was pissed when this contract was awarded to another company just before the hack was revealed, given the former’s most favorite nation status at the IRS.  Equifax proceeded to file a complaint with the Government Accountability Office.

Koskinen, 78, claimed his hands were tied, and the “incumbent” Equifax vendor had to be retained for emergency access services as hurricane victims sought their own tax information:

“Shutting down online access would also have impacted victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. These taxpayers have an immediate need for tax information and may no longer have paper records on which to rely.”

[A revenue-neutral FairTax that eliminates the IRS, and billions of dollars in compliance annually, is apparently still out of the question. Maybe the new Republican-pushed tax overhaul will move us in that direction.]

[Interestingly, just before the breach was announced, GAO continued to warn Federal agencies against over-collecting fingerprints of the little people, because vulnerability, people.]

But more on Equifax:

The company has subsequently taken criticism for issuing confusing instructions to consumers, which contained language that appeared aimed at limiting customers’ ability to sue, as well as tweeting out a link to a fake website instead of its own security site.

So accountability was somewhat lacking. The government goons suspended the Equifax contract on October 13, according to Engadget.

GAO, meanwhile, stood up to Equifax on October 16, denying the complaint we mentioned above and allowing IRS to contract with rival Experian for one year instead. It is unclear if Experian was the company that originally won the contract before Koskinen tried to play favorites.

Experian logo.svg

The best part? Stewardship of tax dollars will have a rare victory. According to Politico, Experian will provide 12 months of service to IRS for just $795,000. The $7.25 million Koskinen tried to blow on Equifax (the only company capable of checking consumer identities in its Swiss cheese database) would only have covered nine months of service.

To be fair, Experian (based in Dublin, Ireland) had 15 million customers’ private information hacked in 2015.

Thanks to our sources:

https://investor.equifax.com/news-and-events/news/2017/09-15-2017-224018832

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/equifax-irs-fraud-protection-contract-243419

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/355862-irs-significant-number-of-equifax-victims-already-had-info-accessed-by

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cybersecurity-usa/millions-more-americans-hit-by-government-personnel-data-hack-idUSKCN0PJ2M420150709

Equifax Breach Proves Federal Action Necessary

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/irs-freezes-equifax-fraud-prevention-contract/

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/16/gao-equifax-irs-contract-243824

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/01/experian-hack-t-mobile-credit-checks-personal-information