Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Many Faces of John Bolton

"Allies worry about Bolton’s hawkish views" by Michael Birnbaum Washington Post  March 23, 2018

BRUSSELS — President Trump’s decision to make John Bolton his new national security adviser ricocheted around the globe on Friday, unsettling allies and raising alarm that a hawk who advocates military action against North Korea and Iran will have the president’s ear.

From Berlin and Jerusalem to Seoul and Tokyo, US allies who have long felt that Trump’s unconventional rhetoric on foreign policy often did not translate to concrete policy are bracing for a shift.

After the nomination last week of the hawkish Mike Pompeo to become secretary of state, Bolton’s elevation means that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the lone survivor among a trifecta of advisers who pushed Trump to hew closer to conventional foreign policy positions.

Now, Bolton’s regime-change rhetoric toward North Korea and Iran may lead to a hardening of policy, allies believe.

Europeans, who widely support a 2015 deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program, fear its imminent demise. Some Israelis — even those who criticized the pact — are also concerned. And in South Korea and Japan, there are fears that Trump is preparing for war if talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, scheduled for May, fail to yield breakthroughs.

That's not what I was told yesterday

More broadly, the appointment has fueled worries that the Trump administration is turning its back on Washington’s decadeslong role as the preeminent guarantor of global stability.

What a laugh! They have been the ones fomenting instability as a pretext for military action that in turn creates further instability.

‘‘We would desperately wish to see the United States in a constructive leading role as a steward of the international system,’’ said Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of the German Parliament. He said he fears Washington is moving in the opposite direction.

Why fear now? They have been going in that direction for a long time. This only makes sense if you are some sort of globalist.

‘‘We are concerned that the policy is coming closer to the rhetoric,’’ he said. Trump ‘‘has now surrounded himself with people who share his intuitions and his general views.’’

Actually, his intuition was to get out of Afghanistan but: 

"A car bombing outside a sports stadium in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province on Friday killed 13 people and wounded 40 others, an official said. The explosion occurred after celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian new year, were winding down and revelers were on their way home, he added. Casualties were received at a hospital with many burned beyond recognition. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State, whose affiliate in Afghanistan has grown stronger since it emerged in 2014, have stepped up attacks recently, in what analysts say is a campaign of violence intended to undermine the US-backed government....."

Yup, whatever.

Some leaders braced themselves for more turmoil.

‘‘We are at the greatest risk of real conflict than we have been for many years, perhaps decades,’’ said Xenia Wickett, head of the Americas program at Chatham House, a London think tank. 

Just wondering what he thinks has been going on in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Africa the last 15 years or so.

The appointment inflamed concerns about the prospects of a conflict with North Korea.

H.R. McMaster, the outgoing national security adviser, was no dove on Pyongyang, repeatedly talking about military options to make it give up its nuclear weapons program.

But Bolton’s move into the president’s inner circle comes at a particularly sensitive time: The South Korean president is preparing to hold a summit with Kim Jong Un at the end of April, and Trump plans to follow suit in May.

‘‘By tapping Bolton, who has called for preemptive strikes against North Korea, Trump is sending a message to the regime, telling them that they should come out to talks in order to avoid such drastic military backlash,’’ said Kim Sung Han, a former South Korean vice foreign minister who is now dean of Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies.

Bolton has advocated a hard line against North Korea since he served as undersecretary of state for arms control and ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration.

At that time, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency regularly denounced Bolton, calling him ‘‘human scum and a bloodsucker.’’

The hostility is mutual.

‘‘There’s an all-purpose joke here,’’ Bolton said this month when asked about North Korea’s conciliatory moves toward South Korea and, by extension, the United States. ‘‘Question: How do you know that the North Korean regime is lying? Answer: Their lips are moving.’’

That's an old joke that's been played.

In a separate development, reports emerged Friday that the political action committee founded by Bolton was one of the earliest customers of Cambridge Analytica, which it hired to develop psychological profiles of voters with data harvested from Facebook profiles.

The John Bolton Super PAC first hired Cambridge Analytica in August 2014, months after the political data firm was founded and while it was still harvesting the Facebook data, The New York Times reported, citing former Cambridge employees and company documents.

In the two years that followed, Bolton’s super PAC spent nearly $1.2 million primarily for “survey research,” which is a term that campaigns use for polling, according to campaign finance records.

But the contract between the political action committee and Cambridge, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, offers more detail on just what Bolton was buying. The contract broadly describes the services to be delivered by Cambridge as “behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging.”

To do that work, Cambridge used Facebook data, according to the documents and two former employees familiar with the work.

“The data and modeling Bolton’s PAC received was derived from the Facebook data,” said Christopher Wylie, a data expert who was part of the team that founded Cambridge Analytica. “We definitely told them about how we were doing it. We talked about it in conference calls, in meetings.”

Cambridge Analytica, which rose to prominence through its work with Trump’s 2016 election campaign, has found itself confronting a deepening crisis since reports this past weekend that the firm had harvested the data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles in its bid to develop techniques for predicting the behavior of individual US voters.

Cambridge’s so-called psychographic modeling techniques, which were built in part with the data harvested from Facebook, underpinned its work for Trump’s campaign in 2016, setting off a furious — and still unsettled — debate about whether the firm’s technology worked.

The same techniques were also the focus of its work for Bolton’s super PAC.

“The Bolton PAC was obsessed with how America was becoming limp-wristed and spineless and it wanted research and messaging for national security issues,” Wylie said.


That's odd; this was the accompanying photo in my printed paper:

FILE - In this March 29, 2014, file photo, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. President Donald Trump’s pick of Bolton for his next national security adviser stirred up the same burning question Friday in Washington as in anxious foreign capitals: Just how much will his hawkish, confrontational approach rub off on Trump? Photo: Julie Jacobson, AP / Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Source: (Julie Jacobson/AP/File 2014)

The face is still the same.

All I can say is "Where have you gone, Michael Flynn, A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo, woo, woo."

Time to man up!

"Do you have what it takes to quit Facebook?" by Beth Teitell Globe Staff  March 24, 2018

Turns out mothers are not the only ones inclined to use the good old-fashioned guilt trip. Facebook does it, too.

That makes one shudder. 

What kind of mother did she have?

As for guilt trips..... they are the champs.

That’s what Pat Jenakanandhini of Westford learned on Wednesday, when he went to delete his account in the wake of the data-breach scandal, disgusted that the social media site has become a “surveillance tool.”

This was known years ago. Why is it only an issue now?

Jenakanandhini, a senior vice president at a software firm, got out anyway, a move that separates him from the digital shrug that greeted the recent news that the data-mining company Cambridge Analytica collected private information from more than 50 million Facebook users.

In an age when reports of data breaches arrive with the regularity of Trump scandals, most of Facebook’s 2.2 billion active users/hostages reacted predictably:

They vented via hashtag. They threatened to quit. They vowed to pull back, and then, for the most part, they got back to business.

That reminds me, no indictments from Mueller yesterday in a case that could put the political elite behind bars for decades.

Despite studies showing that spending time on Facebook can lead to a decline in mental health, only a small percentage have the strength to cut themselves off.

That explains a lot.

Yes, we waste a lot of time on Facebook. But imagine the time drain if you weren’t on the site — writing individually to friends, family, and the friends of friends of friends of friends (who are somehow in your feed) to update them on life’s minutia.


You can just catch up when you see them (maybe over a drink?) or just call them on the phone, right?

Oh, gonna go crap now, okay. Just part of life's minutia.

Leah Klein, a Cambridge blogger, has grown so dependant on Facebook that despite concerns about digital privacy, she’s not trying to get out. “Facebook lets you give the illusion of caring [about staying in touch] even when you don’t,” she said.


What kind of statement is that? 

Yup, everything is imagery and illusion.

What a great "friend," huh?

Is it even worth pointing out that most calls for anti-Facebook action are happening on Facebook itself?

What do you think?

On Friday, Elon Musk — who may have already been unhappy with  Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg over a prior incident, according to Business Insider — deleted the official Facebook pages for his Tesla and SpaceX companies.....

What do i care about some rivalry amongst the Jewish elite?


FTC now looking into it:

"FTC says two Massachusetts brothers ran phony Amazon sales program" by Katheleen Conti Globe Staff  March 23, 2018

The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that it filed a lawsuit against two Massachusetts brothers and a Nevada man for allegedly operating a get-rich-quick scheme that targeted people interested in learning how to sell goods on

The brothers, Adam S. and Christopher F. Bowser, along with Nevada resident Jody Marshall, are accused of luring consumers into purchasing their expensive “Amazing Wealth System” to learn “secrets for making money on Amazon.” They falsely claimed people could make $5,000 to $10,000 in a month “even if you have never sold anything online before,” according to the suit filed in federal district court in Nevada.

The three men — who have no affiliation with Amazon — and several limited liability companies they manage that are registered in Massachusetts and Nevada are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Rule by, among other things, making false or unsubstantiated earnings claims. The court entered a temporary restraining order against them on March 14.

They should have sold wars instead.

Under the Amazing Wealth System, people were charged from $995 to more than $35,000 for a “plug-and-play system” that promised to teach them how to make money as third-party sellers on Amazon, according to the charges.

“Contrary to the defendants’ promises, most, if not virtually all, purchasers do not earn the advertised income,” the FTC said.

Many of the strategies and techniques the would-be sellers were allegedly taught — such as posting fake product reviews — were deceptive and violated Amazon’s policies. Sellers who followed the program ended up receiving warnings from Amazon or had their store accounts suspended, the FTC said.

“Amazon has zero tolerance for fraud,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “We take independent legal action against bad actors, in addition to working with consumer protection agencies and law enforcement to protect our customers and sellers.”

I would read the fine print if I were you.

The federal suit comes on the heels of two other lawsuits filed last year against the Bowser brothers by the state of Washington and by Seattle-based Amazon. The Amazon suit described the brothers as “con-artists who prey on people hoping to become sellers on” According to the state filing, the Bowsers have been running their training program since 2009.


Going to refer it to the Justice Department:

"US imposes sanctions, issues indictments against Iranian hackers" by Ellen Nakashima Washington Post  March 23, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday announced sanctions and criminal indictments against an Iranian hacker network it said was involved in ‘‘one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns’’ ever prosecuted by the United States.

The network targeted more than 300 US and foreign universities, the United Nations, and dozens of American firms and government agencies.

Nine of 10 indicted individuals were connected to the Mabna Institute, a high-tech company in Shiraz, Iran, that the Justice Department said hacks on behalf of Iranian universities and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The tenth defendant was charged in a separate hacking case last year.

None of the alleged hackers were direct employees of the Iranian government, but all worked at the behest of the Revolutionary Guard, officials said. The Mabna Institute conducted ‘‘massive, coordinated intrusions’’ into the computer systems of at least 144 US universities and 176 foreign universities in 21 countries, including Britain and Canada, officials said.

And they left their fingerprints? Didn't bother to hide in the shadows?

All the data protection and surveillance was nothing but wasted money and a failure then -- and who benefited?

It allegedly stole more than 31 terabytes of data and intellectual property — the rough equivalent of three Libraries of Congress — from their victims, prosecutors alleged. Much of it ended up in the hands of the guard.

Sounds fake to me.

The guard is the division of Iran’s security forces charged with overseeing Iranian proxy forces abroad and is under the direct control of the country’s religious leaders.

‘‘Today, in one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice, we have unmasked criminals who normally hide behind the ones and zeros of computer code,’’ said Geoffrey S. Berman, US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Just as John Bolton comes on board, too.

Also sanctioned was Behzad Mesri, who US prosecutors said last November had been indicted for allegedly hacking into HBO and stealing unaired episodes of programs including the ‘‘Game of Thrones,’’ which he threatened to release unless he was paid $6 million.


They just jumped the shark!! 

As a result of the indictments, officials said, the defendants cannot travel to more than 100 countries without fear of arrest and extradition to the United States.

The sanctions block any transactions with those named and freeze any assets they may have under US jurisdiction.....

Almost as if they were being held.... hostage?


Also see:

"Stocks around the world plunged Friday as investors feared that a trade conflict between the U.S. and China, the biggest economies in the world, would escalate. A second day of big losses pushed U.S. stocks to their worst week in two years. Investors fear that if China responds in kind to sanctions on $60 billion worth of Chinese imports the White House announced on Thursday, it will be a first step toward a full-blown trade war that could damage the global economy and slash profits at big U.S. exporters like Apple and Boeing. The market's two biggest sectors slumped the most. Technology stocks have made enormous gains over the past year, but since they do so much business outside the U.S., investors see them as particularly vulnerable in a trade dispute. The sector dropped 7.9 percent this week. Banks also fell sharply....."

Looks like I'm reading the wrong paper.

Seeing the Light

Turns out it was a muzzle flash:

"From the Mass. ‘gun belt,’ young protesters bring a message of gun control to Boston" by Nestor Ramos Globe Staff  March 23, 2018

WILBRAHAM — If there was any doubt that the movement behind Saturday’s March For Our Lives would be real and lasting, spend a little time in Massachusetts’ “gun belt.”

Because even in a swath of conservative communities in surrounding Springfield, the march is on.

In Wilbraham, where voters chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, Jamison Rohan, a 16-year-old sophomore at Minnechaug Regional High School, is helping to lead the way.

Before the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., “I’d been so desensitized to all this,” said Rohan. And who can’t relate to that? Between the drumbeat of shootings on the local news, punctuated by the occasional cacophony of another massacre, it’s not just difficult to stay outraged — it’s unhealthy.

I must admit I have become disinterested in the endless mass casualty events, be they staged and scripted crisis drills being reported as live or some false flag Gladio-style psyop. It's getting to the point where you have seen one, you've seen 'em all.

But after Parkland, Rohan realized something inside her had changed.

“I generally feel safe,” Rohan said. “But I have started thinking about what I would do if a school shooter came in the building. These thoughts shouldn’t be going through my mind.”

So she organized a rally in town a week after shooting, and worked with a friend to plan a ceremony at Minnechaug on the day of the national school walkout.

“I’m also a bit of a goody-two-shoes and constantly thinking about college,” she said, so she worked with the principal to plan the walkout.

Then, in the weeks before Saturday’s march, she raised nearly $1,000 through an online fund-raiser to charter a bus to Boston.

“Something had to be done in our own community,” Rohan said.

In liberal Massachusetts, a state with some of America’s toughest gun laws and the lowest gun death rate in the country, standing up for gun reform can feel a little like tilting at windmills that have already been bulldozed.

Why is he bringing the Israelis into this?

It’s not pointless — not at all. It’s just that around here, the overwhelming majority of us already get the point.

The condescending elitism is tiring.

But far beyond Beacon Hill, in places like Wilbraham, conversations about gun control aren’t quite so one-sided.

Thanks to some amalgam of low rates of gun ownership and suicide, relatively low crime and, yes, strong gun laws, Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country. Searching for news of the last shooting in Wilbraham, the closest I could find was a 2015 incident in which a man allegedly shot his ex-wife’s unoccupied parked car. Not good, obviously. But also not something that would seem to have wide community-shaking implications (the man was quickly arrested).

But show support for the state’s assault weapons ban, or call for universal background checks, and you risk finding yourself at odds with classmates, friends, or even parents.

“It takes that much more resolve for a young person to put themselves out there politically and physically,” said Karen Grycel, a member of the Wilbraham Democratic Committee.

Why? I spoke up often as a young man, and couldn't understand when someone didn't see it my way. Now I don't bother offering an opinion.

Grycel got to know Rohan when Rohan visited the Democratic committee as part of her high school’s model congress program.

“She reminds me of that adage, ‘be the change you want to see in the world,’ ” Grycel said. “I think she’s doing that.”

They just co-opted Gandhi.

Hannah Ross, a 16-year-old sophomore at Minnechaug who worked with Rohan to plan the walkout event, said she has drawn inspiration from the Parkland survivors — teens about her age who were thrust onto the national stage and, remarkably, outshined the spotlight.

Just don't walk out of work, 'kay?

“I think that a lot of older people around where I live have these conservative thoughts, but high school is a time when you start to formulate your own political beliefs,” Ross said. “Going against what your parents, or your family or your friends believe, that’s definitely hard. But sometimes you have to do what you think is right.”

Yeah, it's when the collective leftists that dominate ejewkhazion can really do a number on your mind.

She’s planning to make the journey into Boston for the March on Saturday, too, and looking forward to being one in a sea of people, all pushing in the same direction.

It was like that in Germany once, from what I'm told.

(Btw, did you noticed that the most mass-murdering regimes in history -- Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, and Mao's China -- had strict gun control? All the easier to kill you with!)

For Ross, Rohan, and countless other young people from the more conservative corners of our region for whom the march will be their first real foray into political engagement and activism, that might feel a little different.

Take it from me, years of disappointment will follow -- especially when things go backwards.

On Boston Common, in the shadow of Beacon Hill, people have already seen the light when it comes to simple, straightforward gun control measures. But when the march here is over, these new standard-bearers will carry that light back to the cities and towns where they live.

Related: "The teens have stood before crowds of thousands, giving impassioned speeches broadcast around the world. They inspired a nationwide classroom walkout. Four states have changed gun laws. And now, a rally in Washington, D.C., that could attract up to a half-million people and sibling rallies in hundreds of cities across the globe, including Boston....."

Maybe that’s where the world will start to change.

Still waiting.....


Also see:

Support jumps for stricter gun control laws

Especially after what happened in Maryland.

"Trump signs spending bill, reversing veto threat and avoiding government shutdown" by Julie Hirschfeld Davis New York Times   March 23, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump backed down from his veto threat after a head-spinning four hours at the White House that left both political parties in Washington reeling and his own aides bewildered about Trump’s contradictory actions.

He better be careful or he will end up like that guy in Peru.

Speaking at the White House, Trump placed his hand on a stack of budget documents and criticized what he called “this ridiculous situation” — but he said the spending plan was important because it increases money for the military.

“As a matter of national security I have signed this omnibus budget bill,” he said.

It was the latest instance of the president parting ways with his advisers in a sudden reversal that could have serious consequences. A veto would have almost certainly shut down the government at midnight, just as hundreds of thousands of teenagers and adults are slated to descend on Washington for a gun control march. 

So there would have been no security?

Related: "On Thursday, team owner Robert Kraft provided the team’s official plane to fly the families of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and some of the students who were injured to the nation’s capital for the event, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. James said Kraft decided to lend the plane to those affected by the shooting after former Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, reached out to him and asked for the favor....."

Too bad the ferry has been shutdown. Can't go see the whales now.

With Congress on spring recess for two weeks starting Monday, many lawmakers had already departed Washington early Friday. Some were on their way out of the country as part of official congressional delegations overseas.


That means there will be NO ONE IN WASHINGTON to hear the protests (Trump is in Mar-a-Lago)!!! 


Btw, WHERE were those Congre$$ critters head anyway?

Beyond the practical risks, the optics of the last-minute presidential outburst held peril for Trump. Unlike recent government shutdowns that stemmed from Congress’ inability to pass spending bills, this one would be precipitated by the president alone.

In 1995 and 1996, vetoes of spending bills by President Bill Clinton shut the government temporarily, but in those cases, Clinton had the support of his party’s leaders in Congress, who objected to deep cuts to Medicare and conservative policy changes inserted into the spending bills.

If Trump were to have rejected the new spending bill, he would have defied Republican and Democratic leaders alike.

The president’s apparent change of heart came as a surprise but hardly a shock to Republican leaders, who spent much of a snowy Wednesday privately imploring an agitated Trump to put aside his objections and back the measure, claiming it as a win.

Did you see who else is happy with it?

That proved difficult for the president.....

He wanted to settle in a duel?


You didn't see what else was in there, did you?

"Gunman kills 3 in terrorist siege in France" by Aurelien Breeden New York Times   March 23, 2018

PARIS — A gunman killed three people in southwestern France on Friday, in a burst of violence that included hijacking a car, shooting at police officers, and taking a hostage in a supermarket. The attack rattled nerves in a country that has been hit hard by terrorism in recent years.

Not only that, it also upstaged the strikes and protests

What a coinkydink, huh?

The gunman was later killed by police officers when they stormed the supermarket, according to Gérard Collomb, the interior minister.

It's the same script every time!

As he entered the Super U market in Trèbes, about 50 miles southeast of Toulouse, and began shooting, the man shouted “God is great” in Arabic, and claimed to be acting on behalf of the Islamic State, witnesses said.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a bulletin issued by its Amaq News Agency.

That's when this piece of propaganda was thrown in the trash can.

Speaking to reporters from Trèbes, Collomb identified the gunman as Redouane Lakdim, 26, a native of Morocco who lived in the neighboring city of Carcassonne. He was known to police as a petty criminal and drug dealer, investigators said.

“We had monitored him, and we believed that he was not radicalized,” Collomb said, adding that the gunman had “abruptly taken action,” without apparent prior planning, despite authorities’ surveillance.

Another set-up patsy! 

So despite all the surveillance, all the data collection, all the protection measures, it was all just a massive waste of money, huh?

In a post on Twitter, Marine Le Pen, the hard-right, anti-immigrant politician who ran for president last year, linked the attack to immigration policies she contends are too permissive. “When will the government realize that we are at war?” she wrote.

I didn't know shooting at Russia had started.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, where he was attending a European Union summit meeting, President Emmanuel Macron said that “we believe that it is indeed a terrorist attack.”

OMG, Macron wasn't even home!


Being at the supermarket reminds me that the youth obesity crisis -- possibly more life-threatening than these sporadic mass casualty events -- has been put into the ma$$ media garbage disposal.

Just wait until you get to college:

"The small school is known more for rigorous academics than big-time athletics, so the team’s unstoppable march across the basketball landscape has barely registered beyond the college’s bucolic campus in the Pioneer Valley. It might just be the country’s best basketball team you’ve never heard of, the Amherst College women’s basketball team....." 

The school is more known for its politically-incorrect nickname, but their win streak has reached 66 and they are “not on ESPN.” 

At least there is the $hoe contract.

While we are in the Valley:

"With legal pot sales coming, baby boomers are ready to resume the party" by Robert Weisman Globe Staff  March 23, 2018

Why is that assumption made? Why do they assume the extreme that if it's legal everyone will go crazy in a mad rush to get high? Easy enough to get now.

Many baby boomers can call up the hazy memories. They’re relaxing with friends in a college dorm room. The music is blasting, the cinder-block walls are plastered with groovy neon posters, and a cloud of marijuana smoke fills the air.

Most abandoned that kind of scene decades ago once they started jobs and families. But with the kids grown, retirement looming, and the legal sale of recreational pot set to start in Massachusetts this summer, some are ready to resume the party — or a 21st-century version of it.

“I can see going over to somebody’s house for a party and there’ll be a joint passed around,” said Jim Kerr, 64, of Lexington, a lawyer who plans to retire from his Boston firm later this year. “Or people will be munching on brownies. I’m sure that will happen.”

Or already is!

Sorry, readers, but I'm going to pass.

Kerr smoked marijuana in high school and college, but stayed clear for about 40 years. He can’t envision his gray-haired boomer friends suddenly returning to their circa 1970 pot smoking, but large numbers of boomers already have embraced medical marijuana, which has been legal in the state for five years. They use it for pain relief, to help them sleep, and to ease anxiety and depression.

As is the case elsewhere, enthusiasm for marijuana varies widely in Massachusetts. Critics continue to question its medical benefits and worry that legal recreational use will lead to misuse, with both health and public safety side effects. And although many white, middle-class or affluent boomers remember their pot-smoking days as innocuous good times, the practice was far riskier for people of color who were arrested and jailed at disproportionate rates — often just for possessing a joint or two.

The state decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2008 and legalized medical cannabis in 2012. Commercial sales of recreational marijuana are set to begin in July, more than a year and a half after voters approved the change in a 2016 statewide referendum. Still, a majority of the cities and towns across Massachusetts have barred marijuana retail shops, at least temporarily, while others have limited the number of licenses they’ll grant.

Despite such restrictions, retired medical technologist Tom McCurry said the stigma around marijuana has already lifted among his friends and associates in Western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. McCurry, 71, who smoked marijuana for a time after he left the Air Force in the mid-1970s, began growing a few plants in his basement following his retirement from a lab at the Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center about five years ago.

Has it?

“The first batch was pretty pathetic,” said McCurry, who lives in Northampton. “The next batch was less pathetic. I enjoy the horticultural part of it. Some people don’t have the time and patience to deal with the plants. But this is a hobby for me. . . . I’ve shared it with my son and daughter, who are in their 30s, and told them what I was doing. And they said, ‘Wow, Dad is a different person.’” 

You couldn't find something else to grow, like flowers?

Federal law still prohibits possession and sale of marijuana, but despite rumblings from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, few people expect those rules to be enforced.

So it was just more fear being peddled by the pre$$, huh?

Since pot was decriminalized, a wide swath of users have been “coming out of the shadows,” ranging from millennials to soccer moms, said Adam Fine, a Boston lawyer who represents clients seeking to enter the marijuana business. But the biggest market for legal pot may be baby boomers and beyond, he suggested. “I went to a nursing home and there were people in their 80s and 90s who asked about cannabis,” he said.

I haven't seen them, and you can add the pot to the 12-drug cocktails they are serving.

Some boomers, of course, have never used marijuana, and others who did would just as soon close that chapter of their lives. Joe Smith, 70, a retired water resources manager who lives in Stoneham, started smoking pot when he served in the Navy in the 1970s. Smith remembers it as part of his hard-partying days when he was known as “Crazy Man or Panama Joe.”

Smith supports legal marijuana, but has no desire to partakeunless it can help him cope with the pain he sometimes feels in his feet. “It’s a public policy question,” he said. “It’s a matter of facing what our life is now. Marijuana has been part of our culture for decades, going back to the jazz [age] and the hipsters. . . . If they find out it’s great for neuropathy of the feet, I might try it.”

Many pain-addled boomers haven’t sought a medical marijuana card because of the cost — a $50 annual fee to the state, plus up to $200 for a doctor’s recommendation — or because they’re wary of putting their name on the state’s confidential list of registered patients.

I would be wary about putting my name on anyone's list these days.

But when recreational shops open, they may consider buying so-called adult use pot through a relatively anonymous transaction but use it for medical purposes — such as to treat lower back discomfort, sciatica, or pain associated with cancer or AIDS — said Trish Faass, cofounder of Heal Inc., a Newton startup planning to sell medical and recreational marijuana.

“People will be using it for medical reasons rather than just zoning out,” Faass said. “You’ve got the fear of opioids and people who don’t want to get addicted, so this may be a way to go.”


Some boomers who’ve returned to marijuana, or plan to, remain reluctant to discuss it publicly for fear their employers or landlords may frown on it. Some say they have tried it on trips to Colorado or Washington state, where it’s packaged and labeled so consumers know the strain, where and when it was harvested, and the percentage of THC, the compound that triggers its euphoric effect. Health-conscious boomers view such labeling as a plus, and the coming availability of edibles such as baked goods and gummy bears as smoke-free alternatives.

Do they have GMO pot?

Mike Tautznik, 64, who was the mayor of Easthampton from 1996 to 2014, smoked marijuana years ago and said he would like to try it again when recreational sales become legal. But he said he might be more open to consuming it in some other form, such as barbecue sauce, rather than smoking it.

Yeah, drawing any hot smoke into your lungs, cough, cough, seems to be a bad idea, cough!

“I’m looking forward to legalization,” he said. “I’ve led a public life that required me to be on the straight and narrow. Now that I’m retired, it will be interesting to see that culture come back a little bit. There will be more social interaction around it, just like there is with alcohol.”

But these days Tautznik said he might be more likely to listen to country or classical music at his pot parties, not Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin.

“Those of us who partied in the ’70s don’t party that way anymore,” he said.

Globe is stuck in the past, man!


Maybe this will get you high:

"College students are using student loans to invest in bitcoin. Yes, really" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  March 22, 2018

The good thing is it has “nothing to do with marijuana.”

Putting aside the wisdom of investing in volatile cryptocurrencies, Boston attorney Adam S. Minsky said it was legally questionable to do so with student-loan money. A specialist in student-loan matters, Minsky said the federal government might question whether such investments are related to students’ education.

“I would err to the side of it not being a kosher thing to do legally, but regardless of that I don’t think it’s a wise thing to do financially,” he said.

I'm not even going to say it.

So-called cryptocurrencies, developed to facilitate secure online transactions, simultaneously became the hottest and most poorly understood financial instruments of 2017. Bitcoin began last year trading at below $1,000 and at one point were worth close to $20,000.

Meanwhile, companies issuing alternative cryptocurrencies and tokens have been able to raise billions of dollars from eager buyers. It’s apparently enough to draw in young investors who only have borrowed money to offer, according to Student Loan Report, and if cryptocurrency investments looked like a path to free money at one point, they decidedly are not. Bitcoin has fallen back down to about $8,500 in recent months, making big losers of many who bought in late.

Looks like any old stock market to me.

In an article discussing the survey, Student Loan Report founder Drew Cloud told the Globe that if students have extra loan proceeds for now, they should consider “stowing that money away in a high-yield savings account that they could later use to chip away at their student debt.”

Yeah, turn the money over to Wall Street and the money managers. They'll look after it for you!

They really do think you kids are stoopid.

But, he added, they might be right to take a flier on bitcoin.

“But there is always the chance that there is another period of explosive growth for virtual currency, and these borrowers will be laughing all the way to the bank.”

But but.

Christian Catalini, an MIT professor who studies cryptocurrency, said student interest in digital assets marks a generational divide in thinking about finance. “There is a new generation of consumers that tend to have no faith in traditional financial institutions, and I think they are approaching this asset with curiosity and excitement,” Catalini said.....

And who knows? 

You might get “lucky.”

If not, they can then join the other generations lacking the same faith via experience.


Also seeHampshire College probing act of ‘deplorable anti-Semitism’ on campus

Yeah, some things never change.

Pillow Talk

Related: Boston Globe Pornography

Did you see who starred in it?

I'll let you be the judge:

"Judge could face impeachment after admitting sexual involvement with court worker" by Andrea Estes Globe Staff  March 24, 2018

The Judicial Conduct Commission has asked the state’s highest court to take steps to permanently remove the former presiding judge of Belchertown District Court after he admitted at least eight sexual encounters with a court social worker, some of them in his courthouse office.

The commission asked the Supreme Judicial Court to publicly censure and suspend Judge Thomas Estes without pay until the legislature can decide whether to oust him, a process rarely used in state history. Under a 1972 court decision, only the legislature and governor can remove a judge.

Commission members argued, in their 214-page submission to the SJC, that Estes had brought shame on the courts and raised doubts about his objectivity, in part because he discussed court business with the court worker before or after their sexual encounters.....


Apparently, the Globe reported on this in October, and expect some sort of internal discipline.

"Brewster teacher charged with molesting children at the school was investigated in prior case" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  March 23, 2018

The Brewster elementary school teacher charged with raping and indecently assaulting two young students was suspected in 2010 of molesting a 4-year-old child at his prior job but no charges were ever filed, court records show.

Details of the 2010 matter emerged in a Brewster police report filed in the case against Noah Campbell-Halley, 36, in Orleans District Court. Campbell-Halley, of Harwich, was arraigned Thursday on three counts of indecent assault and battery of a child under 14, two counts of rape of a child, and one count of intimidation of a witness.

A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and he was held on $25,000 cash bail.

Campbell-Halley allegedly assaulted the two victims, aged 6 and 7, at Stony Brook Elementary School in Brewster, where he teaches technology.

Campbell-Halley’s lawyer at arraignment said Friday that he was no longer representing him. A working number for Campbell-Halley couldn’t be located.

He has worked at Stony Brook for five years but was previously suspected of indecently assaulting a 4-year-old at his prior job at Cape Cod Children’s Place, a nonprofit in Eastham, the police report said.

Eastham police investigated that matter at the time but no charges were filed, court records show.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Cape Cod Children’s Place said it “reported the incident and cooperated fully and openly with a police investigation that included forensic specialists.”

“It was determined that there was no evidence to support any finding of inappropriate behavior,” said the organization in its statement. “The police closed the file on that matter.”

The group said it was legally “constrained from futher discussion about Mr. Campbell-Halley’s employment history.”

In its statement, Cape Cod Children’s Place said it was “heartbroken” to learn that Campbell-Halley faces charges for allegedly sexually assaulting students at Stony Brook.

“This is devastating to our community in so many ways, and we are holding all our local families in our hearts,” read the statement.

Tom Conrad, superintendent of the Nauset Public Schools, which includes Stony Brook, said Friday in an e-mail that school officials had no information about “any issue at the Children’s Place” at the time of Campbell-Halley’s hiring.

Campbell-Halley was placed on administrative leave Monday.

Eastham police Chief Edward V. Kulhawik said Friday in an e-mail that his department had conducted a thorough investigation of the 2010 case.

“Yes, an investigation was conducted and involved an extensive inquiry into the allegations,” Kulhawik wrote. “A forensic interview was conducted by the Children’s cove [SIC] which is the investigative arm of the District attorney’s office which investigates alleged sexual abuse cases through forensic interviews. . . . In addition, DCF was also involved. After an exhaustive process it was determined that we did not meet the threshold to pursue charges against the individual. Being that there were [no] charges filed or arrests made, I cannot comment further on this.”

Brewster police Detective-Sergeant Paul Judge Jr. wrote in his report in the pending case that Campbell-Halley became distraught when Judge confronted him about the allegations on Monday morning at the Stony Brook school.

“Campbell-Halley immediately broke down in tears without saying anything,” Judge wrote, adding that the teacher repeatedly asked if he could retrieve his lunch before leaving the building. “It is to be noted, Campbell-Halley never denied any involvement in the allegations against him, nor did he ask about who the accusers were.”

Another police report filed by Brewster Officer Matthew B. Marshall said one of the alleged victims indicated that Campbell-Halley tried to silence him with threats, warning that he would “hurt his parents” if he told anyone about the assaults.

Campbell-Halley is due back in court on April 20.....

Along with Anthony Almeida.


He will soon be off to prison.

"Americans looking for love or companionship on Craigslist can no longer make a connection. The classified ads site on Friday took its personals section offline in the United States. The action comes after the US Senate on Wednesday passed an antisex trafficking bill that could hold the website and others responsible for illegal activity if it becomes law. The company says the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act seeks to subject websites to criminal and civil liability. A message on the site says any tool or service can be misused, and the company hopes it can bring them back ‘‘some day.’’ Craigslist closed by saying: ‘‘To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!’’

Remember Markoff

I'll bet you have never heard of Kaganovich or Yagoda, either.

I guess that's it then.

"Mass. Legislature reveals final criminal justice package" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  March 23, 2018

Top Massachusetts lawmakers unveiled sweeping legislation Friday that aims to reduce the number of people ensnared in the criminal justice system and keep young offenders out of court.

The bill, a compromise between the Senate and House, is the culmination of a years-long effort to shift the balance away from the harsh punishments that came out of the anticrime efforts of the 1990s — measures that critics say have disproportionately affected poor and minority defendants.

It was part of the Democrats' get tough campaign and was needed at the time; now, with all the surveillance, not as much.

“The agreement that we’ve reached today is about lifting people up instead of locking them up. It’s about cutting the chains that hold people down when they’re trying to get back up on their feet. And it is about better protecting the public from drugs and guns,” said Senator William N. Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat and coauthor of the legislation.

Really flogging those two issues to advance the agenda, aren't they? 

Hey, fear is a powerful motivator.

The bill would pare the fines and fees required of people who commit crimes and give those who have served their time a clearer path back to society by strengthening laws that seal and expunge old convictions. It would also mandate the state notify people about their upcoming court dates — via text and e-mail, for example — so they don’t fall into a spiral of accumulating penalties for not showing up.

You don't think they will just delete them?

“Other bills made small dents,” said Senator Cynthia S. Creem, a Newton Democrat and one of the bill’s negotiators. “And this made a big bang.”

Could hear it all the way out to Ayer.

The legislation can’t be amended and faces an up-or-down vote in each chamber. While it is expected to pass both the Democratic-controlled House and Senate, Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, has not taken a position on it; a Baker spokeswoman said he will carefully review it.

The overall bill was praised by reform advocates, including Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz of Jamaica Plain, who called it “a massive and joyful turning point for our state.”

How's that addition coming?

Lew Finfer, a spokesperson for the Jobs Not Jails Coalition, called it “a very big step forward toward more justice for all.”

Whether it faces dramatic resistance, including from law enforcement, remains to be seen. Many of the state’s district attorneys had voiced fierce opposition to several provisions during the legislative process, including a proposal that was ultimately included to forbid parents from testifying against their minor children.

For example, under the bill, a mother who saw her 17-year-old son kill someone couldn’t testify in court against him even if she wanted to. The only exception would be when the victim is a family member and resides in the household.

House majority leader Ronald Mariano, who helped negotiate the final bill, explained a rationale for the provision.

“I really believe that there are other ways to gather evidence, and there are other ways to make convictions,” he said. “You start pitting family members against each other, no matter how dysfunctional the family, I think you’ve ruined that family forever.” 

Probably already ruined, but it seems like an extreme example nevertheless.

The legislation also would remove juvenile court jurisdiction over children aged 7 through 11, so children that age would no longer face any criminal sanctions, even for murder.

I would think it would be a case by case basis, but I guess the message is do all your killing and stealing before 11, kids.

Advocates who pushed for those provisions have said they are meant to shelter young children from the trauma of going to court, and ensure kids feel safe asking a parent for help and parents don’t feel pressured to testify against their son or daughter.

In a scorching rebuke in October, several district attorneys said the juvenile court system is capable of providing younger children who are charged the help and support they need. And the prosecutors said that a near-universal prohibition on parents testifying against their children “does grave harm to victims of crime whose pursuit of justice will be stymied for want of crucial evidence.”

But on Friday, the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association declined to weigh in. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley struck a conciliatory tone, saying in a statement, “A complete analysis of the bill will take some time, but it clearly reflects some thoughtful work and compromise.”

Several provisions the district attorneys opposed in earlier versions are not in the final compromise. And DAs are likely to cheer other aspects of Friday’s legislation.

This bill would make it easier to prosecute traffickers of fentanyl, the ultrapowerful opioid that is often mixed into heroin and plays an increasingly deadly role in Massachusetts’ overdose crisis. That’s a change DAs have long been pressing the Legislature to enact. And Baker urged lawmakers to make that change just this week.

Representative Claire D. Cronin, the House chair of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said the bill also targets the deadly opioid carfentanil, calling it the “strongest carfentanil law in the country.” The legislation would establish it as a Class A drug and create a prison term of 3½ to 20 years for anyone convicted of trafficking.

It's used as an elephant tranquilizer

The legislation also raises the threshold for a felony larceny conviction.

Under current law, people convicted of stealing cash or goods worth more than $250 — say, a smartphone — are felons, subject to up to five years in state prison and diminished education and job prospects once they’ve done their time.

That’s a lower monetary bar than almost every other state. The bill would raise the threshold to $1,200, a move advocates say is aimed at helping people who have made a mistake get back on their feet more quickly.

What if you steal billions and trillions, what then?

Retailers, however, railed against the change. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said it would incentivize theft by removing the harsher penalty. 

I think they are going to do it anyway.

“This represents a huge raise for thieves and criminals,” he said. “In the end, honest consumers will pay for less deterrence for larceny.”

The package would also mandate new oversight for those in solitary confinement in state prison, including a new nine-person committee appointed by the governor that would scrutinize data about how solitary is used.

Under current law, prisoners at any state facility can be sentenced by corrections officials to up to 10 years in the state’s toughest solitary, the Departmental Disciplinary Unit in the Walpole prison, where they are housed in a 12-foot-by-7-foot cell and are entitled to five hours a week of outdoor recreation.

Legislative leaders voiced support for the package, including House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, who called it a “workable and comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform.” The bill is expected to first surface for a vote in the Senate in early April.

How disappointing is he?

“Today’s agreement is a significant step forward for social and economic justice, and toward ending the cycles of incarceration that remain far too prevalent in our Commonwealth,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka, who this week claimed enough votes to become the next Senate president.

During the months-long process of negotiation between the House and Senate, the legislation lost many of its most controversial provisions, including one to legalize sex between young teens close in age, and another to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 19, the highest in the nation. The elimination of multiple other mandatory minimum sentences, pushed strongly by reform advocates, also was not included in the final bill.

In 2015, Massachusetts had the second-lowest imprisonment rate of any state, with 179 sentenced prisoners for every 100,000 people, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Then why the push for this if it isn't even that much of a problem?


They can start over at the State Police barracks:

"Nine state troopers suspended, nine more retire amid overtime probe" by Danny McDonald Globe Staff  March 24, 2018

Nine Massachusetts State Police troopers were suspended without pay and nine more retired this week in the midst of an internal affairs investigation into alleged theft of overtime pay, the agency announced on Friday. 

So what does retirement mean? They are absolved of any crime?

In all, 19 troopers were scheduled to have internal duty status hearings Friday to determine their job status while the inquiry continues into discrepancies between pay for overtime shifts and actual shifts worked. The group includes members of the force that hold the rank of trooper, sergeant, and lieutenant, according to the State Police.

State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin said in a statement on Friday that in order to fill the agency’s mission, “we must have the public trust.”

Too late, and once you have lost it..... you never really get it back. There will always be the memories and doubt.

“Integrity, honesty, and accountability are core values of the Massachusetts State Police,” she said in the statement. 

Or not. 

I mean, “if they’re going to put the time and the effort in, and they can make the money that’s offered to them, why not? It’s like any other profession.” 

She added, “Most importantly, those values of honesty and integrity are what our citizens rightly expect and demand.”

I'm tired of sh!t shovelers, no matter what gender.

Earlier this week, Gilpin said that she couldn’t put a dollar figure on the amount of disputed overtime, but that the number of questionable overtime shifts per trooper ranged from one to “as high as 100.”

The Globe reported this month that 245 troopers — about 12 percent of the force — made more than $200,000 last year. An audit that revealed the apparent overtime pay discrepancies focused on Troop E, a State Police division that covers the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The State Police internal affairs unit is investigating, and that probe will determine whether policies, rules, or regulations of the agency were violated. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is also reviewing the matter, and that office would consider the findings of the internal affairs investigation in deciding whether criminal charges are warranted, said State Police spokesman David Procopio in a brief phone interview Friday night.

Needham attorney Timothy M. Burke, who represents two lieutenants who are subject to the investigation, said Friday night that his clients have never had “any disciplinary issue in their 30-plus years of service to the Commonwealth.”

“They have never been provided with any allegation of impropriety,” he said.

That's because it was a “widespread and accepted practice approved by command.”

Burke said previously the State Police had a system where “a ranked officer operating out of Weston” was “supposed to be monitoring the activities of troopers” who were in areas in Western Massachusetts such as Westfield. At worst, he said, the probe alleges that his clients “were unable to supervise troopers on details . . . in the far western portions of the state.” The State Police, he said, have changed the policy so that troopers have localized supervisors.

“All I can say is, without hesitation, the individuals I represent have fully complied with the responsibilities of performing each and every one of their overtime shifts in accordance with the department’s rules and regulations,” he said.....

This reflects badly on Baker even though it predates him.


Now I lay me down to sleep.....

Friday, March 23, 2018

Boston Globe Pornography

It was front page, above the fold, and they put a Viser on it for you:

"How Stormy Daniels is beating Trump at his own game" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  March 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — Stormy Daniels is proving that she is the master of the prolonged reveal.

Over the past 2½ months, the adult film actress and her lawyer have rolled out a textbook negative media campaign against the master of media manipulation, with a series of tantalizing details and disclosures that has provoked a storm of salacious and damaging news coverage.

And the worst for President Trump, who is in the rare position of struggling to win a tabloid-style media war, is yet to come. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is scheduled to appear in a “60 Minutes” segment on Sunday.

If it were just a reality show plot line, you could call it the ultimate comeuppance for Trump, the former “Apprentice’’ star who was said to call up New York tabloids, posing as someone else, to offer details of his own playboy lifestyle. But the sordid tragedy of this tale is sweeping up the political world and wreaking havoc across the GOP spectrum.

I'm sure the double-entendre was unintentional.

Not incidentally, a good deal of damage is being inflicted on first lady Melania Trump, who so far is stoically enduring the humiliation.

Of course, the Globe adds to it with this!

Trump and Daniels first met at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006, about four months after Trump’s youngest son, Barron, was born. Daniels later said — in an interview with InTouch magazine that was conducted in 2011 and published earlier this year — that they had sex after dinner in Trump’s hotel suite. 

I don't want to watch this. I know the elite ruling cla$$ and their puppets are rife with perversion, and this is the least of it.

Less than two weeks before the 2016 election — and after speaking with several media outlets — Daniels reportedly agreed not to speak about the affair. She signed a nondisclosure agreement in return for a $130,000 payment that was handled by Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen has acknowledged making the payment, which he said came out of his own pocket and was not part of the campaign.

Over the past several weeks, Daniels has hired a new attorney and has waged a battle to free herself from the agreement. She has claimed that it is not valid, partly because Trump — whose name was listed on the initial agreement as David Dennison, to hide his identity — did not sign it.

Trump’s attorneys last week began pursuing damages of $20 million from Daniels, saying that she had violated the agreement. Cohen has also obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent Daniels from speaking out. But the Trump team’s efforts to silence Daniels have only added fuel to the tawdry controversy.

Throughout it all, Trump himself has been in the rare position of not being the star of the show. He’s an uncooperative supporting actor — and an uncharacteristically silent one at that.

Which is what all this is, a ma$$ media circus.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Trump has eschewed the advice of his lawyers and attacked special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump 2016 campaign contacts with Russia, but the president has not mentioned Daniels.

Oh, yeah, Mueller..... 

"The GOP document says there's no evidence Trump associates had anything to do with hacked emails stolen from Democrats during the campaign, though it does mention "numerous ill-advised contacts with WikiLeaks." The president's son, Donald Trump Jr., messaged with WikiLeaks during the campaign. An assessment released in January 2017 by U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian military intelligence provided hacked information from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has denied that Russia was the source of emails it released....."

They got them from Seth Rich and he was murdered for it. 

Those the same intelligence agencies that lied us into Iraq?

“The two people he won’t talk about are Stormy Daniels and Vladimir Putin,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida Republican operative. Wilson, who helped lead a Republican anti-Trump effort during the 2016 campaign, expressed admiration for Daniels’s ability to keep her story alive.

“She understands in some ways even better than Trump how to ration out a story,” he said. “Trump has a great animal cunning about that stuff. But she really has it. She has it in spades. ”

Daniels seems to be relishing the attention, while gamely batting away criticism. Her Twitter feed is a stream of people accusing her of being a prostitute, making fun of her age, or calling her a greedy attention seeker. She engages, she doesn’t disagree, and she usually tosses in a fair amount of sexual innuendo. 

I'm sure she is a paragon of liberation and a fine example of the power of women somewhere.

Last week her attorney, Michael Avenatti, said publicly that Daniels had been “physically threatened.” He would not say who issued the threat, or when. More information would come later, he said. The skimpy development and lack of context did not stop the media from giving the story a new round of coverage.

(Blog editor moans)

On Tuesday, Avenatti released an image of Daniels taking a lie detector test about her relationship with Trump. Her affirmative answers to having unprotected sex with Trump were cleared as true by the test administrator, America’s citizens were told. That news set off another two days of frantic coverage.

You can almost feel his titillation at the developments.

Avenatti has also been sending out images of Daniels with Anderson Cooper, who conducted the interview for “60 Minutes,” and hinting at some of the new details that could emerge. CBS started promoting the interview on Wednesday, sending a brief video clip saying: “She’s the porn star making headlines across America. Now Stormy Daniels is telling her story.”

I won't be watching, and how sad is it to "60 Minutes" of all things in the gutter. Mike Wallace must be rolling in his grave.

It has all put Trump in an unusual political and legal box. Staying silent runs counter to his self-proclaimed willingness to always punch back at his critics.

“When you think of the president going up against other politicians, it’s asymmetrical warfare,” said Frank Sesno, a former Washington bureau chief at CNN who is now director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “Nobody can out-bully pulpit the president of the United States, but how can the president defend himself against a porn star behind the podium at the White House?”

This plot is getting thin.

Daniels is different from most of Trump’s other accusers because she is not claiming that Trump was abusive or touched her against her will. She says their affair was consensual — and she is also a far more willing participant in stoking the media frenzy than past participants in presidential affairs.

“Monica Lewinsky disappeared,” Sesno said. “We never heard from Monica Lewinsky. She didn’t do interviews, she didn’t go to events. She had a lawyer speaking for her, but to defend her honor, not to assert her identity as the woman who had the affair with the president. 

Until recently, that is. 

You go, girl!

“Not only does [Daniels] not shun the limelight, she seeks it,” he added.

The legal problems for Trump escalated this week on another front. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles, attempting to be released from a 2016 agreement not to speak about her own alleged consensual affair with Trump. The parent company of the National Enquirer, whose chief executive is close to Trump, paid her $150,000 for the rights to her story but never published anything, according to the lawsuit.

A state judge in New York also denied an attempt by Trump’s lawyers to block a defamation suit filed by Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant who alleges Trump sexually harassed her.

Wilson said his group was able to find at least eight women who had signed nondisclosure agreements after having affairs with Trump, but was unable to persuade them to speak out, for fear of retribution.

If Daniels is successful in getting her agreement voided, other women could come forward. Avenatti has also said that he has been approached by six women with similar accounts.

The White House, as well as Cohen’s attorney, Lawrence S. Rosen, did not respond to requests for comment about the potential for more accusers.

“If this is ruled unenforceable or questionable, you’re going to end up with a flood of these women,” Wilson said. “A flood.”

Like a flood of cum, so to speak.


The real perversion was located on top:

"Trump names former ambassador John Bolton as his new national security adviser" by Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman New York Times

My print was a WaPo pos that told me "President Trump said Thursday that he was naming former ambassador John Bolton, a Fox News commentator and conservative firebrand, as his new national security adviser, replacing Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. The president announced the news in a tweet...." before asking me to pay a buck to read more.

Had to go to Arkansas to see it:

"Ex-envoy chosen as security adviser

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was naming former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, now a conservative Fox News commentator, as his new national security adviser, replacing Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

The president announced the news in a tweet.

Bolton is a fierce North Korea hawk who, in his prolific writings and television commentary, has said that pre-emptive war would likely be the only way to stop North Korea from obtaining the capability to attack the United States with a nuclear missile.

[Bolton has touted "the legal case for striking North Korea first" in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. In a subsequent interview with Breitbart News, Bolton warned that the North was on the cusp of being able to strike the continental United States and raised the specter of Pyongyang selling nuclear devices to other hostile actors such as Iran, the Islamic State, or Al Qaeda.

"We have to ask ourselves whether we're prepared to take preemptive action, or live in a world where North Korea -- and a lot of other people -- have nuclear weapons," he said.]

Bolton, who had dismissed negotiations with North Korea as a waste of time, moderated his views slightly after Trump announced he would sit down with Kim. He described Trump's decision as "diplomatic shock and awe" and suggested that the encounter between the two leaders would be short and largely devoid of traditional diplomacy.

"Tell me you have begun total denuclearization, because we're not going to have protracted negotiations," he imagined Trump telling the North Korean. "You can tell me right now or we'll start thinking of something else."

On Iran, Bolton has been even more hawkish than Trump, pushing for the president to withdraw from the nuclear agreement that the United States and five other world powers reached with Tehran during President Barack Obama's administration.

In January, Bolton told Fox News that Trump should dump the nuclear deal, reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran, and work toward an overthrow of the government there.

"There's a lot we can do, and we should do it," Bolton said. "Our goal should be regime change in Iran." He similarly called for bombing Iran in a New York Times editorial in 2015.

What kind of message does that send to North Korea? That the word of the U.S. government means nothing?

[McMaster's departure and Bolton's ascension will come about one month before a deadline for Trump to decide whether the United States will remain a party to the deal]

Bolton, a contentious foreign policy expert who briefly served as U.N. ambassador, has been a force in Republican foreign policy circles for decades. He has served in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and served as a Bush lawyer during the 2000 Florida recount.

Bolton, 69, brings a far more interventionist view into Trump's inner circle. A strong supporter of the Iraq war and an advocate for aggressive use of American power in foreign policy, he was unable to win Senate confirmation after his 2005 nomination to the United Nations post alienated many Democrats and even some Republicans.

[His critics cited a brusque and sometimes belittling manner with colleagues and underlings and many put-downs of the United Nations itself. Those include an oft-quoted remark that no one would notice if the high-rise UN building lost several of its floors.]

Kind of like a.... (gulp).... BULLY?

Bolton resigned after serving 17 months as a "recess appointment," which allowed him to hold the job on a temporary basis without Senate confirmation.

At the time, Bolton was often at odds with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She told colleagues that Bolton undermined her and went behind her back to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, his old friend and patron.

Those old grievances resurfaced before Trump took office, when as president-elect he considered selecting Bolton as deputy secretary of state. That job would have been subject to Senate confirmation, and opposition was swift and bipartisan.

[Bolton has maintained a pair of political committees, which he has used to funnel political support to hawkish candidates. The top donor to the groups was Robert Mercer, who has given $5 million to Bolton's super PAC in recent years, the Associated Press reported.]

Must have gotten lost in all the Cambridge Analytica stuff.

Trump's selection of Bolton as his national security adviser drew raves from more hawkish members of Congress. "Selecting John Bolton as national security adviser is good news for America's allies and bad news for America's enemies," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Democrats and some Republicans reacted with concern that Bolton's hawkish positions could lead to more conflict. Bolton's positions on Iran and North Korea "are overly aggressive at best and downright dangerous at worst," said Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del.

We will see what marching orders he gets from the Trump administration.

McMaster, a three-star general, came to the Trump administration with an accomplished combat record in Iraq and a reputation as one of the Army's best thinkers on the subject of battling insurgents and the future of war.

McMaster's biggest win -- and area of greatest influence -- was the war in Afghanistan, where he convinced the president to nearly double the size of the force to 15,000 troops. But Trump resented McMaster for pushing it on him, U.S. officials said.

Yeah, blame him now that he's gone.

McMaster is credited with improving morale and bringing order to the National Security Council after the forced departure early last year of his predecessor, Michael Flynn.

That is the gist of my print and where it ended.

Yet as national security adviser, McMaster never forged the kind of bond that would allow him to speak honestly to the president. At times, Trump, who complained that McMaster was stubborn, didactic and long-winded, seemed to tune out the active duty general.

Tension between Trump and McMaster had grown increasingly public. It had appeared McMaster's departure was imminent last week -- but White House officials insisted the speculation was false. 

Oh, look, another White House that lies.

In a statement released by the White House, the White House said McMaster's exit had been under discussion for some time and stressed it was not due to any one incident, such as this week's leak about Trump's recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

All you can do is shake your head.

McMaster had briefed Trump before the Putin call -- and his team drafted all-caps instructions telling Trump not to congratulate the Russian leader on his re-election victory. Trump did it anyway.

An internal investigation into the leak is underway, said a White House official who -- like others interviewed about the announcement and the White House shake-up -- demanded anonymity to discuss internal matters. 

Got their own plumbers, huh?

How Nixonian!

Trump is reshaping much of his national security team ahead of planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks and as he faces a key decision in May on whether to maintain the Iran nuclear deal. Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 13, saying the two had disagreed over Iran and other matters of foreign policy.

Tillerson's exit forecast trouble for McMaster, who had aligned himself with the embattled secretary of state in seeking to soften some of Trump's more contentious foreign policy desires.

Tillerson said Bolton is ‘mean-spirited.’

In Bolton, Trump has chosen a frequently combative personality who fits more with his style, but it wasn't clear how White House staff members will react to their new boss.

In recent years Bolton has served as a Fox News contributor and senior fellow at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. He has also been a frequent behind-the-scenes visitor to Trump in the Oval Office and had campaigned openly to replace McMaster in recent weeks.

Oh, man, what a scum!!!

In early March, Bolton met with Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly to discuss North Korea and Iran. He was spotted entering the West Wing earlier Thursday, and hours later, Bolton confessed surprise at how quickly Trump announced the appointment.

"This hasn't sunk in," he said on Fox News, where he was pre-scheduled for an interview.

Bolton, in the Thursday night Fox News interview, downplayed the significance of his past public statements, saying he would defer to the president's judgment.

Yeah, Trump often keeps his own counsel, but he is unmistakably veering toward the combative approach.

"I've never been shy about what my views are," Bolton said.....

Here is his file.


Here is the reaction across a spectrum of viewpoints:

"Any support I’ve shown for Trump has gone out the window this evening. And no, I am not being melodramatic. I am a simple man with modest needs. One of them is for my country to stop fighting unnecessary wars. When you wake up and realize that we’re the bad guys and that the media propaganda is there to make you docile, you will see that nothing else matters but human life. Forget about healthcare, transgender bathrooms, abortion, tax cuts — everything is secondary. --MORE--"

"In light of Trump's continuing betrayal of US patriots who voted for him, stuck with through thick and thing during the contested election, the Russian collusion lie ... we now have a growing list of Trump double-crosses: the retirement of dozens of Republicans in the Senate, Congress; the CIA infiltration in the electorate; Jerusalem to be capital of Israel; US troops in Syria, WWIII against Russia; Pompeo to the State Department, Bolton to the NSC; 2nd Amendment rights eviscerated in the new budget (#omnibus2018); I now think that he was a ringer all along, the Russian collusion story just a distraction from a darker agenda for honest US citizens and Christians. -- whatreallyhappened--"

Yup, most of the base is abandoning him, but not all:

Israel ministers welcome Trump’s appointment of John Bolton 

I imagine they would. They are probably cackling with glee.

"The Bolton thing is huge, as it represents a sea change in Trump's own reckoning of his place in the world. He's been managing things remarkably well, steering between mostly Khazar-paid traitors like the never-Trumpers, the Clintonistas and various assorted Zionists, all with the help of some unseen American patriots, which help he now appears to feel he no longer needs, allowing him to take the shekels. He really did need the help of those patriots, and I fully expect to see him entering a period of personal disasters. The problem, as always, with the Khazars is that they never stop shekeling until the larger society reacts violently in self-defense." -- xymphora

I guess that means Kushner is back in.

Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again

Nothing but another Jewman rights group, which explains their prominence in my pre$$.

"There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing." -- Ralph Peters

Have you seen the map?

Let the blitzkreig begin:             

"They mask and conceal the fact that our massive, wealth-devouring military machine is a mass murder juggernaut that kills, and has killed for decades, millions of ignorant, innocent people around the world for the benefit of American Capitalism. All our government’s phony, sanctimonious bullshit about “nation building”, “promoting democracy”, “defeating terrorism”, “punishing dictators”, “R2P” and all the vast lexicon of doublespeak official America blathers at a jaded world, is just hollow, dishonest, pathetic cover for the voracious Capitalist Jabberwock that mandates the rape and destruction of the world for the vile greed of its boss clique of mindless, heartless, subhuman monsters..... --MORE--"

"Though some have been warning about the catastrophic potential for a third global conflict for years, the idea of a third world war in today’s world is completely insane. A third world war might sound crazy, but it is only crazy if we fail to understand the desperation that continues to plague the men in suits who pull the strings guiding American foreign policy. As America’s power and influence wane, the time will come for both Russia and China to make their mark on the global stage. Just on a side note, it should come as no surprise that Trump’s nominated ambassador to Australia, Adm. Harry Harris, is a known anti-China war hawk who recently warned Congress to prepare for a war with China. Why should we need to prepare for a war with China? Who talks and thinks like that? A nation on a slow and inevitable decline that cannot refuse to admit defeat in almost any battle theater since World War II, that’s who. Realistically, nobody wants a third world war, but as the U.S. increasingly thrashes to maintain its control of the global financial markets, its network of over 1,000 bases worldwide, and its status as the world’s global policemen, a third world war may be Washington’s only hope at staying afloat as the world’s top power..... --MORE--"

Yeah, who talks and thinks like that?

"President Trump has officially picked a fight with China, but an escalating trade war isn’t inevitable. Just as important, China has also signaled a willingness to talk....."

What do they know that you do not?

Who he is not picking a fight with:

"It’s so unpopular that lawmakers from both parties and President Trump’s top drug regulator want to kill it. But the pharmaceutical industry, flexing its powerful lobbying muscles, is successfully fighting back efforts to end a loophole that costs taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars a year....."

There they go again, and it's my humble opinion that their pills led to what the Globe came wrapped in this morning:

"Adults marvel at youth-led gun control movement; Boston teens say it’s about time" by Akilah Johnson Globe Staff  March 22, 2018

Buses from across the country will roll into the nation’s capital Saturday, delivering tens of thousands of students and their families to the March for Our Lives, a rally against gun violence sparked by one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history.

The country — including Boston — has a long history of activist movements with young people at the forefront. Students staged lunch-counter sit-ins during the civil rights movement. Young people protested the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. And in the past few years, young people have influenced attitudes on everything from income inequality (Occupy Wall Street) to police brutality (Black Lives Matter) to immigration reform (Dreamers).

Where are the antiwar protests now, and why was Occupy treated badly at the time and clubbed out of the commons?

This moment, though, feels different, according to youth organizers and those who study the nation’s social movements. The anti-gun-violence rallies and protests led by young activists have been roundly applauded by adults, including prominent politicians and pundits. That’s partly because the adults have largely conceded the Parkland students’ point: No child should go to school fearful that he or she might not come home. What has been intensely debated is what to do about it.....

Which clues you in to the controlled opposition, agenda-pushing nature of the protests; otherwise, the pre$$ would not be glowing over them.


Looks to me like they are the ones being led.


"Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday began enforcing a new law requiring lawmakers to check guns, explosives, and other weapons at the door before entering the legislative chamber. In the country’s raucous domestic politics, brawls are common in Parliament, and apparently enough lawmakers also carry weapons that the new law immediately became contentious....."

If the rancorous partisanship were real, we Americans would be seeing the same thing.

Also seeAt least 3 dead after gunman attacks French supermarket

I have no idea whether it is real or what I suspect is another staged and scripted event complete with narrative to follow.

At least fake fear is funny:

"Four’easter turns into fake storm" by Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  March 22, 2018

To stand out in a winter full of storms, it helps to have a brand.

Nor’easter used to sound scary by itself, but that’s your grandpa’s storm. Now we have bomb cyclone and snowmageddon and snowpocalypse. When the bombpocalypse comes, we’ll all just cash in our 401(k)s for survival gear and gold.

May need to cash that in sooner than you think, dip$hit.

The dud of a storm that dribbled through Boston on Thursday had been dubbed by the Storm Hype Industrial Complex as the Four’easter, a catchy, marketable name for the fourth nor’easter of the month. It was supposed to arrive Wednesday with up to a foot of snow. (Yes we, too, breathlessly reported worst-case scenarios.)

But even though nary a flake fell....


Yeah, weather is funny now!

I would have gone out to eat but their was a line:

"A case is dismissed, and the cloud that loomed over Walsh dissolves" by Maria Cramer and Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  March 23, 2018

It was an explosive case, a public corruption probe with the potential to undermine a new mayor’s political agenda.

In 2014, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration came under FBI scrutiny for its cozy relationship with organized labor. Two years later, a pair of high-ranking City Hall officials were indicted on charges they threatened to withhold permits from organizers of the Boston Calling music festival unless they hired union members, a violation of the federal law prohibiting extortion. There was speculation more indictments would follow, casting scrutiny on a mayor with deep ties to organized labor.

Legal observers are divided on what led to the case’s demise. Some said prosecutors overreached from the start, others pointed to a 2017 Appeals Court ruling that made it harder to prosecute union officials charged with extortion under what is known as the Hobbs Act.

“The die [was] already cast,” said Wally Zimolong, a Philadelphia-based attorney for construction companies who has followed union extortion cases around the country. “The battle was lost when they lost in the First Circuit.”

Zimolong said the dismissal of the case is a troubling sign for businesses. “Unions have acted very aggressively to protect their traditional market,” he said. “State prosecutors either don’t have the stomach for it or aren’t empowered to prosecute these kinds of crimes.”

But others said the Burhoe decision only provides more evidence that prosecutors have been too zealous in pursuing cases against unions. “What’s endemic in this prosecutor’s office is this idea that extortion and fraud are open-ended vehicles for federal prosecutors to criminalize any behavior they think is improper,” said Michael Anderson, a Boston-based labor lawyer.....


Thankfully, the “distraction is gone.”

State bill would ease ways to register voters 

Is that a good idea in light of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal that is vaporizing as I type, or is it just another avenue of government data collection

For some reason the "quiet guffaws in the State House hallways" over the DoR hirings have been removed because "class has always been the third rail in politics."

"Congress Approves $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill, Averting a Shutdown" by Thomas Kaplan, New York Times  |  March 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — Congress gave swift approval to a $1.3 trillion spending bill that will keep the federal government open through September but broadly defies the Trump administration’s wishes to reshape it.

The House voted 256 to 167 to approve the bill early Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the spending plan, which stretched 2,232 pages, had been unveiled.

After a scare over whether a fiscally conservative senator might force a brief government shutdown this weekend, along with an unexpected grievance from another senator over the renaming of an Idaho wilderness area, the Senate voted 65 to 32 to approve the bill around 12:30 Friday morning.

Instead, they shutdown Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, for complaining that no one had time to read it.

Government funding was set to expire Friday night, but by approving the bill, lawmakers moved to avert what would have been the third shutdown of the year.

The spending bill, which congressional leaders agreed to on Wednesday and President Trump seemed to grudgingly endorse on Twitter, provides big increases to the military and to domestic programs — and clearly rebuffs the Trump administration’s efforts to sharply scale back the reach and scope of the federal government.

SeeTrump signs $1.3 trillion spending package 

After he blustered about vetoing it, in what can only be termed fake news!

The bill funds the government for the 2018 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1 and is already almost halfway over. Congress paved the way for this week’s legislation with a two-year budget deal last month that raised strict limits on military and domestic spending by about $140 billion this year.

In dividing up the spoils of that budget agreement, Congress rebuked the Trump administration’s initial vision for the federal government in many ways. The president’s desire to drastically cut spending on the environment was rebuffed. Programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, far from being eliminated, were spared any reductions. Not only did the administration’s request for deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health go nowhere, but Congress gave the agency an additional $3 billion.

Meaning Congre$$ is in control as a white flag flies from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Sometimes you save the president from themselves,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the health institutes. 

Is that why they brought Bolton aboard?

The spending bill “repudiates the abysmal Trump budget, investing robustly in critical priorities like child care, transportation infrastructure, national security, election protection, medical research, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, veterans’ health services and much more,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

The Democrats got everything they Dreamed of (almost).

At the White House, Mr. Trump’s top advisers worked to put the best face on a package they conceded fell short of fully funding his priorities and contained many items he would rather not have accepted, but the bill landed with a thud among conservatives who are still on Capitol Hill.

The additional spending comes at the expense of adding even further to the national debt, which has topped $21 trillion. The growing debt has seemed of minimal concern on Capitol Hill in recent months, where Republicans passed a sweeping tax overhaul late last year that will also result in piling up more debt.

The process for approving the bill left bruised feelings as well, as the enormous bill was not made public until Wednesday night.

“In all honesty, none of us know what is actually in this bill,” Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Thursday morning, just hours before House members were asked to vote on it.

And they called it representative democracy!

The bill’s eventual approval in the Senate was never in doubt.....



"White House, Dem deal on immigration proved unattainable" by Alan Fram Associated Press  March 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — An effort to protect young Dreamer immigrants from deportation never really had much chance of squeezing into the last bill Congress must pass this election year. That’s why bargainers from both parties were surprised when the White House tried anyway.

The catch: It was bait to win more money for President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico.

The immigration talks failed, and Trump ended up getting $1.6 billion for his wall and other border security steps, just a year’s worth of funds. That left prospects dim that Congress would act this year to renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, or that Trump would get much more money for his wall as Democrats eyeing a potential House takeover in November’s elections become increasingly resistant to helping him.

‘‘Until they stop acting like idiots and stop trying to use Dreamers as hostages to pass their stupid xenophobic laws and stupid ideas like the border wall, nothing changes,’’ said Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democrat of Arizona and member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Trump took a different view, expressed in a tweet Wednesday:

By one account, a different person said. 

Large numbers of Republicans don’t want to protect immigrants here illegally, period.....



"An 18-year-old man is accused of attacking a fellow student with a steak knife in a Bunker Hill Community College men’s room Wednesday, but he claims the alleged victim followed him into the restroom and pulled the knife, attorneys said at the man’s arraignment Thursday. Jerry Pierre-Louis of Mattapan surrendered to awaiting state troopers. Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Paul Lewis said Pierre-Louis is under the supervision of the state Department of Youth Services following an April 2017 conviction for carrying a firearm without a license. Carey said Pierre-Louis had immigrated to the United States from Haiti eight years ago, graduated from Boston International High School, and has been living with his father and two brothers and studying to be an X-ray technician at the community college. The arrest report shows he is still a Haitian citizen....."

Now I got limp dick.