Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Publisher Of 'I Heard You Paint Houses' Responds To “The Lies Of The Irishman” And The Author Of Slate’s Story Replies.

In a previous post I linked to Bill Tonelli’s debunking of I heard You Paint Houses, the book that is the basis for the upcoming Martin Scorsese and Robert Di Nero crime film, The Irishman, on Netflix, at Slate - 
Like Tonelli, I don’t believe Frank Sheeran murdered Hoffa or Crazy Joe Gallo. I don’t believe most of the book and although I’ll watch the Irishman when it comes out, I’ll watch it as fiction.
Slate published the publisher’s response to Bill Tonelli’s piece, and Tonelli responded to the publisher.    
Chip Fleischer, the publisher of Steerforth Press, sent the following letter in response to Slate’s Aug. 7 cover story,“The Lies of the Irishman.” Slate is running the letter as it was submitted, followed by a reply from the story’s author, Bill Tonelli. Slate stands by the story. 
To the editors: 
Bill Tonelli’s August 7 write-up for Slate on I Heard You Paint Houses, Charles Brandt’s book about Mafia hit man and Teamsters official Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, is a hit job. It is not journalism in the traditional sense, but rather a glib, intellectually dishonest taunt. Its author, Bill Tonelli, chose to set aside the overwhelming majority of evidence and information contained in the book and provided to him by its author and publisher. Slate’s decision to run the article under the headline, “The Lies of the Irishman” and to add in the subhead “the guy made it all up,” despite the fact that Tonelli’s piece does not contain details of fact in support of such conclusions, is irresponsible in the extreme, not to mention damaging.  A longtime reader of Slate, I expected better. Charles Brandt and I focused on providing Tonelli with evidence and corroboration in response to his agenda-driven questions. His write-up is built upon a base of ad hominem attacks and larded with strong opinions and assertions that, while from experts in many cases, are not supported by facts, and certainly do not disprove anything published in our book. Since publishing I Heard You Paint Houses 15 years ago, we have received substantial independent third party corroboration of its revelations and conclusions, so much in fact that we added a 57-page Conclusion to the current edition to go along with a 14-page Epilogue that was added to the first paperback edition in 2005 detailing much of that corroboration. 
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Friday, August 16, 2019

Social Security Administration Warns That Scams Come In Many Different Forms

Mike Korbey, the Social Security Administration’s deputy commissioner for communication, offers the below crime prevention tips:

Social Security is at the forefront of keeping your online data secure, but you play a vital role in safeguarding your personal information too.

Scammers commonly target people who are looking for Social Security program and benefit information. You might receive an advertisement in the mail, but it could be from a private company or even a scammer. 

U.S. law prohibits people and businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).

If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete advertisement, including the envelope it came in, to:

Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235

Scams can also happen online. A growing tactic for scammers is to use online dating sites. According to the United States Postal Inspection Service’s recent messaging, before starting an internet-based relationship, we should always keep our personal details to ourselves until you meet face-to-face. Next, do an internet search of the other person’s name and the town they claim to be living in.

Here are indications that someone may not be who they say they are:

A mismatch between their name and the name embedded in their email address.

There are obvious spelling and grammar errors.

They asked if you would send or receive money/packages on someone else’s behalf.

They need money right away due to a medical emergency, or they need a visa or air tickets. Or, a business opportunity arose that was too good to turn down. Can you wire a loan?

If anyone asks for your Social Security number, never give it to them. And if they are specifically pretending to be from Social Security, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. For more information, please visit the Office of the Inspector General’s website.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Philadelphia Shooting Injures 9 Officers, 6 Shot; Suspect Surrenders After Hours-Long Standoff

6 ABC News in Philadelphia reports on the aftermath of the standoff and shooting of Philadelphia police officers by suspect Maurice Hill (seen in his above mugshot). 

PHILADELPHIA -- A gunman barricaded himself inside a Philadelphia rowhouse for 7 hours, firing on police and wounding six in a dramatic standoff that trapped two officers all while the commissioner and the shooter's attorney tried to negotiate a surrender.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross expressed amazement that the standoff, which began Wednesday when officers attempted to serve a drug warrant, ended with no one dead and no life-threatening injuries.

It "could have been far worse," Ross said Thursday outside the Philadelphia Police Department. "This was a very dynamic situation, one that I hope we never see again."

You can read the rest of the piece and watch video via the below link: 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Little Humor: The Bible Told Him So

An elderly woman returned home from church and was startled to find an intruder in her house. 

Catching the man in the act of burglarizing her home, she yelled, “Stop! Acts 2:38!” (“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.”)

The burglar stopped dead in his tracks and threw up his hands.

The woman calmly called the police and explained what has happened. 

When the police came they found the burglar standing still with his hands still up in the air.

As he was placing the handcuffs on the burglar, one of the police officers asked, “Why did you just stand there? All the lady did was mention a scripture verse.”

“Scripture?” screamed the burglar, who was still shaking with fear. “She said she had an axe and two 38’s!” 

Note; The photo above is of Frances Bavier, who portrayed Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show 

How A Former CIA Officer Was Caught Betraying His Country

60 Minutes interviews FBI and Justice Department officials about the case of Kevin Mallory, a former CIA officer who spied for the Chinese.

You can watch the piece and see videos of Mallory (seen in his mugshot above) in the act via the below link:

You can also read about Mallory's sentencing via the below link:

Monday, August 12, 2019

My Washington Times Piece On Escalating The War On Police: Dousing Police Officers Is A New Tactic In The War On Cops

The Washington Times published my piece on the dousing of New York City cops.

Attitudes have certainly changed since the 1970s, when the late Frank Rizzo, then-Philadelphia’s mayor and former top cop, told an Italian diplomat that the way to treat criminals was “scappo il capo,” an Italian phrase translated roughly to “crack their heads.”

But has the pendulum swung so far to the left that we now allow police officers to be humiliated and assaulted before jeering crowds? 

Videos posted online last month featured uniformed New York City police officers being doused with buckets of water and pelted with objects by jeering, prancing and laughing young street hoodlums in two separate incidents, one in Harlem and another in Brooklyn. In one video, a man picked up a bucket and threw it at an officer’s head as onlookers watched, laughed and acted up in support.

The officers did not respond to these assaults and simply walked away.

Many are blaming the incidents on the policies and poor leadership of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Our anti-cop lawmakers have gotten their wish: the NYPD is now frozen,” Patrick J. Lynch, New York’s Police Benevolent Association president said. “It’s not the fault of these police officers. It’s the end result of the torrent of bad policies and anti-police rhetoric that has been streaming out of City Hall and Albany for years now.

“We are approaching the point of no return. Disorder controls the streets, and our elected leaders refuse to allow us to take them back. As police officers, we need to draw a line. In situations like this, we need to take action to protect ourselves and the public. The politicians may not care about the dangerous levels of chaos in our neighborhoods, but police officers and decent New Yorkers should not be forced to suffer.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

On This Day In history Ian Fleming, Author Of The James Bond Thrillers, Died

As notes, on this day in 1964 Ian Fleming, a World War II naval intelligence officer, journalist and author of the James Bond thrillers, died. 

On this day in 1964, the British author and journalist Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, the world’s most famous fictional spy, dies of a heart attack at age 56 in Kent, England. Fleming’s series of novels about the debonair Agent 007, based in part on their dashing author’s real-life experiences, spawned one of the most lucrative film franchises in history. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

On that day in 194 I was a 12-year-old sitting in the back seat of my father's car when I heard on the car radio that Ian Fleming had died. I was thunderstruck.

In the months prior to that sad announcement I had been reading through Ian Fleming's James Bond thrillers. Having loved the first two Bond films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love, starring Sean Connery as James Bond, I began reading the novels. I was pleased to discover that the books were darker and more complicated than the films and I've been an Ian Fleming aficionado ever since. 

You can read two of my Crime Beat columns on the late, great thriller writer via the below links:

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine about Ian Fleming's WWII experience and his creation of the intelligence commando group, 30 Assault Unit, via the below link:

Below is Ian Fleming's obituary, which appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer

To learn more about Ian Fleming, you can read John Pearson and Andrew Lycett’s biographies of him.