Another week, another Wednesday. For most, it was a short week, but I am sure everyone is thrilled that hump day is over, just the same, and there are only two days left in the first week of September.
As predicted, the U.S. Senate remains at odds over the proposed Republican coronavirus aid bill. The Democrats are vowing to block the measure, and top Republicans say if that happens, it will prove that the Democrats, are, in fact, the problem. In response, Democrats say that the legislation proposed shows how little the Republicans actually understand the plight of everyday Americans who are just struggling to make ends meet and stay alive.
In other news…
1) A report filed by a previous Department of Homeland Security Chief of Intelligence came to light today in a whistleblower complaint that details multiple times Brian Murphy, the complainant, says he was censored or had intelligence manipulated by the Trump administration.
Murphy filed the report with the DHS Inspector General. In the report, Murphy outlined a disturbing pattern of attempts to abuse the authority of the office and possible federal law violations by senior administration members – mainly figures in top spots in intelligence and law enforcement.
In short, Murphy claims the Trump administration sought to “censor or manipulate” intelligence for political purposes – including, but not limited to, information about Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 elections. He also that there were effortd to downplay the threat posed by domestic white supremacy groups and manipulate statistics about terrorist entries along the southern border.
Murphy names some of those senior officials throughout 24 pages, and they include the current DHS acting Secretary Chad Wolf; Ken Cuccinelli, the current DHS deputy Secretary; and Kirstjen Nielsen, the former DHS secretary. Murphy claims that this trio was mainly focused on making sure their intelligence matched the president’s messaging.
DHS did not initially respond to questions about the report, but Wolf in a speech defended the agency against allegations of politicization. Murphy is pushing through his attorneys to have an investigation performed to prove the validity of his claims, as well as to unveil what he says were retaliatory actions against him for speaking out.
Murphy was ordered by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to appear at a hearing later in September.
2) In New Hampshire, officials at the Manchester Police Department is refusing to follow the ruling of a labor arbitrator who wants them to reinstate Officer Aaron Brown. In 2018 Brown was the subject of an internal investigation that showed he not only made disturbing racial comments but also purposefully damaged property in the course of official duties.
In that investigation, the MPD found many texts on Brown’s department cell phone that contained racist slurs and admissions of damaging property during the execution of search warrants. Though this led to a criminal investigation, there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges. MPD Chief Nick Willard used the final internal investigation to fire Brown in April of that year.
On behalf of Brown, the Manchester Police Patrolman Association filed a grievance, and this led to arbitration. In 2019, that arbitrator decided that though his racial remarks were “egregious” and had no place in the force, Brown should not have lost his job for making them. Instead, it was found that Brown only should have faced a 30-day suspension, and the ruling also stated he should be rehired with back pay.
The department released a statement expressing disbelief and disappointment in the ruling in this case. The arbitrator’s decision is legally binding, but Chief Carlo Capano has decided to refuse to comply, and Brown remains fired as of now.
The MPPA has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the MPD.
Capano said that he and the department will do all they can to keep Brown from returning to the force, as they all share the view that someone with clearly stated racist beliefs should not be allowed to be part of a workforce whose job is to serve and protect everyone, regardless of the color of their skin.
3) Robert Hadden was a respected gynecologist at Columbia University for decades. Now, the 62-year-old is facing charges of six counts of alleged sexual abuse of female patients spanning the years of 1993 to 2012.
Hadden’s indictment has now been unsealed, to reveal that the charges include alleged misconduct against five adult women and one minor. They detail a predator posing as a doctor who used his power and influence to induce and entice dozens of victims to come to his office to be sexually abused under the guise of care.
The maximum punishment assigned to each count is up to 20 years in prison. Hadden was arrested this morning and was set to appear before a judge at some point today.
One of the accusers is Evelyn Yang, wife of Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential contender. Yang has also said that both the DA and Columbia University are responsible for gross mishandling of the case. There have been dozens of complaints unearthed that date back to the mid-nineties.
Along with these complaints appears to be evidence that officials at the university were aware of the accusations but did nothing substantial to stop the abuse.
Federal authorities are asking anyone who knows anything or may have been a victim to come forward with information.
4) After a long wait, non-Indian run New York casinos were allowed to re-open for business today. Many people were excited that their entertainment and gambling establishments were back, and there was a long line of guests waiting outside of the Saratoga Casino Hotel for the doors to open.
The Saratoga Casino Hotel and other such establishments are subject to many regulations and public health protocols to guard against spreading COVID-19, including a mandate that they operate at just 25 percent capacity.
General Manager Alex Tucker said the facility also has an updated air filtration system and will be checking temperatures of employees and guests. They will require everyone to wear masks while on the gaming floor and have limited to one entrance and exit. The games are also socially distanced.
Tucker said the SCH’s goal is to provide a safe environment for its patrons, as if people do not feel secure, they will not be able to relax and enjoy themselves.
5) In an ongoing investigation, Troy Police are looking into reports of shots fired. According to the TPD, the incident occurred this afternoon in the vicinity of Gurley Ave and Cemetery Rd. The reports of shots fired from one vehicle into another.
So far, TPD has no reported victims.
Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.