Friday, May 25, 2012



 By Francisco Vara-Orta
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students.

District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance.

Northside, the largest school district in Bexar County, plans to modify the ID cards next year for all students attending John Jay High School, Anson Jones Middle School and all special education students who ride district buses. That will add up to about 6,290 students.

The school board unanimously approved the program late Tuesday but, in a rarity for Northside trustees, they hotly debated it first, with some questioning it on privacy grounds.

State officials and national school safety experts said the technology was introduced in the past decade but has not been widely adopted. Northside's deputy superintendent of administration, Brian Woods, who will take over as superintendent in July, defended the use of RFID chips at Tuesday's meeting, comparing it to security cameras. He stressed that the program is only a pilot and not permanent.

“We want to harness the power of (the) technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in a school, and increase revenues,” district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said. “Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that.”

Chip readers on campuses and on school buses can detect a student's location but can't track them once they leave school property. Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information, Gonzalez said.

“This way we can see if a student is at the nurse's office or elsewhere on campus, when they normally are counted for attendance in first period,” he said.

Gonzalez said the district plans to send letters to parents whose students are getting the the RFID-tagged ID cards. He said officials understand that students could leave the card somewhere, throwing off the system. They cost $15 each, and if lost, a student will have to pay for a new one.

Parents interviewed outside Jay and Jones as they picked up their children Thursday were either supportive, skeptical or offended.

Veronica Valdorrinos said she would be OK if the school tracks her daughter, a senior at Jay, as she always fears for her safety. Ricardo and Juanita Roman, who have two daughters there, said they didn't like that Jay was targeted.

Gonzalez said the district picked schools with lower attendance rates and staff willing to pilot the tags.

Some parents said they understood the benefits but had reservations over privacy.

“I would hope teachers can help motivate students to be in their seats instead of the district having to do this,” said Margaret Luna, whose eighth-grade granddaughter at Jones will go to Jay next year. “But I guess this is what happens when you don't have enough money.”

The district plans to spend $525,065 to implement the pilot program and $136,005 per year to run it, but it will more than pay for itself, predicted Steve Bassett, Northside's assistant superintendent for budget and finance. If successful, Northside would get $1.7 million next year from both higher attendance and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students, he said.

But the payoff could be a lot bigger if the program goes districtwide, Bassett said.

He said the program was one way the growing district could respond to the Legislature's cuts in state education funding. Northside trimmed its budget last year by $61.4 million.

Two school districts in the Houston area — Spring and Santa Fe ISDs — have used the technology for several years and have reported gains of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for improved attendance. Spring ISD spokeswoman Karen Garrison said the district, one-third the size of Northside, hasn't had any parent backlash.

In Tuesday's board debate, trustee M'Lissa M. Chumbley said she worried that parents might feel the technology violated their children's privacy rights. She didn't want administrators tracking teachers' every move if they end up outfitted with the tags, she added.

“I think this is overstepping our bounds and is inappropriate,” Chumbley said. “I'm honestly uncomfortable about this.”

Northside has to walk a tightrope in selling the idea to parents, some of whom could be turned off by the revenue incentive, said Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based consulting firm.

The American Civil Liberties Union fought the use of the technology in 2005 at a rural elementary school in California and helped get the program canceled, said Kirsten Bokenkamp, an ACLU spokeswoman in Texas. She said concerns about the tags include privacy and the risks of identity theft or kidnapping if somebody hacks into the system.

Texas Education Agency spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said no state law or policy regulates the use of such devices and the decision is up to local districts.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

California Nightmare

So if we have the highest tax rates in the country and cannot make do, the question should be asked why.  What is it about the spending that is a problem?  What is it about the tax rates that contribute to lower revenues?  What is it about the non-taxpayers in the state that contribute to the calamity?

When those questions are answered honestly, the problem will be clear and the answers self-evident, even to Moonbeam.

California’s budget deficit has swelled to $16 billion after tax collections trailed projections amid the tepid economic recovery, Governor Jerry Brown said in a comment on his Twitter post.

The shortfall has widened from the $9.2 billion Brown estimated in January, after lawmakers resisted the Democrat’s call for cost cuts, the federal government blocked other reductions and April income-tax revenue missed budget forecasts by $2 billion. On May 14, he’s set to unveil a revised spending plan and to say how he would erase the gap.

Brown, 74, set out an initial budget in January with $92.6 billion in spending for fiscal 2013, which begins in July. That plan stripped more than $4 billion from health and welfare programs while relying on higher income and sales taxes. The levy increases will go before voters in November. If rejected, schools will lose $4.8 billion midway through the year.

“We are still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s,” Brown said in a YouTube video cited on his Twitter post. “Tax receipts are coming lower than expected and the federal government and the courts have blocked us from making billions of necessary budget reductions. The result is that we are now facing a $16 billion deficit.”

Brown this week submitted more than 1.5 million signatures to place the tax measure on the ballot. It would temporarily raise the state sales tax, already the highest in the U.S., to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent. It would also boost rates on income starting at $250,000. The 10.3 percent levy on those making $1 million or more would rise to 13.3 percent, the most of any state.


Mexican Crime: Nearly 50 bodies beheaded

More Mexicans are killed along the border than it would seem almost anything else.  The idea of anyone lecturing the US on the high levels of stress incurred by illegal aliens crossing US borders, or about how the US abuses illegal aliens when they are caught, is laughable. 

First, clean up your drug problems (1 in 4), clean up your towns and cities, provide jobs, provide security, and create new national police and local police forces after you fire and imprison the people who now inhabit those compromised positions.  Finally, elect an entirely new government not owned by the drug cartels.  THEN send someone to complain about whatever may still remain an issue.

Mutilated ?  Beheaded is what they were.

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:12 PM EDT, Sun May 13, 2012

Monterrey, Mexico (CNN) -- Mexican authorities found at least 49 bodies in the northern border state of Nuevo Leon Sunday morning, police said
The remains -- some of which were mutilated -- were found in plastic bags along the highway between the cities of Monterrey and Reynosa, the state-run Notimex news agency reported, citing police sources.

A message left on a wall nearby appeared to refer to the Zetas drug cartel.
Police and troops were combing the area and had set up checkpoints.

Authorities received a report of the bodies around 3 a.m. Sunday, police said.
The remains were found in the municipality of Cadereyta Jimenez, near the industrial city of Monterrey and about 80 miles southwest of the U.S. border, police said.

Forensic investigators were at the scene, and troops blocked the highway.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Intelligence Leaking: Obama Style

It was clear from the start that it was someone within the Obama administration who pushed for the information to be released. 

And the reason was purely political.  Real lives and real security issues are at stake, contrasted with the illusion of security when Valerie Plame's name was released and the Left went ballistic and into meltdown mode.

Leak about UK involvement described as despicable by CIA as anger turns to Obama administration for compromising mission

Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Ian Black, Middle East editor, Friday 11 May 2012 14.26 EDT

Detailed leaks of operational information about the foiled underwear bomb plot are causing growing anger in the US intelligence community, with former agents blaming the Obama administration for undermining national security and compromising the British services, MI6 and MI5.

The Guardian has learned from Saudi sources that the agent was not a Saudi national as was widely reported, but a Yemeni. He was born in Saudi Arabia, in the port city of Jeddah, and then studied and worked in the UK, where he acquired a British passport.

Mike Scheur, the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, said the leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. "MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president, if he has the balls. This is really tragic," Scheur said.

He added: "Any information disclosed is too much information. This does seem to be a tawdry political thing."

He noted that the leak came on the heels of a series of disclosures over the last 10 days, beginning with a report that the CIA wanted to expand its drone attacks in Yemen, Barack Obama making a surprise trip to Afghanistan around the time of the Bin Laden anniversary and "then this inexplicable leak".

Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, said: "As for British Intelligence, I suppose, but do not know, that they must be very unhappy. They are often exasperated, quite reasonably, with their American friends, who are far more leak-prone than they.

"In their place, I would think two and three times before sharing with the Americans, and then only do it if I had to. The problem with that dynamic is that you don't know what you don't know, and what opportunities you might be missing when you decide not to share. The Americans are doing a very good job of undermining trust, and the problem starts at the top."

The name of the British passport-holder has not yet been released but may come out through al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. He is reported to have spent time at at language school in Sana'a, the Yemeni capital, and been recruited by al-Qaida as a suicide bomber.

Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai told CNN that the bomber had been recruited by the Saudis to penetrate al-Qaida about a year ago, in part because the group would be attracted by the fact that his UK passport meant he could travel to the US without a visa.

"Apparently he was able to convince al-Qaida that he is genuinely ready to carry out the mission," said Alani, who CNN said had been briefed by Saudi counter-terrorism officials. Alani said his understanding was that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) intended the would-be suicide bomber to fly through a Gulf country to connect to a US-bound flight.

The Saudi operation culminated with the agent and another Saudi informant – likely his handler – being whisked out of Yemen, Alani said. "My information is that he was pulled out after the device was handed to him, and they ordered the green light to carry out the operation," he told the US network.

Yemen has been a key target country for the CIA and MI6 in line with the growing strength of Aqap in recent years. But the lead on the ground has been taken by the Saudi intelligence service, the Mabahith, which is best placed to operate in the local environment and exploit links on either side of the border.

Both the US and British intelligence communities are known to work closely with their Saudi counterparts and both have liaison officers permanently stationed in Riyadh and Sana'a.

Aqap moved its operations to Yemen in 2007 after the defeat of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia. The Nigerian "underwear bomber", Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009, was radicalised in Yemen while claiming to be there as a student.

The US, Britain and the Saudis are likely to have preferred their own intelligence operation to co-operation with the Yemeni security authorities, who are anxious to avoid being seen as a western pawn.

Cables released by WikiLeaks exposed the scale of US covert involvement in the Arab world's poorest country. In 2009 the Saudi deputy interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, told General James Jones, President Obama's national security adviser: "The Saudis have been monitoring conversations of al-Qaida operatives in Yemen very closely and whereas before the [recent] attack they were hearing relaxed 20-minute phone conversations over cellphones, after the attack the phones went virtually silent. This suggests that at least for now these operatives are more focused on their own security rather than on planning operations."

Bin Nayef's support for operations against Aqap is unsurprising. He survived an assassination attempt in Jeddah in September 2009 when a Saudi Aqap operative named Abdullah al-Asiri feigned repentance for his jihadi views in a meeting with the prince then blew himself up with a bomb concealed in his anus. Al-Asiri's brother Ibrahim is Aqap's chief bombmaker.

Gregory Johnsen, a US expert on Aqap, pondered on his blog whether the group would now reveal the identity of the undercover agent. "Undoubtedly, Aqap recorded a marytrdom video of the undercover agent before giving him the bomb," Johnsen wrote. "The US and Saudis won't divulge his identity for obvious reasons, but will Aqap?"


Friday, May 11, 2012

Police found 18 mutilated, headless bodies near a lake popular with tourists and American retirees just outside Guadalajara, Mexico, a massacre that authorities blamed on the Zetas drug cartel.

A phone call alerted police to two vans on a dirt road near Lake Chapala early Wednesday morning. When police opened the van, they found 18 headless and dismembered bodies inside. Some were so badly mutilated that police have still not determined their gender. The bodies appear to have been refrigerated after death.

Handwritten messages were found in the van. "They are clearly messages between rival groups that are in conflict," said Tomas Coronado, prosecutor for the state of Jalisco. Officials said the notes were signed by the Zetas.

Los Zetas have been battling the Jalisco New Generation gang, a minor cartel allied with the Sinaloa cartel, which is the Zetas chief rival for dominance of the Mexican drug trade. The Zetas cartel, which was founded by ex-members of the Mexican military, controls most of eastern Mexico and much of the north.

A woman detained yesterday in connection with the separate kidnapping of 12 people in the same area told police that the abductions were connected to events in Tamaulipas state. Two dozen men and women were found decapitated or hanging from bridges in Nuevo Laredo, on the border with Texas, on Friday, where the Zetas are battling the Gulf cartel, another Sinaloa cartel ally.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mexican Corruption

So the evidence was adequate to convict him, but then a panel of judges saw the light ... or were threatened and or bribed.  It isn't just the police, but the army, and the courts, and the government.

Associated PressAssociated Press

Posted: 04/23/2012 07:41:11 AM MDT

MEXICO CITY (AP) - A retired general who was convicted and later cleared of aiding one of Mexico's most powerful drug lords was shot and killed Friday in the capital, authorities said.

Former Brig. Gen. Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro was attacked while at an auto shop in the Anahuac neighborhood and died at a hospital, Mexico City Attorney General Jesus Rodriguez Almeida said.

Witnesses told police that Acosta had just arrived at the auto shop to drop off a car when a lone gunman approached him and shot him three times in the head, Rodriguez said.

The assailant used a 9 mm handgun and got away on a waiting motorcycle driven by an accomplice, the attorney general said.

The former soldier had survived a 2010 attack in the Mexico City neighborhood of La Roma where gunmen shot him in the abdomen.

Acosta was incarcerated in 2000 on charges of protecting Amado Carillo Fuentes, a leader of the Juarez drug cartel who had died three years earlier after botched plastic surgery.

But in 2007 a panel of judges overturned Acosta's drug-trafficking conviction and ordered him released, ruling that prosecutors failed to prove the alleged links to Carillo Fuentes.

In 2002, Acosta was accused of homicide in the disappearance of leftist activists and revolutionaries during the government's "dirty war" against dissent during the 1970s and 1980s. A judge determined Acosta was not responsible for the disappearances and the charges were dismissed.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear Mexico

A letter from a concerned neighbour:

When we moved in some time ago, we had our problems.  I think we resolved them when we paid you off, I mean, paid you for any inconvenience you felt over the discrepancy with property lines.  Yes, we had some difficult times, but we paid you off, I mean, paid for all your inconveniences.

We watched as our children grew up, and while some of your kids would sneak over the property line, we didn't pay a lot of attention - we were neighbours.  We even hired some of your kids to do some work for us, in an effort to benefit both of us - the customers we serve and your kids and their friends. 

Things started to get messy in the late 20th century when several of your family members started to rebel.  As I recall, it was Chiapas and Guerrero who were busy causing problems for the family.  I remember the difficult times and how many members of your family ended up leaving and spending time in our facilities.  I remember the police going to your house more times than I can count.  So many problems and it was unfortunate you lost several family members during the struggles with Chiapas and Guerrero.

Then the problem got worse and it wasn't just with my kids using a little drug now and again.  I admit, we had to send our kids to rehab a few times, but as I understand it, 25% of your family have been arrested for use of drugs, and we all know that in your house, the laws for drug use are much more lax!

Now people are being killed in the streets, hung from poles, and beheaded.  This is too much.  It is no longer a problem just for your family.  A solution however is available.

We have several thousands of unemployed former Marines and Army who would be willing to accept a stipend to help clean up your neighbourhood.  We will use our intelligence services to find out who is on the take in your police, army, and government agencies.  We will arrest them, with your permission, and we will end the control by the cartels of 2/3 of your neighbourhood.

We will do all this because we are good neighbours and cannot have the problems overflowing into our home.  We would accept whatever rate you would be willing to charge for increased oil production.  We have been trying for several decades to cut off our need for oil from outside the neighbourhood and you can help us with this project.  At the same time, we can help provide greater funding to help all your family members without the usual and normal amounts of money taken by the police, government, and other corrupt officials.

This offer is indefinite, but I would like to suggest we have only so much patience before we unilaterally assist you in cleaning out the sewer.

Your Concerned Neighbours.


27 Dead in Less than a Week: Mexico, a lawless state

Mexico, a country with a government so corrupted by drugs and drug money, they are unable to respond to the needs of their people.  A state in anarchy.  A people left to the evil of drug cartels.

I can see a legal argument for US intervention into that country to clean out their sewers.

LA Times
May 4, 2012 | 5:45pm

MEXICO CITY -- Another 23 bodies were discovered Friday in the embattled border city of Nuevo Laredo, including five men and four women hanging from a highway overpass, authorities said.

The grisly surge in violence in Nuevo Laredo, across the river from Laredo, Texas, appears to be part of a battle between Mexico's two largest drug-trafficking gangs for control of the important land corridor.

The nine bodies dangling from the overpass were bloody, some were blindfolded, and, according to authorities, they bore signs of torture. The victims carried no identification but appeared to be between 25 and 30 years old, the state prosecutor's office said.

A banner hanging alongside them contained a profanity-laden message in which one drug gang, possibly the Zetas, threatens to eliminate another for "heating up the plaza" -- that is, provoking the kind of violence that could attract federal troops.

The Zetas have controlled the area, but a faction of the powerful Sinaloa cartel is moving to challenge them and is believed responsible for a car bomb detonated outside police headquarters last month.

Also Friday in Nuevo Laredo, 14 headless bodies were found in black garbage bags in a truck parked outside a government customs building, authorities said. The heads were later found in three ice chests near City Hall. All of these dead were men, also between the ages of 25 and 30. Similarly, a little more than two weeks ago, 14 other dismembered bodies were found near City Hall.

Much of Mexico, meanwhile, remained outraged over the killing of four current or former journalists in less than a week in the coastal state of Veracruz. One, Regina Martinez, was the correspondent for a national muckraking magazine, two were photojournalists, and the fourth had worked previously as a news photographer.

The battle between the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas that is hounding Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas state, is also terrorizing neighboring Veracruz. Violence and threats from the cartels, and inaction by the government and prosecutors, have left the Veracruz press corps frightened and less willing to report on criminal activity, a chilling phenomenon seen in many parts of Mexico.

mexico crime

Five-terms in the Senate have made failed presidential candidate, Obama surrogate, and potential secretary of State John Kerry an amazingly prescient investor

May 3, 2012 12:00 pm

Failed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry’s (D., Mass.) long history of ethically dubious investments could invite controversy as he takes on a new role as a “top surrogate” for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Kerry’s net worth as listed on his 2011 financial disclosure form is at least $193 million and likely much higher, making him the wealthiest member of the Senate. He is also a prolific investor, maintaining an array of stocks and other holdings through a mix of family trusts, marital trusts, and commingled fund accounts with his wife, Big Ketchup baroness Teresa Heinz.

The five-term Senator has a well-documented history of investing in companies that would benefit from policies he supports, as well as making conveniently timed and highly profitable trades coinciding with the passage of major legislation and, in some cases, the dissemination of privileged information.

For years, Kerry has invested millions in a number of green energy companies that have benefitted from the president’s efforts to aggressively subsidize the industry with taxpayer dollars.

These companies include Exelon, which received a $646 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan in 2011 to build a solar facility in California and created only 20 permanent jobs, as well as Fisker Automotive, the fledgling electric car company that offshored its manufacturing operation to Finland after receiving a $529 million federal loan guarantee in 2010.

The loan guarantees, approved by the Department of Energy, were made possible by funding allocated in the 2009 stimulus bill, which Kerry supported. According to Kerry’s own office, the Senator “played a key role” in crafting the portions of the legislation designed to offer federal support for green energy projects.

Additionally, Kerry co-authored the controversial cap-and-trade legislation that would have effectively imposed a tax on carbon-dioxide emissions. Though the bill ultimately failed, the New York Times noted that Exelon and companies like it “would emerge as financial winners” if the legislation was enacted.

Kerry has hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a venture capital firm run by John Doerr, a prominent Obama donor who served on the president’s Economy Recovery Advisory Board.

The firm, where former vice president Al Gore is a partner, invests heavily in alternative energy companies such as Fisker Automotive and Amonix Inc., a Nevada-based solar panel manufacturer that laid off two-thirds of its workforce earlier this year despite receiving nearly $6 million in federal tax credits.

Amonix was one of 16 companies (out of 27 overall) listed in Doerr’s “green-tech” portfolio to receive some form of federal support under Obama.

Kerry purchased—through family trusts—between $30,000 and $100,000 worth of shares in a number of KPCB investment funds, including its “Green Growth Fund,” and continued to purchase shares throughout 2010, according to the Senator’s financial disclosure forms.

Kerry is one of several lawmakers prominently featured in Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer’s landmark book on how elected politicians exploit their privileged positions to enhance their personal wealth.

The Massachusetts Senator’s most dubious trading activity coincided with two major political events—the financial crisis of late 2008 and the passage of President Obama’s controversial healthcare overhaul in March 2010.

Kerry was one of at least 10 Senators to trade financial stocks just days after a Sept. 16, 2008 meeting between Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, and leading members of Congress to discuss the increasingly dire state of the financial markets.

In mid-October 2008, as the Treasury was discussing which banks would be bailed out in the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP), Kerry bought up to $550,000 worth of Citigroup stock and up to $350,000 worth of Bank of America shares. Days later, the American public learned that Citigroup would receive $50 billion from the TARP fund and up to $277 billion in additional loan guarantees. Bank of America also received $50 billion from TARP.

During the contentious healthcare debate in 2009, Schweizer noted, Kerry loaded up on pharmaceutical stocks, purchasing close to $750,000 worth of shares in one company—Teva Pharmaceuticals—in the month of November alone.

Drug companies were viewed to be among the major beneficiaries of the Democratic healthcare legislation. Pharmaceuticals “kicked in $80 billion to help make the bill work, but stand to make 10 times that amount in revenues from added government and government-subsidized business,” liberal columnist Howard Fineman wrote in Newsweek.

Teva stock was trading at about $50 a share when Kerry started buying, but jumped to $62 a share after the healthcare bill was passed, an increase of nearly 25 percent. After Obama signed the bill into law, Kerry sold his Teva shares, realizing tens of thousands in capital gains.

Kerry also bought shares of ResMed, a company that makes medical devices, which surged more than 70 percent after the healthcare bill’s passage. Throughout the healthcare negotiations, Kerry consistently opposed efforts to increase taxes on companies like ResMed.

He also purchased stock in Thermo Fisher Scientific, a firm providing products and services to hospitals, at $35 a share. After passage, they were trading at $50 a share, an increase of more than 40 percent.

As Kerry was buying shares of companies certain to benefit from healthcare reform, he was selling stock in healthcare insurance providers, which were deemed big losers under the new law.

That is hardly the extent of Kerry’s questionable dealings, however. He has millions of dollars invested in funds operated by some of his largest campaign donors, including Bain Capital, Beacon Capital Partners, and the Blackstone Group, investment firms that have collectively given more than $170,000 to Kerry’s campaigns since 2007.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in February that Kerry helped secure a $3.5 billion windfall for hospitals in Massachusetts that would net tens of millions in new federal support for Partners HealthCare, another prominent campaign donor.

Kerry’s controversial financial activity could complicate his recently announced role as a top surrogate for Obama’s reelection campaign. The president has repeatedly sought to blame wealthy investors such as Kerry for precipitating the financial crisis of 2008 and has expressed sympathy for the controversial “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which has become notorious for advocating and in many cases carrying out vandalism against large banks and investment firms.

Employing Kerry as a prominent campaign spokesman could also unwittingly highlight a popular criticism of the president—that his major policy initiatives have had little impact on the struggling economy but have succeeded in enriching a small number of wealthy supporters.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Apr 24, 2012 1:27pm
ABC News

Jurors in a New York court will see surveillance footage today of a man who allegedly dressed up as his dead mother for six years to cash her Social Security checks, even going as far as visiting the DMV for a new license in the get-up.

Thomas Prusik-Parkin is accused of collecting more than $115,000 on his mother Irene Prusik’s government benefits and rent subsidies for six years following her death in 2003.

In what the Brooklyn district attorney’s office called an “elaborate fraud,” Prusik-Parkin and an accomplice allegedly appropriated Social Security benefits, social service payments and a townhouse, all while Prusik-Parkin was dressed as his deceased 77-year-old mother.

An accomplice, Mhilton Rimolo, posed at Prusik-Parkin’s nephew when the duo went out in costume.

“These defendants ran a multi-year campaign of fraud that was unparalleled in its scope and brazenness,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement.

Prusik-Parkin and Rimolo initiated the crime by doctoring Prusik’s death certificate with a false Social Security Number and date of birth, which made it appear as though she were still alive, according to the indictment.

“In order to perpetuate the ruse, the defendants went as far as to dress Parkin up as his deceased mother, and visit the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew her driver’s license, where, incidentally, they were captured on surveillance video,” the DA’s office said.

Prusik-Parkin and Rimolo received Prusik’s Social Security benefits every month for six years, totaling $52,000. They also received $65,000 in rental assistance, according to the DA’s office.

The duo was eventually caught when they got into a real estate battle with the new owner of Parkin’s mother’s former home, which she had left to him. He had been unable to maintain ownership and the building was sold at a foreclosure auction.

When the new owner reported that to the DA’s office that he believed Prusik-Parkin had filed false affidavits, an investigation was opened. Prusik-Parkin surprised investigators when he agreed to have his “mom” meet with them.

“When prosecutors and detective investigators arrived, they found Prusik-Parkin dressed as his 77-year-old mother, wearing a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an oxygen tank,” the DA’s office said.

Prusik-Parkin and Rimolo were indicted in June 2009 on 47 counts that included grand larceny, conspiracy, forgery and criminal impersonation.

Rimolo pleaded guilty to grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument, for which he served less than a year in prison. Prusik-Parkin faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.


Obama and Al Qaida: wishful idiocy

Al qaida is far from dead.  Contrary to the prevailing opinion of the Obama administration, al qaida is not on its last breath and world intelligence services know this.  So often in the US media we hear and read about al qaida all but dismantled. 

That ios simply wishful thinking by Obama and those who feel as he does about the world.  They are wrong and many will pay because of it.

Thankfully, our intelligence services will do what they do and will stop those who try, albeit, they cannot be everywhere all the time and as good as they are (and the world knows how good because they are always complaining about us spying on them) they can't be 100% all the time.

It will not be their failure when it happens, rather a man who believes his vision of the world is accurate and all he needs to do is wish it into fruition and all will be well.  Stupid people believe stupid things and innocent people are harmed.

The war on terror will be a decades long war, long after Obama is out of office and marginalized to the dustbin.

April 30, 2012|By Nic Robertson, Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, CNN

On May 16 last year, a 22-year-old Austrian named Maqsood Lodin was being questioned by police in Berlin. He had recently returned from Pakistan via Budapest, Hungary, and then traveled overland to Germany. His interrogators were surprised to find that hidden in his underpants were a digital storage device and memory cards.

Buried inside them was a pornographic video called "Kick Ass" -- and a file marked "Sexy Tanja."

Several weeks later, after laborious efforts to crack a password and software to make the file almost invisible, German investigators discovered encoded inside the actual video a treasure trove of intelligence -- more than 100 al Qaeda documents that included an inside track on some of the terror group's most audacious plots and a road map for future operations.

Future plots include the idea of seizing cruise ships and carrying out attacks in Europe similar to the gun attacks by Pakistani militants that paralyzed the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008. Ten gunmen killed 164 people in that three-day rampage.

Terrorist training manuals in PDF format in German, English and Arabic were among the documents, too, according to intelligence sources.

More: Details revealed on London bombings | Liquid bomb plot origins

U.S. intelligence sources tell CNN that the documents uncovered are "pure gold;" one source says that they are the most important haul of al Qaeda materials in the last year, besides those found when U.S. Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a year ago and killed the al Qaeda leader.

One document was called "Future Works." Its authorship is unclear, but intelligence officials believe it came from al Qaeda's inner core. It may have been the work of Younis al Mauretani, a senior al Qaeda operative until his capture by Pakistani police in 2011.

The document appears to have been the product of discussions to find new targets and methods of attack. German investigators believe it was written in 2009 -- and that it remains the template for al Qaeda's plans.

Investigative journalist Yassin Musharbash, a reporter with the German newspaper Die Zeit, was the first to report on the documents. One plan: to seize passenger ships. According to Musharbash, the writer "says that we could hijack a passenger ship and use it to pressurize the public."

Musharbash takes that to mean that the terrorists "would then start executing passengers on those ships and demand the release of particular prisoners."

al qaida

Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.