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."

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.


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.