US Senate and Congress are leading advocates of the Jews’ “Comintern” under “the Crown” of Israel’s ‘Davidic’ antichrist

US Senate and Congress are leading advocates of the Jews’ “Comintern” under “the Crown” of Israel’s ‘Davidic’ antichrist

communism is jewish

“The USA senate and congress resemble the Russian Comintern of old now … the USA govt is completely corrupt and craven … they are given to serving insane Israel”—“sog” on incogman.net

Did you know that the Jew mega-banksters deliberately dissolved their old soviet of the USSR, so they could cash in on a new macro-economic dialectic of a nominally Christian Russia in the East and a (cultural) Marxist America in the West; and with that more perfectly subjugate and undo White Christian America and consolidate the power of the corporate entity of the Crown of the City of London, which, by the legality of its Inns of Court, owns the land and state assets of America and is really a metonym for the crown of Israel’s biblical end-time antichrist?

The merely nominal Orthodox Christian Putin was in on the foregoing Jew banksters’ ruse from the get go, in their new political entity of the so-called “Russian Federation”; and the gay commie creep Barack Obama, with his transgender “butt-buddy” Michelle (aka Michael) Obama, has marvelously facilitated it for them, in what’s now the heavily Judaized cultural Marxist republic of the “United Soviet States of Amerikwa”.

Further reading …

Commie Blaster calls it quits, after 5 years of faithful reporting …

Communist-Adam-Kokesh

Yes, the subversive, agitating commie creep Adam Kokesh is a Jew

jew-soldier-of-zion

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Education, R&D investments to fuel business growth: Westpac

Jason Yetton, Westpac Group executive in retail and business banking, believes raising education standards, providing more support for small to medium enterprises, and ensuring that government polices support research and development will help businesses better respond to the technology-related changes that are currently occurring.

During his presentation at the Trans-Tasman Business Circle in Sydney, Yetton highlighted that all industries, including banking, have entered into a world where business as usual is no longer good enough, and digitisation is customer led — not business led.

He said that despite a general awareness by industries that times are changing, more support is needed. For example, he said the education sector could potentially lead in this by taking advantage of the emerging middle class in countries such as India and China.

“This is Australia’s largest non-export industry and the third-largest after iron ore and coal, generating about AU$15 billion in revenues each year. The opportunities presented by the emerging demand for education and reskilling in the Asia-Pacific, including through online technologies, are immense,” Yetton said.

Education is also another key area that will help support 60 percent of Australian SMEs that do not have the skills to make the most of online services, Yetton said.

“As we know, online sales have increased significantly, growing by 25 percent from 2011 to 2012. While the rate of growth has slowed in 2014 to about 13 percent, it is still growing at a faster rate than traditional retail.

“So we need to provide forums and avenues for education and advice on technology and online for our SMEs,” he said.

At the same time, Yetton pointed out that Australia is not investing enough in R&D because factors such as government policies, grants, tax incentives, and projects such as the National Broadband Network (NBN) are hindrances. In comparison to global counterparts — such as the United States, which will spend around 2.8 percent of its total GDP on R&D — he said Australia will only spend AU$9.2 billion on R&D in 2014-15, which translates to only 0.56 percent of GDP.

When it came to speaking about where Westpac stands in all of these changes, Yetton admitted that the “digital era” is forcing the bank to rework its operations and products. However, he noted that conventional channels such as its branches will continue to play an important role — but not in the “traditional manner”.

For instance, Westpac recently announced that it is investing AU$40 million to roll out 150 Bank Now branches over the next three years to rural Australia, which are smaller and fitted out with tablets and video-conferencing facilities.

The Bank Now branches are part of Westpac’s overall “digitisation” program. Last year, Westpac’s focus on technology helped it achieve profit of AU$3.6 billion for the first half of the 2014 financial year.

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Telstra boosts data on broadband, mobile

Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra has boosted the data on its fixed and mobile plans, and has introduced new data packs aimed at reducing bill shock for mobile customers.

As of April 9, customers signing up for Telstra mobile contracts, either with a handset or on a BYO plan, will receive between 500MB and 7GB of additional data on their plan.

For the Mobile Accelerate handset plans, customers paying AU$95 per month will receive 3.5GB per month on top of their monthly 2.5GB per month, for a total of 6GB per month.

Customers on the AU$130 per month plan will receive 10GB per month instead of the normal 3GB.

On the BYO plans, customers paying AU$45 per month will get 2GB instead of 500MB, while customers on AU$55 will get 3.5GB instead of 1.5GB. Customers paying AU$70 per month will get 6GB instead of 2.5GB, and customers on AU$95 per month will get 10GB instead of 3GB.

Business plans have also received a boost, ranging from an extra 500MB on the AU$65 per month plan, up to an extra 7GB on the AU$135 per month plan.

The new contracts also include a six-month subscription to Presto, the video-on-demand service owned by Foxtel — a company half owned by Telstra.

The company also announced on its blog on Tuesday that it would follow in the footsteps of Optus and Vodafone, and allow customers to opt in to have AU$10, 1GB data packs automatically added to a customer’s account when they reach their monthly mobile data limit.

Customers can opt in via the Telstra 24/7 app or online.

The data expires at the end of each month, and the customer returns to their regular monthly limit at the start of each new month.

The change of tune comes in contrast to comments from CEO David Thodey when Optus and Vodafone first announced their own plans to tackle bill shock in 2013.

“We manage the excess data usage very closely. It’s a fine balance you’ve got to get, because excess data usage might be good for revenue, but it really annoys customers, and you get bill shock and all those sorts of things,” he said at the time.

“I’m not so driven by what others say. I’m more driven by what we do for our customers and what is right for us. I think we’ve got a pretty good feel on that. I’m not inclined to talk about what we’re going to do next month, but I can tell you we know very intimately whatever is going on in the market and we respond.”

Over the past few weeks, Telstra fixed-line broadband customers have also been receiving an email advising a data top up for using their services. The amount varies, but customers will keep that amount for the life of their plan.

Telstra said it will boost the data of all 2.5 million broadband customers across ADSL, cable, and the National Broadband Network (NBN) over the next few months.

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​MYOB eyes AU$2.3b valuation after filing for IPO

Australian cloud accounting software provider MYOB is looking to be relisted on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) by early May, after filing for an initial public offering (IPO).

Following industry speculation that it would reveal its public listing plans sometime in March, the company announced on Tuesday that it had filed its IPO prospectus with the country’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

MYOB said that the offering — to retail and institutional investors — is expected to raise total proceeds of AU$831.7 million to AU$833.8 million, based on an indicative range of AU$3 to AU$4 per share, representing a total enterprise valuation of AU$2.34 billion to AU$2.69 billion for the company.

MYOB, which is currently majority owned by Bain Capital, said that the US-based private asset management firm will not be selling any of its shares in the offer, and would hold approximately 57 percent of the total issued capital of the company, assuming that the final price is at the mid-point of the estimated price range.

Bain Capital bought MYOB for $1.3 billion in 2011 from Australia’s Archer Capital and other shareholders, which collectively completed a takeover bid of the company in 2009, returning it to private ownership following its initial 1999 listing on the ASX.

“The return of MYOB to the ASX after six years of private ownership represents a great opportunity for both shareholders and our clients,” said MYOB chairman Justin Milne.

Milne said that the company is well positioned to carry out its growth strategy, and continue to build upon its position in small business and payroll software through the rapid growth of cloud-based products.

The IPO prospectus lodgement comes as the company works to ramp up its cloud-based software portfolio amid increased competition in sector from New Zealand-headquartered cloud accounting provider Xero, among other players.

The company spent AU$42 million in research and development during the financial year ending 2014, focusing on the markets in Australia and New Zealand in a bid to drive innovation across all of its business segments.

MYOB had previously indicated that it had invested more than AU$100 million in R&D for the Australian and New Zealand markets alone over the past three years.

“The company has taken enormous strides in recent years under the ownership of Bain Capital,” said MYOB CEO Tim Reed. “We have made significant investment into R&D in the business to innovate and further drive our leadership through our range of cloud accounting software.

“We continued to capitalise on this strong base with rapid adoption from both new and existing clients, with 67 percent of new clients choosing cloud products and more than 116,000 paying subscribers using our cloud solutions as at 31 December, 2014,” he said.

The announcement comes as rival Xero, which is dual-listed on the ASX and the New Zealand Exchange, announced that it now claims 200,000 paying customers on its platform in Australia — five years on from its debut in the local market.

“We believe we are now truly in the early majority phase of adoption,” said Xero Australia managing director Chris Ridd. “We expect to see significantly more small businesses upgrade from traditional accounting products in the coming months and years.”

Like MYOB, Xero has been pumping plenty of resources into the development of its cloud-based products and platforms, with Ridd revealing that the company has released more than 400 customer-facing updates in 2014, and 150 so far this year.

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​Semble transforms Androids into mobile wallets in New Zealand

New Zealand mobile wallet consortium Semble has launched an app that will allow Android-enabled devices around New Zealand to make secure mobile payments using only their smartphones.

The free-to-download Semble app, together with a Semble Ready SIM card, which houses a chip that is similar to those used in credit and debit cards, allows users to hold their smartphone over any contactless terminal to conduct a tap-and-go transaction.

Semble is a consortium supported by all of the major New Zealand mobile telcos and two of the big four banks, ASB and BNZ, as well as payment network Paymark.

Semble CEO Rob Ellis said the collaboration is likely to be used by close to 1 million Android smartphone owners across New Zealand.

“Semble is a natural evolution of how we already use our smartphones for so many different things on a day-to-day basis. Merging the wallet with the smartphone is the obvious next step,” he said.

“It was important to design a product using the highest international security standards while still being something that’s easy for Kiwis to use and simple for businesses to join.”

The company added that the vision for the solution is that it will replace all cards. Off the back of this, Snapper, New Zealand’s contactless payment system, has been announced as the first partner. From June, Snapper cardholders will have the ability to use their Android smartphones instead of their Snapper cards, such as to pay for public transport, parking, or taxi rides.

“We look forward to welcoming many more service providers to the Semble marketplace, including more banks as well as loyalty cards, public transport cards, ticketing, offers, vouchers and much more,” Ellis said.

Semble also announced that from April, it will begin trialling special offers for redemption at the point of sale using the Semble app. It has initially partnered with burger brand BurgerFuel to do this.

The launch of the Semble app comes following a pilot the company commenced in November 2014 with 250 users in Auckland and Wellington.

However, not all New Zealand retailers have welcomed Semble. Mane Salon, a Wellington hair salon, has instructed its bank not to deploy the new Semble contactless payments systems to its Eftpos terminal, mainly because the retailer prefers bitcoin.

Mane Salon adopted bitcoin in April 2014 to reduce credit card processing fees, and was one of New Zealand’s first retailers to do so.

“After implementing a bitcoin trial in April last year, today I’ve decided to permanently adopt bitcoin as a payment option for customers. I hope that our example illustrates to other retailers that there are viable, lower-cost alternatives to expensive and proprietary credit card-based contactless payment systems,” Janine Weatherley, Mane Salon owner, said.

Weatherley said she supports comments made by Xero CEO Rod Drury in 2013 that contactless payments should be considered as Eftpos payments.

“Paywave, Paypass, Semble, and any new Apple payments platform can only add cost to retail transactions, which will inevitably be passed on to consumers — Eftpos is the envy of the world because it’s cheap, universal, and simple — any replacement must take cost out, not add it in,” she said.

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AMP Bank turns to HCE to bring contactless payments to Androids

AMP Bank has introduced host card emulation (HCE) technology to its mobile app to enable Android users running KitKat 4.4 or later the ability to make contactless payments up to AU$100 without a PIN.

The HCE technology replaces the need for customers to purchase a PayTag sticker, which AMP Bank released last year to allow customers to make tap-and-go payments valued up to AU$100 with their smartphones. The technology, to be known as AMPwave, will be integrated into the AMP banking and wealth management app, and will be available to AMP Bank Visa debit cardholders.

The latest update of the mobile app is part of AMP Bank’s broader digital strategy, which started in late 2013 when the company launched its first mobile app for the Apple iOS platform. An Android version of the app was launched in February 2014. AMP Bank also released an app for the Apple iPad in May last year.

AMP director digital Michael Weeding said the company has slowly been introducing mobile solutions and enhancements to customers.

“Our key focus is a build a whole of wealth experience for our customers as that’s the demand we’re seeing from customers as they connect with AMP,” he said.

Weeding added that enhancing the customer’s digital experience with HCE will bring the company’s wealth management and banking business closer together, which traditionally have been two separate functions.

“This is just another function that we’ve brought to our customers, and they’ll continue see a lot more over the next 12 to 24 months as we line up the wealth and the bank to give a truly whole of wealth experience to customers across the Australian market,” he said.

The introduction of the HCE-based technology to a mobile app is a similar move that Commonwealth Bank of Australia made in early March.

CBA on Tuesday also finally released the general availability of its mobile Eftpos tablet, Albert, three years after the company initially announced the solution.

In CBA’s defence, Gary Roach, managing director of payments and cash management services, said it was fair to say that it took a “while” to release Albert, but this was only because the bank wanted to make sure the solution’s security levels were up to scratch to be PCI compliant. The bank also wanted to ensure that it supported EMV transactions and that no one else in the market could “emulate” what it had done.

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Iran charges U.S. drone strike killed its advisers in Tikrit, Iraq

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Libertyf

Tehran says a U.S. drone strike killed two Iranian advisers in Iraq last week, but the United States says it has only struck Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants in its campaign.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said on its sepahnews.ir website on March 30 that the strike occurred on March 23, just after the U.S.-led coalition began air strikes to support Iraqi forces trying to retake the IS-held city of Tikrit.

Mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Ali Yazdani, a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on March 29. / Fars News Agency, Mohammad Reza Jofar

Mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Ali Yazdani, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on March 29. / Fars News Agency, Mohammad Reza Jofar

The website identified the dead as Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari. It said they were buried on March 29.

The Associated Press quoted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as saying the “international coalition is aimed at Daesh only,” using another term for the ISIL extremist group.

Without directly addressing the Iranian claim, the statement said, “All air strikes are carried out through the alliance with the Iraqi government and in full coordination with the [Iraqi] Ministry of Defense.”

The large-scale offensive to retake Tikrit has been waged by Iraqi troops and Shi’ite militias advised by Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Guard’s elite Quds Force, in early March.

The U.S.-led coalition began air strikes around Tikrit on March 21 to support the operation at the Iraqi government request.

The top U.S. general for the Middle East said on March 26 that Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias have left the fight and pulled back from Tikrit as a condition for U.S. involvement.

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee he had insisted the militias pull back before the U.S. began flying intelligence-gathering flights and dropping bombs in support of Iraqi soldiers and federal police.

Some militia spokesmen contested that account, saying the forces chose to withdraw to protest U.S. involvement.

Iraq had asked the U.S.-led coalition to mount air strikes on Tikrit after the operation stalled.

Tikrit, the home town of former dictator Saddam Hussain, fell to ISIL militants in June during an offensive in which they seized much of northern Iraq and Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition began air strikes against the extremist group in August.

Iran has offered advisers and other assistance to Iraq to fight the militants.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad the visiting UN chief Ban Ki-Moon held meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and other top officials on March 30. Ban also addressed the Iraqi parliament.

Ban’s spokesperson said on Twitter that the UN chief would “convey UN support” for the people and government of Iraq “in these challenging times.”

No details were provided.


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Daydream believers: Tapped out world economy now rushes to bail out China

Sol W. Sanders

A most peculiar crisis is developing for the Chinese economy – and, indeed, for the regime – while the world’s attention is riveted on the chaos and terror in the Mideast and Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Not the smallest element is the clever manipulation by Beijing’s strategists of the world’s hopes for continued remarkable Chinese growth as a last call instrument to bail out a dawdling world economy.

That misapprehension of China’s economic capacities may well forestall, again, at least for a time, an inevitable coming to grips with basic problems of it vast society under the Communist Party monopoly. But there is growing evidence that China’s financial problems have reached a crescendo that Beijing can no longer manage.

In that marvelous game of speculation on one of the world’s oldest cultures, I have always joked that the Chinese have two “extra� genes to others’ DNA: one is an inordinate capacity for hospitality, and the other for unlimited risk at gambling. Both are in full flower at the moment.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, right, and China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai in Berlin announcing that Germany will be a founding member of a new international development bank backed by China. / Reuters

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, right, and China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai in Berlin announcing that Germany will be a founding member of a new international development bank backed by China. / Reuters

In effect this has led to foreign Old China Hands increasingly coming around to a pessimistic view of the outcome of events that some of us have held for years. The spectacular growth of China with the release of the unique energy of its people with the collapse of Maoism was nevertheless jerry built. Some of us have argued that it inevitably would crack – although as so many times in similar historical situations, what would be the final straw and when it will happen was unpredictable. As a result, I have had to suffer my friends continued scorn with “Yeah-yeah-yeah! you have been saying that for years� – and I have. But there is no doubt now that that moment of decision is rapidly coming closer.

Still, a continuing element in the Chinese equation is the rush of its trading partners to either help camouflage the actual situation, or, indeed, scurry to its aid.

That is the case now with their acceptance of a proposal by China for a multi-billions-dollar multinational bank to be directed by Beijing, ostensibly lending for Asian infrastructure. It would rival the Bank for International Reconstruction [the World Bank] and its financial sister the International Monetary Fund.

The World Bank, after a more rapid than anticipated completion of the post-World War II European reconstruction for which it originally was created, almost accidentally turned under U.S. direction to financing longer-term infrastructure projects in the undeveloped world, And then, having met much of that challenge, under Robert S. McNamara it again turned to social welfare projects. There is a substantial argument that in a world of incredibly sophisticated international lending enhanced by the digital revolution, its mission is long since over.

Now Beijing comes along, proposing that it head a copycat international banking operation, which would fund infrastructure. But Beijing running a multinational financial operation for “good works� is hardly parallel to that task undertaken by the U.S. and its allies in the post-World War II world.

The Chinese are notorious for corruption in their international lending as in all their economic transactions – and ignoring such ephemeral but important concepts such as environmental concerns and credit safeguards. But at the moment Beijing faces a series of collapsing overextended binational international lending problems. Tens of billions in loans, many of them swap credits against a now deteriorating energy market, include Angola, Venezuela, Nigeria and Brazil. They will now have to be refinanced, although how is far from clear.

In the face of Beijing’s growing overseas debt, foreign banks have begun demanding collateral even for loans to its highly favored huge state corporations, apparently preparing for a rise in defaults in the world’s second-largest economy. This is all overhung with an economy growing at its slowest pace since its dramatic opening to foreign capital and technology, and with an unknown downward trend which Beijing is desperately trying to disguise.

If the Chinese were successful with their new venture calling for a new international infrastructure bank under their direction, it would be an operation in reality to refund Beijing’s failing overseas lending and another attempt to boost its highly subsidized exports, already wrenching the world economy out of shape but faced with rapidly rising costs and intense competition from other low wage producers. That there are willing partners in this situation for such an obvious strategy among its trading partners goes back to the continued wishful thinking about the Chinese economy.

The Obama Administration, increasingly notorious for its foreign policy gaffes, opposed the new Chinese bank. But its campaign of opposition to the participation of its allies has, for the moment at least, collapsed.

The lure of the Chinese growth mirage has been just too powerful even for London, with its famous City expertise notwithstanding, not to succumb. And it remains to be seen whether such already hard-pressed economies such as Australia’s – ironically suffering from that precise downturn in commodities prices, its principal exports, brought on by the drop in speculation on Chinese continued high growth rates.

Underlying all these decisions is the incredible Chinese lack of transparency and outright counterfeiting of its statistics. There is no end to what we don’t really know about the Chinese economy, whether shadow-bank lending, local-government financing, intra-local-government borrowing, unfunded pension and health-care liabilities. household finances, etc. There is considerable doubt that even the most studious and independent economic observers in and out of the Chinese government know themselves.

What we do know is that in all these issue, debt has been rising at a phenomenal rate. That means, as Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University, has warned: “The problem in China is not the stock of foreign debt but the commitment to a growth model that requires an unsustainable rise in debt simply to keep the engine running.�

Sol W. Sanders, (solsanders@cox.net), is a contributing editor for WorldTribune.com and East-Asia-Intel.com


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She’s been out of prison for 18 years. Employers still see her as a convict



Shari Thomas, 50, lost her job in the pharmaceutical industry and is now on foodstamps.




© Shari Thomas, 50, lost her job in the pharmaceutical industry and is now on foodstamps.
Shari Thomas, 50, lost her job in the pharmaceutical industry and is now on foodstamps.

Shari L. Thomas went to prison more than 25 years ago for killing the man who she said had abused her as a child. She used her time there to remake herself, becoming the first woman in Virginia to obtain a college degree behind bars. She earned a master’s degree in biotechnology after her release. She has kept her record clean since, managing research laboratories for major hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

And yet even now, her criminal record has the power to reach through time, upending her life.

In the past few years, perhaps because of the nation’s abiding fear of crime, its litigiousness, or the Internet’s ease at churning up background information that may not have surfaced before, Thomas has been rejected or terminated from several high-paying jobs.

She had been making $150,000 six years ago. Now she is on food stamps. Sheetz, Wal-Mart and other retailers have turned her down for jobs. She could lose her Cecil County, Md., home.

“I came home and got my master’s degree,” said Thomas, 50. “I’d been working 18 years with no problem. When is enough enough?”

Thomas is not the only ex-convict asking for a second chance. But because she was a violent offender, her path to acceptance is hardest, even as Americans reconsider long-standing views of crime and punishment.

More than 600,000 former inmates return to their communities each year. About half of them wind up back in prison. Their convictions, even minor ones, often prevent them from finding jobs, in many cases resulting in their return to crime.

But Cornell William Brooks, president of the NAACP, said that he feels that the moment has arrived when concerns about the nation’s disproportionately large and costly prison population have shifted people’s views toward rehabilitating felons.

“We’re at a potentially transformative moment in American history,” Brooks said.

To break the cycle, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and other organizations have been pushing “Ban the Box” legislation that would prohibit employers, during preliminary screening, from disqualifying job seekers on the basis of a criminal record. Fourteen states and the District have signed on to such policies, as have 100 cities and counties, according to the National Employment Law Project.

In Virginia, a bill that would have forbidden state agencies from inquiring about criminal background records until after a job offer passed the Senate but died in the House. This month, Maryland’s legislature unanimously passed the Maryland Second Chance Act, allowing people to petition a court to seal records of certain nonviolent offenses.

But there is resistance among many employers.

“It’s well intended and valid in its ambition, but this is not the way to go about it,” said Jack Mozloom, a spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business. Ban-the-box policies impose serious burdens on small companies, he said.

Often unable to afford the time or expense to investigate an applicant’s criminal background, such businesses should have the right to ask about a matter of public record, Mozloom said.

“You hire somebody with a felony record, you want to have the conversation: ‘I see you’ve done this. Why should I trust you?’ ” Mozloom said. “They need to explain why they deserve a second chance.”

Thomas entered the criminal justice system in Virginia around the time the public was reexamining its view of women who had killed husbands or companions after years of abuse. In Maryland, then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer freed eight female prisoners who had killed their abusers. He argued that the time had come to consider the kind of circumstances that surrounded Thomas’s crime.

Thomas said that her mother’s live-in boyfriend began molesting her when she was 12. The abuse continued for five years, she said, even after Thomas alerted adults.

After dropping out of school, Thomas married and had three children. But the abuse haunted her. It transformed her into a “mannequin” who seemed normal outside but empty inside, she said.

After three suicide attempts, Thomas, then 26, decided to confront her abuser. Armed with a gun, she demanded to know why he had done it. When he told her she must have liked the sex or else she would have stopped it, Thomas said, she shot him. She turned herself in the following day.

Thomas pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. The court sentenced her to 40 years, with 20 years suspended. She was incarcerated at the Virginia Correctional Facility for Women in Goochland. The circumstances of the killing and her model behavior helped win her release after seven years. Her record has since been clean, save for one minor, non-moving traffic violation for failing to notify the Motor Vehicle Administration of an address change within the allotted time.

When applying for jobs that ask about criminal records, Thomas answers depending on how the application is worded. She can say no to those that ask whether she has been convicted of a crime within the past 10 years or another specified period. To those that ask whether she has ever been convicted of a felony, she answers yes, but often adds that she would like to explain further in person. Sometimes she is hired, only to be let go after employers run a more exhaustive background check.

In recent years, the Internet has eased the ability of people to run background checks with firms such as Intelius, PeopleSmart and PeopleFinders, and large corporations often run their own extensive checks.

“I can’t tell you how many jobs she’s been through. It’s frustrating,” said Douglas Van Nostrand, director of nuclear medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He hired Thomas for an entry-level position in his research program years ago and has been a reference for her since.

“I have a great deal of sympathy for her situation and new insight — that I had never understood that when someone comes out with a first-degree felony, it’s going to be very difficult for that person to get a job anywhere,” Van Nostrand said. “. . . This is, as she phrased it, paying the punishment continually, and she’s 25 years out.”

Last August, a California pharmaceutical firm conducted telephone interviews with Thomas, flew her there for three days of interviews and offered to bump up her previous $148,000 salary, she said. Thomas disclosed her criminal record.

“I need to tell you something that you’re going to find out,” Thomas said she told a human resources representative, who thanked her for her honesty. But bad news wasn’t long in coming.

“Before I could get on the airplane . . . I got a call saying, ‘You were lovely, we really enjoyed having you here, but we decided to go with someone else,’ ” Thomas said.

Earlier this year, Thomas spent exactly one week at GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company. A recruiting company that placed her there had run a background check that went back seven to 10 years, Thomas said. But after GSK ran a check that went back 30 years, she was escorted from the premises. The public humiliation brought her to tears, she said.

GSK, citing privacy reasons, would not comment on a specific case. The company also defended its hiring practices. “GSK’s recruitment and retention practices related to an applicant’s criminal record are consistent with EEOC guidance and state and local laws,” GSK spokeswoman Melinda Stubbee said in an e-mail, referring to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Before Glaxo, Thomas lasted only about a month at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, N.J. — a dismissal that seemed especially baffling because she worked mostly from home.

Bristol-Myers Squibb denied dismissing Thomas because of her criminal record. Thomas was not a full-time employee with the company, spokesman Ken Dominski said. He said she had been placed there by Spectraforce Technologies, a staffing agency based in Raleigh, N.C.

Spectraforce had cleared Thomas based on its background check, and Bristol-Myers Squibb had no access to her criminal record, Dominski said. Thomas, who was employed from Jan. 12 to Feb. 13, was let go because of “unsatisfactory performance,” Dominski said, without elaborating.

Thomas said her recruiter at Spectraforce expressed “shock” at the dismissal because Thomas had received a promotion with a possible increase in pay a little more than two weeks earlier.

Leah B. Poplin, human resources director for Spectraforce, declined to comment despite Thomas asking in writing that the firm waive Thomas’s right to privacy.

W. Keith Watanabe, an employment lawyer who has assisted Thomas, said employers seldom state the reason for dismissal, especially for contractors such as Thomas.

“The reason why the performance reason is given as a reason is it covers all manners of sin,” Watanabe said. “Because of its vagueness and its ambiguity, it can mean whatever the employer wants it to mean.”

Thomas knows other factors may also be strikes against her, including discriminatory ones such as age, race and gender. But she sees plenty of evidence that she is still paying for a crime that occurred half a lifetime ago.

“I just feel like the punishment never ends,” she said.

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The Awful Mystery of Two Suicides in Missouri Politics



Family members of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich embrace outside The Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton, Mo., after his funeral on March 3.




© AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen
Family members of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich embrace outside The Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton, Mo., after his funeral on March 3.

“Words do hurt. Words can kill.”

So said John Danforth, a former U.S. senator and Episcopal priest, during a eulogy for Tom Schweich on March 3. Whether Danforth’s diagnosis is right, there are two men dead by apparent suicide in Missouri, and the state and its Republican Party are struggling to come to grips with what has happened.

The first death came on February 26 in St. Louis, where Schweich, the state auditor, shot himself. He was 54 and had been reelected to his post just four months earlier. Then, this Monday, police said that Robert “Spence” Jackson, Schweich’s spokesman, had died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday or Saturday.

The two deaths have shaken Missouri politics, brought tensions that had been hidden from view to light, and have politicians and journalists contemplating the nasty state of politics in the Show-Me State. It has some of the most respected figures in the state GOP speaking out in fury and heartbreak and demanding a change in how business is done. While Danforth’s eulogy, in which he laid out his friend’s faults and recounted conversations with Schweich over the last few weeks of his life to a reportedly stunned congregation, is the most visible expression of this grief, it is by no means alone.



In this Jan. 24, 2002, photo is Robert "Spence" Jackson in Jefferson City, Mo. Jefferson City police said Monday that Jackson, a spokesman for Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, a month after the state auditor also killed himself.




© AP Photo/Kelley McCall
In this Jan. 24, 2002, photo is Robert “Spence” Jackson in Jefferson City, Mo. Jefferson City police said Monday that Jackson, a spokesman for Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, a month after the state auditor also killed himself.


There’s seldom a single or clear explanation for any suicide, and there are still many questions about why each man killed himself—especially Jackson, 44, whose death is still so recent. (Investigators found a note, but they haven’t revealed its contents.) But the conversation since Schweich’s death has focused on two major issues: an alleged whisper campaign claiming that Schweich was Jewish, and a generally poisonous political environment.

What Do We Know About Schweich’s Death?

Schweich, a married father of two, was reelected as auditor in November, and he already had his eye on a higher office—governor of Missouri. In fact, he felt he’d earned the right to run unopposed for the job, according to the Kansas City Star, having paid political dues for years. That’s not how the race was shaping up. Former state house Speaker Catherine Hanaway decided to run and lined up a $1 million donor. In addition, a Hanaway ally and former aide, John Hancock, was elected chair of the state Republican Party.

Schweich came to believe there was a whisper campaign suggesting he was Jewish, apparently in attempt to hurt his chances with conservative Christian donors. (Schweich’s grandfather was Jewish, but he was an Episcopalian.) He believed Hancock was behind the rumors and planned a press conference to condemn them, but when he called Danforth—whom he’d served as chief of staff—the former senator talked him out of it, saying it’d make the story about Schweich rather than any slur. Schweich was convinced, but then changed his mind and opted to hold a press conference. Danforth again counseled him not to do so. Shortly thereafter, Schweich killed himself.

Meanwhile, a radio ad backing Hanaway featured a Frank Underwood imitator mocking Schweich as a Barney Fife lookalike and a “little bug.”

Was there ever a real whisper campaign? The Daily Beast reports that Schweich’s friends and advisers weren’t convinced. The Star quotes friends who felt Schweich was “high-strung” and struggled to handle criticism. Even Danforth, in his eulogy, called him “a person easily hurt and quickly offended.” All that said, Hancock has said since Schweich’s death that while he had on occasion told people Schweich was Jewish, it was not intended as a slur and that he honestly believed it was true.

A Culture of Bullying?

All of that has led a group of powerful voices in Missouri to blame Schweich’s death on bullying and to worry about broader cultural concerns. In eulogy, the widely respected Danforth blasted “bullies” for contributing to the suicide. He also endorsed the idea that anti-Semitism was a factor.

“Tom called this anti-Semitism, and of course it was. The only reason for going around saying that someone is Jewish is to make political profit from religious bigotry,” he said. While Danforth didn’t name names, he did mention the radio ad and has widely been interpreted as condemning Hancock. Meanwhile, several Republican leaders have called on Hancock to step down, while others have demurred on taking a stance. Hancock has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, and Hanaway has suspended her campaign.

Spence Jackson, the spokesman, was one of those demanding that Hancock leave: “There is no way that the Missouri Republican Party can move forward under his leadership for the reasons that Senator Danforth made. It is unconscionable to think that the party can be successful in 2016 with John Hancock as the chairman.”

Whether it’s right to blame bullying—and there are few alternative theories—a prevailing sentiment is that while what happened to Schweich is awful, it’s symptomatic of a sick political culture.

“If this is what politics has become, what decent person would want to get into it?” Danforth asked. He also said the campaign for governor had kicked off much too soon.

“For the past 15 years or so I have seen a serious deterioration of the values and ethics of folks associated with the Missouri Republican Party, especially folks who call themselves consultants,” longtime GOP operative Paul DeGregorio wrote in a letter to insiders. “I believe it is their approach to politics that led to Tom Schweich taking his life.”

“Tom Schweich is a martyr for the cause” of cleaner politics, the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatchwrote.

That was all before Jackson killed himself. The next few days will likely offer some more information about his death, and may either help explain what happened to Schweich or else deepen the mystery. If this is all about fixing Missouri Republican politics, though, the cause now has two martyrs.

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/what-is-going-on-in-the-missouri-republican-party/389075/

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