Archive for Boston

Will FBI's Win Streak Stop At 150-0 Or Does Their Cheating Continue?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

FBI Badge

"Nobody is supposed to be above the law in this country," says Rachel Maddow. "Even the FBI." That sounds pretty solid in my book. Yet a few months ago the New York Times reported about 150 FBI shooting incidents which the Bureau internally reviewed and found that all 150 incidents were wholly justified. None were found to be accidental, negligent or criminal. None. 150 cases heard and all 150 determined to be "good" shootings.

That's amazing. A perfect record. In professional football if you go 16-0 you go down in the record books. In the modern NFL football era, it's only happened twice, and they only have 16 regular season games. In baseball it's never happened. Not in the NBA either. Or Hockey. Add basketball to the list of an elusive perfect seasons. When you play more than a handful of games, perfection is just not something that happens. Not even once.

So how is it the FBI has a perfect 150-0 record? Watch Rachel Maddow discuss this below. And what's even more interesting than the perfect record itself is the secrecy and conspiracy necessary to make this happen. Arresting innocent people so their visas expire allowing the government to expel witnesses to FBI shootings from our shores to keep them quiet. Taking innocent people and unarmed people and blowing them away or deporting them to Russia where they disappear, just so they can't testify against the FBI. If you think this is another installment of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne adventures, it's not -- so far. But Hollywood can't be very far behind with a film treatment of this expose. They may start with the Boston Magazine story which comes out in a few days: The Murders Before The Marathon.

If you can't wait to read it or rather watch it revealed by none other than Massachusetts resident, Rachel Maddow, here you go.

WARNING: But be prepared for some graphic, disturbing images... and some moral outrage.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

FBI Admits Complicity In Record Levels Of Criminal Activity

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

FBI ID

This sounds like a startling statistic to me. According to HUFFPO:

In a Jan. 14, 2013, letter to Justice Department officials, obtained by The Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request, FBI officials disclosed that its 56 field offices authorized informants to break the law at least 5,939 times during the 2012 calendar year. USA Today reported earlier this year that the bureau allowed its informants to break the law 5,658 times in 2011.

Think about it.  Nearly 6,000 crimes. That's a lot of criminal activity for the FBI to turn it's back on. And keep in mind, that's the number of crimes the bureau is admitting to. How many more were there they complicit in that somehow didn't get reported?

What's also a bit startling is that the number of "ordained" or "forgiven" infractions of the law increased 5% from the year before. Did this substantial bump result in greater safety for us? The FBI doesn't seem to keep stats on that -- we really don't know what the ratio of crimes allowed to major busts is statistically -- if it can even be quantified.

But if I'm a victim of one of these FBI approved crimes, I'd sure hate to think the G-men were covering it up. Or worse, condoning that crime ahead of time, knowing I or someone else would be a victim.

To get a glimpse of the oversight to these crimes the FBI allows, the following might be an eye-opener:

The breakdown of how many crimes were authorized by each individual FBI field office were redacted from the 2012 report, which is known as the Otherwise Illegal Activity Report. The FBI's fellow federal law enforcement agencies -- the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- do not track how often their sources commit crimes.

There must be a set of guidelines on this Otherwise Illegal Activity Report. And I'm sure there are some sacrifices that we, the public are called upon to make (even involuntarily) for the public good, but it sure would be nice to know where the line is drawn and what kind of oversight is mandated. Is it just non-violent crimes? Is it physical assaults?

Actually, it goes much farther than small infractions. It even includes murder.

Whitey Bulger

...the Boston field office allowed mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger to continue to operate his crime ring because he was providing information to the bureau.

Whitey Bulger, just in case you missed it, was indicted and found guilty this year on 19 murder charges. Nineteen. And many of them were committed during his time as an informant. How far should we allow this program to go unbridled? Where do we draw the line? After someone commits one ordained murder? Three? Nineteen?

"It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context," former top FBI official Shawn Henry told the newspaper. "This is not done in a vacuum. It's not done randomly. It's not taken lightly."

So the FBI says this is not taken lightly? Bulger committed at least 19 murders? I beg to differ with FBI Official Henry. They absolutely did take it lightly. So lightly they didn't care at all. I guess he was just a bad guy killing other bad guys -- and women. And he didn't just kill them, he had them tortured, then dismembered and tossed away like garbage.

To top all of that off, Whitey, for all the FBI's oversight, slipped away and disappeared for 16 years. So much for things not being done in a vacuum. Maybe it they really had been, he wouldn't have been given so much rope to hang so many other people.

Just like with the NSA spying, it would be better to set the rules BEFORE innocent people become the victims, not afterward.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

How Far Should Diplomatic Immunity Reach

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

DPL plates

When I was growing up I took a trip with my older brother to New York City. While we were walking around and seeing the sights, I noticed for the first time a license plate that had the "DPL" imprinted on it. I had never seen that before, growing up in the suburbs of Boston. I wasn't exactly a rube, but I wasn't big city either -- at least at that time.

So my big bro pointed out that the initials indicated that these cars belonged to people in the diplomatic corps. They had immunity and could break the law at will and even flaunt it. That was my brother's take and he even pointed out that the DPL car we were looking at was parked in a red zone.

From that time forward, through my years living in major cities, I've noticed lots of DPL cars and maybe not surprisingly, they always were parked in no parking zones or with time expired on the meters. I guess that's because they don't have to pay to park like the rest of us.

My interest was piqued when I caught this on Reuters:

In New York, Devyani Khobragade, a deputy consul general at the Indian Consulate in New York, was arrested on December 12 on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her housekeeper, an Indian national. She was released on a $250,000 bail.

In an email to colleagues, Khobragade complained of "repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches, swabbing" and being detained in a holding cell with petty criminals despite her "incessant assertions of immunity".

In essence, this deputy consul was keeping an illegal slave. Let's just be honest here. And when she was subjected to the same treatment as the rest of Americans, her arrogance and immunity took over. She was demanding to be treated better than anyone else.

Maybe my brother was right. Being a diplomat means you can do anything to anyone and get away with any crime, large or small. That may be the way the government sees things, but if the NSA is going to eavesdrop on our calls and emails, maybe they need the power to hold possible criminals who are harboring sleeper cells on our soil.

I'm not saying Khobragade is running a sleeper cell or that her "slave" was a terrorist. But they could be. And this also could all be just one big misunderstanding. But we need to look at what diplomatic immunity really means. Can you come over here, kill an American citizen and just go back to your home country? Actually yes. And it's happened before with Soviet drunk drivers killing pedestrians and all they got was expelled back to their country. The dead victims didn't get to go home. They got planted six feet under. No charges were levied.

Readers Digest wrote about this:

Diplomatic immunity affords foreign diplomats in America a blank check for bad behavior. Unpaid bills, drunk driving, sex crimes and even slavery - what's the recourse?

In early 2005, Virginia police closed in on a suspected child predator — a man in his 40s who cops say drove four hours to meet a 13-year-old girl he’d met on the Internet, promising to teach her about sex. It turned out the girl was really a cop, and officers arrested the man at a shopping mall.

But then it was the police who got an unpleasant surprise. Their suspect, Salem Al-Mazrooei, was a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates — and therefore covered by “diplomatic immunity.” The cops had to let him go. Days later, Al-Mazrooei left the country, never having spent a night in jail.

Now back to the current crisis. The government of India has it tighty-whities all up in a bunch. They're taking retaliatory steps against the US embassy in India. They've taken down the protective barricades which keep our diplomatic corps over there safe.

The measures included a revision of work conditions of Indians employed at U.S. consulates and a freeze on the import of duty-free alcohol.

You know they mean business when they freeze the import of duty-free alcohol.

It's about time we get real here. Respect and privacy are one thing to grant visiting dignitaries. But freedom to overtly break our human rights laws, to become general parking scofflaws and to commit horrific human crimes is not above the law for us, or for them.

So India, spend a bit more time thinking about why you're defending a slave holder and less on making the US presence on your land less safe.

And Obama -- maybe you need to get John Kerry off the plane a little longer to look at the way we are protecting law breakers here under the guise of diplomatic immunity.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

What Did Elizabeth Warren Do To Put The Smile On Lawrence O'Donnell's Face

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

O'Donnell and Warren

Lawrence O'Donnell is known to glow, rant and rave. He loves, hates and skewers with the best of them. So it takes little to get him going, but it takes a lot to make him glow. If the lights went out on his set last night, you'd never know because his internal incandescence was burning bright.

Why? Because once again, Elizabeth Warren showed why she's quickly becoming the darling of her party. She's also staying under the radar of the GOP front runners for 2016 POTUS campaign. And if she keeps it up, even Hillary might stand aside and let EW carry the banner.

There's not a public voice that speaks more eloquently and pointedly toward the constitution and our rights. She's a champion of the little guy/girl and protective of the larger.

If Time Magazine thought Christie was the elephant in the room, Elizabeth Warren is the Kick Ass in the country. Here's why:

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

FULL VIDEO- President Obama Speaks In Boston on #Obamacare

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

NOTE: Please scroll to 3:30 to start Deval Patrick's comments and introduction to the president.

This video will be replaced when one becomes available.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

If You Like Elizabeth Warren, You're Sure To Like Juliette Kayyem

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Juliette Kayyem

Yes, this Massachusetts man is proud to once again boast a terrific new face on the political scene. She may only be known within the boundaries of the Bay State, and even in the Obama White House, but soon that may change. Kayyem has announced she's going to run for Deval Patrick's seat as governor of Massachusetts.

So what's so special about her? A lot of things. Hightlights from her Kayyem for Governor website include:

...a civil rights attorney, litigating cases involving the rights of children and defending progressive and just causes. She helped bring the first federal anti-bullying case and was part of the team that argued for The Citadel to open its doors to women.

She spent several years overseeing the 8,000-plus member Massachusetts National Guard, the commonwealth’s strategic security planning, and the distribution of homeland security funds she was tapped by President-elect Obama to be part of his transition team before being chosen as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.

For her exemplary leadership in the wake of the BP spill, coordinating 60 federal agencies over five states, Juliette was awarded the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor.

As a young, female candidate with no elected office in her background, she's being favorably compared to stalwart freshman Senator Elizabeth Warren. Aside from gender similarity, there's quite a bit more.

Here's what The Daily Beast writes about the recently announced candidacy of Kayyem:

The 2014 gubernatorial hopeful bears some striking similarities to Warren. After all, Kayyem is a lawyer from Cambridge who taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government but has never held elected office. Warren is also a lawyer from Cambridge who was a political novice before being elected in 2012 and who taught at Harvard, though she was a professor at the law school.

Kayyem is modest about any comparison to Massachusetts’ first term senator, telling The Daily Beast, “While it’s a compliment to be compared to Elizabeth Warren, I am very realistic that she is just an amazing person. I hope I can generate that kind of enthusiasm but I’d be foolish to assume” that will happen on its own.

A neophyte politician, she faces a number of obstacles, the largest of them is name recognition or lack thereof. She will be running in a Democratic primary against candidates including state treasurer and former DNC chair Steve Grossman, Donald Berwick, the former administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicare Services, and state senator Dan Wolf.

The winner will likely face Charlie Baker, the GOP’s popular 2010 gubernatorial nominee, in November 2014. That's  just over a year away and finding your way through that crowded primary will prove daunting. But there's a special people's quality to Ms. Kayyem. Her teacher background, her strong writing talents and her Homeland Security background seem to make many in her state feel confident. That's a major part of leadership -- exuding confidence. And she's going to need to demonstrate it very quickly.

 Massachusetts’ unique system for nominating a candidate where delegates are elected in caucuses to a state convention held in the early summer before a primary. To make it to the September primary ballot from there, a candidate needs win the support of 15% of the delegates at the convention. The result, according to Peter Ubertaccio, a professor of political science at Stonehall College, candidates need to start organizing early and win the progressive activists who dominate the caucuses. In Ubertaccio’s opinion, if Kayyem can “demonstrate early strength” in the same way that incumbent Governor Deval Patrick (in whose administration Kayyem served) did in 2006, “she’d be a pretty formidable player.”

From John Adams to John Kennedy, from Edward Brooke, Elizabeth Warren, John Kerry, Tip O'Neill and current Governor Duval Patrick, Massachusetts has had some winners. They have had their Dukakis's and Romneys as well. But larger than life characters are what we do well in the commonwealth. And the next governor of this great state might just be joining that list of winners.

Wish to know more?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Tomorrow's Leaders, Today.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Carl Sciortino

With a H/T to MSNBC's Christopher Hayes. He calls this ad a "masterpiece." Watch it and you'll understand why.

I'm a Massachusetts native son, so watching this made me proud. Hope we find more people like Carl Sciortino to represent us in Congress. If we're ever going to get some meaningful legislation passed, we're going to need meaningful leaders. We've seen that we can't get by with the old guard. Time to bring in the new. It's good for me. It's good for you. It's good for America.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare