Archive for Politics

Reports: MD, NY Police were warned of BGF threats to officers

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Dan Bongino posted the above photo last night regarding a 12/5 NYPD intelligence report:

The attached picture was sent to me by a former NYPD colleague of mine a little while ago. It is a warning sent out weeks ago to the officers of the NYPD about a credible threat to their lives.

Justin Fenton discusses similar reports:

Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County Police spokeswoman, said officers tracking Brinsley’s posts and the location of his cellphone notified the NYPD’s 70th precinct of the threats against officers in a phone call at 2:10 p.m.

Bratton told reporters that the warnings were received just as the officers were shot.

“The tragedy here is that just as the warning was coming in, the murder was occurring,” Bratton said.

The shooting comes at a time of heightened tensions amid grand jury decisions in the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York, among other incidents. Bratton said police were investigating Brinsley’s background to see what role his anti-police messages played in the shooting.

In New York, police were reacting by instructing officers not to take enforcement action “unless absolutely necessary,” the New York Times reported. A memo circulated by the police officers union also said at least two units were to respond to all calls, “no matter the condition or severity.”

More from Fenton on warnings issued by the FBI:

On Friday, the Baltimore FBI office issued a memo that the Black Guerrilla Family gang was targeting “white cops” in Maryland, an agency spokeswoman confirmed. The memo, circulating among officers, said a contact who had given reliable information in the past said members of the gang — connected to the high-profile corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center — were planning to target white officers to “send a message.”

A federal law enforcement official said Brinsley had no known ties to the BGF.

Listen to the CIA’s torture playlist

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The Anti Media:

According to declassified reports, video evidence and testimony from whistleblower guards and soldiers, the US government used music to torture detainees in a number of different ways.
In some cases, songs would be played in repetition for hours or days on end, as to drive the prisoner to insanity. Music was also used to prevent detainees from sleeping, which is another way of creating delirium and vulnerability in the detainees.
Some songs were chosen because they were annoying, while others were chosen because they may have been offensive to the prisoner’s culture or religion.
Below are some of the songs that have been identified most often as being used by the US military in their torture programs. Some of the songs are annoying and could understandably be considered torture, specifically the Barney & Friends theme song and the Meow Mix commercial.
However, some of the artists featured like 2Pac, Rage Against The Machine and (hed)pe are actually pretty good, and are actually philosophically opposed to what the military is doing.

Listen to the playlist on Spotify below:

Read More…

Don Quinn’s honorable military service

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A report published earlier today (and later removed) on This Ain’t Hell (TAH) showed a FOIA reply on service records related to Don Quinn, who failed in a bid for the State Senate and currently serves on the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee. These records and the post, written by a blogger on that site, indicated (incorrectly from all appearances) that Quinn had served but had not served as a combat veteran.

Quinn posted a Release from Active Duty document today that looked legitimate (people who are guilty of stolen valor have been known to fake those sometime but Quinn’s appears to be the real deal) that shows overseas service, among other things. This contradicts the FOIA reply.

Yes, I did send the FOIA reply I obtained to TAH in an attempt to try to sort out the discrepancy between that reply that he didn’t serve overseas and the pictures online of him in DCUs (desert camo uniforms) along with a Third Army combat patch on his right sleeve in one picture. Additionally, the lack of awards and schools for someone who was a NCO seemed weird. I didn’t have any plans to publish anything here at all on the subject and I didn’t intend it as a pitch for a story to TAH unless there was actually something there (I would’ve written a post myself instead of shopping it to someone if that was my goal.)

I know there are nuances with the records from the National Guard and Regular Army based on my own records and a case earlier this year when I was shopped a story on a candidate in Washington County who had done initial entry training on active duty but no other service that was shown on the FOIA request (since National Guard service records outside of active duty days would only be at the state level.) Maybe the USAR has a similar situation or maybe there are some problems in St. Louis that need straightening out. I would urge Mr. Quinn to check that out and get it fixed.

I would also note that Quinn can authorize a release of his complete records to anyone (with personal info redacted.) Delegate-Elect David Vogt, as a part of his abortive congressional campaign, posted his whole service record online and sadly it might be a good idea if other candidates did likewise. It’s sad that this question even comes up ever but that is a byproduct of the scum who actually lie about their service. As I noted when I blogged about Anne Arundel County’s Steve Barr, who lied about being a POW in Vietnam, it would probably be a good idea if the state looked at penalizing those who receive tangible benefits from stolen valor. Another good idea might be mandating that the state MVA allow veterans to verify their service and get that status denoted on a driver’s license, like other states are doing.

I apologize to Don Quinn for setting this chain of events into motion. It was not my intent for any of this to come out unless it was  vetted further and verified. I will note that I never accused Quinn of embellishing his service. I did look into it, but with good reason honestly (based on his track record in other areas.)

Quinn’s record of apparently untrustworthy statements and actions is what caused this research to be started in the first place. The fact that he falsely claimed to have a degree when he didn’t (also reported on by The Sun and The Capital Gazette) is the only thing that made me look into this issue. Additionally, questions about Quinn’s residency and the fact he didn’t register to vote until the day he filed for office were an issue in his primary. Additionally, I noted Quinn’s involvement in a Find Local Pot website, and despite his denials and spin, the local media agreed with that I wrote.

Quinn devoted a good deal of time to writing a screed about me on his website before on the pot website issue and he ranted about me again today (understandably so in this case.) Of course, his primary opponent’s campaign ranted about what I wrote about them before as well. I won’t respond to what Quinn wrote today in the heat of the moment other than to say I don’t personally dislike him. I’d even be open to meeting him for a cup of coffee or tea to clear the air in a cordial fashion.

I don’t think he or Eric Knowles would’ve been able to beat Senator Astle. Quinn proved that he couldn’t beat Astle and Knowles couldn’t beat Quinn. I understand a potential candidate for 2018 is moving into the district and this person has actually gotten elected to office before on more than one occasion. It would be good for the GOP if they had a good candidate to face Astle. All bets would be off with a wide open field if Astle were to retire after this term.

One other thing to note: Don Quinn is a public figure. He ran for office in 2014 and is an elected member of the AA County Central Committee. He has said multiple times he is a candidate in 2018.

Eleanor Holmes Norton to appear in “The Nutcracker”

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Judy Kurtz of The Hill reports that Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democratic Delegate to the U.S. House from DC, is making her third appearance Saturday in the Washington Ballet production of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker. Norton will play The Merry Widow.

In the past, Mayors Marion Barry and Vincent Gray have also appeared in the ballet. Tickets still remain for both Saturday performances at The Warner Theatre, but the report doesn’t note whether Norton will perform in the matinee or evening performance.

Report: MD man lied about being a POW in Vietnam

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Steve Barr (pictured above between Delegate Nic Kipke and new Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh) lives in Pasadena and claims he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was honored – along with other veterans – by the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company last month and Kipke tweeted the above photograph, which Schuh retweeted.)

Unfortunately, This Ain’t Hell reports that Barr is lying about being a POW. TAH has his service records which show he did serve in Vietnam honorably, but that he wasn’t a POW. Barr even fooled Voice of America News and told them a story about a supposedly fallen comrade who died well after Barr’s service in Vietnam. TAH also notes that only one POW in Vietnam had the last name Barr and his remains were repatriated to the US in 1995.

I have written things that were less than flattering about both Kipke and Schuh in the past so I want to make sure to emphasize that I am not doing that here. They, along with everyone else Barr lied to, are among the victims in this situation. As a veteran, I am astounded that someone who went to Vietnam and was honorably discharged would betray his brothers who were held prisoner and, in many cases, died in captivity. It seems to me in some way that people who actually have a service record and embellish it this way are guilty of a worse offense than people who make their service up from whole cloth. Either way, people who commit this offense of stolen valor are reprehensible people.

Stolen Valor was in the news earlier this week after video emerged of Sean Yetman, a fake Army Ranger who never served, being berated in a Philadelphia-area mall last Friday by a veteran who saw him for the phony that he was. Officials are looking into whether Yetman benefited from his lies so that they can decide whether to charge him. A federal law that banned lying about your military service was struck down by the Supreme Court, so getting people for fraudulently obtaining benefits is the only avenue now in most cases.

I would suggest to Delegate Kipke and other members of the General Assembly that they might want to explore their options to pass a state law dealing with this issue. It might not help in the case of Barr (although it could – I’m just not sure what specific benefits he might have received solely because of the POW claim) but it’s something that needs to be looked at and would likely enjoy bipartisan support.

Stolen valor cases in this area are a topic I will continue to cover in the future.

Here’s the original tweet from Kipke:

JFK’s niece explains why government knows best

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Bryan Sears of The Daily Record notes:

Maryland residents who fail to save for their own retirements are like drivers who speed or children who won’t do what you tell them to do, according to former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Kennedy Townsend, who leads a task force studying the problem of retirement savings for private sector employees, made the comparison during a hearing in Annapolis.

The group is looking at the possibility of recommending the creation of a mandated retirement program where nongovernment employers would be required to offer a retirement plan or enroll employees into a state managed plan. Employees would be automatically enrolled and as much as 6 percent of their pay deducted for retirement (under one proposal) in a defined benefit plan unless the employee opted out.

The troubling part of her remarks during the hearing (emphasis added):

“Education is great…but it is not enough,” said Kennedy Townsend. “It won’t get us to where we want to go.

“I love education but why do drivers stop speeding? It’s not because they were told ‘This is bad for you’ but because things happen to make you quit speeding. I’m a great believer in education but I know as a mother of four children, I can tell kids what to do or I can tell them they have to go to their room if you don’t do it.”

The task force was established by Gov. Martin O’Malley and its authorization expires in February. Governor-Elect Larry Hogan says he won’t re-authorize it

Former Dem US Senator: “Michael Brown caused his own demise” #ferguson

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Former United States Senator (D-SC) Fritz Hollings wrote a letter to the editor that was published by The Post & Courier in Charleston (emphasis added):

I don’t know Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. I haven’t seen the grand jury report or heard any witnesses. But from the news coverage, Michael Brown caused his own demise.

To begin with, as Deborah Saunders writes in her column in The Post and Courier on Nov. 30: “Video of Brown shoving a convenience store clerk in what has been described as a strong-arm robbery minutes before the encounter adds credence to Wilson’s account.”

Brown was 18 years of age, was over six feet tall and weighed 285 pounds. If you’re walking in the middle of the street and told by a police officer to move to the sidewalk, you move to the sidewalk.

You don’t attack the officer, punching him and preventing the officer from getting out of his car. You don’t grab for the officer’s pistol. And when the officer follows you on foot to prevent your escape, you don’t turn and charge the police officer.

After the struggle for the pistol in the patrol car, Wilson knew what Brown was after when Brown charged him. The best evidence that officer Wilson was in fear for his life is that he emptied his pistol.

Now after the Ferguson Police Department received several threats, Wilson quit his job. He and his family will have to move from Ferguson. The media’s one-sided treatment of the event has put Wilson and his family in jeopardy.

When the evidence shows that the officer is doing his job, we’ve got to support the officer. We ought to respect law enforcement more.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to the Hollings letter.