Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Happy Feast of Saint Matthew

Today is the Feast of Saint Matthew. Saint Matthew was an IRS agent  for the Romans, not a very popular position with the general public then and certainly not now. He was even less with the Jewish people known as the Pharisees. Jews who held this office were not permitted to marry a Jewish woman nor worship in the synagogue and were generally shunned by civil society.

According to Catholic Culture, St. Matthew is known to us principally as an Evangelist, with his Gospel being the first in position in the New Testament. His Gospel was written to convince the Jews that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. While not much else is known about Matthew. According to tradition, he preached in Egypt and Ethiopia and further places East. Some legends say he lived until his nineties, dying a peaceful death, others say he died a martyr's death. In the traditional symbolization of the evangelists, based on Ezech. 1:5-10 and Rev. 4:6-7, the image of the winged man is accorded to Matthew because his Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Christ.

Today's IRS agents' job description include willingness to use fire arms, even considering that an unarmed IRS agent can be more lethal than 100 armed FBI agents. No wonder tax-collectors are shunned by society, Matthew's life; however. changed when Jesus tells him “Follow me.” Matthew, does not hesitate.  He leaves everything  and becomes a disciple of Jesus, embracing his teachings. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, they quickly criticized Him. Whereupon Jesus answered, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:15–17). According to Luke 5:29, the aforementioned dinner was given by Levi in his house after his call.







Because of Matthew's duties as a public official, the Church has designated him as the patron saint of civil servants and all who serve government in some capacity. He is also patron saint of  Accountants; bankers; bookkeepers; customs officers; security guards; stock brokers and  Salerno, Italy.

Symbols: Angel holding a pen or inkwell; bag of coins; loose coins; halberd; inkwell; king; lance; man holding money; man holding money box and/or glasses; money bag; money box; purse; spear; sword; winged man; young man; book; man sitting at a desk.


Sadly, modern day civil servants, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez don't view themselves as servants, more like bosses Matthew, pray for all civil servants & government workers

 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Today is Feast of the Assumption

On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption (The Assumption) is widely celebrated all over Christendom. This holy day marks the occasion of the Virgin Mary’s bodily ascent to heaven at the end of her life. In some places, the Assumption celebrations are accompanied by festivals, street processions, fireworks, pageantry and the blessing the summer harvest. The devoted light candles, attend masses, and pray for peace all over the world.

Assumption of the Virgin, by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (1758-1823) (WikiPaintings


The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, (The Most Bountiful God)



Munificentissimus Deus is the apostolic constitution defining ex cathedra the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was the first ex-cathedra infallible statement since the official ruling on papal infallibility was made at the First Vatican Council.-
"for an encyclical to be infallible the Pope must speak ex cathedra

The declaration did not imply the belief in the Assumption was something new, as there is evidence of the belief as early as the 4th century in text that covers several different languages and a fairly wide geographical dispersion. Teaching of the Assumption of Mary became widespread across the Christian world, having been celebrated liturgically as early as the 5th century in the East. It was celebrated in the West under Pope Sergius I in the 8th century and Pope Leo IV then confirmed the feast as official.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption as dogma for the Catholic Church. 

Sola Scriptura was Martin Luther's answer to the question of where the authentic teaching of Christ is found on Scripture alone, rejecting the Catholic Church's belief that oral teachings of the Apostols transmitted by the Church (Tradition, literally, “the handing on” as also Sacred and Spirit-inspired,) as well as the dogmatic teachings of the Pope's and councils.   Given Sola Scritura, Luther decided to do away with priests, religious, most of the sacraments and the hierarchy. When he realized that there had to be an authority to settle disputes within the Lutheran community, he appealed to the local duke.



The word Assumption or dormition of Mary are not mentioned in the Bible. Assumption is based on a theological conclusion because of other indirect references to it in the Scriptures. For example, at the Annunciation (celebrated March 25th, nine months before December 25th), the Angel Gabriel declared Mary to be “full of Grace” and “God’s highly favored daughter.” (Lk 1:28) Mary conceived Jesus, the Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit as a consequence of accepting God’s plan for her. Further, when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who herself was pregnant with John the Baptist, she addressed Mary with the words, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42) All these biblical statements led the Church to conclude that because of her role as Mother of the Messiah, Mary would be preserved from original sin and its consequences. Her freedom from sin was accomplished by reason of Jesus’ foreseen redemptive death on the cross. As such it would not be possible for Mary, whose womb carried the Son of God, to suffer the corruption of the body that all people experience after death. 


In Munificentissimus Deus (item 39), Pope Pius XII pointed to the Book of Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for the dogma in terms of Mary’s victory over sin and death as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: “then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” In this passage Paul alludes to Genesis 3:15 (in addition to the primary reference of Psalms 8:6), where it is prophesied that the seed of the woman will crush Satan with his feet. Since, then, Jesus arose to Heaven to fulfill this prophecy, it follows that the woman would have a similar end, since she shared this enmity with Satan. 

The pope also mentioned Psalm 132, a liturgical psalm commemorating the return of the Ark of God to Jerusalem and lamenting its subsequent loss. The second half of the psalm says that the loss will be recompensed in the New Covenant, and so it is hopefully prayed, “Arise, O Lord, into thy resting place: thou and the ark, which thou hast sanctified.” (v. 8) Since the Church sees this New Covenant ark in Mary, it understands that she was taken into Heaven in the same manner as the Lord – that is, body and soul. 

Finally, he mentioned in the next paragraph “that woman clothed with the sun [Revelation 12:1–2] whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos” as support for the doctrine.


Assumption of the Virgin, by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (1758-1823) (WikiPaintings) 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Myra Flores & Faith, Family, Country Homily

Father Nathe Homily was based on  Luke 12:49: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!." Father Nathe explained how Jesus talked about His desire to have the world follow Him.  Father Nathe mentioned U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores, “the first Mexican-born member of Congress, run on a Faith, Family, Country Campaign - That is, the right priorities and the associated challenges:  How can a person choose faith over hir or her own family.  Is that even possible.

“I am pro-God, pro-life, pro-family, pro-America. I am the American dream.”
-  Mayra Flores 

The first Mexican- American ever elected to Congress.

Born in Mexico, Flores immigrated to the United States when she was 6 years old and became a legal citizen at 14. She won her seat in Congress last night in a special election held after a Democrat in that district resigned.

She is the first Republican to win a seat in the Rio Grande Valley in over 150 years! 

Father Nathe went on to conclude that faith is family, indivisible. Hence, the decision is not either or.

For the record, "fact-checkers" immediately after Flores was elected, they
 got on the story:  When "fact-checkers" want to split hairs to rain on cobservatives' parade


"Although Flores, who was born in Burgos, Tamaulipas, Mexico, is the first Mexican-born woman elected to Congress, she is not the first Mexican-born member of Congress."

https://www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/politifact/2022/07/17/politifact-mayra-flores-not-first-mexican-born-member-of-congress/65374410007/














Of Saints, The Devil's Advocate and the Grunt Padre's Sainthood Process

While the sainthood cause for the Grunt Padre, Father Vincent Capodanno - who died from 27 bullet wounds on a Vietnam battlefield as a military chaplain to U.S. Marines is experiencing a snag since Consultants to the Vatican body tasked with judging possible saints have recommended the suspension of Capodanno’s cause, the process is illustrative of the Devil's Advocate:  The Devil's Advocate is a Church's construct. In the early days of Christianity, local communities would determine who was a saint, post mortem.  To better authenticate the canonization, the Church at around 1450 devised a position known as Diaboli Advocatus - Devil's Advocate. The Devil's Advocate job was to cast doubt on the virtues and miracles reported when a holy man or woman was brought to the pope to be recognized as a saint. Sort of what the New York Times does today.

The Church knew that miracles can often be confused with other things, and that, unfortunately, fallen humans sometimes make up stories for the purposes of fame or attention. She also knew that demons have certain powers that can make certain things appear miraculous. The Church has also developed a protocol to validate miraculous occurrence, focusing on those that have public repercussions, such as the miraculous healings attributed to the saints that, if validated, will advance their cause for canonization. Eucharistic miracles are another form of miracle that often warrants her attention, since they draw venerators and it is important to ensure that the miracle is authentic. 

In all these investigations, the Church is careful, not only using a Devil's Advocate but also doctors, scientists, and competent authorities in order to rule out natural explanations or to understand the phenomenon better. Only when she has completed this stringent process does she validate the miracle. In response to my piece celebrating the Unsung American Heroines during the recent International Women’s Day, Norinda Rosario Yancey has this to say about Saint Mother Teresa “I would recommend reading a little more about Mother Teresa. She was quite troubled emotionally and spiritually. Though morbid, there is speculation based on her writings that she was oddly fascinated and may have even taken some pleasure in witnessing the starvation and illness of those she is said to have cared for. It’s fascinating really, but I no longer regard her as a hero.” Yancey describes herself as an educator and a Metro Parks Tacoma, Washington employee and a JEDAI


Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno died shielding a fellow Marine. He died from 27 bullet wounds. (photo: Public domain / Public domain)

Meanwhile, Vincent Robert Capodanno was born on Staten Island, New York, to Italian immigrant parents. In 1957, he was ordained a Catholic priest by Cardinal Francis Spellman, then vicar of the U.S. Military Ordinariate. He entered the Maryknoll religious order and served as a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1958 to 1965. After he successfully petitioned his Maryknoll superiors to release him to serve as a U.S. Navy chaplain. In Vietnam, he held the rank of lieutenant and took part in seven combat operations. During the Operation Swift campaign, Father Capodanno was injured by an exploding mortar round that caused multiple injuries to his arms and legs and severed part of his right hand. He continued to tend to the wounded and nearly lost his hand to shrapnel. Despite his wounds, he refused care so that medical supplies could go to his injured Marines.The priest directed Marines to help the wounded and continued to move about the battlefield, encouraging them with his words and example. While seeking to aid one particular Marine, he put his own body between the wounded man and an enemy machine gunner who opened fire. He died from 27 bullet wounds. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Navy Bronze Star medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, and the Purple Heart Medal.


In May, an advisory panel of theological consultants considered the positio document prepared by the postulator and its arguments in favor of and against Father Capodanno’s beatification. In the Catholic Church, a positio is a document or collection of documents used in the process by which a person is declared Venerable, the second of the four steps on the path to canonization as a saint. The consultants voted to recommend to the dicastery that Father Capodanno’s cause be suspended. At the Vatican, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints is responsible for canonization decisions. The piece by Kevin J. Jones titled, Sainthood Cause for Father Vincent Capodanno Sees Setback illustrates the Devil's Advocate position for Father Grunt, as well as that of his supporters and concludes that Fagther Grunt's "supporters remain hopeful that an appeal will resume the efforts









Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Infamy Lives On. Journalistic Integrity Drained

Poison was not involved, domestic terrorism, bribery, corruption, and abuse of power not involved either. Last year  Alexei Navalny was sentenced during a hearing in Moscow after being charged with violating his probation by travelling to Germany for life-saving treatment and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, having already spent one year under house arrest, then police beat and arrested protesters who came out to support Navalny.  Meanwhile Chinese President Xi Jinping's biggest rival at one time, Sun Zhengcai, was just sentenced to life in prison.Zhengcai, the former Communist Party secretary for the city of Chongqing, was found guilty on of taking $26.7 million in bribes. He was given a life sentence and all his personal property and "illegal gains" will be confiscated. Sun is the most senior leader to be caught up in Xi's anti-corruption crackdown which has focused on bribery and misuse of public funds, but it has also drawn criticism for its focus on Xi's political enemies.  Then there is the outrageous case of the abuse of human rights, as the Hugo Chávez regime in Venezuela  arrested anti-communist activist Alejandro Peña Esclusa on trumped-up charges of being a terrorist. The president of UnoAmerica, an anti-communist alliance, and the author of The Foro de São Paulo: A Threat to Freedom in Latin America, Peña Esclusa is a former Venezuelan presidential candidate who has opposed efforts by the Chavez regime to spread Marxist revolution in Venezuela and throughout the region. 


Much More consequential is Department of Justice sending the FBI last night to raid former President Trump’s private home in Florida:  This is just what authoritarian regimes do.  This day will live in Infamy. The "Day of Infamy" speech was delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941. The previous day, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States military bases at the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the Philippines, and declared war on the United States and the British Empire. Yesterday's DOJ attack on a political opponent is an existential threat to the United States of America.  Yet Reuters Legal minimizes the even as merely a fund raising ruse! NY Times Charlie Savage fantasized about banning President Trump from ever holding office.  They framed President Trump with a Russian Hoax aided by 17 Intelligence Agencies, but they are not giving up.  The want to cancel the Trump Family


And CNN minimizes the even as simply a partisan issue: "Top congressional Republicans are rushing to former President Donald Trump's defense after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as part of an investigation into the handling of potentially classified material."  It is not!  It is an attack on the United States of America by an out of control bureaucracy that just last week characterized patriotic symbols as symptomatic of domestic terrorism.



Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, when asked about the DOJ comes up with a vacuous, "no one is above the law" response.  The good news is that Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, tweeted: “This raid strengthens that case for millions of Americans who will see this as unjust persecution.” Former former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo opined: “DOJ must immediately explain the reason for its raid…and it must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations.”

 As of this moment, the Department of Justice has yet to explain why they raided Trump’s home. Asked today, the White House press secretary said President Biden had no advance notice of the raid and learned about it from the news like everyone else. There are some so-called journalists speculating that the raid may be related to President Trump or his aides holding on to classified documents.  Get it? Louis Keene even defends Judge Bruce Reinhart, a former prosecutor who as been criticized for representing former employees of Jeffrey Epstein related to his sex-trafficking scandal tries to connect the judge as being on  the board of a South Florida synagogue.  As if  that was some sort of absolution,  The Day will live in Infamy and any Journalistic Integrity left has been drained. 




Friday, August 05, 2022

TX Woman Partnered With Coyote Charged After Holding 17 Hostage

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham announced today that Manuela Magdalena Jimon Castro, 30, who held 17 undocumented immigrants hostage in her home has been charged with alien harboring. According to the complaint, Ms. Castro and a family member partnered with a coyote  operation to hold undocumented individuals hostage at their home, threatening to deprive them of food and water and refusing to allow them to leave until they paid $11,000 to $12,000 or “worked off” the debt. A coyote or pollero is someone who specializes in human smuggling, bringing people across the United States border from Mexico. Coyotes typically have extensive experience in smuggling people and other goods, and they use a variety of techniques to get their clients over the border, ranging from sneaking across the desert to hiding smuggled immigrants in trucks. Illegal border crossings are often extremely dangerous, and many coyotes command a high fee as a result; often, this fee must be paid up front, in case an immigrant does not make it across




The investigation began when law enforcement in California received a tip from a woman who claimed her sister was being held for ransom in Texas. The woman reported that her sister had traveled from Guatemala to Mexico with the intention of seeking asylum in the United States, then crossed the border at the behest of a Mexican cartel who held her captive. She said her sister sent her a pin of a location in Friona before she escaped.

The woman said that while in Mexico, she was forced into a car at gunpoint by individuals she believed to be members of a smuggling cartel. After several months, they walked her across the southern border, then shuttled her from house to house in Texas and New Mexico, refusing to let her go until she paid off her debt. Eventually, she ended up at the Castro residence, where she was told she would be detained until she paid $12,000.

After  law enforcement searched the Castro home, they recovered 17 undocumented immigrants, including two minor children. Most of the individuals attempted to hide, concealing themselves in the attic, in cupboards, or inside totes covered in blankets.  The recovered immigrants admitted that they had entered the country illegally with smugglers. They indicated that the smugglers had confiscated their cell phones, and only allowed intermittent contact with family members in order to obtain money to pay their “entrance fees.” Several stated that they believed they had to stay at the residence in Friona until their entrance fee had been paid in full.


The case is a vivid reminder of the dangers of illigal immigration, as well as the consequences of lax border security as  Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas when he spoke at the Aspen Security Forum a couple of weeks ago claimed that the southern border "is secure" – even as Border Patrol agents are facing historic migrant numbers.He was asked about the situation at the southern border , which has seen more than 200,000 migrant encounters a month in the last four months. But, even though he acknowledged the situation is a historic challenge, the secretary claimed the border is "secure.  And Washington, D.C.’s Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser admitted that the capital city is overwhelmed by an influx of illegal immigrants who are being bused in from the U.S.-Mexico border. New York City’s Democrat Mayor Eric Adams later echoed Bowser’s frustrations. Texas and Arizona started busing illegal immigrants to D.C. earlier this year in an effort to alleviate the strain border communities are feeling due to the mass influx of migrants across the Southern border



Thursday, August 04, 2022

Overview of FBI's Wray Statement to Judiciary Committee: CommissionS and Omissions

The FBI's Director Wray submitted a 42,000+ word statement Thursday to the Senate Judiciary Committee holding up the exemplary work the Bureau is doing addressing its top priorities, which the Federalist's Jordan Boyd  characterizes as  FBI Director Sets New Record For Lies, Dodges, And Obfuscations To Avoid Slight Attempts At Congressional Oversight:  FBI Director Christopher Wray refused to answer legislators’ questions about his agency’s history of corruption and cover-ups and instead doubled down on defending the FBI’s actions against U.S. citizens during a Senate Judiciary hearing on Thursday. Senators on both sides of the aisle explained their frustrations with the FBI’s lack of transparency and response to their various letters inquiring about threats around the country. “There is the perception that there are two tiers of justice: one for people that are favored and one for ordinary Americans,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn noted during her interrogation

This piece, an overview includes Wray's commissions and omissions.  The FBI Priorities are to protect the United States from terrorist attacks, Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations, espionage, and cyber operations, Combat significant cyber criminal activity, Combat public corruption at all levels, Protect civil rights, Combat transnational criminal enterprises, Combat major white-collar crime, Combat significant violent crime

As for terrorism, Wray discussed both domestic and international terrorism, and characterized them both as evolving, According to Wray's statement, the top domestic terrorism threat the FBI categorizes as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, including those who advocate for the superiority of the white race, who were the primary source of lethal attacks in recent years." 

In his testimony, Wray's view of Domestic Terrorists not unlike Branco's illustration 

And added that "It is important to note that we have also recently seen an increase in fatal domestice violent attacks perpetrated by anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists, specifically militia violent extremists and anarchist violent extremists" and apparent reference to the January 6, 2020 Capitol breach.  Wray dismisses the riots, looting and violence across America, Mainstream Media characterizes as mostly peaceful protests by ANTIFA and Black Lives Matters 



In discussing foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) Wray states that the Bureau " remains concerned that FTOs, such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida and their affiliates, intend to carry out or inspire large-scale attacks in the United States. Despite its loss of physical territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS remains relentless in its campaign of violence against the United States and our partners—both here at home and overseas." And added that  Al-Qa’ida maintains its desire to both conduct and inspire large-scale, spectacular attacks, while "Iran and its global proxies and partners, including Iraqi Shia militant groups, continue to attack and plot against the United States and our allies throughout the Middle East in response to U.S. pressure"




According to Wray, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) continues to provide support to militant resistance groups and terrorist organizations. Iran also continues to support Lebanese Hizballah and other terrorist groups. Hizballah has sent operatives to build terrorist infrastructures worldwide. The arrests of individuals in the United States allegedly linked to Hizballah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hizballah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland. Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah also has threatened retaliation for the death of IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani. Wray 's statement did not mention  that Iran gave the White House a reason to abandon appeasement but still will not do i - when  the leaders of Iran’s Islamist regime  removed 27 cameras that were supposed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor its nuclear program. or as Jonathan S Tobin might say:  Perhaps they meant it to test the mettle of the West and its willingness to hold them accountable for their behavior?  It could be one more bargaining trick they’ve pulled out of their sleeve as they wait patiently for the Biden administration to crack and offer more concessions in order to get Tehran to sign on to a new and even weaker nuclear deal than the bargain it struck in 2015 under the Obama administration.

Director Wray then went on to discus cyber threats and extol the work has been doing in the area: In total, the FBI took over 1,100 actions against cyber adversaries last year, to include arrests, criminal charges, convictions, dismantlements, and disruptions and enabled many more actions through our dedicated partnerships with the private sector, foreign partners, and with federal, state, and local entities. We also provided thousands of individualized threat warnings and disseminated more than 100 public threat advisories by way of Joint Cybersecurity Advisories, FBI Liaison Alert System (FLASH) reports, Private Industry Notifications (PINs), and Public Service Announcements (PSAs), many of which were jointly authored with other U.S. agencies and international partner.  Director Wray, did not discuss how the premier law enforcement in the world's email system was compromised by hackers who sent fake cyberattack alert

Wray discussed how the FBI following the 2018 midterm elections, reviewed the threat of foreign influence and the effectiveness of its coordination and outreach. As a result of the  review, it further expanded the scope to widened its aperture to confront malign foreign operations of the PRC, Iran, and other global adversaries. Conspicuously  absent  from Wray's statement was the role the FBI and the 17 Intelligence Agencies played in the handling of the Russian Dossier Hoax.  Wray added The FBI will continue to investigate this threat leading up to the FY 2022 mid-term election and will not stop working with our partners to impose costs on adversaries who have or are seeking to influence or interfere in our elections"

Addressing criminal threats, Wray wrote that the Bureau continues to face many criminal threats, from complex white-collar fraud in the financial, health care, and housing sectors to transnational and regional organized criminal enterprises to violent crime and public corruption, and attributed high crime rate to gang activity.  





Wray did not mention that politicians promoting Defund the Police policies, inciting riots or soft-on-crime district attorneys played a role in the all time high crime sweeping the nation




 "Many of today’s gangs are sophisticated and well organized and use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings. These gangs do not limit their illegal activities to single jurisdictions or communities. The FBI is able to work across such lines, which is vital to the fight against violent crime in big cities and small towns across the nation. Every day, FBI special agents work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal officers and deputies on joint task forces and individual investigations.  




 FBI’s work in Indian Country increased significantly due to the July 9, 2020, Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, and Wray appealed for additional resources as a result of the recent McGirt v. Oklahoma  - McGirt v. Oklahoma, 591 U.S.  (2020), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case which ruled that, as pertaining to the Major Crimes Act, much of the eastern portion of the state of Oklahoma remains as Native American lands of the prior Indian reservations of the Five Civilized Tribes, never disestablished by Congress as part of the Oklahoma Enabling Act of 1906. As such, prosecution of crimes by Native Americans on these lands falls into the jurisdiction of the tribal courts and federal judiciary under the Major Crimes Act, rather than Oklahoma's courts. In the wake of McGirt, Oklahoma state courts began reviewing and vacating past criminal cases heard at state courts involving Native Americans and transferred their overview to federal courts. However, this included crimes where the defendants were non-Native Americans but the victims were, which state government and law authorities believed was beyond the intent of the McGirt decision. In 2022 the Supreme Court ruled in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta that prosecution of non-Native Americans on tribal lands was jointly held by federal and the state. Wray did not discuss  How Progressive policies, Tribal Leaders & corrupt politicians have failed Native Americas & Alaska Natives


As for Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) Wray says that TOC groups increasingly exploit jurisdictional boundaries to conduct their criminal activities overseas. Furthermore, they are expanding their use of emerging technology to traffic illicit drugs and contraband across international borders and into the U.S.

Wray said that FBI’s ability to learn about and investigate child sexual exploitation is being threatened by the proliferation of sites online on the Darknet. Wray did not discuss how FBI agents disregarded allegations by Olympic gymnasts that they were sexually assaulted by former national team doctor Larry Nassar and later made false statements to cover their mistakes, Justice Department investigators said in a long-awaited report on the bureau’s handling of one of the biggest abuse cases in U.S. sports history. Or why Ghislaine Maxwell’s got [referential treatment by Judge Alison Nathan and brief sentence and why the FBI has not gone after Epstein’s Clients

As to civil rights, Wray said the FBI remains dedicated to protecting the cherished freedoms of all Americans. Civil rights crimes including color of law violations, hate crimes, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act violations, voter suppression, and human trafficking.  Director Wray did not mention that most reports conclude that although completely accurate numbers are probably not available, researchers generally agree that among ethnic minority groups in the United States, Blacks are the most likely to experience domestic violence followed by Hispanics and then Whites. In 1965 25% of African American children were raised fatherless. Today is up to 75% and soon The African American nuclear family may join Sea Turtles on the most endangered species list





. In an earlier piece, we wrote “Appointing a Diversity Officer (such as the FBI’s first CDO) based on her color or sexual preference, or the FBI teaming up with the Girl Scouts, or even the FBI’s incessant press releases warning the nation about reporting hate crime may result in unintended consequences, such as hate crime hoaxes or promoting the LGBT lifestyle.




 All these are cultural signs, where culture is used as a form of social control. If you do not like the culture or the signs or language that define that culture, you do not belong! That is not diversity! That is indoctrination.“  Wray did not say who, on a prorated basis, is more likely to commit hate crimes 




Director Wray also lobbied for additional tools in the area of "lawful access:" The problems caused by law enforcement agencies’ inability to access electronic evidence continue to grow. Increasingly, commercial device manufacturers have employed encryption in such a manner that only the device users can access the content of the devices. This is commonly referred to as “user-only-access” device encryption. Similarly, more and more communications service providers are designing their platforms and apps such that only the parties to the communication can access the content. This is generally known as “end-to-end” encryption. The proliferation of end-to-end and user-only-access encryption is a serious issue that increasingly limits law enforcement’s ability, even after obtaining a lawful warrant or court order, to access critical evidence and information needed to disrupt threats, protect the public, and bring perpetrators to justice. Wray did not discuss how The FBI conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of data in the U.S. without a warrant over the year 2021, according to the  Annual Statistical Transparency Report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Thursday and focuses on the intelligence community’s use of national security authorities for surveillance under U.S. law. The information was previously gathered by the National Security Agency, the U.S. military’s signals intelligence agency, but was transferred to the civilian-led FBI per the U.S.A. FREEDOM Act, passed in 2015.


RELATED


What Are Y'all Doing?': Cruz Scorches FBI Director for Targeting Patriotic Symbols


In Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz took Wray to task for the Biden administration's politicization of the Bureau that's been turned into a weapon against conservatives while ignoring leftist violence — and Cruz pulled out all the stops



Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Can't Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Two arrested in $39M PPE Fraud Scheme

In the Can't Let a Crisis Go to Waste Category,  two suburban Houston men Caleb Jordan McCreless, 32, Richmond, and Christopher Luke McGinnis, 39, Spring, were arrested today in $39M  a personal protection equipment (PPE) fraud scheme. In a six-count indictment returned July 28 McCreless and McGinnis are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. McCreless also faces an additional five counts of wire fraud.



According to the indictment, McCreless represented to have access to medical-grade nitrile gloves during heavy demand for medical personal protection equipment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, healthcare professionals  on the frontlines were expected to use the gloves.Medical companies allegedly paid him $39 million to buy the in-demand gloves. However, McCreless did not have any gloves at all and never delivered them to anyone that had made purchases, according to the charges. McGinnis served as a logistics operator and delayed or stalled the delivery process when companies became concerned about their order of gloves not arriving, according to the charges.

As a result of the PPE scheme, one victim  lost over $13 million.The indictment also includes the forfeiture of the residence of McCreless in Ft. Bend County which is valued at over $2 million. The charges allege the house was purchased with money profited during the scheme.   If convicted, both men face up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

The FBI and Harris County Constable’s Office - Precinct 1 conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas H. Carter is prosecuting the case.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

FBI Publishes Major Handwriting Analysis Study - Use With Caution

Forensic handwriting examination involves the comparison of writing samples by forensic document examiners (FDEs) to determine whether or not they were written by the same person. The FBI’s Laboratory Division, in conjunction with Noblis, Inc., published a major scientific research paper today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about the accuracy and reliability of forensic handwriting comparison. The study is the largest of its kind, involving more than 80 document examiners from U.S. and international crime laboratories and private practice. Collectively, these examiners made more than 7,000 document comparisons and provided information with which to correlate results to levels of education and experience, along with other metadata.

The paper, “Accuracy and Reliability of Forensic Handwriting Comparisons,” summarizes the results of a five-year project to examine how often forensic handwriting examiners reach correct conclusions when determining whether a document was written by a specific individual by comparing it to samples of known handwriting from that person. The FBI Laboratory undertook this research to provide estimates of error rates—how often document examiners make correct writership decisions—as well as how often an examiner reaches the same conclusion when seeing the same documents again, and how often other examiners reach the same conclusions.

 In the study, eighty-six practicing FDEs each conducted up to 100 handwriting comparisons, resulting in 7,196 conclusions on 180 distinct comparison sets, using a five-level conclusion scale. Erroneous “written by” conclusions (false positives) were reached in 3.1% of the nonmated comparisons, while 1.1% of the mated comparisons yielded erroneous “not written by” conclusions (false negatives). False positive rates were markedly higher for nonmated samples written by twins (8.7%) compared to nontwins (2.5%). 


Notable associations between training and performance were observed: FDEs with less than 2 y of formal training generally had higher error rates, but they also had higher true positive and true negative rates because they tended to provide more definitive conclusions; FDEs with at least 2 y of formal training were less likely to make definitive conclusions, but those definitive conclusions they made were more likely to be correct (higher positive predictive and negative predictive values). The authors did not observe any association between writing style (cursive vs. printing) and rates of errors or incorrect conclusions. The report also provides details on the repeatability and reproducibility of conclusions, and reports how conclusions are affected by the quantity of writing and the similarity of content.

“This large-scale study demonstrates the commitment of the FBI and our partners to critically evaluate forensic examinations widely used throughout the criminal justice system,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Using scientific rigor to affirm the accuracy and reliability of forensic techniques helps protect the integrity of our judicial process and ensure that everyone is treated fairly under the law.”

However, as we have seen with the Pandemic, the problem is not the science, but those who weaponize it, an inside job, or a process flow:  For 2000-plus years we have been warned about the risk of using lawyers, as they are mostly interested in arriving at the best argument money can buy, not uncovering the truth.  This study just feeds into that narrative:  Figures (Science) Dont Lie - Liars figure.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Third Man Pleads Guilty in Hostage Death in Tijuana, MX

 Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera Jr. of Tijuana pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his role in the kidnapping of Miguel Anthony Rendon, a U.S. citizen, which resulted in Rendon’s death.  Dorantes is the third defendant to plead guilty in connection with this crime, after Alan Lomeli-Luna and Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco. 

Welcome to Tijuana! by sergejf (CC BY-SA)

 In his plea agreement, Dorantes admitted that on May 29, 2020, at approximately 11:50 p.m., Dorantes and others forcibly removed the victim, Miguel Anthony Rendon, from his hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. Dorantes and others punched, kicked, and pistol-whipped Rendon. Once subdued, Dorantes and others placed Rendon in a waiting car and drove away.

Dorantes’ co-conspirators then took Rendon to another hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. There, while Rendon was held and detained, Dorantes’ co-conspirators called Rendon’s family and made ransom demands for Rendon’s release. Specifically, Dorantes’ co-conspirators demanded $2,000 to $3,000 or methamphetamine in exchange for Rendon’s release. On or about May 30, 2020, Dorantes’ co-conspirators intentionally killed Rendon.

“This is a tragic case where a young man paid the ultimate price for getting involved with the wrong people, and his family is forever devastated,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Drug traffickers don’t hesitate to use extreme violence. We will not hesitate to seek justice for victims.”  Grossman thanked the prosecution team as well as the investigating FBI agents for their excellent work on this case.

Tijuana is situated within the Mexican state of Baja California, located at the most northern extreme tip of Mexico, the heart of the city is only 5 miles from the Pacific coast. Tijuana sits on the border with the USA, with the city of San Diego on the USA side. The San Diego/Tijuana transborder conglomeration is the fourth biggest in the world with over five million people living close to the border. "Since it’s such a heavily guarded border, Tijuana is incredibly safe to travel to,  Over 50 million travelers pass through this border crossing every year, from both sides. The cityscape is daunting when you arrive, but if you keep your wits about you, you’ll see how safe of a place it is. Most visitors to this region describe the area as just as safe as most American cities. So many Americans regularly travel to Tijuana," according to Layerculture.com

Welcome to Tijuana! by milesgehm (CC BY)

Dorantes is scheduled to be sentenced October 31, 2022, at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes. Valencia-Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2022 at 9 a.m. and Lomeli-Luna is scheduled to be sentenced on September 12, 2022 at 9 a.m., also before Judge Hayes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

DOJ Charges Congressman, FBI Agent Trainee, Tech Company Executives, And Investment Banker with Insider Trading.

An old Muslim proverb warns that the biggest threats come from inside.  A security professional's nightmare is an insider with a motive, because such insider has a MOM: A motive, means and opportunity to commit a crime.  Despite staggering statistics around the number of security breaches within critical infrastructure, arguably the backbone of global economy, new research shows that the gap between security concern and preparedness is overwhelming for utility, oil and gas, energy and manufacturing organizations. Some 70%  of critical infrastructure companies have suffered a security breach, whereas 66% of organizations consider malicious insider attacks or accidental breaches more likely than external attacks. Over the last two years, the number of insider incidents has increased by 47%. Insider threat stats reveal that more than 70% of attacks are not reported externally. The DOJ in  announcing charges in four separate insider trading cases, collectively charging nine defendants with securities fraud illustrates the Internal Threat. . It also brings into question why the FBI has not emphasized the Inside Threat as it should and did so only in connection with China: In remarks prepared April 27, 2022 for delivery to the Domestic Security Alliance Council, FBI Director Christopher Wray made it clear the counterintelligence threat posed by China is top of mind and " nothing presents a broader, more severe threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than the People’s Republic of China.

The defendants in these cases made between hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars from illegal securities trading based on material, non-public information that was stolen from numerous sources.




Those charged include Stephen Buyer, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, FBI Academy trainee Seth Markin, According to court records, Buyer engaged in two separate, but interrelated insider trading schemes to steal material non-public information that he obtained through consulting work and place timely, profitable securities trade based on that stolen information.  Ahead of the Sprint/ T-Mobile merger,  Buyer breached his duty of confidentiality to T-Mobile and misappropriated that information by purchasing shares of Sprint across several brokerage accounts, including his own accounts, an account held jointly with his cousin, and an account in the name of a close personal friend.   Across these accounts, Buyer made more than $126,000 from the purchase and subsequent sale of Sprint stock after the merger was publicly announced.  In or about June through August 2019, BUYER traded in shares of Navigant Consulting, Inc. ahead of Navigant’s acquisition by consulting and advisory firm Guidehouse. Buyer determined through his consulting work for Guidehouse that Guidehouse intended to acquire Navigant, and misappropriated that information by purchasing Navigant shares ahead of the public announcement of the acquisition.  Buyer purchased Navigant shared across several brokerage accounts, including accounts in his own name, joint accounts held with family members, and Individual-1’s account.   In total, Buyer made more than $223,000 from his illegal Navigant trades.  Buyer, 63, of Noblesville, Indiana, has been charged with four counts of securities fraud.

In early 2021, Seth Markin and Brandon Wong together made more than $1.4 million dollars in illegal profits by trading in stock based on inside information that Markin misappropriated from his then-girlfriend, who was then an attorney at a major law firm in Washington D.C. assigned to work on the acquisition of Pandion Therapeutics by Merck & Co.   After misappropriating this material non-public information from his girlfriend, Markin purchased shares in Pandion, and tipped several friends and family members, including Wong.  Wong, in turn, purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Pandion shares, and told at least eight other people to purchase Pandion shares.  In total, Markin and Wong directly or indirectly caused more than twenty people to trade in Pandion stock based on the material non-public information that Markin misappropriated from his girlfriend resulting in millions of dollars of illegally obtained trading profits. At the time of the relevant trades, Markin had been accepted into the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a new agent trainee.  

Markin, 31, of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, was arrested Monday and has been charged with nine counts of securities fraud and eight counts of tender offer fraud.  Wong, 38, of New York, was also arrested Mondayand  has been charged with eleven counts of securities fraud and ten counts of tender offer fraud.

From November 2020 through April 2020, Amit Bhardwaj, Sirinavas Kakkera, Abbas Saeedi  engaged in an insider trading scheme in which Bhardwaj, who was the Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) of Lumentum Holdings Inc., misappropriated material, non-public information belonging to Lumentum and then traded on that information himself and tipped his criminal associates, including Kakkera,  Saeedi, Dhirenkumar Patel, and Ramesh Chitor, in connection with two separate potential acquisitions by Lumentum, Coherent, Inc. and Neophotonics Coproration  

Bhardwaj,, 49, of San Ramon, California, who was arrested Monday, has been charged with seven counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. LKakkera 47, of Pleasanton, California, who was arrested Monday and has been charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of wire frau and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.  Saeedi, 47, of Fremont, California, who was arrested Monday and has been charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, each of which carries a maximum term of 5 years in prison. Also unsealed Monday were charges against Dhirenkumar Patel and Ramesh Chitor, who have separately pled guilty and are cooperating with the Government in this case.


Brijesh Goel  was an investment banker in the financing group at a major international investment bank in New York, New York. In that position, GOEL received confidential, internal emails directed to the Investment Bank’s Firmwide Capital Committee, which contained detailed information and analysis about potential mergers and acquisitions transactions the Investment Bank was considering financing.  In violation of the duties that he owed to the Investment Bank, GOEL misappropriated that confidential information and tipped a friend, who worked at another investment bank in New York, New York (“CC-1”), with the names of potential target companies from these FWCC emails, typically during in-person meetings (such as when the two met to play squash).  CC-1 then used that MNPI to trade call options, including short-dated, out-of-the-money call options, in brokerage accounts that were in the name of CC-1’s brother.  Goel and CC-1 agreed to split the profits from their trading.  Between approximately 2017 and 2018, Goel ipped CC-1 on at least seven deals in which the Investment Bank was involved, yielding total illegal profits of approximately $280,000.  Goel, 37, of New York, New York, has been charged with four counts of securities fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tender offer fraud




Sunday, July 24, 2022

Google & City of Washougal WA: Investment Vs Mendacity

A recent  piece in BizzTalkz titled "Google has a graveyard of failed projects" caught my eye for a number of reasons, including the difference between what is understood by investment in Corporate America versus Investment used by politicians, which is nothing more than an euphemism for mendacity. My first thought was of a visit to Apple Computer while Pauline Alker, CEO & Founder of Counterpoint Computers was entertaining a sale of Counterpoint to Apple. As we were getting a tour of Apple's operation, there was a noticeable empty area where something used to be. Preemptively, Apple's director of logistics proudly told us that the empty area used to house a multi million dollar robotics-based inventory system that didn't work.  "At Apple we are never afraid to try new things, even if they don't work out," she said proudly.  I recalled being ambivalent at her statement:  Was it lack of planning?  Poor management?  Wasteful spending? 

Prior to following Pauline to Counterpoint, my friend and mentor Jim Otts (RIP) convinced me to join start-up  Convergent Technologies in San Jose, California, which experienced a successful IPO years later,  when Convergent Technologies was named the fastest growing company in America (circa 1984,)  Prior to the IPO  I had a used desk and a card board box that functioned as a trash bin.  After the IPO my office was fully equipped with the latest Herman Miller furniture - the fashion police at Human Resources wanted to cancel my beloved trash bin, but I stopped them " because I wanted to show our new employees where we started" - they obliged.


My own WorkSlate - Still Works!

Convergent had its own product failures, including a portable notebook with limited functionality called the Workslate.  The Workslate was first launched in the American Express Christmas catalog, and was sold as a high-tech novelty product. But no one was interested in buying a limited spredsheet machine for $895. Convergent Technology planned to sell 200,000 units within a year, but only 5,000 systems were sold in the U.S.A plus some hundreds in Europe. The product was discontinued in July 1984, and the company lost about $15 million. Right around this time, I took over the manufacturing of the distributed systems division to fix its supply chain and quality problems, which were officially fixed at the end of 2Q84


NGEN Inventory and quality Problems Solved:  2Q84

Then I thought about motivational speaker Simon Sinek's Ted Talk where he introduces a framework for leaders to inspire action, which he calls the Golden Circle - I used the Onion for 15 years before Simon introduced the Golden Circle, but that is another story



In his talk, Sinek contrasts the motivation of the  Wright Brothers to Samuel Pierpont Langley: Langley had assembled a large team and garnered large sums of United States Government funds to build the first airplane.  One of his last attempts at being first, ended in the craft going nose first into the Potomac River on December 8.  Langley failed, whereas as the self-funded, private duo of the Wright Brothers succeeded. The implication is that when the motive is purely financial, or as Bishop Robert Barron might say, a destructive path centered on wealth, power, pleasure and honor, the odds are not in your favor.

The City of Washougal's financially-irresponsible, boneheaded decision to disturb a natural Habitat, family trail & children's park in favor of a disk golf course is another example of government investment: Arbitrarily the City decided to proceed even when alerted that in addition to not having environmental approval, the City was exposing children not only to physical harm, but would be a pedophile honeycomb.  After numerous Washougal resident's complaints -Washougal Answers Disc Golf Course Questions - The Wrong OnesWashougal City Council #Hartwood Park Disc Golf Course Discussion and our efforts to have local, county and state politicians to help with this issue, we concluded with a rhetorical question: How did we get to having a government that works for government and NOT the taxpayers?

Family park destroyed by install of disc baskets

Eventually the city decided to put the brakes and go back to the drawing board. We were told the City would employ an architectural firm familiar with developing disc golf courses.  At the time, we told the City that the decision would only add to the cost and not solve the original problems:  A disc golf course and a children's park are mutually exclusive. 


The park restored to its original form - Almost


As of last month the park was almost restored to its original condition.  So we asked City Mayor Rochelle Ramos for a  status on the project and to comment for this piece.  As expected, the City failed to respond.  However, we have noticed that disc baskets have appeared once again, As Apple's logistics manager might say  "At Washougal we are never afraid to spend taxpayer's money  new things, even if they only work out for a minority of users and put children at risk."


Tweet and email asking Mayor Ramos to comment

 The aforementioned BizzTalkz article's point is that "We often forget a crucial point in entrepreneurship, there is no guarantee of success. Regardless of funds, a top-notch team, and access to the market, even the most innovative company in the world can experience failure. Sinek's  story; however,  should tell us something of the efficacy of  government programs, not unlike the City of Washougal's investment in a disc golf course - "Investing" in a project that will continue to drain the government's coffers and expose children to undue threats. So, tell me again:   How did we get to having a government that works for government and NOT the taxpayers?