Thursday, October 2, 2014

The reporter who brought down the Secret Service's director

By

Behind the shocking revelations of incompetence and unprofessionalism that rocked the Secret Service this week is a longtime reporter who has been diligently uncovering the agency's secrets for years.

Carol Leonnig, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who has worked at The Washington Post for nearly 15 years, has broken almost every single story on the agency, a series of shocking reports that on Wednesday resulted in the abrupt resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. (Pierson called the resignation “painful.”)

In less than a week, Leonnig uncovered three scandals that pushed the agency’s first female leader out the door. First, she reported that Secret Service agents failed to respond for days when a gunman shot the White House residence seven times with a semi-automatic rifle in 2011, smashing a window while Sasha Obama was home. (At first the agency thought the noise was from a car backfiring; then they believed the bullets were from a gang fight they theorized must have occurred on the White House lawn.)

Leonnig also reported that a knife-wielding man who jumped the White House fence weeks ago made it all the way to the door of the Green Room before an off-duty officer tackled him. The man made it much farther into the building than the agency initially admitted.

Lawmakers pummeled Pierson on Tuesday with Leonnig’s reporting at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the agency’s security failures. After the hearing, Leonnig broke the news that President Obama recently rode an elevator with an armed felon who was acting strange. It’s unclear if the president was immediately informed of the security breach. Pierson announced her resignation the next day.

Leonnig’s domination of the story has been so total that the editorial board of The New York Times, The Washington Post’s competitor, cited her stories three times in its editorial calling for an overhaul of the agency.

In an interview with MSNBC this week, Leonnig said Secret Service sources were motivated to talk to her because “they know how great the Service has been in their lifetime and they know what a sacred duty it is to protect the president.” The agents wanted the nation to hear their concerns about how the agency has been sliding down in quality. She added that she believes more Secret Service details and scandals will come out. “Who knows what we will discover as the days go by,” Leonnig said.

The longtime reporter has been on the beleaguered agency’s tail for years: She reported in 2012 that a dozen agents solicited prostitutes while traveling with the president. She also broke the story with colleague David Nakamura in 2013 that a Secret Service agent left a bullet from his service weapon in the hotel room of a woman he had picked up at a bar.

She was part of a team of reporters who won a Pulitzer this year for their work on the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, and she also won a Polk Award for her coverage of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell accepting luxury gifts while in office, which led to a criminal indictment. On her Facebook page, Leonnig thanked her colleagues who weren’t included in the Pulitzer earlier this year but who helped the team win. “Another day that I feel so grateful for the kind of razor-sharp colleagues I get to work with,” she wrote.

Source: YahooNews

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Miami-area mayor found guilty of corruption

By Zachary Fagenson



MIAMI (Reuters) - A Miami jury found a south Florida mayor guilty of corruption charges on Monday stemming from an undisclosed consulting job he took for a healthcare company while in office, as well as illegally using his position to lobby for a construction deal.

Steven Bateman, 59, was arrested in August 2013 and charged with two felony counts of illegal compensation and three misdemeanors for allegedly breaking Miami-Dade County ethics rules.

The jury found him guilty of the two felonies and one misdemeanor of illegal lobbying. He faces up to 15 years in jail for each felony count.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Robert Luck withheld pronouncing the verdict for two weeks to consider a defense motion to dismiss the case.

Bateman was mayor of Homestead, a city south of Miami at the entrance to the Florida Keys, from 2009 to 2013. He admitted to working as an outside consultant for the healthcare company, but said it did not affect his mayoral duties.

State prosecutors alleged that he illegally lobbied the town council, of which he was a member, to help speed construction of a child-care center.

During a weeklong trial Bateman’s lawyers argued that the former mayor was able to separate his public and private duties.

Bateman is the latest in a growing list of south Florida mayors to face prosecution for public corruption, although juries have acquitted some.

One-time Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño is currently serving a 40-month sentence after pleading guilty to accepting kickbacks late last year. A federal jury in August acquitted Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi of several corruption charges tied to an FBI sting operation.

Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina was also acquitted earlier this year on federal charges of conspiring to avoid paying taxes on $2 million in income and lying to authorities.

In May, federal officials arrested North Miami Mayor Marie Lucie Tondreau and alleged she was part of a mortgage fraud scheme that bilked more than $8 million from lenders. Tondreau, the city’s first Haitian-American mayor, has pleaded not guilty.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Constitutional Revolution: Asymmetric warfare


General George Washington did not confine himself to confront the British head-on in battle, but rather engaged in guerrilla operations, hit-and-run attacks, and tactical surprise.

Guerrilla warfare (gərĭl`ə) [Span.,=little war], fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. When guerrillas obey the laws of conventional warfare they are entitled, if captured, to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war; however, they are often executed by their captors. The tactics of guerrilla warfare stress deception and ambush, as opposed to mass confrontation, and succeed best in an irregular, rugged, terrain and with a sympathetic populace, whom guerrillas often seek to win over by propaganda, reform, and terrorism. Guerrilla warfare, also known as unconventional, irregular, or asymmetric warfare, has played a significant role in modern history.

The American Revolution

Large-scale guerrilla fighting accompanied the American Revolution, and the development of guerrilla tactics under such partisan leaders as Francis Marion Marion, Francis , c.1732–1795, American Revolutionary soldier, known as the Swamp Fox, b. near Georgetown, S.C. He was a planter and Indian fighter before joining (1775) William Moultrie's regiment at the start of the American Revolution.

The term guerrilla itself was coined during the Peninsular War (1808–14), when Spanish partisans, under such leaders as Francisco Mina, proved unconquerable even by the armies of Napoleon I

From Spain the use of the term spread to Latin America and then to the United States.

During the U.S. Civil War, William C. Quantrill Quantrill, William Clarke , 1837–65, Confederate guerrilla leader, b. Canal Dover (now Dover), Ohio. In the Civil War his band of guerrillas was active in Missouri and Kansas. He was given the rank of captain in the Confederate army.

From its initiation, the American Revolutionary War was, necessarily, a showcase for asymmetric techniques. In the 1920s, Harold Murdock of Boston attempted to solve the puzzle of the first shots fired on Lexington Green, and came to the suspicion that the few score militia men who gathered before sunrise to await the arrival of hundreds of well-prepared British soldiers were sent specifically to provoke an incident which could be used for propaganda purposes. The return of the British force to Boston following the search operations at Concord was subject to constant skirmishing, using partisan forces gathered from communities all along the route, making maximum use of the terrain (particularly trees and stone field walls) to overcome the limitations of their weapons- muskets with an effective range of only about 50–70 metres.
 
Throughout the war, skirmishing tactics against British troops on the move continued to be a key factor in Rebel success; however, they may also have encouraged the occasional incidents, particularly in the later stages, where British troops used alleged surrender violations as a justification for killing large numbers of captives (e.g., Waxhaw and Groton Heights).

Another feature of the long march from Concord was the urban warfare technique of using buildings along the route as additional cover for snipers, which provoked the logical response from the British force — destruction of the buildings. When revolutionary forces forced their way into Norfolk, Virginia, and used waterfront buildings as cover for shots at British vessels out in the river, the response of destruction of those buildings was ingeniously used to the advantage of the rebels, who encouraged the spread of fire throughout the largely Loyalist town, and spread propaganda blaming it on the British. Shortly afterwards they destroyed the remaining houses, on the grounds that they might provide cover for British soldiers. On the subject of propaganda, it should be borne in mind that, contrary to the impression given in the popular American film The Patriot, British forces never adopted a popular response to partisan-style asymmetric warfare — retribution massacres of groups selected on a semi-random basis from the population at large.

The rebels also adopted a form of asymmetric sea warfare, by using small, fast vessels to avoid the Royal Navy, and capturing or sinking large numbers of merchant ships; however the British responded by issuing letters of marque permitting private armed vessels to undertake reciprocal attacks on enemy shipping. John Paul Jones became notorious in Britain for his expedition from France in the little sloop of war Ranger in April 1778, during which, in addition to his attacks on merchant shipping, he made two landings on British soil. The effect of these raids, particularly when coupled with his capture of the Royal Navy's HMS Drake — the first such success in British waters, but not Jones's last — was to force the British government to increase resources for coastal defense, and to create a climate of fear among the British public which was subsequently fed by press reports of his preparations for the 1779 Bonhomme Richard mission.

From 1776, the conflict turned increasingly into a proxy war on behalf of France, following a strategy proposed in the 1760s but initially resisted by the idealistic young King Louis XVI, who came to the throne at the age of 19 a few months before Lexington. France also encouraged proxy wars against the British in India, but ultimately drove itself to the brink of state bankruptcy by entering the war(s) directly, on several fronts throughout the world.

The Americans using guerilla tactics, particularly following Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and later in the South by such partisan leaders as Francis Marion. These guerilla bands managed to wear down Cornwallis' force with hit-and-run tactics and the destruction of supplies, making his army more vulnerable when they finally confronted the main Continental Army at Yorktown. Furthermore, American riflemen, or rangers, when led by officers who knew how to utilize them correctly such as Daniel Morgan and Nathanael Greene, were extremely effective.

Generals George Washington and Nathanael Greene successfully used a strategy of harassment and progressively grinding down British forces instead of seeking a decisive battle, in a classic example of asymmetric warfare. Nevertheless the theater tactics used by most of the American forces were those of conventional warfare. One of the exceptions was in the South, where the brunt of the war was upon militia forces who fought the enemy British troops and their Loyalist supporters, but used concealment, surprise, and other guerrilla tactics to much advantage. General Francis Marion of South Carolina, who often attacked the British at unexpected places and then faded into the swamps by the time the British were able to organize return fire, was named by them "The Swamp Fox." However, even in the South, most of the major engagements were battles of conventional warfare. The guerrilla tactics in the South were a key factor in the prevention of British reinforcement to the North, and that was a decisive factor in the outcome of the war.

In June 1775, General Washington arrived at Boston to direct the siege of the city to eject the British forces. On inspection rounds, he was impressed with siege lines engineered by a young officer, Henry Knox. Subsequently, Knox presented a plan to recover and move the big guns from Fort Ticonderoga which had recently been captured by militias led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. After some opinions to the contrary, Washington gave the green light to attempt to move large weapons over rough terrain in the deadly northern winter. Knox left in December prepared to meet heavy snows and ice on the shores of Lake Champlain in upper New York. He built sleds to transport the heavy loads over frozen rivers, snow underfoot and over mountainous terrain. He returned to Boston in six weeks with 78 cannon, 2 howitzers, 8 mortars, thousands of cannon balls, 18,000 pounds of musket balls, and 30,000 flints. When these weapons were placed on the Dorchester heights in Cambridge overlooking Boston, the British commander, Lt. General Howe, reportedly was stunned at the sight. He ordered his forces to abandon Boston and left a goodbye gift, a trove of British cannon. The victorious American siege of Boston had ended on March 17, 1776

Two years later (March 2, 1778), the American Commodore Hopkins sailed into a British stronghold in Nassau, Bahamas. He forced the surrender of two forts. He seized 78 cannons, 15 mortars, 16,000 shells and balls, 20 barrels of gun powder. The high seas became a store house for American war resources.

Sources: revolutionarywararchives.org/tactics.html

wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_warfare#American_Revolutionary_War

doublegv.com/ggv/battles/tactics.html

wiki.answers.com/Q/Were_guerrilla_war_tactics_used_in_the_American_Revolution

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Take this simple test to see if you were born with a brain or not

By Christopher Rice

Do you always feel light headed?

Are you often confused?

When you are watching a movie, television show or commercial do you often have to ask someone to explain what's going on, even though they're watching the same thing that you are?

Do you find that at the end of a page that you have no idea what you just read?

You might have been born with a common but unheard of ailment. You might have been teased your whole life and not even known why.

Take this simple test now to determine if you were born with a brain or not.

There is no time limit, so begin whenever you feel ready.

 
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Can Michael Brown get a fair trial?

By Christopher Rice

History is full of misdeeds, violent and inhuman actions of every single race on the planet. 

No race is without their atrocities. Not a single one.
None of us are guiltless.


So why do we pretend like any particular group of ancestors is better than any other?

Every nation's hands are dirty.

It's time to stop pretending that we are all so different.

Black history is just history, like everyone else's history.
Full of abuse of power and the abuse of people.


Good things and bad things.

That's just life.

We should learn from it, so it never happens again, not utilize it, to justify more injustice.

Have you heard the question that I've been hearing? "Can Officer Darren Wilson receive a fair trial?" That really got me to thinking, if these white people don't believe that a white police officer can receive a fair trial in America, then there must really be something wrong with our so-called 'justice system'. Which is something that I have said for decades, we have a lot of laws, a lot of cops but no justice.

It also got me to wonder, can Michael Brown receive a fair trial? His prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner was Officer Darren Wilson. And his sentence was carried out without appeal. I wasn't there. I can't say if it was a 'justified homicide' or not. None of us really know what happened that day for sure, except Michael Brown (and he ain't talkin'), Officer Darren Wilson and Mike's friend.

Actually, Mike does have something to say and dead men don't lie. What Mike can tell us is how many times he was shot. Or to be more specific, the autopsy tells us how many times Mr. Brown was shot and where.

We've also heard some conflicting reports as to the incident. And while they don't help us, they are imbedded into our brains for better or for worse.

We were told that a scuffle took place. That they fought over the officers firearm and that Officer Wilson accidently discharged his service revolver inside his patrol car and was punched in his eye and suffered broken bones (broken eye-socket), he was also bum rushed and fearing for his life, he shot and killed Michael Brown.

We are also told that Mr. Brown is a very bad person who robbed a liquor store of cigars and refused orders to get out of the middle of the road when first confronted by Officer Wilson. We have also been told that this justifies murder. That as an officer, Mr. Wilson did everything in his power to not have to shoot Mr. Brown but was forced to by the victim, over and over again. In this topsy-turvy world of make believe there's no reason to protest. Except in support of the criminal, Officer Wilson. And wonder can he recieve a fair trial in America.

None of what we've been told is true. Not even close. Here's what we do know...

1.) NO INJURIES immediately after the shooting, officer Darren Wilson is seen walking calmly around the body with no signs of discomfort or injury.

2.) NO HOSPITAL RECORDS for Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson did go to the hospital, hours after the shooting, but a simple records check at the hospital, that only General Strike to end Corruption did, clearly shows that Officer Wilson did not require, nor was he treated for any injuries.

3.) A police report on the death of Michael Brown is missing key information and violates Missouri open records laws. The two-page document, which the Ferguson Police Department released only after pressure from journalists and civil liberties advocates, is largely redacted or left blank.

4.) The Washington Post is reporting that Officer Darren Wilson, worked for another police department before going to work in Ferguson three years ago. From the Washington Post:


The small city of Jennings, Mo., had a police department so troubled, and with so much tension between white officers and black residents, that the city council finally decided to disband it. Everyone in the Jennings police department was fired. New officers were brought in to create a credible department from scratch.

 
Guess what? Darren Wilson was one of those officers. Some of the officers reapplied for their old jobs, but Wilson himself took a position in Ferguson.

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5.) Jim Hoft wrote that his source for the claim about the fractured eye socket was the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office. The St. Louis County Prosecutor's office never made such a claim.

6.) Michael brown was a very bad person and he did steal cigars, there's video. Most kids steal something and never get shot for it. But an autopsy toxicology report would later show that Mike had weed in his system, which proves he was a very bad person indeed. The only problem here is that cops are exempt from having to take drug test, even after discharging their weapon, so we will never know what drugs Officer Wilson was on.

7.) Autopsy report shows Mike was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury. Mr. Brown was also shot four times in the right arm.

 
One of the bullets shattered Mr. Brown’s right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone. The last two shots in the head would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired.
 
8.) An eye witness Tiffany Mitchell said in an interview with MSNBC , “Mr. Brown turned, raised his hands", and said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”
 
Officer Wilson continued to fire and Mr. Brown crumpled to the ground, Ms. Mitchell said.

Other witnesses also said teen's arms were raised

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Next time you hear some George Orwell 'Animal Farm' propaganda, remember to check the source. Personally, I really hope that Officer Darren Wilson's trial is fair and impartial, oops, I mean, I hope that charges are brought against Officer Darren Wilson. Yes, no drug test, no charges and on a paid vacation. Only in this twisted sick world are people out raising money for the officer instead of for the grieving family. God Bless America!
 
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