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Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 12:16 AM
Number of posts: 1,840

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

Journal Archives

Dow drops more than 500 points

Source: Yahoo news

Stocks slumped Wednesday while Treasury yields continued to rise.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 3.214%, while the 30-year yield edged higher to 3.382%. The higher yields put downward pressure on stocks, with the S&P 500 posting decreases for its fifth straight day.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 1.98%, or 56.48 points at 2:10 p.m. ET. The Dow (^DJI) fell 1.96%, or 513.93 points. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) slipped 2.37%, or 180.1 points.

Read more: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dow-drops-200-points-treasury-yields-move-higher-141746422.html

Ladies and gentlemen, stock market getting hammered today, now that tariffs are starting to kick in, and companies and individuals are getting hit hard with new Trump Tariff Taxes. (TTT)

this is what is known as

the beginning of the TRUMP TUMBLE.

Federal Official Boosted Use of Private Prisons; Now He Has a Top Job at One

Federal Official Boosted Use of Private Prisons; Now He Has a Top Job at One
ERIC KATZ | AUGUST 29, 2018 6:10 PM ET

A former federal official who earlier this year instructed the Bureau of Prisons to identify inmates to be transferred to private detention centers has left his government job for a position with one of the largest contractors housing federal prisoners.

In January, Government Executive reported that Frank Lara, then the bureau’s assistant director for correctional programs, sent a memorandum with the subject line “increasing population levels in private contract facilities” to agency leaders. In it, Lara tasked facility leaders with identifying inmates for transfer to private facilities, saying it would “alleviate the overcrowding at Bureau of Prisons’ institutions and maximize the effectiveness of private contracts.”

A few months later, Lara announced his retirement. Earlier this month, he began working at the GEO Group as its director of operations. The company is one of the largest contractors housing federal inmates. In fiscal 2018, for example, GEO Group has received $147 million in awards from the bureau, according to federal spending data. While Lara’s memo went out to all bureau leaders, it mentioned only one facility by name: Rivers Correctional Institution in Winton, N.C., which is owned and operated by the GEO Group.

The GEO Group did not respond to several emails, and when asked about the hiring over the phone, a company official hung up. Government Executive was unable to reach Lara directly.

Eric Young, president of the union local that represents bureau correctional officers, called Lara’s move, “The biggest damn conflict of interest that I’ve ever seen.”

Just prior to the memo’s release, dozens of bureau officials, including Lara, attended a conference hosted by the American Correctional Association. The conference was sponsored by the GEO Group, among others. The bureau said it spent $153,000 on travel costs associated with the conference. The Washington Post reported last year that GEO held its own annual conference at a Trump resort in Florida, and that it donated $225,000 to a pro-Trump super-PAC.....


"Martial Law"- that's where we are!

Defense Department is sending 21 active and reserve Military Jag Officers to be FEDERAL PROSECUTERS in border cases-

Use of the military to conduct civilian law enforcement is the very definition of Martial Law!

From https://www.stripes.com/senators-urge-pentagon-to-rethink-sending-military-lawyers-to-be-immigration-prosecutors-1.534307

Senators urge Pentagon to rethink sending military lawyers to be immigration prosecutors

WASHINGTON — Calling it an “inappropriate application of military personnel,” three leading senators urged the secretary of defense to reconsider sending military attorneys to southern border states to help prosecute immigration cases.

“We are … deeply troubled,” wrote Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Joni Ernst, R-Ind., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in a letter Thursday to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

The letter came just hours after the Pentagon confirmed that it had approved sending 21 active-duty and reserve judge advocates to help the Justice Department with its growing backlog of cases created after the government adopted a policy to prosecute adults who cross the border illegally. The attorneys will stay in place for less than six months each, the Pentagon said.

Commerce Secretary Accused of Shorting Financial Disclosure Mandates

By Charles S.Clark, GovExec.com

Unresolved ethics issues involving the finances of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spilled into the open on Monday when Forbes magazine posted an expose that also questions the treatment of Ross’s financial disclosure forms by the Office of Government Ethics.

Reporter Dan Alexander, in a piece titled “Lies, China And Putin: Solving The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross' Missing Fortune,” followed up on issues raised last year by senators about whether Ross—a wealthy Wall Street investor—had understated his income and mandatory divestments on his 2017 financial disclosure forms.

Alexander’s investigation appears to contradict Ross’s declaration to the ethics office in November 2017 that he had placed his multi-million-dollar holdings in trust. And Alexander uncovered a December 2017 Ross disclosure form that the OGE had not posted publicly.

Among Forbes’ findings:

Ross retained holdings in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm tied to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, a Cypriot bank reportedly caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and a “huge player in an industry Ross is now investigating;”
Ross put some of these interests in a trust for his family members while continuing, as Commerce secretary, to deal with China and Russia on economic matters;
Last fall, five days before reports of his holdings in a Putin-linked shipping firm called Navigator Holdings, Ross sold his stock.

More: https://m.govexec.com/management/2018/06/commerce-secretary-accused-shorting-financial-disclosure-mandates/149085/

The stink of ethics violations just keep on permeating this group.

HUD Moves to Evict Union from Federal Office Space

Source: Government Exec Magazine

Officials at the Housing and Urban Development Department told federal employee unions last week that they must vacate government-provided office space by mid-July, a move that union officials say is an attempt to undermine collective bargaining negotiations.

On June 14, the department issued a notice to the American Federation of Government Employees Council 222, which represents HUD employees, that it wishes to remove from AFGE’s existing collective bargaining agreement union employees’ right to HUD office space, phones, computers and other agency property by July 15. The proposal is intended to bring the department into compliance with President Trump’s recent executive order curbing official time, and it gives the union 15 days to demand to bargain, otherwise the eviction will move forward, the notice said.

But union officials said the effort runs afoul of both the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act and the executive order HUD officials cited as justification for the eviction. The executive order states that it does not “abrogate any collective bargaining agreement [already] in effect,” and Holly Salamido, president of the AFGE HUD council, said unions are not required to renegotiate existing CBA provisions outside of full term negotiations.

“We can only be required to engage in mid-term bargaining on matters not currently covered by the CBA,” Salamido said. “The law says that when you have a CBA in place, to reopen anything already covered in the agreement is called permissive bargaining, and we can decline to engage,” she said. “[There’s] federal law laid out in Federal Labor Relations Authority decisions saying that if a matter is already covered, you can only make changes if both parties agree.”

Read more: https://www.govexec.com/management/2018/06/hud-moves-evict-union-federal-office-space/149077/

Well, there you have it.

Trump's Department of Housing and Urban Development, under Ben Carson, has a new mission.

Break 40 years of established Federal Employee Labor Law, in order to begin EVICTIONS of Union members office space in HUD Headquarters.

Talk about irony...

Off Duty Officer fires gun inside school

Source: WHMI Radio News

A wrestling meet at Fowlerville High School was disrupted Saturday afternoon when an off-duty police officer accidentally discharged his firearm.

According to Fowlerville Police Chief John Tyler, the incident involved an off-duty Flint officer at about 12:40pm as he stood on the gym floor. The bullet went into the gym floor and there were no injuries from the gunshot, although one person was treated by EMS for a twisted ankle. The meet resumed after about 50 minutes.

Chief Tyler said a report will be referred to the Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office once they complete their investigation. The weapon was the officer's off-duty sidearm, which he was legally licensed to carry. The wrestling meet was not a Fowlerville district event, but instead one organized by a third party

Read more: https://whmi.com/news/article/off-duty-officer-fires-gun-accidentally-fowlerville

So does that count as “a good guy with a gun”, or “a bad guy with a gun”?

I’m so confused when an accidental discharge of a firearm happens in a school...

Pruitt and Chief of Staff Personally Approved Pay Raises of Up to 72 Percent for Top Aides, IG Finds

By Eric Katz, GovExec.com

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt personally signed off on the pay raise of at least one employee through an obscure hiring authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, while his chief of staff signed off on several others on his behalf, according to a new report. The report contradicts Pruitt’s previous claims that he was unaware of the raises.

Pruitt personally approved the hiring of and subsequent title change for an employee in an “administratively determined” position, according to a “management alert” issued by EPA’s inspector general on Monday. The new role resulted in a 26.7 percent raise, or about a $21,000 bump. Six other employees received raises through the Safe Drinking Water Act, all of whom had their new salaries signed off on by Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson “for Scott Pruitt.”

Pruitt personally authorized and signed for the initial hiring of three of those employees.

Three employees were originally hired either by Pruitt or Jackson in “administratively determined” positions, converted Schedule C political appointees, and later converted back to AD roles. The total salary increases after those transitions ranged from 25 percent to 72 percent, or from $12,000 to $66,000.



Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles: state TV

Source: Rueters

(Reuters) - Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles fired in a U.S.-led attack on the country on Saturday, Syrian state TV said.

It said the missiles had been shot down in the Kiswah area south of Damascus, the capital.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of three scientific research centers had been hit in the attacks - two in Damascus and one in the Homs area - in addition to military bases in Damascus.

The Observatory said all the bases and facilities struck in the attack had been evacuated by the Syrian government earlier this week.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-target/syrian-air-defenses-shot-down-13-missiles-state-tv-idUSKBN1HL042

EPA Ethics Official Backtracks on Approval of Pruitt Rental Agreement

EPA Ethics Official Backtracks on Approval of Pruitt Rental Agreement

By ERICH WAGNER. http://www.govexec.com

The career ethics official who initially cleared Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s $50-per-night rental agreement for a room in a Capitol Hill two-bedroom condo owned by lobbyists appeared to backtrack on that approval Wednesday, saying it was based on the text of the lease, not how the property was actually used.

Kevin Minoli, EPA’s principal deputy general counsel and the agency’s designated ethics official, issued a new memo explaining the rationale for his original verdict on the lease. In it, he noted finding a number of Airbnb listings in the vicinity of the Capitol Hill apartment for single rooms in the neighborhood of $55 per night. But he said his decision was based on the text of the rental agreement with health care lobbyist Vicki Hart, not necessarily the reality of Pruitt’s tenure at the residence.

“The review addressed the terms of the lease as they were written in the lease agreement only,” Minoli wrote. “Some have raised questions whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the terms of the lease. Evaluating those questions would have required factual information that was not before us and the review does not address those questions.”

Additionally, Minoli said his analysis did not take into consideration whether Pruitt provided favorable treatment to Vicki Hart’s husband, Steven Hart, as a result of the rental. Steven Hart is chairman of Williams and Jensen, a lobbying firm with a number of clients who fall under the EPA’s jurisdiction.

“The review addressed those parts of the federal ethics regulations that regard gifts, but was not intended to and did not address other portions of the federal ethics regulations such as the impartiality rule,” Minoli wrote. “It is important to note that the federal ethics regulations regarding impartiality apply regardless of whether something involves receiving a prohibited gift.”


Trump Administration Plans to Slash Labor Relations Board, Consolidate Power

The Trump administration is looking to undermine the fundamental mission of the National Labor Relations Board, according to several employee and outside groups, who are objecting to cuts and a proposed reorganization of the agency.

Proposals from NLRB officials appointed by President Trump would seek to centralize functions currently performed by regional employees in the field and reduce their investigatory authorities as they seek to resolve cases involving workforce representation and unfair labor practices. The agency is also seeking to dramatically slash its budget and workforce, and has implemented a hiring freeze and other cuts despite uncertainty as to whether Congress will go along with the reductions. The multi-pronged efforts have demoralized employees, their advocates recently told leadership, and justifications of boosting efficiency could belie the true intention of crippling the agency.

“Ultimately, whatever case-handling efficiency steps are adopted, they must be consistent with the mission of the [1935 National Labor Relations Act, which established the NLRB],” said the committee of regional directors, according to a letter to NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb obtained by Bloomberg Law. “Adopting measures that result in efficient resolution of cases but contravenes the mission of the act is a hollow accomplishment.”


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