Blizzard Warning!

By Elaine Magliaro

We’re bracing for the worst up here in my neck of the woods–especially after listening to the latest weather reports. The weather map below indicates that Massachusetts is going to get walloped when what is expected to be a historic blizzard hits New England. We may get well over two feet of snow! I’m hoping we don’t lose power. If so, I’ll be absent for a while.

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Posted in Climatology, Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Same Old FBI Seeking Publicity, Not Substance

 by Mike Spindell

Hoover-JEdgar-LOCThe FBI is seen by most Americans as the greatest law enforcement agency in this country. We think of it as the “gold standard” when it comes to smart agents, using the latest technology and most modern forensics to catch criminals and domestic terrorists. Part of the mythos of FBI intelligence is in our ideas of genius FBI profilers, who combining a detectives knowledge with a psychological expertise are able to catch criminals by understanding their thought patterns. We also think of FBI agents as maintaining the highest standards of integrity in doing their jobs based on constitutional standards of law enforcement procedure. We have seen though evidence that the famed FBI forensic lab had falsified data in order to wrongly convict individuals. There have been frequent stories about FBI agents acting unlawfully by trampling individual rights in dealing with citizens. We can remember the true stories of the COINTELPRO initiative launched by J. Edgar Hoover in the 60’s targetting those he deemed radicals by various methods of blackmail and luring people into criminal conspiracies by using paid informants who urged targetted individuals towards criminal behavior. We even know as a matter of fact that there was an FBI sting to try to get Martin Luther King to kill himself, after tape recording an adulterous hotel room tryst and threatening to make it public. Much of the renown of the FBI derives from its creator J. Edgar Hoover’s public relations prowess. Much of the FBI dysfunction is also a direct result of the bureacratic structure Hoover put in place and thus the traditions that continue today. I wrote about that history and those propensities in this post: FBI & Intelligence.

Today at The Guardian online, I read about how today’s FBI is “combatting” terrorism, which I’m linking below. It is an operation that has a certain comic irony about it, if the subject wasn’t so serious. The gist of it is that paid FBI informants are receiving highly lucrative incentives to target individuals in the Muslim community, to commit acts that could lead to terrorism conspiracy charges. To make a conspiracy case one does not have to actually commit a crime, but can be charged and convicted based on taking positive acts towards committing a “crime”. Succinctly if an informant can get someone to buy a gun with the possible future intention of using it for terrorism then they can be charged with conspiracy, even if their only co-conspirator was the FBI informant. There are greater subtleties to be explored as you read this article and think about its implications: FBI Counter-Terrorism Efforts

Posted in American History, CIA, Civil Liberties, Communism, Conspiracy, Constitutional Law, Crime, Criminal Law, DEA, Democracy, DOJ, Equal Rights, Evidence Law, FBI, Free Speech, Government, Government Propaganda, Historical Persons, History, J. Edgar Hoover, Jurisprudence, Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal Analysis, Legal Theory, Media, MLK Assassination, Mythology, NSA, Oligarchy, Political Science, Politics, Presidents, Prison, Propaganda, United States, War on "Terror", War on Drugs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

James Fallows on “The Tragedy of the American Military”

By Elaine Magliaro

On Friday, I was talking with a friend when he suggested that I read James Fallows’s article about the American military that was published in The Atlantic magazine. In his article titled The Tragedy of the American Military, Fallows looks at the state of the U.S. military after it has spent well over a decade at war.  Fallows wrote about a “chickenhawk nation” that sent troops into combat “without clear strategies, weapons acquisition programs that are expensive and politically connected, and an American public that is largely disconnected from the wars.” He also reported “on the findings of a commission that President Obama requested in 2011 to examine how the Pentagon could best be reformed.”

‘An era of defeat’ for the best soldiers in the world? (PBS NewsHour)
James Fallows speaks with chief foreign correspondent Margaret Warner about his article that was published in The Atlantic magazine.

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Posted in Afghanistan, American History, Barack Obama, Countries, Foreign Policy, Government, Imperialism, Iraq, Political Science, Politics, Presidents, Society, United States, US Army, US Military, USAF, USCG, USMC, USN, War, War on "Terror" | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Not Eaxctly “Weekend at Bernie’s”: Minnesota Man Suspected of Taking Dead Mother to Bank to Withdraw Money

David Vanzo

David Vanzo

By Elaine Magliaro

Earlier this week, news media reported that police in Plymouth, Minnesota, were investigating a man named David Vanzo  “for elderly neglect and financial exploitation of his mother…” Tom Lyden (MyFox9) said, “Detectives wonder if he brought his mother to the bank to make a withdrawal — after she was already dead.”

According to news reports, Vanzo’s mother Caryl died two weeks ago. David Ferguson of Raw Story said that police believe that on the day of her death, Vanzo took his mother’s dead body to the bank in order to withdraw money from her account. Ferguson said that Vanzo then, allegedly, “reported her death to authorities seven hours later.”

According to Tom Lyden, Vanzo has denied the allegation. Vanzo told MyFox9, “My mother and I had an agreement. I took care of my mom for years, I’m the good guy here, not the bad guy.”

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Posted in Crime, Financial, Law Enforcement, United States, Weird Crime | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Governor Chris Christie’s Extensive Travel Expenses Costing the Taxpayers of New Jersey a Pretty Penny

Chris Christie Governor of New Jersey

Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey

By Elaine Magliaro  

On Tuesday, Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had refused “to release nearly $800,000 in American Express credit card bills for the travel costs of his state police security detail.” Lagervist said that Christie’s staff had “rejected a New Jersey Watchdog reporter’s request for the monthly statements, contending releasing the records would jeopardize Christie’s safety.” He added that the denial followed a New Jersey Watchdog report last week, which revealed the travel costs of the Executive Protection Unit (EPU) had “grown by 1,800 percent since Christie became governor in 2010.” According to state records, the expenses “totaled $959,856, not including unreleased expense information for the fourth quarter of last year.”

Lagervist:

New Jersey spent nearly $1 million on travel expenses for its state police Executive Protection Unit during Christie’s four years and nine months as governor, according to documents obtained under the Open Public Records Act. Last year, Christie traveled out-of-state on more than 100 days while visiting 36 states, Mexico and Canada, primarily on personal and political trips that were not official state business.

The current average monthly travel costs to protect Christie for a single month are 50 percent more than former Gov. Jon Corzine’s entire final year in office, according to state records. For 2009, EPU’s expenses were only $21,704 – compared with $32,933 per month for the first three quarters of 2014.

Most of Christie’s trips were taken “primarily to help raise $106 million in campaign contributions as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.”

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Posted in Conservatives, New Jersey, Political Science, Politics, RNC, State Government, United States | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

New Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee Cites Bible…Claims Human-Caused Climate Change Is a Hoax (VIDEO)

Sen. James Inhofe R-Oklahoma

Sen. James Inhofe
R-Oklahoma

By Elaine Magliaro

After the midterm elections in November, I wrote a post titled Will Climate Change Denier James Inhofe Become Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee When Republicans Take Over the Senate in January? I’m sorry to tell you that last Wednesday morning the Senator from Oklahoma officially took the gavel as chairman of that committee. Then–later that day–Inhofe “took the Senate floor for a long speech about how human-caused climate change is fake.”

Although Inhofe voted on Wednesday with 97 other senators to acknowledge that climate change is not a hoax, he explained why he had done so in his floor speech. He claimed “there was ‘Biblical evidence’ of climate change, but that humans were not responsible for it.”

Philip Bump (Washington Post):

The climate changes all the time, he said, citing both scientific and “Biblical evidence.” There was a hoax: the idea that man was responsible. Such a position was “arrogant,” in his formulation, the idea that people could affect the mechanisms that controlled the globe. With that distinction drawn — the climate changes, and that change isn’t a hoax, even if the role of humans is — the vote was held. Only Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) voted ‘no.’

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Posted in Climate Change Deniers, Climatology, Conservatives, Countries, Democracy, Government, Politics, Science, United States | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Songs for Saturday: Music I Grew Up With

By MIKE SPINDELL

In 1954 a disc jockey named Alan Freed arrived in New York City to take over the late shift on the AM radio station WINS at 1010 on the dial. In Akron, OH and then Cleveland he had achieved fame among young people by initially playing what was called by Whites “race music”, but really was a new genre combining elements of Jazz and Blues music, which Freed had become enamored with at the dawn of the 50’s.  He called the music “Rock and Roll” popularizing this genre, that at the time was considered to lascivious by the White establishment. It was Freed’s naming of the genre, whether or not he was the first use the name, which led to the magnificent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being located in Cleveland. I first heard Freed on WINS at the age of ten and most of my beginning appreciation of music came from listening to Alan Freed. While to many people it was Elvis that launched Rock and Roll, the truth was as great a performer as Elvis was he merely had tapped into an established genre and brought in White youth as followers. What followers are the great Black Rock and Roll artists that had an enormous effect on me.

 

The next artist like Chuck Berry above was known for his guitar prowess as well as his singing.

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Posted in Society, Memories, American History, United States, Music, Art, Poetry, Short Video, Psychology, Celebrity, Sexuality, History, Jazz, Rock and Roll | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments