Sunday, December 04, 2016

HEY DEMS, WAKE UP, THE ELECTION IS OVER AND YOU LOST

The Democrats seem to be suffering from a serious case of Post Election Stress Disorder and are looking for scapegoats to explain Hillary’s stunning loss

Apparently the Democrats haven’t awakened to the fact that the election is over and they lost. They seem to be suffering from a serious case of Post Election Stress Disorder (PESD). Unable to accept the fact that that it is no longer November 8, they continue to look for scapegoats to explain Hillary’s stunning loss to Donald Trump.

Here are some Dems PESD symptoms:

A belief that FBI Director James Comey did Hillary in.

A belief that lies on Facebook did Hillary in.

A belief that the Kremlin’s hackers did Hillary in.


In the first days after November 8, Democrats blamed FBI Director James Comey for doing Hillary in by sending a letter to members of Congress informing them the bureau was reopening the investigation into her private email server. Then they started to blame Facebook and other social media outlets for doing Hillary by spreading false news stories about her. And now it’s the Kremlin that’s being blamed.

Seven Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee have sent Obama a letter, urging the President to release classified intelligence information to the public showing that the Kremlin was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in an effort to help Trump defeat Hillary.

PESD does not seem to allow the Democrats realize crooked and lying Hillary did Hillary in. The Dems are in need of some serious head shrinking!

As an aside, if by chance the Kremlin actualy helped do Hillary in, we owe evil Vladimir Putin a great debt of gratitude.

LIBERAL, STUPID AND GUTLESS

By Bob Walsh

Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass, is a liberal mecca. It has been around for less than 50 years and it a relatively small private college. They don't believe in grades and let students invent their own majors. Like, for instance, competitive masturbation or underwater basket weaving.

A couple of weeks back somebody took down the American flag flying on the 800 acre campus and burned it. In response the Univeristy president took down the American flag all over campus (maybe there was only one, I don't know.)

This actions, which was allegedly taken in order to start a dialog, created an instant furor from most people who didn't have their heads up their asses. The American flag is again flying at Hampshire college.

Liberal, stupid and gutless. That is a great foundation for a higher education.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of Prof. David Michael ‘Red David’ Smith’s disciples from College of the Mainland must have wormed their way into Hampshire College.

PEOPLE, YOU NEED TO HAVE SOME BRAINS

BY Bob Walsh

There was as very nasty fire in Oakland, CA last night. There are at least nine known dead and that total could double or triple. The fire took place in a converted warehouse that had been set up for artist studios and living space. There were no fire sprinklers or working smoke detectors. There was only one interior "makeshift" staircase. I am guessing that means the staircase was of wood, not enclosed in a stairless and did not have fire doors.

There was a rave party there last night. Something caught fire. The situation turned to shit real fast.

So far the Oakland fire department is being very quite about whether or not there is a criminal investigation under way, whether or not the building had an occupancy permit and had been inspected.

Maybe I am just paranoid but I actually look for things like stairwell access and fire safety when I enter a building, especially a converted one.

Would you live or willingly work in a building with only one wooden staircase going into the upper floor, with no other real emergency egress, and with no smoke detectors and no sprinklers?

EDITOR’S NOTE: To answer your question – yes, if I am desperately poor.

But the question in this case is not relevant. This was one of those rave parties where a lot of young people get drunk or stoned and no one thinks or cares about wooden staircases and emergency exits.

Saturday’s evening news on NBC reported that in addition to nine dead, 25 of the rave goers were missing.

FRENCH MAYOR PLANS TO TAKE DNA FROM EVERY DOG IN HIS TOWN SO OWNERS CAN BE TRACED AND FINED WHEN THEIR PETS SHIT ON THE PAVEMENT

Dog owners in Beziers, southern France will have to submit animals' DNA and pay a $40 fine if their dog’s shit is found in town

By Peter Allen

Daily Mail
December 3, 2016

Dogs who foul the pavement in a French town will be caught immediately thanks to a controversial new DNA database, a far-right mayor announced.

Robert Menard, who is supported by the National Front, is setting up a new canine database that will provide crucial forensic evidence.

Dog owners in Beziers, in the south of France, will have to submit their animals' DNA to the local council.

When excrement is found around the town, scientists will be able to link it to the owner, who will receive an automatic fine equivalent to $40.

'This is a common sense measure,' said Mr Menard.

'Local residents are in favour of the idea, because it will make the town cleaner and save money.'

Judges sitting at the administrative court in nearby Montpellier originally described the scheme as sinister and over officious.

Opponents also included local official Christian Pouget who said: 'The moment you make dog owners declare in a file that they're just taking their pet for a walk then it becomes disproportionate.

'And just because you're taking a dog for a walk doesn't mean you're not respecting health rules.

'An original legal ruling said the measure was 'not intended to keep the public safe nor to prevent offence, but was purely repressive'.

This has now been changed with the judges saying the scheme is 'disproportionate to the demands of public health and safety,' but 'not illegal'.

They said the DNA database has been authorised, but it can only apply to dog waste found in Beziers town centre.

Mr Menard is also a fierce opponent of migrants arriving in his town, and wants to clamp down on non-French fast food outlets, including kebab shops.

Dog excrement remains a major problem in most French cities and towns, where some owners allow their pets to foul pavements, without cleaning up.

However, many blame dogs belonging to vagrants for causing most of the problems. They point out that irresponsible owners are unlikely to register for a DNA base anyway.

$11 MILLION WORTH OF HEROIN SEIZED IN CALIFORNIA’S VICTOR VALLEY

By Texcoco De Mora

Borderland Beat
December 1, 2016

A tractor-trailer hauling $11 million dollars worth of heroin through the Victor Valley was busted by the California Highway Patrol Thursday morning.

CHP officer Robert Mendenhall told Victor Valley News he stopped the tractor-trailer for speeding on the northbound 15 freeway, north of Highway 395 in Hesperia at about 8am.

“Subsequently, I pulled out my k9 sniffed the exterior of the tractor-trailer, the dog alerted, the dog also then alerted inside the trailer. We then located a large quantity of narcotics inside the rear of the trailer mixed in with the load.,” Officer Mendenhall stated.

According to Mendenhall, they estimate the truck was transporting 100 kilograms of suspected heroin to the country of Canada before it was intercepted. The drug has an estimated street value of $11 million dollars.

Although the stop was conducted in the City of Hesperia, the truck was unloaded in Victorville, across from the CHP office on the 14200 block of Amargosa Road.

The driver’s been arrested for possession and transportation of narcotics.

“I’ve been with the Highway Patrol for 29 years and this is my largest drug seizure of heroin. This is rare having this much.”

JUDGE CALLS MEXICAN MAFIA ENFORCER ‘COLD-BLOODED,’ HANDS DOWN FIVE CONSECUTIVE LIFE TERMS

When Ruben "Menace" Reyes Jr. learned that his own gang wanted him dead and went to the San Antonio Police Department for protection and confessed to several killings

By Guillermo Contreras

San Antonio Express-News
December 1, 2016

A former enforcer for the Texas Mexican Mafia drew five consecutive life prison terms without parole Wednesday for his role in the killings of five people, including Balcones Heights Police Officer Julian Pesina.

Ruben “Menace” Reyes, 37, was deemed a threat to society by Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra, who took the unusual step of recommending that he serve his sentence at a Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ Administrative Maximum Facility houses or has housed many of the country’s most infamous criminals and terrorists. Heriberto Huerta, the San Antonio native who founded the Texas Mexican Mafia in prison in the 1980s, is serving life terms at that lockup, where inmates are isolated for most of their stay.

“I have looked for the good in this defendant and I have found very little,” Ezra said of Reyes. “Unfortunately, there is little to no hope in rehabilitation of this defendant. He has no conscience. … He poses a danger because of his propensity to murder.”

At a hearing last year, Reyes admitted killing at least 16 people as part of the gang’s efforts to control the drug market here through extortion and violence. He was charged only in connection to five killings because some evidence on the others didn’t match his admissions.

Without making a deal with prosecutors, Reyes pleaded guilty in July to 10 counts on charges that included violent crime (murder) in aid of racketeering and aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Reyes’ lawyer, Brandon Hudson, asked Ezra to run the life sentences concurrently, but the judge turned him down.

According to court records, Reyes was the go-to guy for the gang’s “green light” hits. Among those he admitted killing was fellow gang member Ulysses Farias, 36, in October 2013 and three high-ranking members of the gang in January 2014 who had fallen out of favor.

Reyes also told investigators he passed down orders targeting Pesina, 29, who was off duty when he was shot outside his tattoo shop on May 4, 2014, while delivering payment for a street tax imposed by the gang. Pesina was under FBI investigation at the time for drug-dealing activity but was killed because he had falsely claimed membership in the gang, court records said.

Shortly after those killings, Reyes learned that his own gang wanted him dead and went to the San Antonio Police Department for protection. Over at least two days, he confessed to the SAPD and the FBI about several killings and helped investigators find the makeshift grave near Pearsall containing three victims he shot in January 2014: Texas Mexican Mafia general Carlos “Worm” Chapa, captain Mark Anthony “Lefty” Bernal, and “lieutenant of lieutenants” Johnny “Smiley” Solis.

They were killed for mishandling $60,000, court records said. Reyes was briefly given Bernal’s rank afterward before the gang put out a “green light” on his own life.

“He cooperated from the moment he came in and helped (investigators) solve a number of killings,” Hudson said. “A big victory for us was getting the death penalty off the table.”

Of the victims’ families, only Bernal’s widow, mother and father addressed the court Wednesday.

“Mark made some mistakes, but he never hurt anybody,” Bernal’s mother told the judge. “He did not deserve to die.”

She called Reyes a “soulless, heartless monster” who killed Bernal two weeks before the birth of his daughter.

“So many lives (Reyes) has taken,” she said. “He deserves the death penalty, not life in prison.”

Reyes was cooperating with the FBI but changed his mind as the Justice Department’s lengthy process in racketeering and potential death-penalty cases lagged on.

“His justification for killing some of (the victims) were that those people were ‘in the (gang) life,’ as if that were some sort of justification,” Ezra said. “There is no justification for committing cold-blooded murder. The defendant did so without remorse, with cold and precise calculation and absolutely no thought about the families of the victims, the children and the community.”

Saturday, December 03, 2016

THE LATEST VERSION OF CREATION

CHEAPSKATE EX-COP OFFERS ‘HITMEN’ ONLY $500 TO SNUFF HIS ESTRANGED WIFE’S GIRLFRIEND

Michael McNatt, who was pissed off because his wife left him to be with her girlfriend, also wanted both women to be kidnapped and sexually assaulted

Michael McNatt, 63, was a Houston cop from 1982-86. He was fired for breaking rules on working extra jobs. He has also worked as a cop in nearby Ames and Clear Lake Shores. As a cop, he must have gotten used to getting free coffee, half-price meals and obtaining goods and services at a substantial discount.

Recently Mike’s wife left him for what he thought was a lesbian affair. That pissed Mike off royally.

In early November it came to the attention of the Pasadena PD that Mike was shopping around for a hitman to kill his estranged wife’s girlfriend. On Wednesday evening two Pasadena undercover cops pretending to be hitmen met up with Mike. He offered them $500 to kidnap and sexually assault both women and then to snuff his estranged wife’s girlfriend.

$500? Now that’s a pretty steep discount in a murder-for-hire plot. Even at that, Mike could only come up with $100 in cash and three gold rings.

Anyway, the cops busted the cheapskate on the spot. Mike is roosting in the Harris County jail charged with solicitation to commit capital murder and two counts of solicitation to commit aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault.

I suppose that leaves Mike’s wife free to thrash around the mattress with her girlfriend. Don’t you just love happy endings?

NEW USE OF FORCE POLICY SEEMS PRETTY STUPID

By Bob Walsh

The People’s Republic of San Francisco does have a police department. They even like their police department, as long as none of them ever use any force against anybody, especially anybody other than a white person, and very especially as long as they don’t ever shoot or kill anybody.

There is a new UOF. policy being proposed for the SFPD. Their union doesn’t much like it, and has produced advertising in opposition to the new policy. Sam Francisco officials are accusing the cops of false fear mongering. I am not sure that is realistic.

In recent times about 25% of the SFPD shooting incidents have involved shooting at cars. The new proposed policy would absolutely prohibit SFPD officers from shooting at a moving vehicle unless the driver “poses an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to the public or an officer by means other than the vehicle.” If I am reading this correctly that means a vehicle operator is free to flee recklessly and run people down and as long as the cops are not reasonably certain the persons is armed with a weapon other than the vehicle they can’t shoot at the vehicle or the driver.

Some clown named Chuck Wexler, who is the President of a group called the Police Executive Research Forum (sounds like a bunch of liberal idiots to me) has asserted that, “San Francisco’s ban on shooting at cars is in line with national best practices.”

COURT REVIVES LAWSUIT AGAINST CALIFORNIA BULLET STAMPING LAW

By Associated Press
December 1, 2016

A state appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging a California law that requires all semi-automatic handguns to be equipped with technology that stamps identifying information on bullet casings.

The 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno, California ruled Thursday that gun manufacturers have the right to present evidence to support their claim that complying with the law is impossible. The appeals court overturned a lower court ruling rejecting the lawsuit and sent the case back down for further proceedings.

Supporters of the law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 said it would help law enforcement solve gun crimes by allowing them to trace bullet casings to guns.

Gun rights groups argued that the law was an effective ban on new guns because the stamping requirements were impossible to meet.

A call to the state attorney general's office was not immediately returned.

THE ONLY TWO POWERFUL CARTELS LEFT

Amid a 10-year crackdown on cartels, the drug trade continues and factions have splintered – leaving Sinaloa and CJNG facing off in Colima state, now the murder capital of Mexico

By David Agren

The Guardian
November 28, 2016

MANZANILLO, MEXICO -- Standing guard at the scene of the crime, the two police officers surveyed the shattered glass and bullet-pocked bodywork of the Mercedes Benz hatchback and offered their analysis.

“It’s an eye for an eye,” said one, repeating a phrase often heard in this coastal city, about 200 miles south-west of Guadalajara. “It’s two groups getting even with each other.”

As the officers spoke, a group of children kicked a football just beyond the yellow crime scene tape, and customers wandered unperturbed in and out of a row of shops.

Only an hour before gunmen on a motorcycle had opened fire on the car which crashed into the side of a health clinic; miraculously the two occupants survived.

Manzanillo and the surrounding state of Colima were once best known for their black sand beaches, lime groves and a smoldering volcano that erupts every century or so.

Over the past year, however, the region has claimed a new title: murder capital of Mexico. According to federal figures, Colima registered 434 homicides in the first nine months of 2016 – a huge number in a population of just 700,000.

Local officials blame the killings on outsiders or describe it as score-settling between petty criminals.

But analysts of the drug war say the violence is part of a nationwide realignment of organized crime – and a bitter struggle to control the port of Manzanillo, one of the biggest on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Ten years of a militarised campaign against the cartels has not ended the trade in drugs, or helped enforce rule of law in Mexico. It has, however, weakened or splintered several crime factions, leaving a handful of powerful survivors fighting for the spoils.

Colima is currently the setting for a confrontation between two of the most formidable: the Sinaloa Federation – led by imprisoned capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – and the Jalisco New Generation cartel, known by its Spanish initials as the CJNG.

“Most of the [Mexican] cartels have been weakened,” said Mike Vigil, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who worked undercover in Mexico. “The only two powerful cartels left are Sinaloa and the CJNG.”

The CJNG – based in the neighbouring state of Jalisco – has already established a reputation as one of the country’s fastest-growing and most aggressive groups, willing to confront both rivals in the underworld and federal forces.

It emerged in 2010 following a fight for the spoils of a prominent Sinaloa cartel boss, Nacho Coronel, who was killed by the army, and for the past five years or so it has used Manzanillo to import chemical precursors from Asia for the production of methamphetamines.

Last year, while Guzmán was still on the run after escaping from a high-security jail, Sinaloa made a move on Colima.

The cartel publicly announced its arrival in October 2015, with a narcocorrido song and a Facebook message entitled “Sinaloa is now in Colima”. The message heralded the launch of “Operation Cleanup”, striking a familiar tone in Mexico, where criminal groups try to cloak their activities in the language of social activism.

But within months, Guzmán was recaptured; and with El Chapo currently awaiting extradition to the US, a violent rearrangement of the underworld appears under way – and Colima is one of its principle battlegrounds.

The conflict between the cartels burst into the open this summer in a confusing episode when six men – including Guzmán’s son Jesús Alfredo Guzmán – were kidnapped from a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

Authorities blamed the abduction on the CJNG, suggesting that the upstart cartel was trying to take advantage of Guzmán’s imprisonment.

But Guzmán was later reportedly released, and observers say that the reports that Sinaloa has been weakened by El Chapo’s arrest may well prove premature.

“The CJNG is gaining ground, but doesn’t have anywhere near the power of the Sinaloa cartel,” said Miguel Ángel Vega, a reporter with the Sinaloa-based news organization Ríodoce.

Vega said the cartel was well entrenched – both in the rugged Sierras where it produces heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines, and in the corridors of power, where it maintains connections at all levels of government.

“The Sinaloa cartel is not just El Chapo,” he said.

The CJNG has also demonstrated a capacity to corrupt officials: a recording surfaced in September in which a cowed police chief can be heard taking orders from the group’s boss, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, AKA “El Mencho”.

Under El Mencho – himself a former police officer – the CJNG has made violence its calling card. The group launched itself on the national stage in 2011 by dumping 35 bodies under a bridge in the Atlantic coast state of Veracruz; at the time, the group called itself the Zeta-killers, and professed to be targeting the powerful Zetas cartel.

But the CJNG also showed itself willing to take on the Mexican state.

As federal forces closed in on El Mencho in May 2015, the CJNG launched a coordinated show of strength across Jalisco and neighbouring regions, blocking dozens of roads with hijacked vehicles and setting banks and petrol stations on fire.

In 2015, CJNG gunmen ambushed a police convoy, killing 15 officers in the single bloodiest attack on Mexican security forces in recent history, and shot down an army helicopter.

The cartel has also been implicated in a string of vigilante attacks on petty criminals in Jalisco – including six people who were recently found with their hands chopped off – and a string of attacks on state officials, including the murders of the tourism secretary and a federal lawmaker.

Colima state officials did not respond to interview requests, though they have previously attempted to downplay talk of a cartel war.

State prosecutor Felipe de Jesús Muñoz Vázquez told local media in August that 90% of homicides were related to organized crime – with 85 of those slayings explained by low-level drug dealing.

And despite the spiraling murder rate, local people in the state capital also seem at pains to insist that the situation is in hand.

“There’s no panic on the streets here,” said Miguel Ángel Vargas, news director of radio station Ángel Guardian, adding that people in Colima city worried about personal finances and local issues such as corruption and spending cuts.

Authorities in Manzanillo also insist their city is safe, even though an analysis by the news organization Animal Politico ranked it as the third-most violent municipality in the country – trailing only Acapulco and Tecomán, another Colima municipality – with 103.87 homicides per 100,000 residents.

“Up until now, we have not found innocent people mixed up in these events,” said Manzanillo police chief Miguel Ángel García, a retired vice-admiral, repeating a refrain heard often in Mexico.

Local journalists say that much of the violence stems from the lack of a strong boss to control the “plaza” – the local turf or trafficking routes. Others suggested that the conflict was triggered by defections from CJNG to Sinaloa.

“It’s a war over the local market,” said one longtime reporter, asking for anonymity for security reasons. “Cartel de Jalisco sells ice [methamphetamine], while Sinaloa sells cocaine.”

But few local residents expect either side to win a victory by force – they believe that the solution will come from a political deal.

Some believe the violence will continue until one of the cartels gains control with help from the government, noting the Sinaloa cartel’s arrival in a state with a strong CJNG presence at the same time as a change in the governor’s office.

“There’s no ‘pacto’” in Colima, one of the journalists said, referring to an arrangement between authorities and one of the cartels. “It won’t calm down here until there is.”

Friday, December 02, 2016

A ‘COP’S COP’ TAKES HELM OF HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT

Before swearing in former Austin police chief Art Acevedo as Houston's new top cop, Travis County State District Judge Cliff Brown told a story about how, at one point in time, he had wondered if all the great things people said about Acevedo were true

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
December 1, 2016

Years ago, when he first met Acevedo in Austin, it seemed that every public official had a good word about him — to the point that it was almost overwhelming, Brown said. He had heard a story about Acevedo chasing down a thief who stole an old lady's purse and thought, “this is too much.” And even years down the line, as he heard Houston City Council gush about Acevedo as they decided whether or not to approve his appointment as the new chief (which it did, unanimously), Brown joked that he couldn't help but think, “Are these people drinking the Kool-Aid too?”

“But after working alongside Chief Acevedo in the most critical of situations, to see his leadership and action and to see this man engage with the community on the most basic of levels, I've come to know and understand that he is the real deal,” Brown said, just before asking Acevedo to raise his right hand. “I can say from the bottom of my heart that Austin's loss is truly Houston's gain. He's going to do an outstanding job with this community, and you all will be very happy that you chose him as your police chief.”

So if Judge Brown's remarks are any indication, the bar has been set high for Houston's new police chief. He is taking the reins as the public demands transparency following high-profile officer-involved shootings, as racial tension across the nation remains high and as policy makers and top law enforcement officers rethink the war on drugs and over-incarceration. On Tuesday, Acevedo took questions from reporters for the first time in HPD uniform to address what his top priorities will be.

Acevedo said that in his first weeks in office he will focus on building relationships with the community and his new police force, as well as taking a look at various department procedures to make sure HPD is “working smarter, not harder.” Acevedo said he will be sending out a survey to all officers asking what their needs are, and that he will immediately begin looking for ways to make improvements.

“One of the things that I never want to hear from my team is when I ask, why do we work this way?, is they say, 'Well, that's just the way we've always done it,'” Acevedo said. “This is your first clue that it's probably not the way to do it. They're going to learn very quickly that is not validation.”

Acevedo spent little time discussing specifics of anything he intends to change or bring to the table, but did at least offer his views on drug enforcement, which has been a hot topic in Houston law enforcement after both Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez and District Attorney-elect Kim Ogg said they want to stop arresting people for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Acevedo did not specifically say whether he supported their proposal, but said he will focus on other priorities than going after, for example, college kids with an ounce of two of pot in their pocket. Instead, he will prioritize violent crime. “You can waste a lot of resources taking a guy to jail for two ounces of marijuana. In the meantime, while you're booking that person for one or two hours, we have a home invasion robbery coming on,” he said. “From my perspective, saving lives matters. Keeping people safe matters.”

Acevedo said he will pay special attention to Houston's kush epidemic, which he called a health crisis. It appears Acevedo will pick up where Acting Chief Martha Montalvo left off in going after kush manufacturers and sellers rather than users. “We have to go after organizations, the people behind the curtains,” he said. “I don't want to be focusing on the street level. I want to go back to the source.”

Throughout his time in the spotlight, Acevedo welled up a few times — but he wasn't one to hide his feelings. Instead, Acevedo took a few moments to explain why he was emotional about the change. In announcing Acevedo as the new chief, Mayor Sylvester Turner had said Acevedo was a “cop's cop,” one who was both out on the front lines — perhaps chasing down thieves on the street — and working tirelessly behind the scenes to promote community policing and relationship-building. On Tuesday, it was apparent that Acevedo intended to do the same in Houston.

“When you see a SWAT sniper tearing up, a police chief tearing up, it's because we love one another,” he said. “There's a narrative in this country — I call it a false narrative — that policing is broken. That eight hundred thousand police officers representing [thousands] of police departments are broken. And they're not. They're imperfect, like the human condition. I just want to say that cops matter, and the reason I'm here is because I love being a cop. I love public service. And I believe that I really have come to a great organization.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Riding around with his street cops doesn't necessarily make Acevedo a cop’s cop top cop. Many Austin cops think he’s more of an asshole. One thing is for sure, Houston is getting an anti-gun nut and pro-sanctuary city police chief.

AUSTRALIAN COURT WON’T LISTEN TO MUSLIM WOMAN’S EVIDENCE UNLESS SHE REMOVES VEIL

A judge has refused to hear evidence from a Muslim woman, the wife of an Islamic extremist, because she refused to remove her veil in court

TEN Eyewitness News
December 1, 2016

Moutia Elzahed is suing police over a counter-terrorism raid on her Revesby home in September 2014, but NSW District Court Judge Audrey Balla would not allow her to take the stand while she was wearing her veil.

But she still refused to take it off.

Lawyers believe the incident is an Australian first, according to News Corp.

Ms Elzahed’s lawyer Clive Evatt argued his client was not allowed to show her face to any man outside her family for religious reasons.

Judge Balla gave Ms Elzahed the option to have the court closed while she gave evidence or to do so in another room, or via video link.

Mr Evatt then argued that the options were not suitable because male legal counsels would still be able to see Ms Elzahed’s face.

Ms Elzahed has accused police of punching her during the September 2014 dawn raid and is seeking compensation for “assault and battery, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and intimidation”.

It is understood Ms Elzahed told reporters outside court that being told she couldn’t give evidence was “unfair”.

Authorities have denied any wrongdoing with the federal and state governments arguing that police only used reasonable force.

Her husband Hamdi Alqudsi has since been jailed for eight years with a non-parole period of six years after he was convicted of helping seven men travel to Syria to fight with Islamic rebels.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I wonder if she's really just trying to hide an awfully ugly face.

THE HIDDEN EPIDEMIC OF MEN WHO ARE RAPED BY WOMEN

According to a new, wide-ranging study, around two-thirds of men who report sexual victimization say their assailant was female

By Steven Blum

VICE News
November 29, 2016

There are many great things about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's survey on sexual violence, according to UCLA law professor Lara Stemple. "The interviewer is trained to ask lots of questions and to maximize respondent comfort using check-ins," she explains. "Also, it's a health survey, which is a good context for people to think about their bodies and their own well-being."

But when it comes to reporting the outcomes of the survey, the CDC discounts men who have been forced to penetrate someone else—either by coercion, physical force, or lack of consent—by listing statistics for the crime under the category "other victimization," along with seemingly lesser offenses like "non-contact unwanted sexual experiences."

"They put it in the same broad category as being flashed or receiving lewd comments from a stranger," Stemple said. "There's no context, and it really minimizes the abuse."

The de-fanged language the CDC has adopted to label male victims of sexual assault underscores a worrying tendency among researchers as well as rape counselors and law enforcement officials, Stemple says. The implication: "For men, all sex is good sex."

"The way we talk about men and sex needs to change," Stemple says. "When we have these stereotypes for men, it makes it hard for them to come forward when they're victimized."

Stemple has long focused her research on how sexual violence against men goes under-reported. In 2014, she released a paper on male victims of sexual violence which analyzed several national surveys and found that, when taking into account cases where men were "made to penetrate" someone else, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact between men and women were basically equal: 1.267 million men said they had been victims of sexual violence, compared with 1.270 million women.

The "made to penetrate" category is not the type of violation we imagine when we think of sexual assault, as Slate's Hanna Rosin wrote in a piece on Stemple's research in 2014. But it can result in similar psychological and physical effects, including sexual dysfunction, depression, loss of self-esteem, and long-term relationship difficulties.

Although there is still much work to be done in order to understand the effects of sexual assault on male victims, Stemple's new research focuses on the perpetrators themselves. In a new study released yesterday, she and two other researchers examined four large-scale surveys from the CDC and the Bureau of Justice Statistics to better understand female sexual predator behavior, analyzing both male and female victims. The findings contradict widely held stereotypes about women being unlikely abusers.

"People think female perpetration is rare," Stemple says. "They think it's a fluke—like it's one high school teacher and a student. But it's very widespread, according to these surveys, and nobody seems to know that. It's astonishing to me."

The threat posed by female sexual predators has long been misunderstood and minimized by the research community. Although the possibility was first documented in research literature in the 1930s, systematic studies of sexual victimization perpetrated by women were not undertaken until the 1990s. Even at that point, research was underdeveloped—focusing, primarily, on child sexual abuse. It wasn't until the last decade that research on this topic has burgeoned.

Stemple's new, wide-ranging study presents the results of the CDC's most recent phone survey, which found that 68.6 percent of men who report sexual victimization describe female perpetrators. Meanwhile, among men who reported being made to penetrate—"the form of nonconsensual sex men are much more likely to experience in their lifetime," according to the study—79.2 percent cited female perpetrators.

The study's authors also looked at how female sexual predators operate behind bars. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics surveys—which, unlike other surveys, uses frank terms like "blowjobs," which Stemple says improve accuracy—female inmates are much more likely to be abused by other female inmates than by male staff. Additionally, among all adult prisoners reporting any staff sexual victimization, 80 percent reported only female perpetrators; among juveniles, the rate was even higher, at 89.3 percent. Perhaps most surprisingly, given the picture painted by depictions of life in prison in popular culture, the same survey found that the incidence of sexual abuse among female prisoners was roughly three times the rate of that among male prisoners.

Given these statistics, it's all the more striking that so few women ever end up on sex offender registries. One five-state study of registries found that between 0.8 percent and 3 percent of the people on sex offender registries are female; other surveys have found proportions lower than 2 percent.

Then again, there are many barriers for men who wish to report sexual assault. According to Stemple's study, some are embarrassed to report because of the widespread perception of women as non-threatening. Others lie and say they were actually sexually assaulted by other men, or are pressured to reframe their victimization as a "rite of passage." As men grow older, studies show they're more likely to be blamed for their abuse than female victims.

Gender stereotypes that portray men as essentially un-rapeable likely haven't helped reporting rates, either. A majority of college students surveyed in 1992 did not believe a "big, strong man [could] be raped by a woman," and college-aged respondents in a more recent 2012 survey said that a man raped by a woman would not be "very upset."

Victimization of women by other women has been studied "even less than opposite-sex female perpetration," according to the study. "Heterosexism can render lesbian and bisexual victims of female-perpetrated sexual victimization invisible to professionals," the study notes. "While a few rape crisis centers have created small lesbian-oriented programs, lesbian and bisexual women report that, in general, hotlines, support groups, and legal aid organizations that address sexual violence seem designed for those victimized by men."

"I met a man who does work on this issue, and who was victimized by a woman when he was a child," Stemple says. "He is, to this day, afraid to be alone in a room with a woman. As you can imagine, this is very uncomfortable for him to share with people; he thinks they'll find it shameful. Today, he'll talk about it as a survivor, but he's quite rare. You can imagine that other men would have this same fear of coming forward, especially if the perpetrator was female."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in the late ’50s or early ’60s I investigated the kidnapping-rape of a U.S. Navy sailor. He had been hitchhiking from Riverside to San Diego when he was picked up by two women. They drove off the highway onto a desert road where they robbed him and repeatedly raped him at gunpoint. The left him tied up to a Yucca. He was lucky someone came by and found him. The women were not caught.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

SUPREME CPOURT TO VET TEXAS ‘LENNIE TEST’ FOR EXECUTING MENTALLY DISABLED INMATES

By Dianna Wray

Houston Press
November 29, 2016

More than a decade ago the U.S. Supreme Court declared executing mentally disabled people unconstitutional. However, the court didn't define what standards should be used to determine what level of disability precludes execution, so Texas came up with its own standards, derived from John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Go figure that these "standards," based on a fictional character and no scientific evidence, have turned out to be problematic at best. And now the Supreme Court is looking at the consequences.

On Tuesday the Supremes will hear the case of Bobby James Moore, a 57-year-old man who shot gas station attendant James McCarble in Houston and has been on death row since 1980. Moore is challenging whether or not the Of Mice and Men standards should be used to determine if he, or anyone, is mentally competent enough to be executed. Moore's IQ scores have ranged between 50 and 70 (a person with an IQ of 70 or below is generally classified as mentally disabled) but he is still marked for execution.

The Supreme Court left an opening for such an issue when the justices made a broad decision on the issue back in 2002 with Atkins v. Virginia. The high court ruled that executing an intellectually disabled person for murder was a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment."

Here's what Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his opinion (and yes, they used the term "retarded" back then):

"Construing and applying the Eighth Amendment in the light of our 'evolving standards of decency,' we therefore conclude that such punishment is excessive and that the Constitution 'places a substantive restriction on the State's power to take the life' of a mentally retarded offender."

However, the Supreme Court left the actual definition of what constitutes intellectually disabled up to the states. In Texas, after the 2003 state Legislature failed to lay out the rules that would clearly prevent the execution of intellectually disabled people convicted of murder, it fell to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to pin down the requirements. Judge Cathy Cochran was the one to write the opinion, and she came up with a real corker.

Cochran was born in California, and years ago she and her husband were living in Monterrey, near Cannery Row, the area Steinbeck immortalized. Inspired by her location, Cochran read his books, including Of Mice and Men, the story of George, a vagabond ranch hand, and his mentally disabled friend, Lennie. George struggles throughout the novel to keep Lennie out of trouble. This leads to an accidental murder and George finds Lennie hiding from a vigilante group. George knows the men will find Lennie and execute him, so he kills Lennie himself. It's a brutal, tragic and incredibly moving work of fiction, and it turns out the story stayed with Cochran, though probably not in the way Steinbeck would have intended.

She landed on the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2001, and in 2004 she was working out how to apply the Supreme Court's Atkins ruling in Texas and found herself thinking of Lennie, according to Life of the Law. Except she somehow decided that Texans would not want to exempt every convicted murderer with a low IQ from execution. In a workaround that essentially undid the Atkins decision, Cochran came up with the Briseño Factors, a set of seven flexible guidelines to help Texas courts determine whether or not someone is mentally competent enough to be executed.

The Briseño Factors essentially mean a person who has tested as intellectually disabled but is still able to get an idea and follow through on it, or is not clearly being manipulated by others, or can handle a social situation without drooling, or is able to tell a lie and remember the lie long enough to keep telling it is mentally competent enough for execution. The same goes if he or she can talk coherently and was able to actually plan the crime in question. In practice these standards — also known as the Lennie test — make it almost impossible to stop the state from executing a mentally incompetent person, even if that person doesn't entirely understand what he or she is being punished for, as we've previously noted.

There was an outcry against these standards last year when Robert Ladd, a man with an IQ score of 67, was executed for the brutal 1996 murder of Vicki Ann Garner in Dallas. As with so many of these cases, the question was never about Ladd's guilt, but about whether it was right to execute someone who meets the clinical definition of mentally disabled. Ladd's lawyers made last-ditch appeals to the Supreme Court, but the justices declined to intervene.

But now the high court has agreed to hear Moore's case and look at the standards that determined whether he was intellectually disabled enough to be cognizant of the crime he is to be executed for. Moore's lawyers argued a lower court in Texas had found Moore was "intellectually disabled and constitutionally ineligible" for the death penalty, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed this decision. The appeals court ruled that a 23-year-old standard applied instead and found that, by that standard, Moore was not intellectually disabled.

Justices will hear Moore's case today and issue their opinion sometime next spring. The Supremes are still short a justice (they've been down one since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February), but it's hard to tell how the balance of the eight justices currently on the court will influence how they decide this case. So we'll just have to wait and see whether the Lennie test passes muster with the high court.

TULSA OFFICER TO STAND TRIAL IN ON-DUTY KILLING

By Bob Walsh

Tulsa PD Officer Betty Shelby has been ordered to stand trial in the shooting death of an unarmed black man back in September.

Officer Shelby came across a vehicle driven by Terence Crutcher, 40. His SUV was parked straddling the center line of a two-lane road. He was acting "strangely" and did in fact have PCP in his system. Crutcher ignored several orders to stop and walked towards the SUV with his hands up. He then (according to Officer Shelby) reached into the van thru an open window. She asserts she believed he was reaching for a weapon and fired at him at pretty much the same instant a second officer on the scene fired a Taser at him. Her lawyer says Shelby was unaware of the Taser deployment due to the stress phenomenon known as auditory exclusion (which is a real thing and often comes with time shifts and tunnel vision). Crutcher died of gunshot wounds.

Officer Shelby is being prosecuted for first-degree manslaughter. She turned herself in and was pretty much immediately freed on $50,000 bail.

Crutcher's family, none of who were present at the scene, assert that the window was in fact NOT down and that Crutcher could therefore not have reached inside. Fortunately there is decent dash camera footage and aerial footage of the scene as the shooting went down and it may be able to determine the truth of the matter, though Officer Shelby was lined up somewhat behind the SUV and may not have been able to see the window herself.

Officer Shelby's next court appearance will be December 15.

NORTH CAROLINA POLICE OFFICER ‘ACTED LAWFULLY’

Charlotte Officer Brentley Vinson, who shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, will NOT be charged, DA announces

Associated Press
November 30, 2016

A Charlotte police officer acted lawfully when he shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in a case that touched off several nights of unrest in the city.

A North Carolina prosecutor announced the decision on Wednesday morning, despite Scott's death on September 20 officially being ruled a homicide.

An independent autopsy ordered by Scott's family revealed that the 43-year-old shooting victim was hit in the back and abdomen during a confrontation with police.

According to the official version of events, Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer Brentley Vinson, who is black, pulled the trigger and killed Scott, who was also black.

There was also video of the shooting on a cell phone.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray made the announcement Wednesday in the shooting by officer Vinson.

'It is my opinion that Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott,' Murray said at a news conference.

'He acted lawfully.'

Scott was sitting in his vehicle at an apartment complex when he was confronted by police.

Police video showed officers shouting for Scott to drop a gun numerous times. Scott's family have maintained that he was not armed.

Vinson said he saw Scott rolling a marijuana joint and holding a gun, and fired at him out of concern for public safety.

The case gained national attention after Scott's wife, Rakeyia, shared cellphone video she took of the moments leading up to the killing, in which she begs officers not to shoot her husband.

However, Murray displayed a nearby store's surveillance video showing the outline of what appeared to be a holstered gun on Scott's ankle, and he discussed other evidence that Scott was armed.

FERGUSON REVISITED ??

As in Ferguson, ‘eyewitnesses’ who were not even at the scene lied, in this case by claiming the Charlotte cops shot an unarmed man

By Bob Walsh

On Wednesday the DA of Charlotte, North Carolina announced that his office was not going to prosecute Charlotte P.D. officer Brentley Vinson in the on-duty shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, 43.

Cops rolled on the scene looking for someone else but saw Scott in his car with a gun and some weed. That, as one might expect, drew their interest. The cops saw Scott get out of his car, then get back in the car. They assert they saw he had a gun. A gun that Scott had purchased illegally was recovered at the scene. They backtracked the gun to the illegal seller who admitted selling it to him. The .380 automatic had a round in the chamber, the hammer cocked and the safety off. Scott's DNA was found on the gun and a somewhat blurry fingerprint which may, or may not, have been Scott's depending on which standard is used.

Regular consumers of news will remember the September incident which was largely recorded and put on social media by Scott's wife. In that recording Ms. Scott repeatedly told the officers Scott was not armed. She was not only wrong, she lied. She knew he had a gun. (Social media comes in handy for investigators too.) Alleged eyewitnesses asserted that Scott was shot by anywhere from one to four white cops. In fact the officer who shot him to death was black. None of the other officers fired their weapons.

Nine people claimed to have witnessed the shooting. Three of them asserted that Scott was in fact unarmed. It turned out all three were lying and were not even at the scene of the shooting.

The shooting led to two nights of violent protests in the Charlotte area. One person was murdered during the protest-riots.

Over 2,000 man-hours went into the investigation. A total of 23 career prosecutors reviewed the case. They ALL said that there was no legal reason to proceed against Officer Vinson.

Actual objective reality (truth) can be a bitch sometimes.

THE ‘SAN ANTONIO FOUR’ ARE EXONERATED IN CHILD RAPE CASE

By Emanuella Grinberg

CNN
November 25, 2016

They spent nearly 15 years in prison for a crime so unspeakable they simply became known as the "San Antonio Four."

Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez were convicted in the late 1990s of gang-raping two little girls who were Ramirez's nieces.

They had recently come out as lesbians and prosecutors used their sexuality as a motive. The women refused plea deals and took the rare step of testifying in their defense to say they had done no wrong.

After years of fighting to clear their names, the state's highest court exonerated them on Wednesday, saying they had achieved the "Herculean" task of proving their innocence. The ruling overturns their convictions, prevents further prosecutions and paves the way for the women to potentially seek millions of dollars in compensation from the state.

"Those defendants have won the right to proclaim to the citizens of Texas that they did not commit a crime. That they are innocent. That they deserve to be exonerated," Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge David Newell wrote in the majority opinion. "These women have carried that burden. They are innocent. And they are exonerated."

The Bexar County District Attorney's Office, which prosecuted the case, welcomed the decision.

"It has been a long legal process for these women and our office has worked with the defense to ensure justice was done in this case. With today's announcement we believe the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' decision did that," District Attorney Nico LaHood said in a statement. "I pray [for] peace and a new beginning for them."

An attack on their sexuality

The allegations in 1994 rocked San Antonio and made national headlines, becoming the subject of the documentary "Southwest of Salem." In an era when more gays and lesbians were coming out and mainstreaming, many saw the allegations as an indictment of the women's sexuality, especially as the case against them began to unravel.

"I think the only reason that the investigation was seriously pursued, why there wasn't more skepticism about the preposterous allegations in the first place, was because these four women had recently come out as gay, that they were openly gay," attorney Mike Ware told CNN's Jean Casarez in April.

The case stemmed from allegations from Ramirez's nieces, ages 7 and 9. They stayed with their aunt for a few days in the summer of 1994 while their mother was on vacation. During their stay, Mayhugh, Vasquez and Rivera visited Ramirez's apartment at various points.

When they returned home they told their grandmother the women pinned them down and sexually assaulted them on two occasions. Their accounts varied in subsequent statements to police and the examining doctor and in trial testimony on several points, from the weapon used to subdue them to when the incidents took place, the Supreme Court opinion noted.

Such inconsistencies were "easy to set aside," Newell wrote, given testimony from the state's medical expert. Dr. Nancy Kellogg that said the girls had vaginal injuries that could only come from "painful trauma" caused by penetration with a foreign object.

Bexar County prosecutors portrayed Ramirez as the ringleader and tried her first. She was convicted in 1997 of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child, despite her testimony that she had no idea "how they could even think of me doing something like that." She was sentenced to 37.5 years in prison.

The remaining women were tried together in 1998 and were each convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. All three were sentenced to 15 years in prison on the aggravated sexual assault charges and 10 years for the indecency charges.

The cases unravel

The convictions began to unravel several years ago when one of Ramirez's two nieces, now in her twenties, stepped forward to say she had lied.

Members of her family coached her, she told authorities, to make up a story because of their anger toward Ramirez's sexuality. Her father in particular coerced them so he could gain leverage in a custody battle, she said.

Soon after, Kellogg recanted her testimony based on new science that showed her findings regarding the girls' injuries were medically inaccurate.

With the new evidence, Ware and the Innocence Project of Texas filed for post-conviction relief to have the verdicts overturned.

A story 'no rational juror' would believe

A Bexar County District Court allowed Mayhugh, Rivera and Ramirez to be released from prison in 2013 while the court considered their request. Vasquez had just been released on parole.

The motion worked its way through the Texas courts. After a two-day hearing during which the niece and the doctor retracted their initial claims, a judge recommended in February 2016 that the convictions be vacated. But it declined to fully exonerate them without a full recantation from the second niece.

The Court of Appeals sided with the lower court's ruling that "more likely than not," the jury would not have convicted the women had they heard about the new scientific evidence. It also relied heavily on the niece who came forward, saying that her recantation coupled with the lack of reliable forensic evidence would lead "no rational juror" to find any of the defendants guilty.

The Innocence Project of Texas celebrated the news in a Facebook post that includes a recent picture of the women and their lawyer.

"Plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season, including the full exoneration of Anna Vasquez, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, and Kristie Mayhugh, also known as the San Antonio 4!"

EDITOR’S NOTE: Texas passed a compensation law in 2009, which allows for wrongly convicted people to be awarded $80,000 per year for every year spent in prison. The San Antonio 4 claim they were victims of a “hysterical witch hunt, false evidence and anti-gay sentiment,” and they are probably right. Each of the four women are thus due to receive about $1.2 million.

LAW FIRM’S LAWSUIT AGAINST STUDENT OVER BAD YELP REVIEW BACKFIRES BADLY

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
November 30, 2016

When an attorney from the Tuan A. Khuu law firm threatened to sue her for writing negative comments about the firm on Facebook and Yelp, 20-year-old Lan Cai was barely deterred.

Lawyers at the law firm, Cai wrote on Facebook, had first gone into her bedroom while she was half-asleep under the covers in her underwear, ignored her phone calls after she signed a contract, and left her hanging when she arrived at the office to demand an explanation for their behavior. When attorney Keith Nguyen asked to delete the comments or face a lawsuit, she simply wrote an even more negative Yelp review, warning people to watch out because the firm will sue for bad reviews. Soon after, the firm sued her for libel, alleging the statements she made were false and would severely damage its reputation.

Looks like coming down hard on a 20-year-old nursing student who waits tables six days a week — and asking for between $100,000 and $200,000 in damages — has backfired on the law firm. Because last week, Tuan A. Khuu lost in court and was ordered instead to pay $27,000 in attorneys fees.

“I'm just proud of this young lady for standing up to these people,” said Cai's attorney, Michael Fleming. “A lot of other people would have folded and said it's not worth it fighting this law firm — I'll just change the review. But she stood up to them, she did the right thing, and she was successful.”

Fleming immediately recognized the lawsuit against Cai as a SLAPP suit — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Anti-SLAPP laws were passed in Texas several years ago to protect people against bullies who want to silence people's opinions on the Internet in order to hide criticism of their companies or services — to protect people like Cai, or frequent Yelp reviewers.

In this case, Cai was criticizing the Tuan A. Khuu attorneys' lack of professionalism that she said led her to drop them. She said she had been hit by a drunk driver and needed help navigating insurance and her entitlement to damages. But after a bad experience, here's what she wrote in a Facebook group called Vietnamese Americans in Houston to make sure no one made the same mistake. In italics is what Tuan A. Khuu Law Firm considered — wrongly, a judge ruled — to be libelous:

“After 3 days, they didn't tell me anything about the doctor I needed to go to. I was in a lot of pain. Not only that, they didn't know where the hell my car was! And they came to my house and into my room to talk to me when I was sleeping in my underwear. Seriously, it's super unprofessional! ...I came in to the office to meet with my previous attorney, but he literally ran off.”

A few days later, Nguyen sent Cai this scary-sounding email: “It has come to my attention that you have posted some dispariging [sic] words on your Facebook account. ...If you do not remove the post from Facebook and any other social media sites, my office will have no choice but to file suit.”

Fleming said the threat was a surefire sign that this was a SLAPP case — but even without it, Fleming says he believes Cai still would have won the case, since the firm would not have met the burden for a libel lawsuit, which requires plaintiffs to prove the statements are false and would seriously defame them.

Problem No. 1: Even Nguyen admitted to the Houston Press in an earlier interview that the statements were “half-truths.” One example he gave was that the attorneys did walk in on Cai while she was sleeping in her underwear — but maintained her mother invited them in and they didn't know she was in her underwear. Another: Nguyen was in fact on his way out the door when Cai came to the firm asking for an explanation, but took a little time to explain to her why there were liens on her insurance before leaving her.

Problem No. 2: Plenty of other people had written much meaner reviews of Tuan A. Khuu on the Internet, and so it would be unlikely that one more from Cai would have seriously hurt them, Fleming said.

“Somebody may not like statements made about them — but they don't get to the level of defamation unless they could seriously damage their reputation,” Fleming said. “This woman believed she was providing a truthful review of her experiences with this law firm. And to her credit, she was threatened with the lawsuit and did not back down.”

Tuan A. Khuu attorneys did not respond to a request for comment for this story. Asked last time whether he felt at all bad about suing a college student for more than 100 times what she has in her bank account —and possibly hurting her chances at getting a degree and a job — Nguyen had said no.

“It's not ruining someone's career chances.They need to think before they post,” Nguyen said. “She needs to learn — people need to learn that there are consequences for their actions.”

THE DAY THE ISLAMIC STATE’S SECOND-IN-COMMAND STEPPED OUT OD HIS SYRIAN HIDING PLACE, THE U.S. WAS WAITING

By Joby Warrick

The Washington Post
November 28, 2016

For a man given to fiery rhetoric and long-winded sermons, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani became oddly quiet during his last summer as the chief spokesman for the Islamic State.

The Syrian who exhorted thousands of young Muslims to don suicide belts appeared increasingly obsessed with his own safety, U.S. officials say. He banished cellphones, shunned large meetings and avoided going outdoors in the daytime. He began sleeping in crowded tenements in a northern Syrian town called al-Bab, betting on the presence of young children to shield him from the drones prowling the skies overhead.

But in late August, when a string of military defeats suffered by the Islamic State compelled Adnani to briefly leave his hiding place, the Americans were waiting for him. A joint surveillance operation by the CIA and the Pentagon tracked the 39-year-old as he left his al-Bab sanctuary and climbed into a car with a companion. They were headed north on a rural highway a few miles from town when a Hellfire missile struck the vehicle, killing both of them.

The Aug. 30 missile strike was the culmination of a months-long mission targeting one of the Islamic State’s most prominent — and, U.S. officials say, most dangerous — senior leaders. The Obama administration has said little publicly about the strike, other than to rebut Russia’s claims that one of its own warplanes dropped the bomb that ended Adnani’s life.

But while key operational details of the Adnani strike remain secret, U.S. officials are speaking more openly about what they describe as an increasingly successful campaign to track and kill the Islamic State’s senior commanders, including Adnani, the No. 2 leader and the biggest prize so far. At least six high-level Islamic State officials have died in U.S. airstrikes in the past four months, along with dozens of deputies and brigadiers, all but erasing entire branches of the group’s leadership chart.

Their deaths have left the group’s chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, increasingly isolated, deprived of his most capable lieutenants and limited in his ability to communicate with his embattled followers, U.S. officials say. Baghdadi has not made a public appearance in more than two years and released only a single audiotape — suggesting that the Islamic State’s figurehead is now in “deep, deep hiding,” said Brett McGurk, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the global coalition seeking to destroy Baghdadi’s self-proclaimed caliphate.

“He is in deep hiding because we have eliminated nearly all of his deputies,” McGurk said at a meeting of coalition partners in Berlin this month. “We had their network mapped. If you look at all of his deputies and who he was relying on, they’re all gone.”

The loss of senior leaders does not mean that the Islamic State is about to collapse. U.S. officials and terrorism experts caution that the group’s decentralized structure and sprawling network of regional affiliates ensure that it would survive even the loss of Baghdadi himself. But they say the deaths point to the growing sophistication of a targeted killing campaign built by the CIA and the Defense Department over the past two years for the purpose of flushing out individual leaders who are working hard to stay hidden.

The effort is being aided, U.S. officials say, by new technology as well as new allies, including deserters and defectors who are shedding light on how the terrorists travel and communicate. At the same time, territorial losses and military defeats are forcing the group’s remaining leaders to take greater risks, traveling by car and communicating by cellphones and computers instead of couriers, the officials and analysts said.

“The bad guys have to communicate electronically because they have lost control of the roads,” said a veteran U.S. counterterrorism official who works closely with U.S. and Middle Eastern forces and who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations. “Meanwhile our penetration is better because ISIS’s situation is getting more desperate and they are no longer vetting recruits,” the official said, using a common acronym for the terrorist group.

“We have a better picture inside ISIS now,” he said, “than we ever did against al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

The caliphate’s cheerleader

The first to go was “Abu Omar the Chechen.” The red-bearded Georgian Islamic militant, commonly known as Omar al-Shishani, fought in the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 and had been trained by U.S. Special Forces when he was in the Georgian military. He rose to become the Islamic State’s “minister of war” and was reported to have been killed on at least a half-dozen occasions since 2014, only to surface, apparently unharmed, to lead military campaigns in Iraq and Syria.

Shishani’s luck ran out on July 10 when a U.S. missile struck a gathering of militant leaders near the Iraqi city of Mosul. It was the beginning of a string of successful operations targeting key leaders of the Islamic State’s military, propaganda and “external operations” divisions, U.S. officials said in interviews.

On Sept. 6, a coalition airstrike killed Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, the Islamic State’s “minister of information,” near Raqqa, Syria. On Sept. 30, a U.S. attack killed deputy military commander Abu Jannat, the top officer in charge of Mosul’s defenses and one of 13 senior Islamic State officials in Mosul who were killed in advance of the U.S.-assisted offensive to retake the city.

On Nov. 12, a U.S. missile targeted Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi, an Iraqi national described as the leader of the Islamic State’s Middle Eastern external-operations network, responsible for carrying out attacks against Western targets.

But it was Adnani’s death that delivered the single biggest blow, U.S. analysts say. The Syrian-born Islamist militant was regarded by experts as more than a mere spokesman. A longtime member of the Islamic State’s inner circle, he was a gifted propagandist and strategic thinker who played a role in many of the organization’s greatest successes, from its commandeering of social media to its most spectacular terrorist attacks overseas, including in Paris and Brussels.

His importance within the organization was also steadily rising. Last year, after the U.S.-led coalition began retaking cities across Iraq and Syria, it was Adnani who stepped into the role of cheerleader in chief, posting messages and sermons to boost morale while calling on sympathetic Muslims around the world to carry out terrorist attacks using any means available.

“He was the voice of the caliphate when its caliph was largely silent,” said Will McCants, an expert on militant extremism at the Brookings Institution and author of “The ISIS Apocalypse,” a 2015 book on the Islamic State. “He was the one who called for a war on the West.”

The CIA and the Pentagon declined to comment on their specific roles in the Adnani operation. But other officials familiar with the effort said the task of finding the Islamic State’s No. 2 leader became a priority nearly on par with the search for Baghdadi. But like his boss, Adnani, a survivor of earlier wars between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents in Iraq, proved to be remarkably skilled at keeping himself out of the path of U.S. missiles.

“His personal security was particularly good,” said the U.S. counterterrorism official involved in coordinating U.S. and Middle Eastern military efforts. “And as time went on, it got even better.”

But the quality of the intelligence coming from the region was improving as well. A U.S. official familiar with the campaign described a two-stage learning process: In the early months, the bombing campaign focused on the most visible targets, such as weapons depots and oil refineries. But by the middle of last year, analysts were sorting through torrents of data on the movements of individual leaders.

The information came from a growing network of human informants as well as from technological innovations, including improved surveillance drones and special manned aircraft equipped with the Pentagon’s Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, or EMARSS, designed to identify and track individual targets on the ground.

“In the first year, the strikes were mostly against structures,” said a U.S. official familiar with the air campaign. “In the last year, they became much more targeted, leading to more successes.”

Watching and waiting

And yet, insights into the whereabouts of the top two leaders — Baghdadi and Adnani — remained sparse. After the Obama administration put a $5 million bounty on him, Adnani became increasingly cautious, U.S. officials say, avoiding not only cellphones but also buildings with satellite dishes. He used couriers to pass messages and stayed away from large gatherings.

Eventually, his role shifted to coordinating the defense of a string of towns and villages near the Turkish border. One of these was Manbij, a Syrian hub and transit point for Islamic State fighters traveling to and from Turkey. Another was Dabiq, a small burg mentioned in Islam’s prophetic texts as the future site of the end-times battle between the forces of good and evil.

Adnani picked for his headquarters the small town of al-Bab, about 30 miles northeast of Aleppo. There he hid in plain sight amid ordinary Syrians, conducting meetings in the same crowded apartment buildings where he slept. As was his custom, he used couriers to deliver messages — until suddenly it became nearly impossible to do so.

On Aug. 12, a U.S.-backed army of Syrian rebels captured Manbij in the first of a series of crushing defeats for the Islamic State along the Turkish frontier. Thousands of troops began massing for assaults on the key border town of Jarabulus, as well as Dabiq, just over 20 miles from Adnani’s base.

With many roads blocked by hostile forces, communication with front-line fighters became difficult. Adnani was compelled to venture from his sanctuary for meetings, and when he did so on Aug. 30, the CIA’s trackers finally had the clear shot they had been waiting for weeks to take.

Records generated by commercially available aircraft-tracking radar show a small plane flying multiple loops that day over a country road just northwest of al-Bab. The plane gave no call sign, generally an indication that it is a military aircraft on a clandestine mission. The profile and flight pattern were similar to ones generated in the past for the Pentagon’s EMARSS-equipped MC-12 prop planes, used for surveillance of targets on the ground.

The country road is the same one on which Adnani was traveling when a Hellfire missile hit his car, killing him and his companion.

The death was announced the same day by the Islamic State, in a bulletin mourning the loss of a leader who was “martyred while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns against Aleppo.” But in Washington, the impact of his death was muted by a two-week delay as U.S. officials sought proof that it was indeed Adnani’s body that was pulled from the wreckage of the car.

The confirmation finally came Sept. 12 in a Pentagon statement asserting that a “U.S. precision airstrike” targeting Adnani had eliminated the terrorist group’s “chief propagandist, recruiter and architect of external terrorist operations.”

The Russian claims have persisted, exasperating the American analysts who know how long and difficult the search had been. Meanwhile, the ultimate impact of Adnani’s death is still being assessed.

Longtime terrorism experts argue that a diffuse, highly decentralized terrorist network such as the Islamic State tends to bounce back quickly from the loss of a leader, even one as prominent as Adnani. “Decapitation is one arm of a greater strategy, but it cannot defeat a terrorist group by itself,” said Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies and an author of multiple books on terrorism. Noting that the Islamic State’s military prowess derives from the “more anonymous Saddamist military officers” who make up the group’s professional core, Hoffman said the loss of a chief propagandist was likely to be “only a temporary derailment.”

Yet, as still more missiles find their targets, the Islamic State is inevitably losing its ability to command and inspire its embattled forces, other terrorism experts said. “The steady destruction of the leadership of the Islamic State, plus the loss of territory, is eroding the group’s appeal and potency,” said Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran and a terrorism expert at the Brookings Institution. “The Islamic State is facing a serious crisis.”

AT 95, HE WON’T BE IMPRISONED

Prosecutors to decide whether the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz is fit enough to serve his jail sentence after court upholds the former Nazi SS officer’s conviction

By Julian Robinson and AFP

Daily Mail
November 28, 2016

A German court has upheld the conviction of a former Nazi SS officer known as the 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz'.

Oskar Groening, now 95, was found guilty in July 2015 of being an accessory to the murders of 300,000 people at the camp and sentenced to four years in prison.

He and co-plaintiffs in the case, many of them elderly survivors of the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, had challenged the verdict on various grounds.

But the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) threw out the appeals, meaning that the verdict by the lower tribunal in the northern city of Lueneburg is final.

Prosecutors must now determine whether Groening is fit to serve his sentence, which is considered unlikely given his advanced age.

'I can confirm that today we received the BGH ruling dating from September 20 that the appeals by Mr Groening and the co-plaintiffs were rejected,' defence attorney Hans Holtermann told AFP.

The high court's decision was keenly awaited as a test of a legal precedent for prosecuting former Nazis which changed in 2011 with Germany's landmark conviction of former death camp guard John Demjanjuk.

That case determined that it was not necessary to prove that a defendant had committed specific atrocities if he worked at a death camp and was thus a cog in the Nazi killing machine.

However Demjanjuk remained not guilty under German law until his death in 2012 because the appeals process had not run its course.

Groening has been living at home despite his conviction, awaiting the BGH ruling.

Lawyers representing 50 co-plaintiffs said in a statement the BGH decision was 'an important correction of earlier jurisprudence, even if it comes much too late'.

Christoph Heubner of the Berlin-based International Auschwitz Committee, which represents camp survivors, said he was relieved by the decision.

'The BGH ruling finally makes clear that everyone who was part of running Auschwitz shares responsibility and guilt,' he said in a statement.

'This will send a lasting message for future trials related to genocide.'

Groening worked as an accountant at Auschwitz, sorting and counting the money taken from those killed or used as slave labour, and shipping it back to his Nazi superiors in Berlin.

One million European Jews died between 1940 and 1945 at Auschwitz before it was liberated by Soviet forces.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

HOW TO SPOT COUNTERFEIT GOODS THIS HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON

Consumers can learn to spot ripoffs with a few easy tricks

By Randy Mac

NBC 4
November 28, 2016

With the holiday shopping season officially underway, the Los Angeles Police Department and agents from U.S. Homeland Security have teamed up to help people spot counterfeit goods.

The increasing tendency for people to shop for items online has increased the possibility that they might get scammed, said Joseph Mecias, special agent in charge for Homeland Security in Los Angeles.

"Sometimes you get hyperlinked to websites that say 'the real Oakley' or 'the real NFL,'" Mecias said, adding that consumers should be weary of websites that list items significantly cheaper than multiple other websites.

When it comes to electronics, counterfeits could cause safety hazards such as fires, said John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.

Here are some of the tips people should follow to make sure the items they buy are genuine:

• If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

• Buy from retailers you know and trust and go directly to their websites.

• Manufacturers of quality products want to be noticed; if a product does not have the manufacturer's name, it could indicate a fake.

• Look out for misspellings on the product's packaging or instruction manual.

• With electronics, an overly flexible wire could mean there is not enough copper in the wire to handle the voltage, which could cause overheating and lead to a fire.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is” is the best advice. If you go to a store or go on the internet to buy a high-dollar brand item at 40 or 50 percent off, that item is probably not the genuine article.

HEIGH HO, HEIGH HO, IT’S OFF TO THE JOINT WE GO

By Bob Walsh

Two former LA Sheriff’s Office deputies were sentenced yesterday to terms as guests of the federal government for the in-custody thumping of a mentally ill prisoner and falsifying documents in order to cover the incident up.

Bryan Brunsting, 31 was given a 21 month sentence. Jason Branum, 35, was given five months. Both are free pending appeal.

On March 10, 2010, Joshua Sather was a two-day rookie at the jail. He was the principle informant against the other two, one of whom was his training officer. The two deputies assert that Sather was untrustworthy and trying to avoid prosecution himself. Sather resigned from the S. O. shortly after the original incident. Sather was a participant in some of the incident with the inmate, but quit punching when the inmate quit resisting. The others did not.

The jury took only 90 minutes to reach their verdict.

TRANSIT SYSTEM HAS SOME BALLS

By Bob Walsh

The Muni-Metro is one of the intersecting and overlapping transit systems in the San Francisco bay area. Riders got free rides much of Friday and Saturday. This wasn't because the management was feeling generous. They had been hacked with a ransomware attack and refused to cough up the 100 Bitcoin ($73,000) ransom.

Instead they locked the fare gates open, called in all their I.T. people and contacted Homeland Security. By Saturday morning they had purged the ransomware from their system and were back up and running again from their deep back-up files.

The attack went after Muni's email system and payroll system. The trains control system and fare collection systems are protected by very robust firewalls which were never breached.

These cretins typically demand a low enough ransom that it is easier to pay them than to deal with the problems they cause. That is what makes these ransom attacks attractive to those who initiate them. The people or business or government agency that is attacked often does not want it generally known how vulnerable they were and often simply pay up.

CALIFORNIA BACK ON THE ROAD TO HELL

By Bob Walsh

Now that the final vote tally is completed its official. There is a Democrat-Socialist supermajority in both houses of the legislature and all of the constitutional officers are also Democrat-Socialists. This means the psycho wingnuts in the formerly great state of California can run thru virtually any piece of legislation they see fit and the governor is likely to sign it. This will, without a doubt, see California moving even further to the left (if that is possible).

Count on seeing less freedom for honest, law-abiding citizens and more freedom, including freedom from being arrested or imprisoned, for criminals. Don't forget higher taxes on top of it all, and less accountability of our political ruling class. If this keeps up the whole state will end up looking like Chicago or Detroit only with nicer scenery.

Firm, long-term one party control is bad no matter which party has that control. Power does tend to corrupt.

CALIFORNIA TO INTERVENE IN CASE AGAINST BAIL SYSTEM AFTER SAN FRANCISCO DECLINES

By Bob Egelko

San Francisco Chronicle
November 29, 2016

Attorney General Kamala Harris will intervene in case against a California law requiring criminal defendants to post bail to be freed while awaiting trial, a system that is being challenged in a lawsuit as unfair to the poor.

Harris’ office agreed to step in after San Francisco’s city attorney and sheriff refused to defend the law, questioning its constitutionality and even-handedness.

Kristin Ford, a spokeswoman for Harris, said Monday the attorney general would seek approval from a federal judge in Oakland to intervene in the San Francisco case. Harris’ proposed intervention had been announced earlier in the day in a court filing by City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office.

Bail bond companies also want to enter the case and defend the cash-bail system, a request opposed by the group that is challenging the law.

The state law requires courts in each county to set bail in varying amounts depending on the seriousness of the crime. Those who post bail are set free while awaiting trial, but defendants who can’t pay the prescribed amount, or the 10 percent fee charged by bond companies, remain in jail until they are formally charged and arraigned, usually 48 hours after arrest. At that point, a judge sets conditions for pretrial release, often including bail, based on their assessments of the risk to public safety and the chance that the defendant might flee.

The nonprofit Equal Justice Under Law has challenged cash-bail systems in a number of states, including suits in San Francisco and Sacramento opposing the California law, and has won support from the Obama administration. The suits contend the law setting bail amounts for specific crimes discriminates against low-income defendants.

Bail bond companies say the system promotes public safety by giving defendants an incentive to show up in court. Opponents of the system argue that judges can protect the public just as well by evaluating defendants individually and setting conditions for supervised pretrial release.

San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy had been the sole defendant in the case. But on Nov. 1, Herrera, who had represented Hennessy, said he considered the bail law unconstitutional and would not defend it in court. Hennessy said the law was arbitrary and unfair but she would continue to enforce bail in the amounts set by San Francisco judges until courts said otherwise.

At the same time, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, said he would introduce legislation to eliminate bail requirements that punish poor people “simply for being poor.”

Harris’ office has defended the law in a separate suit in Sacramento, where a federal judge has rejected claims of discrimination. The attorney general was originally a defendant in the San Francisco case as well, but she was dismissed as a defendant in February when U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that the Constitution barred such a suit against the state.

Harris has chosen to re-enter the case, however, since the city’s opt-out left the law without a defender.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

60 COPS FATALLY SHOT SO FAR THIS YEAR, 20 IN AMBUSHES

Texas has seen the most fatalities this year with 18 officers shot dead

Fox News
November 24, 2016

A total of 60 law enforcement officers have died in firearms-related incidents in 2016, marking a 67 percent increase since 2015, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported.

Citing a preliminary report from January 1 through November 23, the organization said that Texas has seen the most fatalities this year with 18. So far, 130 officers have died nationwide.

The worst single attack was in July, when a black military veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas — the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten days later, a former Marine killed three Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers.

San Antonio Detective Benjamin Marconi was the 60th officer shot to death this year, compared with 41 in all of 2015, and the 20th to die in an ambush-style attack, compared with eight last year, Craig W. Floyd, president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said.

An ambush-style attack does not necessarily involve someone lying in wait for police officers; it's any shooting designed to catch police off guard and put them at a disadvantage, Floyd said.

"There usually is an element of surprise and concealment involved," he said, and it's unprovoked.

Police have been killed while writing reports, like Marconi was, or eating in restaurants. They've responded to 911 calls, only to have people shoot them as they get out of their cars. And in the Dallas shooting, they were targeted by someone in a building.

"In all the cases, the officers were essentially assassinated before they had any contact with the suspect or placed that suspect in jeopardy," said Nick Breul, the Memorial Fund's director of officer safety and wellness.

This year's targeted killings are the most since 1995, Floyd said. In fact, Marconi's was the fourth targeted slaying of an officer this month: On Nov. 2, two Iowa officers were killed in separate but related attacks. And on Nov. 10, a Pennsylvania officer was targeted as he responded to a domestic disturbance.

The attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge came amid protests over the shootings of black men by white officers, and were carried out by black gunmen — but race is not always a motivating factor, Floyd said.

In fact, he said, white men are responsible for most police slayings, and the majority of people shot and killed by police are white.

Some officers have been killed by people who identify with the so-called sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe they're immune to most state and federal laws, including paying taxes and getting driver's licenses. Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge shooter, had filed documents last year declaring himself sovereign.

The man who shot and killed the two Iowa officers earlier this month as they sat in their patrol cars had a history of contacts with police, including a recent confrontation with officers at a high school football game.

Others have been mentally ill.

"So much dialogue has centered around race relations, but there is a hatred in this country right now that's just gotten out of control," Floyd said. "There is a lack of respect for government in general, and the most visible and vulnerable symbol of government in America is patrolling our streets in marked cars."

GOAT FUCKER INJURES ELEVEN AT OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

By Bob Walsh

Abdul Razsak Ali_Artan, whose age has been variously said to be either 19 or 20, was a permanent resident alien from Somalia and was attending classes, or at least enrolled in classes, at Ohio State University. This morning a fire alarm went off in one of the campus buildings sending a large number of students out onto the sidewalks. At that time Artan drove his vehicle into the crowd, injuring a number of people. He then leapt out of his vehicle and started hacking at people with a butcher knife. As it happens a University P D officer was nearby checking for a gas leak. He responded and terminally rehabilitated the goat fucker.

It is unknown whether or not the fire alarm was just a suspicious coincidence or if Artan had a cohort who sent the targets his way.

If this had happened in CA or NY they would probably be investigating the cop for being an Islamophobe and looking to prosecute him for a hate crime. Seeing as how most of the people in Ohio are not morons that probably won't happen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Goat fucker? Shit Bob, now you’re going to be called Islamophobic. Sheep fucker might have been a less insensitive term to use.

Since Abdul was a Muslim, pig fucker would not have applied here. Pig fucker would be appropriate for some people in the Bay Area and other parts of California, and in Arkansas and West Virginia.

CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING THE CHICAGO WAY

61 Shot, 9 Fatally, Across Chicago Thanksgiving Weekend

NBC Chicago
November 28, 2016

Two men killed about 10 minutes apart brought the Thanksgiving weekend tally to eight fatal shootings.

In all, at least 61 people were shot in attacks across the city over four-day holiday weekend, according to Chicago Police.

Last year, 8 people were killed and 20 were wounded in shootings during the same holiday weekend, beginning at 7 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving.

The latest homicide happened at 2:03 p.m. Sunday in the Gresham neighborhood. An 18-year-old man was sitting in a parked vehicle in the 8800 block of South Marshfield Avenue when someone fired at the vehicle from an SUV, police said. The SUV, described as being dark in color, was driven away from the scene, headed north on Marshfield. The 18-year-old suffered several shots to the chest and took himself to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where he was pronounced dead, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His name has not yet been released.

About 10 minutes earlier, in East Garfield Park, a 37-year-old man had been shot dead, police said. Rickey J. King was with a group in the 3800 block of West Adams Street when someone across the street opened fire; the assailant then fled on south on foot. King was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

At 2:38 a.m. Sunday in the Homan Square neighborhood on the West Side, two men were seated in a parked vehicle in the 3400 block of West Harrison Street when a silver car stopped in front of them and two males wearing hooded sweatshirts exited the car and opened fire, police said. Erik Peoples, 30, suffered gunshot wounds to the head and body and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The other man, 31, was shot in the right arm and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.

A 56-year-old man was gunned down at 3:38 p.m. Saturday in the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood, authorities said. Witnesses told police they saw two men get into a fight and then heard a gunshot in the 6600 block of South Kenwood Avenue. The man was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene at 3:47 p.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office. His name has not been released.

About 2:15 a.m. Saturday two gunmen opened fire outside a house party in the South Chicago neighborhood’s 8800 block of South Exchange Avenue, authorities said. A 20-year-old man shot in the chest was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner’s office has not released his name. Another 20-year-old man shot in the groin was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, along with a 21-year-old man wounded in the arm, police said. A 25-year-old woman was taken to Stroger Hospital with a graze wound to the head, a 22-year-old man shot in the hand went to Trinity Hospital and a 23-year-old man shot in the arm went to the University of Chicago Medical Center. Their conditions all had stabilized, police said.

Friday evening, a 16-year-old boy was slain in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side. Diego Alvarado heard gunfire and realized he’d been shot in the back, groin and arm about 6:40 p.m. near his home in the 4800 block of South Throop Street, authorities said. Alvarado died at Stroger at 7:32 p.m.

Five hours earlier, two people robbed 24-year-old Thomas Smith and then shot him in the abdomen shortly before 2 p.m. in the 7300 block of South Lowe Avenue in the South Side Englewood neighborhood, authorities said. Smith, of the 9600 block of South Dobson, died at Stroger at 4:30 p.m.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. Friday, officers on patrol near Harrison and Central Park Avenue in Homan Square heard gunfire and saw 37-year-old Cleotha Mitchell fatally shoot 35-year-old Jeffery Banks, according to police. The officers “engaged the offender” and shot him, according to police, who said Mitchell had shot a second person in the arm. That person’s condition was stabilized at a hospital, while Mitchell and Banks were pronounced dead at the scene at 12:44 a.m.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the officers’ use of force in that shooting, as well as that of a CPD sergeant who fatally shot 19-year-old Kajuan Raye in the back a night earlier. The sergeant said he saw Raye point a gun at him twice during a West Englewood foot chase. As of Friday night, investigators had not found the weapon the sergeant claimed he saw. Raye’s family was planning to file a federal lawsuit.

One of the weekend’s latest nonfatal shooting happened at 10:19 p.m. Sunday in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood on the South Side. A 20-year-old man was walking on the sidewalk in the 6500 block of South King when someone in a green car fired shots, police said. He was shot in the left leg and taken to University of Chicago Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.

Earlier Sunday, a 32-year-old man was seriously wounded in a shooting in the River North neighborhood. Around 6:06 a.m., he was in the 600 block of North Clark when a gunman on a bike rode up and opened fire, according to police. He was shot in the abdomen and taken in serious condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, police said, adding that he is a convicted felon. Additional details were not immediately available.

About an hour earlier, a 21-year-old man was shot in the Logan Square neighborhood on the Northwest Side. He was involved in an argument with a group of people at 5:08 a.m. in the 2700 block of North Ridgeway when someone in the group pulled out a gun and fired shots, striking the man in the right leg, police said. He took himself to Community First Medical Center and will be transferred in good condition to Illinois Masonic Medical Center. A police source said the man is a documented gang member and convicted felon.

At least 43 more people were wounded in other attacks between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Sunday.