Tag Archives: DHS

Let them eat at the government utopia school

“Students and parents protested Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approach to integration in Manhattan earlier this summer.”–New York Times

Bill de Blasio’s crack squad at the New York City School Diversity Advisory Group recommends eliminating gifted and talented programs to promote “equity and excellence,” in the mayor’s words.

The large-headed, long-odds 2020 presidential candidate and his socialist Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (above) want to desegregate NYC public schools, the most selective of which require an entrance exam, the SHSAT.

The advocacy group SunsetSHSAT, whose homepage states “denying the harm in using a single multiple-choice exam as the sole measure of a child’s academic worth with the mountains of scientific evidence we now have is similar to denying global warming,” transcribed some of Carranza’s wisdom from a February 12 town hall (source link below), notable for its concern the SHSAT has not been evaluated by a “psychometrician.”

Besides phasing out GOT G&T over the next five years, the SDAG advised de Blasio should not consider lateness or attendance in evaluating prospective students for the “elite” public schools and redesign [the] competitive high school admissions process to ensure that high schools reflect the racial and economic make up of their boroughs.

Carranza, who New York Times admits did not develop any significant integration policies of his own during his first year on the job, cackled in February he’s skeptical that “over 35% of students [are] designated as gifted and talented,” and “that is far beyond the percentage of gifted and talented that, from a statistical perspective, should be found in the population.” (data not shown, apparently)

An April poll of New York City voters found 63 percent favor admissions changes to boost diversity, and 57 percent say to scrap the sole entrance exam in favor of considering other factors for admission.

Interestingly, the white and Asian constituencies the mayor “risks alienating” by implementing the recommendations may already have bailed, per the following poll, in which Vox decides Asian voters are not “people of color” (our emphasis):

According to an April Quinnipiac University poll, […] De Blasio’s approval rating is 31-58 percent among white voters, 33-44 percent among Asian voters, 40-40 percent among Hispanic voters, and 66-23 percent among black voters. In other words, de Blasio does poorly among white New York voters. Among voters of color, it’s a different story.

According to New York Times, de Blasio dodged commentary on the SDAG report during an MSNBC interview last week.

The city seems to be trending up, given the belated removal of killer cop Daniel Pantaleo from the NYDP earlier this month, a mere five years after he strangled Eric Garner to death on camera.

However, their prison security seems wanting. After already-convicted, minimally-punished sex offender Jeffrey Epstein “hanged himself” in an unusually violent fashion on August 10 while awaiting trial for alleged sex trafficking, the Metropolitan Correctional Center had to send not one, but two malfunctioning surveillance cameras from outside his cell to the FBI for analysis. (While not even a functional video recording of Garner’s homicide was enough to immediately remove Pantaleo from duty, Epstein’s death, cracked hyoid and all, was dismissed as a homicide solely on the medical examiner’s testimony, without any video evidence.)

Accused quadruple murderer Nicholas Tartaglione, who we spotlighted earlier (below), was rooming with Epstein when the disgraced financial manager first sustained “neck injuries” back in July. This may have been an earlier suicide attempt, but Epstein reportedly told his attorney Tartaglione was responsible. Tartaglione’s attorney told the federal judge his guards have strongly advised the ex-cop to keep his chiseled jaw shut about the night of Epstein’s demise.

*

Food fight!!!

Guards at border detention facilities, apparently short on burritos, allegedly threw rations (still partially frozen) on cell floors for child prisoners to violently divide among themselves during their 8 to 10 day confinement in Texas and California lockups.

Some other highlights from Washington state’s AG investigator Alma Poletti, whose team interviewed teenagers detained by Customs and Border Protection, then “placed” by Refugee Resettlement (part of Health and Human Services) over the past year, include reports of twelve children packed into a 10 by 14′ cell; younger children being threatened by guards and stashed in “small metal cages” or a “dark room” (solitary confinement) for perceived misbehavior; fluorescent lights and air conditioners rolling 24 hours daily; “roll call” every three hours during the night; blanket confiscation at 4:00 AM; and, when one girl was allowed a shower, being afforded only “a paper towel” to dry herself. The toilets did not have soap, but one did have a CCTV camera pointed at it.

The older girls were introduced to America’s patriarchy, charged with keeping the younger children quiet to avoid punishment. Although a teenage boy interviewed by Poletti had no small child charges, his cell was just 7 by 12′ and had twenty-six occupants.

Trump deflected concerns of cruelty at a recent press conference, waxing, in part, that “when they realize the borders are closing […] they won’t come and many people will be saved.”

CBP confirmed to CNBC that those temporarily detained are not being given flu vaccines, although the virus has contributed to killing three of them in the past year.

American children untouched by border conditions are facing off their own orchestrated injustice in the ongoing school lunch shaming, this time in New Jersey. Cherry Hill School District’s new proposal proposes a sort of caste system to recoup over $14,000 in outstanding “lunch debt”: balances less than $10 (about three meals) will not have Collections sicced on the parents at all. More than $10 but less than $20 will relegate students to a tuna fish sandwich, vegetable, fruit and juice or milk. Students owing over $20 will not be served; this policy has always been in place, but not enforced, per Assistant Superintendent Lynn Shugars, who also told Philadelphia Enquirer peanut butter was eschewed as the forced option for the 10 to 20 crowd because children “would…happily eat peanut butter and jelly.”

About 20 percent of the district’s students are eligible for free lunch or reduced prices.

USDA’s National School Lunch Program reports that although participation in the subsidy is at a 13-year low, [i]n 2018, school cafeterias served nearly 5 billion lunches, with nearly three-quarters of the lunches free or at a reduced price.

Thanks to our sources:

https://nypost.com/2019/08/26/school-diversity-panel-wants-city-to-scrap-gifted-programs/

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/16/20694916/bill-de-blasio-2020-polls-eric-garner

https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/8/19/20812386/daniel-pantaleo-fired-eric-garner-chokehold

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-jeffrey-epstein-cameras-idUSKCN1VI2LC

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/jeffrey-epstein-found-injured-marks-his-neck-new-york-jail-n1034301

https://nypost.com/2019/08/14/epstein-told-lawyers-that-cellmate-nicholas-tartaglione-roughed-him-up/

https://nypost.com/2019/08/20/jail-guards-threatening-former-epstein-cell-mate-nicholas-tartaglione-lawyer/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/trump-immigration-migrant-children-border-lawsuit-period-tampon-latest-a9081341.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-marine-one-departure-60/

https://agportal-s3bucket.s3.amazonaws.com/uploadedfiles/Another/News/Press_Releases/2019-08-23%20Poletti_Declaration_FloresCDCA_Washington_FINAL.pdf

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/20/the-us-wont-vaccinate-migrant-children-against-the-flu-at-border-camps.html?fbclid=IwAR2Ep3GYn9jF_kZvoRFBJUH__ct5-w50EnfrbImo7_v2xxrsCHfUwobJEPY

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/student-calls-school-boards-policy-of-providing-tuna-fish-sandwiches-to-those-in-lunch-debt-a-badge-of-shame-004609958.html

https://www.inquirer.com/news/new-jersey/school-lunch-debt-meal-shaming-new-jersey-cherry-hill-tuna-20190814.html

https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/child-nutrition-programs/national-school-lunch-program.aspx

Security!!

Big Man on Campus, Congressman Eric Swallow Swalwell (D-CA) has entered the 2020 presidential race!! Can he solve these BIG PROBLEMS??

The Department of Defense recently misplaced (at least on paper) over $2,000,000,000 designated for F-35 fighter jet parts. An inspector general at the Pentagon dug into the books on America’s $400 billion effort to produce “next‑generation strike fighter aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and international partners.”

The Hill notes that neither the F-35 program nor a separate, billion-dollar federal agency that administers Defense contracts (creatively named Defense Contract Management Agency) can account for these “3.45 million pieces of government property” and must rely on the supplier, super-contractor Lockheed Martin, to detail for Defense if and when they purchased the engine parts GOING BACK TO THE YEAR 2002.

Politico reported in 2015: [t]he F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is $163 billion over budget, seven years behind schedule, and will cost taxpayers about twice as much as sending a man to the moon.

According to Lockheed Martin’s 2017 annual report, the F-35 manufacture comprises 25% of their sales.

Defense’s F-35 office Fed-splained away the OIG findings in a comment to The Hill: “There were no surprises in the report and the items mentioned are well known to the F-35 Enterprise. [somewhat ironic, as the billions of dollars in “items” themselves are not known at all] […] [F-35 office] will continue to inventory, track and contractually account for all [government furnished parts] associated with the F-35 system.”

The phrase “continue to” now means “start to” in gov-speak.

“Remember that $2.1 billion we’ve sent you over the past sixteen years? Can you just real quick confirm that was actually used to make planes because we don’t know lol.”

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The Trump administration’s Secret Service has shown a real talent for ineptitude, as we have documented.

On Monday, Secret Service director Randolph Alles was on his way out quietly (a scheduled sayonara, according to Randolph Alles) before someone leaked the plan to the press and Trump had to unceremoniously ax the two-year Secret Service and 35-year Marine Corps veteran.

Secret Service officials have been caught by surprise with the news and are only finding out through CNN, according to the source.

[…]

A source familiar with the director said his ouster was not related to the recent scrutiny the Secret Service got after a Chinese woman illegally entered the President’s Mar-a-Lago club carrying Chinese passports and a flash drive containing malware. Just five days ago, Trump said he “could not be happier with Secret Service” following the Mar-a-Lago incident.

The “incident” involved Yujing Zhang (below) entering Trump’s Florida country club on the pretense of swimming some laps while carrying “a thumb drive with malicious software on it, four phones, a laptop and a separate hard drive[,]” but no bathing suit.

She is being held without bail and is charged with lying to a federal agent and entering restricted property without permission. There is speculation of espionage after more thumb drives, cash and a “hidden camera detector” were recovered in a raid of Zhang’s apparently off-Largo hotel room.

Court sketch artists: many are either mean-spirited or should have [trigger warning] learned to code instead of draw.

Samuel Ivanovich, Secret Service agent extraordinaire, neglected to use a Mandarin-speaking agent for the first “hours” of interrogation, although the club staff who let Zhang into reception (and through a metal detector with all her gadgets) blamed a “language barrier.” He also forgot to record audio of the first four hours of footage, so when the raw tape is played for the jury it will be slightly less realistic than a Law & Order episode (New York Times reported Mr. Clouseau didn’t realize that the agency’s office in Palm Beach didn’t have that capability.

Washington Post had more:

Ivanovich also testified that when the thumb drive they recovered from Zhang at the club was inserted into another agent’s computer, “a file immediately began to install itself.” The agent, Ivanovich said, had never seen that happen before. …

[our emphasis]

*

Acting director of ICE, Ronald Vitiello, and his boss up the food chain, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, also recently left the Federal terror security business.

Maybe the Feds should study counter-espionage from local police in nearby Jupiter, who lied about a bomb in the building to execute a secret (“delayed notice”) warrant and plant secret cameras in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is criminally charged with getting his dick wet.

USA Today notes the Florida Department of Health, which buttressed a human trafficking investigation into the spa, used some sloppy techniques, including answering “N/A” to a qualifier as to why such intrusive and Constitutionally-shady techniques were required for surveillance, and citing two beds (in a massage parlor), bottled water and ranch dressing as evidence of people being sold.

Kraft’s lawyers [argued] in their latest motion to suppress video evidence [that] the Jan. 20 traffic stop after Kraft allegedly exited the spa […] had the “sole purpose of identifying Mr. Kraft – a passenger in the car – in the absence of any traffic violation or reasonable suspicion of one by the driver.”

Ironically, the warrant did not allow audio recording, so Kraft’s jury, like Zhang’s, will have to watch in awkward silence if the tapes are allowed into evidence. And be spared the stipulations of hidden valleys into which to pump that Ranch.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/f-35-fighter-plane-costs-103579

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/434280-watchdog-pentagon-doesnt-know-where-21b-was-spent-on-f-35-parts

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed-martin/eo/documents/annual-reports/2017-annual-report.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mar-a-lago-intruder-had-cash-and-additional-electronics-in-her-hotel-room-prosecutors-say/2019/04/08/2edd875a-5a22-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html?utm_term=.5bd0f521f621

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/08/politics/randolph-tex-alles-secret-service-director/index.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/10/ronald-vitiello-ice-leaves-post-1342090

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/04/12/Chinese-woman-formally-charged-for-entering-Mar-a-Lago/7941555111827/?rc_fifo=1

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/08/politics/mar-a-lago-yujing-zhang/index.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/espionage-is-supposed-to-be-more-difficult-than-this/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2019/04/03/robert-kraft-sex-spa-case-fake-bomb-threat/3354549002/



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.

*

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.

*

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

Wild Turkey

“We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it.”

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan (below).

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! December 8: Pentagon Audit

The Pentagon wrapped its first-ever audit and the results were apparently so humiliating they were not released.

Defense News does note the year-long endeavor consumed $413 million […] [another] $406 million was spend [sic] on addressing issues found by the department, with another $153 million on “financial system fixes,” per a DoD factsheet — a total […] of $972 million.

While shoveling Federal Reserve-weakened cash toward improving the system is an honorable step, we won’t hold our breath for any legitimate proposals to more efficiently administer what Reuters characterizes–in perhaps the rosiest pro-big Government euphemism of the year–numerous military bases of various sizes at home and abroad and troops deployed in far-flung locales.

Meanwhile, the Federal Deficit packed on an additional 17% in preparation for holiday hedonism. Fiscal year 2018 saw a $779 billion shortfall, and, to their credit, CNN admitted the gap could not be blamed on the recent Republican tax cut, which was more than offset by increased revenues from individual and self-employment taxes.

[Why tax cuts are so maligned when they apparently lead to more tax revenue, we’ll never understand.]

Rather, [s]pending rose 3% over the previous year, fueled in part by increases to the defense budget agreed upon in September 2017 as part of a deal between Republicans and Democrats to head off a government shutdown. Social Security and interest on the federal debt also contributed to the increase.

[our emphasis]

Related:

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

When your national debt is a record $21,000,000,000,000-plus, and even ultra-left wing NPR cautions merely covering the interest on that monstrosity will outstrip defense spending in a few years, the obvious solution is to spend more on defense. It’s all about winning.

*

Another example of winning: the lame-duck GOP majority snuffed out a bipartisan effort to end our unconstitutional Yemen carnage with a 201-187 procedural ploy.

This greased the wheels for the Manage Our Wolves Act, whose passage will reportedly strip “endangered species” status from American gray wolves. And, according to The Intercept, incidentally block a floor vote on whether to direct President Donald Trump to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi- and UAE-led intervention in Yemen.

A September resolution by Ro Khanna (D-CA) mandating the end of America’s unconstitutional interference in the conflict had the standing for a floor vote without the blessing of the Establishment-controlled Rules Committee under the War Powers Act. Not anymore.

Even the Humane Society of the United States implored Congress for mercy towards the ferocious mammals. And, perhaps unbeknownst to them, the shell-shocked, cholera-stricken Yemeni, with whom we are not at war.

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

Just twelve Republicans, including Justin Amash (R-MI), had the stones to oppose the final bill (although a combined 54 members chose not to show up), which passed by a mere 16 votes.

*

Trump’s election year fear mongering over the migrant caravan got a little-noticed boost from the “law and order” angle when NBC revealed the DHS has infiltrated the estimated 4,000 Central American asylum seekers by paying moles to monitor their progress. Namely, the new Federal employees are tapping the WhatsApp communication of the refugees.

Trump, according to CNN, deployed 6,000 American troops to the border just prior to his party’s somewhat muted shellacking in the midterms, because you need 1.5 heavily-armed Americans to safely deny each starving homeless Honduran access to the country. Or for a more nefarious purpose:

“If [the troops] have to, they’re going to use lethal force. I’ve given the OK,” Trump said. “If they have to — I hope they don’t have to[…] I have no choice[;] [y]ou’re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals[,] rough people.”

[our emphasis]

Defense’s top dog James Mattis had other ideas: “[T]here has been no call for any lethal force[.]”  CNN has him on record that any troops backing up customs personnel would not be carrying firearms but could be equipped with shields and batons.

Trump fired back: “[If]our people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control […] [t]he whole border. I mean the whole border.”

*

Forbes reported the Federal Government is successfully prying innocent Americans’ locations from technology companies via warrants demanding details on anyone essentially using a phone within a certain radius of the coordinates of alleged crimes.

Those users could be Android phone owners, anyone running Google Maps or any individual running Google services on their cell [phone].

[…]

Captain John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department in Minnesota said it wasn’t just Google that could furnish cops with a startling mount [sic] of detailed location data. Facebook and Snapchat [had also] proven useful.

[our emphasis]

Fortunately, the ham-handed FBI might have struck out in this instance, which featured a location sweep for the time frames surrounding five (5) armed robberies of the same Hernico, VA Dollar Tree earlier this year (four at the store, one of their manager at the local bank deposit box):

[F]or unknown reasons, no records were returned. Forbes couldn’t find any charges against individuals named as suspects in the document. Forbes also contacted the prosecutor who signed off on the search warrant, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

[our emphasis]

*

Not to be outdone, Facebook is weathering scrutiny for siccing right wing researchers Definers Public Affairs on those who would bring the social decay giant scrutiny: with intent to smear [Facebook]’s critics by linking them to the billionaire liberal donor George Soros.

The Hill notes Facebook has seen more than a quarter of its value wiped out this year amid data privacy issues, strict regulations in Europe, the threat of regulations in the U.S. and stagnant user growth.

[…]

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults say that social media platforms hurt democracy, according to a recent poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey

The oven gloves were off on Thanksgiving eve, as Facebook quietly admitted to asking an opposition-research company to investigate billionaire George Soros over his public criticism of the social network.

Mashable reported soon-to-depart policy pusher Elliot Schrage (below) will take the kitchen heat for head Q-tip Mark Zuckerberg, stammering the tech giant used “public information” to determine Soros was funding the heretofore “grassroots” organization Freedom from Facebook, whose ambitious call to action can be found here.

 

COO Sheryl Sandberg (below) was also on the carving block, and to her credit assumed responsibility for using Definers, despite her recent duplicity as the scandal unfolded. Like Obama, she hears about her own operations from the news.

Sandberg said she did not initially remember Definers when she read a New York Times story that detailed how Facebook had employed the firm. She subsequently asked her staff to look into the matter to “double-check whether anything had crossed my desk.”

 

The silver lining for Facebook: their failure to swiftly deploy speech restriction policies as photos and discussions of a 17-year-old South Sudanese child bride being auctioned off from a reportedly unrelated platform sprouted on the social media site was largely ignored over the holiday weekend.

Facebook said the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it, but that wasn’t until after the girl involved was married.

 

Thanks to our sources: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pentagon-audit/pentagon-fails-its-first-ever-audit-official-says-idUSKCN1NK2MC?fbclid=IwAR1qfSDx_O6JTkGFclgSzEnWmRo2MrC3fSzbTAZXwN9J1MJqjhdMnNIeukE

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/economy/us-budget-deficit/index.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/feds-have-paid-undercover-informants-migrant-caravan-n938416

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/22/politics/trump-us-troops-lethal-force-closing-border/index.html

https://theintercept.com/2018/11/14/yemen-war-wolves-bill-congress/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/10/23/feds-are-ordering-google-to-hand-over-a-load-of-innocent-peoples-locations/?fbclid=IwAR1JfPp2p2fgKwv-xc6KEOMiS_buWrfRFlcjJO_AZkhnZpn7DYvXtl3Z7LU#3ff529b95a0d

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/417933-facebook-faces-calls-for-new-leadership?userid=115887

https://mashable.com/article/facebook-admits-attack-billionaire-george-soros/#mwRhi7bERsOB

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/11/21/zuckerberg-says-he-wont-step-down-sandbergs-job-is-safe-even-after-facebooks-scandals/?utm_term=.604b29fe555f

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/20/africa/south-sudan-child-bride-facebook-auction-intl/index.html

Here Come the Midterms!!!

Sometimes Federal agencies actually justify their existence. After over 350 firearms were lifted from a Memphis distribution facility owned by UPS (who recently fell victim to the incompetence of Federally-subsidized rival USPS)

Pruitt: In Memoriam

, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) made a quick recovery.

Roland Jackson, 24, and Taveyan Turnbo, 18 (below) were both captured after fleeing on foot from the complicit U-haul in Midlothian, IL two days after UPS reported the theft.

Caught red-haired.

CBS did not explain how the passenger window got bashed in, but notes the duo fenced three of the guns prior to capture.

*

Some thieves are more successful. Rishi K. Sharma, (below) allegedly ordered $927,000 worth of cable service from Time Warner using multiple fake accounts under Ohio and New York corporate addresses.

The 28-year-old Florida man reportedly exploited the “service for 90 days until Time Warner realizes you haven’t paid the bill” feature on 68 different occasions in 2015 and 2016. He is now charged with wire fraud.

*

The FBI may have difficulty investigating Sharma because their new headquarters has been held up after $20 million in planning was disregarded. While we normally detest lavish upgrades to federal facilities, government watchdog Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington notes the overdue “renovate or relocate” dilemma regarding the FBI’s crumbling crib was punted by Trump–and his hotel interests may have factored in.

Because all citizens are criminals who exist only to feed the Federal government, the FBI workforce is expanding. GAO and GSA have agreed the current building, constructed from 1965 to 1975 at a cost of over $120 million (over $500 million in today’s Federal Reserve-eroded dollars and $60 million over budget), according to Wikipedia, must be renovated at enormous cost if a new site is not chosen, because some staff would have to lease other locations during such a renovation.

(GSA’s Inspector General found in August that the Public Building Service of GSA has neglected to report on $21 million in annual Federal lease payments for buildings that sit half-empty. This is an intriguing waste of revenue, as many of the underutilized buildings, under noncancelable lease, contain IRS employees. 

PBS blathered that since the agencies continue to make rent payments on the unused space, they are not required to report it as unused–or attempt to recover the loss to taxpayers by “backfilling” with other tenants.)

The cheapest play was therefore a new building at a different location–$1.2 billion on the face, but with $1 billion in savings promised absent the leasing employees.

Last year, GSA determined that moving forward without full funding would put the Government at risk for project cost escalations.

[…]

In February 2018, the FBI announced that instead of moving, it will build a new headquarters on the old site. The plan is estimated to cost $3.3 billion and will require 2,300 staff to move to other locations — a costly plan that does not address the needs that prompted the project.

[our emphasis]

CREW notes the newly-renovated Trump International Hotel, which opened just before election day 2016, would face competition if any of the multiple luxury hotel chains succeed in their bids to GSA for the old FBI building.

Establishment thug Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) had ensured the $390 million new digs for the FBI would land in her state just before leaving office in 2016. It’s the Feds’ money, not yours. Baltimore Sun reported early last year:

Virginia and Maryland officials have been competing for years to land the proposed the 2.1 million-square-foot FBI headquarters, which would house roughly 11,000 employees, making it one of the largest federal facilities in either state.

[…]

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said in November [2016] that Trump’s victory should make it a “slam dunk” for Maryland to land the FBI facility. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has long been closely allied to Hillary Clinton.

*

Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (below) is resigning in December. Depending on your political leanings, she either ordered $50,000 curtains for her state residence or merely allowed their [TRIGGER WARNING] hanging:

The New York Times reports that the curtains, installed last year in UN ambassador’s New York residence, cost $29,000, while a motorized opener for the curtains cost another $22,801.

While the installation occurred during Haley’s tenure as ambassador, a spokesman told the Times, which later updated its story, that the purchase decision was made during the Obama administration in 2016.

[our emphasis]

Who justified Haley’s upholding the purchase during hard times? Left-wing prince Patrick J Kennedy (below, sober six years) (the former Rhode Island representative, not undersecretary at the State Dept Patrick Kennedy who defended Hillary’s Secret Server because she “[did] not know how to use a computer to do email [sic].”)

Hillary Email Updates

“All [Haley]’s got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important[.]” 

But the more damaging story appears to transcend such window dressing. CREW cried foul on seven private jet trips Haley disclosed from last year. Unlike the cushy flight accommodations disgraced ex-Trump associates Tom Price, David ShulkinScott Pruitt, and current perk-indulger Steven Mnuchin banked from the public, Haley’s travels were provided by South Carolina business executives, which could be construed as purchase of influence from the administration:

Jimmy Gibbs, CEO of textile machine company Gibbs International Inc., paid for four of the flights. Others were paid for by Smyth McKissick, CEO of his family’s Alice Manufacturing,  and Mikee Johnson, then-CEO of Cox Industries, his family’s wood business, according to Haley’s report. 

She also estimated the jaunts’ value at $3,200, while CREW contends it was more like $24,000.

We won’t be calling curtains on the former SC Governor’s political career just yet.

*

FEMA is back in the crosshairs as hurricane season winds down. The latest Federal success in rebuilding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria was on display on a Ceiba tarmac.

On the water’s surface, these pallets of undrinkable water may not represent a complete collapse of the embattled agency’s routinely underwhelming efforts. Seven months ago, FEMA moved the water outside to save $300,000 in daily storage costs.

Now neither the agency nor Puerto Rico will take ownership of the undrinkable bottled water, which saw a limited distribution in May to very poor reviews.

[Ottmar] Chávez [Puerto Rico’s General Services Administration chief] said […] the agency plans to “return those waters [sic] to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) inventory.” FEMA told HuffPost in a statement that after the ASG requested and accepted the bottles, “the water became property of the government of Puerto Rico.”

Meanwhile, FEMA faces criticism of administrator Brock Long (below), who is reportedly reimbursing taxpayers for using public vehicles to commute between North Carolina and D.C.

Apparently, Long is under investigation for dragging aides along for weekends in NC and lodging them at taxpayer expense. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (her actual name) noticed Long’s routine absences from the office due to frequent six-hour drives.

The [Inspector General]’s interest was drawn after one of the vehicles — a black Suburban — was involved in an accident, according to one of the officials.

Long could have tried the Steven Mnuchin defense:

[A] former DHS official said Long, as administrator, is entitled to have a contingency aide accompany him so he can have secure communications in case of a national emergency.

Politico noted Nielsen raised the issue with Long months before they broke the story. It’s unclear if she asked him to resign. Long committed to cooperate with the IG investigation, which already found he often travel[ed] with a caravan of federal workers and has spent roughly 150 days in North Carolina since taking the job in June 2017. 

HuffPost also noted Trump moved $9.8 million from FEMA’s budget to fund immigrant detention and deportation as hurricane season kicked off. This enable DHS to perform at peak efficiency, exemplified by Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz, 35, (below), who stands accused of killing at least four women.

County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said Ortiz sought out vulnerable addicts and sex workers near Laredo, shooting them all in the head with a pistol in a “cold and callous way,” the AP reported.

[…]

Ortiz’s fifth alleged victim escaped on Sept. 14 and alerted authorities.

*

Hillary Clinton requested the Feds end her security clearance, as well as that of henchwoman Cheryl Mills.

According to USA Today, Mills and four other, redacted individuals had retained access to classified information after Hillary’s State Department designated them “researchers.”

ABC News reports the “researcher” designation allowed the Hillary allies to keep clearances after she resigned from State.

The 4.3-ish million Americans with security clearances are “reviewed” by the Defense Department every five to fifteen years. However, Defense has decreed “[t]o preclude excessive clearances, the Facility Security Officer should continually review the number of employees with the personnel security clearances and reduce the number of clearances whenever possible.”

Clinton associate Nick Merrill whined on Twitter that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley should not have publicly flashed the honoring of Hillary’s clandestine request from August 30, submitted after Trump [TRIGGER WARNING] stripped Brennan last summer. Merrill suggested Grassley was dunking in a fashion as politically motivated as Trump’s reactionary move to the cretinous Brennan, who had criticized the president.

Grassley’s office released the letter Friday night despite a warning from the State Department not to do so.

Merrill also maintained State’s former secretaries retaining clearance was “customary.”

Incidentally, the failed 2016 presidential candidate recently announced she and Bill will conduct a self-promotion tour, squeezing sympathists for between $70 and $699 for a “conversation” with (between?) the power couple in 13 U.S. and Canadian cities through 2018 and part of 2019.

A Clinton spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on how much the Clintons will be paid for the tour.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/atf-400-guns-stolen-ups-facility-tennessee-182600581.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hundreds-of-guns-stolen-from-tennessee-ups-facility-recovered-outside-chicago/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/guns-firearms-theft-ups-facility-uhaul-truck-taveyan-turnbo-roland-jackson-custody-arrested-today-2018-10-03/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-fbi-headquarters-20170310-story.html

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/406659-state-dept-spent-more-than-52k-on-nikki-haleys-apartment-curtains

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/watchdog-group-calls-for-probe-of-gift-flights-for-nikki-haley_us_5bbc3517e4b0876edaa12d30

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fema-bottled-water-hurricane-maria_us_5b9ab22ae4b0b64a336cfb3b

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/13/trump-fema-administrator-under-investigation-821231?nname=playbook&nid=0000014f-1646-d88f-a1cf-5f46b7bd0000&nrid=0000014e-f115-dd93-ad7f-f91513e50001&nlid=630318

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/406819-white-house-considering-replacements-for-fema-administrator-report

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2018/09/26/navy-investigators-join-texas-serial-killer-case/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/10/12/hillary-clinton-security-clearance-withdrawn/1620250002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/06/06/who-has-security-clearance/102549298/

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/hillary-clintons-security-clearance-withdrawn-her-request-011003338.html

Criminals and Confirmation

As usual, we’re a bit behind. Dysfunction in Washington and abroad continues.

Mark Zuckerberg‘s downfall: part 3! On the eve of his Senate testimony on tracking, profiling and possibly influencing unsuspecting minds post-Cambridge Analytica revelations, Facebook’s founder and CEO admitted the European Union‘s new “General Data Protection Regulation” requirements of the social behemoth to  protect user privacy would not be extended to Western hemisphere social media slaves.

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 27–Federal Hiring Freeze and Zuckerberg’s Private Hawaiian Isle

Specifically, COO Sheryl Sandberg grudgingly kowtowed to Europe’s modern socialism by “[arranging] the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for [European] people to manage their data” earlier this year.

46 of the 55 House members on the Energy and Commerce Committee (which apparently regulates the internet), who grilled Zucks on April 11, banked donations from Facebook. Perhaps appropriately, the outfit is Facebook’s biggest campaign cash recipient.

On the House [Energy and Commerce] committee, Republicans got roughly twice as much as Democrats, counter to the broader trend in Facebook campaign gifts. Of the $7 million in contributions to all federal candidates tied to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network, Democrats got 65% to Republicans’ 33%.

Zucks empathized with the average site user by removing his own sent messages (and those from a few privileged executives) from recipient inboxes. Once he got caught, Facebook tried to salvage public support, announcing an “unsend” feature will launch for the commoners later this year. Their oily boss will reportedly be restrained from manipulating others’ inboxes until then.

TechCrunch:

None of Facebook’s terms of service appear to give it the right to remove content from users’ accounts unless it violates the company’s community standards.

In 2010, Silicon Alley Insider aka Business Insider published now-infamous instant messages from a 19-year-old Zuckerberg to a friend shortly after starting The Facebook in 2004. “yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard . . . just ask . . . i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns” Zuckerberg wrote to a friend. “what!? how’d you manage that one?” they asked. “people just submitted it . .  i don’t know why . . . they ‘trust me’ . . . dumb fucks” Zuckerberg explained.

Also in April, Facebook was caught haggling with hospital systems such as those associated with Stanford University Medical School to hand over de-identified patient profiles–including their diagnoses and prescriptions–that Facebook could then align with their database to assist in “medical research.”

Once they got caught (this is becoming a pattern), Facebook reassured the internet their sordid stealth operation was still in the “planning phase,” and anyhow paused as the company focused on “doing a better job of protecting people’s data and being clearer with them about how that data is used in our products and services.” This was a terse referral to the Cambridge catastrophe that siphoned 87,000,000 users’ data to help political ads better target voters.

*

The IRS gifted the little people an additional 24 hours to submit tax returns after their computers malfunctioned as the country closed in on the April 17 deadline for filing.

“Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive this extra time,” the magnanimous agency soothed.

Trump reportedly asked for a six-month extension on his return; according to Reuters this option is also open to Washington’s disenchanted subjects. When the hundreds of billions of dollars confiscated for income tax annually covers only the interest on your existing national debt, and not any of the trillions of dollars spent by the government, time is not particularly of the essence.

*

Puerto Rico took another machete to its morale with an island-wide blackout last week, brought to you by a bulldozer from D. Grimm, a subcontractor of Mammoth‘s Cobra Acquisitions.

DGrimm Inc

According to their website, the company is “women owned.”

Puerto Rico Updates

Perplexed Governor Richard Rossello sternly “suggested” that the island’s energy monopoly, PREPA, cut ties with D. Grimm. Apparently, two weeks before this Grimm vehicle tagged a live wire and cut the power of basically all 3.4 million Puerto Ricans, the subcontractor was also blamed for a tree [falling] on a major electric transmission line and shorting out 870,000 citizens’ power, according to ThinkProgress.

Image result for fallen tree power line

The culprit, completely preventable by D. Grimm.

The timing was inopportune for PREPA’s move toward [trigger warningprivatization, which the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis maintains would exacerbate award of cushy contracts to government insiders, such as (to all appearances) the island’s first foray into unproven contractors with the Whitefish fiasco.

The pension reform is apparently fallout from 2016’s increased Federal oversight of Puerto Rico by a Financial Oversight Management Board as stipulated in the PROMESA bailout. The new management of $120 billion in debt was recently slammed by Rossello as “truly disturbing“,  “anti-democratic” and showing “reckless disregard“.

The FOMB reportedly voted last week for a five-year freeze on public sector wages and deep cuts to the University of Puerto Rico to help stop the financial bleeding.

*

ICE continues to terrorize undocumented citizens. Their new focus appears to be those who have served time for wrongful conviction.

Ricardo Rodriguez, a lawful permanent resident with two marijuana possession convictions, spent 20 years in prison for murdering Rodney Kemppainen. That conviction was overturned in March, the tenth such mistake linked to disgraced former Detective Reynaldo Guevara (below), formerly of Chicago police, who allegedly beat confessions out of suspects and created eyewitnesses.

Former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara

Upon his March release, Rodriguez was picked up by ICE. Apparently, he lost permanent resident status with his erroneous arrest in 1995. It is unclear where they stuck him.

Cook County is a favorite haunt for ICE. Last December, Mexican nationals Gabriel Solache and Arturo Reyes (below, left and right) were cleared of a double murder (including confessions orchestrated by Guevara via brass knuckles) that had kept them jailed since 1998. Both were collared by ICE before they even left prison.

Solache spent another 41 days incarcerated before he came up with bond money in February.

Tellingly, both men expressed a desire to return to Mexico voluntarily. For Reyes, ICE has appealed this “request,” favoring a forced removal that will make a future return to America more difficult.

Reyes filed a civil suit against Guevara and the Chicago police. Solache is also suing, alleging Guevara beat him to the point of hearing loss.

*

As we have extensively reported, Trump’s unapologetic VA secretary, David Shulkin (below), set a new precedent for personal perks while disregarding ailing veterans.

Russia Probe Continues While Shulkin Doubles Down

Shulkin was fired at the end of March (the White House maintains he resigned). Trump nominated his personal physician, Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson (below) (his actual, adult name is “Ronny”) to fill the vacancy.

The solution was short-lived. According to The Hill, the Navy doctor, 50, didn’t even get a vote. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member Jon Tester (D-MT) yesterday dropped damning allegations including Jackson’s passing out Percocet, prescribing opioids to himself, showing up to work drunk and crashing a government vehicle while leaving a Secret Service retirement party. Also drunk.

It is unclear from the whistleblower report if that was the same Secret Service retirement party where agents Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie also left drunk and caused a security lockdown with their vehicle:

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

Several Republican senators were previously concerned Jackson was unqualified for the position. Jackson, denying the car incident, withdrew from consideration April 26.

Mike Pompeo official CIA portrait.jpg

Trump did get his way with new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (above). Despite the porky Kansan’s probable complicity in torture cover-up as Trump’s CIA director,  Pompeo cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote (which is just a recommendation to the full Senate, but would have been a historic humiliation for the oval office) after committee member Senator Rand Paul caved and accepted Pompeo’s admission that America’s 17-year nation building exercise in Afghanistan should end.

Pompeo was confirmed 57-42.

Incidentally, Senator Tester opposed Pompeo. Several Democrats up for re-election in November, such as Bill Nelson (FL), voted “yes.”

*

Alex van der Zwaan (below, hair) became the next casualty of the Mueller probe, receiving 30 days of hard time and $20,000 in fines after pleading guilty to making false statements.

Image result for Alex van der Zwaan

The dashing Dutchman reportedly worked with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates to put out positive propaganda for Viktor Yanukovych’s Ukrainian government in 2012.

Related:

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 23: Podesta Joins the Presidential Party

*

The Department of Homeland Security will be “monitoring” about 300,000 journalists, news stations and “media influencers” worldwide. The resulting database will compile coverage of the DHS “or a particular event.” [????????]

A sneering spokesperson tweeted:

“Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.”

This is apparently so innocuous that the spokesperson, Tyler Q. Houlton, took out an op-ed in USA Today the following week defending the Maoist move.

*

And Noor Salman was found not guilty of assisting her late husband Omar Mateen‘s ISIS-inspired assault on Pulse nightclub in 2016. She had served 14 months in prison after signing a confession handwritten by FBI agents after a marathon interrogation that was not recorded.

Another problem with the Feds’ case: the Orlando-based jury was presumably more sympathetic to the deaths of 49 predominantly gay and lesbian clubbers–just as the government intended. They presented Mateen as targeting the LGBT community and “casing” locations for his massacre with Salman. Data from security cameras and phone records show Mateen googled “downtown orlando nightclubs,” not “gay nightclubs” as the public was led to believe.

Salman’s signed confession that she had driven by Pulse with Mateen was proven false.

It didn’t help that the prosecution purposefully concealed the fact that Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, is a longtime FBI informant.

Election Updates 2016

 

Thanks to our sources:

Facebook to exclude North American users from some privacy enhancements

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-taxes/irs-gives-taxpayers-one-day-extension-after-computer-glitch-idUSKBN1HO354

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/04/facebook-gave-most-contributions-house-committee-question-zuckerberg-also-got-most-contributions-fac/486313002/

Facebook retracted Zuckerberg’s messages from recipients’ inboxes

https://theintercept.com/2018/04/23/puerto-rico-power-outage-prepa-privatization/

Puerto Rico to sever relationship with contractor after island-wide power outage

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-puertorico-debt-letter/puerto-rico-governor-slams-congressman-over-dictatorial-letter-idUSKCN1H91Y1

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-wrongful-conviction-legal-resident-20180328-story,amp.html?__twitter_impression=true&utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikehayes/prosecutors-tossed-their-murder-convictions-so-ice-seized?utm_term=.kqQrWvL6g#.ixNwyA3x6

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/man-cleared-in-murder-case-goes-free-19-years-in-prison-month-in-ice-detention/

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/31/chic-m31.html

https://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/man-freed-from-prison-and-turned-over-to-ice-sues-ex-cpd-detective-guevara/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/immigration/ct-met-solache-reyes-ice-0210-story.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/29/597866101/fired-va-secretary-says-white-house-muzzled-him

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/384642-trump-va-pick-withdraws-nomination?userid=115887

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/384945-republicans-want-trumps-va-nominee-to-withdraw?rnd=1524702171?userid=115887

https://www.npr.org/2018/04/26/605471807/dr-ronny-jackson-withdraws-as-va-nominee

 

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/381413-judge-hands-down-first-sentence-in-mueller-probe?userid=115887

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/department-of-homeland-security-journalists-influencers-database-a8293906.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/noor-salman-verdict-pulse-nightclub-shooting_us_5abcefb6e4b03e2a5c7a15da

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/05/as-the-trial-of-omar-mateens-wife-begins-new-evidence-undermines-beliefs-about-the-pulse-massacre-including-motive/

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.

*

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

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 20: Customs and Border Protection “Protect” Parents of Critically Ill Infant, Delay Operation

 

Irma and Oscar Sanchez were apprehended by the Border Patrol when they took their infant son, Isaac, to Driscoll Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery on his pyloric stenosis.

NPR reports that Customs and Border Protection apparently maintained a “checkpoint” along the highway to Corpus Christi from the couple’s local emergency room in Harlingen, TX, which did not have the appropriate pediatric surgeon.

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

Oscar Sanchez told NPR they could not take Isaac to receive the necessary life-saving treatment because Federal thugs would take them into custody: they were in Texas on expired visitor visas issued in 2005. The point was moot when a nurse reportedly tipped off CBP, whose agents showed up in the ER to bully the distraught parents. Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez accepted an “escort” by the agents past the checkpoint and agreed to be arrested and deported in exchange.

Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Homeland Security adopted a policy that immigration agents should avoid enforcement actions at hospitals, schools, churches and public demonstrations unless there are special circumstances.

Clearly, the Trump administration’s DHS (the umbrella agency of CBP) makes no such allowances. It’s easy to keep the little people in line when multi-billion dollar agencies change up their method of control with the country’s chief executive.

At Corpus Christi, the agents followed Mr. Sanchez to the bathroom and forced Mrs. Sanchez to breastfeed with her door open. Just in case she ran with her recently sewed-together son.

Oscar reported he and his wife were “followed…everywhere in the hospital;” CBP countered they surveilled the couple “in the least restrictive manner possible.”

The parents were separately dragged to the CBP station for booking and fingerprinting. The unnamed surgeon delayed the operation until both parents were present. CBP told NPR the operation’s delay was the surgeon’s decision and irrespective of their law-enforcing.

 

The best response to NPR‘s story had to be CBP sector chief Manny Padilla’s self-congratulatory statement: We’re happy to have been able to help a human life […] CBP was notified by the Harlingen hospital that there was a child with undocumented parents in need of urgent medical care and that the family would have to go through a checkpoint to the Corpus Christi hospital. To get the child to the care it urgently needed, Border Patrol agents did everything in their power to assist the family, including escorting the ambulance, unimpeded, through the checkpoint.”

[our emphasis]

[apparently ambulance sirens don’t work on them checkpoints]

The operation was covered by Medicaid, because Isaac (like his three siblings) is a U.S. citizen. When NPR interviewed the family months after the operation, they were still in Texas and scheduled for immigration hearing in December.

Thanks to our source:

http://www.npr.org/2017/09/20/552339976/border-patrol-arrests-parents-while-infant-awaits-serious-operation?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170920

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

The Department of Homeland Security was all over the news for (more than usual) disgraceful reasons.

First, ABC reported on a trio of Customs and Border Protection (2016 budget: $13.5 billion) agents who apparently dry-humped their co-workers in Newark, NJ‘s Liberty airport.

Patch of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.svg

CBP is the largest subdivision of DHS.

Tito Catota, Parmenio Perez and Michael Papagni “pinned” two anonymous males in their “unit” to a “rape table,” subject[ing them] (according to court documents) to senseless physical abuse… while on duty.

The abuse included “grinding” and the simulation of a sex act.

Image result for grinding

Ouch!

The special squad incidentally, was responsible for “identifying and intercepting” passengers who might be carrying contraband. Just in case the regular TSA guys insufficiently groped a testicle on the passenger’s initial humiliation, perhaps.

ABC reports that eleven CBP thugs were put on leave when the agency learned of the grinding, and three supervisors among them were fired.

Each charge of the forcibly assaulting, impeding, intimidating, and interfering  of which the trio stand accused carries a potential eight years in prison.

*

Two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix, AZ appeared to cozy up with Immigration and Customs Enforcement ($5.3 billion budget).

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Logo.svg

Phoenix News Times found at least 20 ICE arrests between February and August between the 4130 North Black Canyon Highway and 1530 North 52nd Drive Motel 6 locations.

A rumor from immigration lawyer Denise Aguilar suggests ICE offered Motel 6 clerks a $200 per “referral” bounty. When you look at the prices on the motel’s soda machines, that’s an easy decision for your average employee.

ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe did not provide many details, noting the “knock and talk” (which accounted for one-third of the arrests in question) method of uprooting peoples’ lives is perfectly justified: if you open your hotel room door for a Federal badge that “just happens” to be harassing hotel guests and can’t provide papers, they have every right to take you in.

She refused to share ICE’s sources of intel on the dangerous non-citizens who must be taken, but apparently did not deny desk clerks were bribed to turn in their customers.

Related image

“We send a report every morning to ICE — all the names of everybody that comes in,” one front-desk clerk explained. “Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.”

AZ Central reported Arizona’s Latino leaders in the state legislature held a protest/press conference outside a Motel 6 location on September 15.

Protesters hold a press conference in front of a Motel

Motel 6 pleaded ignorance, casting the systematic sellout as a local franchise mistake.

[According to their 9/15 statement, t]he company will send a directive to 1,400 locations stating employees are prohibited from voluntarily providing guest lists, and conduct a review of current practices that could lead to new company-wide guidelines.

“Protecting the privacy and security of our guests are core values of our company. Motel 6 apologizes for this incident and will continue to work to earn the trust and patronage of our millions of loyal guests,” the statement read.

Phoenix News Times notes: Thanks to a 2015 Supreme Court decision, the city can’t require motels to turn over that information without a warrant. But if a motel chooses to do so voluntarily, that’s up to the owner.

Thanks to our sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/border-patrol-agents-arrested-hazing-victims-rape-table/story?id=49822737

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/motel-6-calling-ice-undocumented-guests-phoenix-immigration-lawyers-9683244

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix-breaking/2017/09/15/phoenix-leaders-demand-motel-6-fire-employees-who-gave-customer-names-ice/671050001/

 

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 7: DHS Saving Us From Terrorism by Adding to National Debt Via Software They Don’t Use

Note: On July 31, John Kelly, DHS Secretary since January, became Trump’s Chief of Staff. Elaine Duke (below) succeeded Kelly to manage the clusterfuck agency as its Acting Secretary.

Elaine Duke official photo.jpg

It’s not quite the $12,000,000 IRS email system that was never used, or the $18,000,000 fraud prevention program they still can’t operate,

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

but the Department of Homeland Security is doing its damnedest to stay in stride with the rival agency as they strive to justify their multi-billion dollar molestation of taxpayers.

Inspector General John Roth (appointed by Obama in 2013 as the second-ever IG for the George W. Bush-created monstrosity) released a report on June 30 detailing DHS’s pissing away nearly $25 million since 2013 on software called “Performance and Learning Management System” (PALMS).

Background: in May 2013, DHS entered a blanket purchase agreement (sounds financially sound!) with Visionary Integration Professionals to spend a “ceiling” of $95,000,000 on PALMS to track employee performance and…manage employee learning? it’s unclear. 

Business InsiderThe contract held out the promise of savings of more than $52 million over five years.

The PALMS was supposed to go live in December 2013, but only became “partially operational” nearly two years later, in October 2015.

The Government Accountability Office warned in 2016 that DHS had not monitored the costs of the PALMS, used risk management or documented milestones. (The rosy title of that report was literally: “Oversight of Neglected Human Resources Information Technology Investment Is Needed.”)

[our emphasis]

Business Insider (our emphasis):

 DHS is the third largest federal department – behind only the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs — and employs more than 240,000 people.

Beyond the $24.2 million in expenditures on the overall contract, DHS spent more than $5.7 million for unused and partially-used subscriptions to the software, $11 million to extend contracts of existing learning management systems and $813,000 for unexpected, increased program management costs.

With multiple “learning management systems” in place, DHS might have at least “learned” by now how to implement a new one!

Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg

The DHS budget request for fiscal year 2017 was $40,600,000,000.

Some other highlights from the Roth report:

-Of 481 operational requirements, PALMS program officials did not test 97 requirements, accepted 21 requirements despite failed test results, and did not verify 13 requirements for compliance with system specifications.

-Before it tried to go live in 2015, PALMS’ readiness was openly doubted by representatives of DHS’s component agencies: ICE, TSA, the Secret Service, FEMA, the Coast Guard, and DHS headquarters.

**Note: some of TSA’s recent good work:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 26–TSA Festivities

DHS Shakes Down Reporter

TSA Shakes Things Up

-Despite these issues and recommendations, a September 2016 acquisition decision memorandum, based on a June 2016 acquisition review board decision, directed the Chief Information Officer to stop further development of three critical performance management requirements and allow DHS components to implement PALMS ‘as is.’

-As part of the agile development approach, the PALMS contractor developed a requirements management plan in August 2013 to manage PALMS operational requirements including conversion of requirements into “user stories.”

[To repeat: the government contractor’s original plan was dubbed “agile development” and sought to create “user stories“.]

In October 2015, the Department approved and accepted this plan as complete even though the contractor did not develop user stories for 99 percent of the requirements

-The contractor’s “migration of headquarters data” was completed nine months behind schedule. The IG notes DHS “should have received $72,901.68” towards subscription costs, but it is unclear if this money was recovered.

DHS incurred more than $11.8 million in additional costs due to PALMS implementation delays. The majority of this waste was incurred because PALMS was scheduled to overlap with the Learning Management Systems contract that expired in 2012, BUT DHS paid for multiple extensions and simply extended the existing (“legacy”) contracts while the new PALMS went unused.

**Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection did not know the number of legacy LMS contract extensions or the amount; therefore, OIG [Office of Inspector General] could not include their extension costs.”**

-Of 345,685 PALMS subscriptions purchased, 67% were unused. The remainder were partially used. Per the IG: DHS wasted more than $5.7 million for PALMS subscriptions.

[all emphasis ours]

DHS requested a budget of $44,100,000,000 for fiscal year 2018, a 1.01% increase.

[Of note, this includes: $1.6 billion for 32 miles of new border wall construction, 28 miles of levee wall along the Rio Grande Valley, and 14 miles of new border wall system that will replace existing secondary fence in the San Diego Sector, where apprehensions are
the highest along the Southwest Border, and where a border wall system will deny access to drug and alien smuggling organizations.]

Can anyone say “face-PALMS”?

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2017/07/how-homeland-security-spent-millions-nonexistent-service/139276/?oref=ge-android-article-share

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-homeland-security-wasted-millions-on-software-that-doesnt-work-2017-7