Saturday, December 07, 2019

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: AN INVITATION FOR THIEVES AND BURGLARS TO COMMIT MORE THEFTS

Criminal justice reform in California has resulted in San Francisco ranking No. 1 in the US in property crime, the state leading with 30 percent of packages stolen nationwide by porch pirates, and with car break-ins at crisis levels

By Howie Katz

Big Jolly Times
December 6, 2019



Liberals who do not want to jail anyone other than armed robbers, rapists, child molesters and murderers, and conservatives who do not want to spend the money needed to keep criminals locked up, have conned the public into accepting or demanding harmful criminal justice reforms.

Some of the reforms include bail reform and the reduction of some felonies to misdemeanors. Others include the early release from prison of ‘nonviolent’ offenders. These reforms are an invitation for criminals to commit more crimes, and especially for thieves and burglars to commit more thefts. In other words, the criminal justice reformers, be they liberals or conservatives, are putting people and their property at risk.

There do need to be some reforms in the setting of bail because the bail system keeps poor offenders in jai while those who can afford to make bail are released. It makes no sense for someone to sit in jail for months while waiting for a trial that upon conviction carries no prison time. But the reformers want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. California has enacted a landmark ban on cash bail in criminal cases. A new ballot measure for 2020 seeks to overturn the cash bail ban.

And in New York, beginning next year, new laws will prohibit judges from imposing cash bail on defendants accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Instead they must be released on their own recognizance and instructed to return to court. Many of the released felons will be preying on the public again and so will many of the thieves charged with misdemeanor theft.

Texas liberals have also been clamoring for legislation that will ban cash bail. The are facing strong opposition from the powerful bail bond industry. But last month, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal approved an agreement by Harris County to equalize the pretrial treatment of the rich and poor. The agreement mandates the prompt release without bail of most misdemeanants held in jail in Houston. Prosecutors and the police objected to the agreement amid concerns that it will endanger public safety.

Liberals and minority activists have long bellowed about the disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos in prison – while blacks make up only 13 percent of this country’s population, they make up 40 percent of the prison population. The activists would have the public think that the only reason blacks and Latinos are in prison is because they are black or Latino. Liberals deliberately hide the fact that the disproportionate imprisonment is the result of a disproportionate amount of crime committed by minorities. Their bellowing, supported by fiscal conservatives, has led to the early release of felons from prison.

Liberals, again supported by conservatives, claim our prisons are full of ‘nonviolent’ inmates serving time for the possession of drugs. What they fail to tell the public is that most of the inmates doing time for possession were in fact dope dealers who copped a plea to possession in order to receive a lighter sentence. Dealing dope was their means of making a living and upon release, most of them will return to their chosen occupation.

Even President Trump has been taken in. Just before last Christmas. Congress gave many federal prison inmates a true gift – early release. The criminal justice reform bill gave federal judges more discretion in sentencing drug offenders, reduced the life sentence of “three strikes” drug offenders to 25 years, and allowed about 2,600 federal inmates doing time for crack cocaine offenses to petition for a reduced sentence.

Trump tweeted: “America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes. This will keep our communities safer, and provide hope and a second chance, to those who earn it. In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!”

Make communities safer? No way! Save billions of dollars? Maybe, but the increase in crime may cost billions.

Made mistakes? The commission of crimes is not a mistake. A mistake is adding up 2 and 2, and coming up with 5. A mistake is forgetting one’s wedding anniversary. A crime is a crime, not a mistake! Crimes are committed intentionally, mistakes are unintentional. Citizens, as Trump refers to prison inmates, are behind bars for the crimes they intentionally committed, not for making mistakes.

The 'First Step Act', the criminal justice reform act which President Trump has touted, was designed largely to reduce the disproportionate number of black inmates in federal prisons. It should be noted that the feds do not get involved with small- time street corner dope dealers so that the drug offenders held in federal prisons must have sold or possessed a substantial quantity of drugs.

Not to be outdone by the feds, Oklahoma conducted the largest mass commutation in US history last month. 527 ‘nonviolent’ prison inmates had their sentences commuted. 462 of them were released. The other 65 had detainers and were to be released later. And in 2016, Oklahoma reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. For instance, the threshold for a property crime becoming a felony increased from $500 in property value to $1,000 in value.

If the bellwether state of California is an example, Oklahoma can expect a spike in property crimes. In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 47 which reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. And in order to charge a car burglar with burglary, the state must prove that the victim’s car was locked. That reform punishes the victim and rewards the burglar. Here is how the criminal justice reform of Prop 47 is working for California:

San Francisco is now ranked No. 1 in the US in property crime.

California leads with 30 percent of packages stolen nationwide by porch pirates.

Car break-ins are at crisis levels in California’s cities.


Texas has reduced car burglaries from a felony to a misdemeanor. Car burglars would have to be convicted twice of these ‘misdemeanors’ before they can be charged with a felony. A recently retired investigator with an auto theft task force told me that as a result, car break-ins have reached “epidemic” proportions. He said that because the car burglars often receive no jail time, many police departments no longer respond to car break-ins. They only record the date, time, name and address of the victim, filing it as a car burglary, and inform the victims to call their insurance company instead.

What reformists overlook is that crimes against property is the occupation of most criminals and keeping them out of jail or prison merely gives them the opportunity to stay on the job … the job of crime, that is. And what is really frightening is that today’s nonviolent criminal may turn out to be a deadly criminal tomorrow.

Years ago, I coined the phrase: “A ‘nonviolent’ criminal in jail is one less criminal on the street!” I should add that a thief or burglar in jail is one less criminal committing thefts.

While I am all for bail and criminal justice reform, I am not for the kind of reforms that invite criminals to commit more crimes and invite thieves and burglars to commit more thefts.

GROSS NEGLIGENCE COSTLY TO UTILITY DISTRICT

by Bob Walsh

Back in April two 17-year old boys went into a canal in Dixon, CA in an effort to save a dog. The irrigation canals in this area are fairly steep, fairly deep and lined with concrete so getting in is easy, getting out not so much.

They came downstream to where a footbridge crossed the canal and grabbed hold of the bridge or possibly a pipe adjacent to it. Unfortunately some grossly defective and badly maintained wiring was in the immediate area and the bridge was "hot." Both boys were electrocuted.

The Solano Irrigation District has agreed to pay $7 to the families of each of the boys. They have in addition agreed to an increasingly aggressive maintenance program in an effort to prevent the tragedy from happening again.

The district has an annual operating budget of not quite $10 million and supplies domestic water to about 1,200 customers and farm irrigation water to about 3,000 more. It also sells water to four other irrigation districts and operates the Monticello Dam, which generates electrical power.

PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY 2019

What happened during fateful attack 78 years ago?

By Matthew Diebel

USA Today
December 6, 2019

On Saturday, Americans will mark the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The surprise raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu killed more than 2,400 Americans and, in short, brought the United States into World War II.

According to the National Park Service, Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in August 1994. Remembrance events are held every year at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

Here are some facts surrounding that fateful day in U.S. history:

What happened during the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes made the surprise raid on Pearl Harbor. During the attack, which was launched from aircraft carriers, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 aircraft, according to the History Channel.

How many people were killed at Pearl Harbor?

The official death toll was 2,403, according to the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines, 218 Army service members and 68 civilians. Of the dead, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves as the main memorial to the incident. Fifty-five Japanese also were killed.

The total number of wounded was 1,143, including 710 Navy, 69 Marines, 364 Army and 103 civilians, the Visitors Bureau says.

Why was Pearl Harbor a pivotal moment in WWII and U.S. history?

Until the raid, the U.S. had hesitated to join World War II, which had started on Sept. 1, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland.

In those nearly 2 1/2 years, the U.S. had extensively aided the United Kingdom, virtually the sole source of resistance to the Nazis in Europe, but a general mood of isolationism – brought on, according to the State Department’s Office of the Historian, by the Great Depression and the memory of huge losses during World War I – led Roosevelt and Congress to be wary of intervention.

Pearl Harbor reversed that in a day, with Congress issuing a declaration of war after Roosevelt’s speech on Dec. 8, 1941.

How does the Pearl Harbor attack compare with 9/11?

In comparison to the 2,403 dead at Pearl harbor, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, led to 2,977 deaths, according to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Of those, 2,753 died in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 people were killed on Flight 93. Many first responders have since died of illnesses caused by the dust at the World Trade Center site, meaning the official total could rise further.

Where are remembrance ceremonies taking place at Pearl Harbor?

The main ceremony will take place at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, hosted by the National Park Service and the United States Navy.

According to a press release, the observance will begin at 7:50 a.m. local time and a moment of silence will occur at 7:55 a.m., the time the attack began.

"A ship will render pass-in-review honors to the USS Arizona and all Pearl Harbor Survivors. A missing man flyover conducted by the 199th Fighter Squadron, Hawai’i Air National Guard and the 19th Fighter Squadron, U.S. Air Force will follow," the release says.

How many survivors remain?

The exact number of survivors is unclear. Only three survivors of the USS Arizona, the ship most heavily hit in the raid, are still alive. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association disbanded years ago as numbers dwindled.
__________

DECEMBER 7

by Bob Walsh

If you have enemies, and you push them hard enough, you must understand that they are likely to push back. If you have your head up your ass you may get kicked hard in the balls before you see the kick coming. Keep your head out of your ass. It's safer, and the air smells better.

GOAT FUCKER IS THE SHOOTER AT PENSACOLA

by Bob Walsh

A Saudi national, who was undergoing training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, has been identified as the shooter in the incident in a classroom building on Friday morning.

The goat fucker was killed by Sheriff's deputies who responded to the scene. At least two deputies were wounded.

There are 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian employees at the base.

The situation, which is still somewhat fluid as I write these, has left four people dead (including the goat fucker) and seven wounded. The base is on lockdown. The FBI is investigating.

It has been reported that the shooter was pissed off because they wouldn't let him take his emotional support goat into the classroom with him. I suspect that is fake news, but you never know.

HIJINKS IN KENTUCKY FAMILY COURT

Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry stands accused of using sex, campaign contributions and retaliation while in office

Dawn Gentry is a family court judge in Kenton County, Northern Kentucky. She has been charged with nine counts of misconduct. Having sex and alcohol in her chambers are among the more interesting charges.

Gentry hired former Bromley Christian Church pastor Stephen Penrose and had an affair with him. She also wanted attorney Katherine Schulz to join her in a threesome with Penrose. Gentry and Penrose did engage in a threesome in her cambers with Laura Aubrey, the judge's secretary.

She is also accused of allowing her staff to get drunk on the job.

Gentry is responsible for handling adoption, custody, neglect and abuse, child support, divorce, domestic violence and paternity cases.

Penrose and Gentry were also in the South of Cincy band in which Penrose played guitar and Gentry was the bassist.

A threesome in the judge’s chambers? Well, after all it’s a family court … and it’s Kentucky.

DRUG SNIFFING DOG SPARKS STRIP SEARCH OF LITTLE GIRL

An 8-year-old girl was strip searched at a Virginia prison. She was told it was the only way to see her dad

By Gary A. Harki

The Virginian-Pilot
December 5, 2019

An 8-year-old girl was stripped naked and searched by Virginia Department of Corrections staff after she was led to believe refusal would result in not being allowed to see her father.

State policy allows for such searches at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, about 60 miles west of Richmond, and other state DOC prisons. The girl was accompanied by her father’s girlfriend, who is not her legal guardian. If they refused to be searched, they could have been banned from the prison.

“That’s outrageous," said Daniel Macallair, executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. “It’s generally regarded in the criminal justice field that you do not strip search young children. ... I mean most adults, certainly most adults who work in the field of child welfare would know better, that this is an act of child abuse."

After being contacted Thursday by The Virginian-Pilot with questions about the incident, DOC Director of Communications Lisa Kinney said the department was just made aware of what happened and that the staff member who approved the search didn’t have that authority.

“It is deeply troubling and represents a breach in our protocol. We sincerely apologize to this child and her family and will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible,” Kinney wrote in an email.

The incident follows a push by DOC officials to promote the department as a model for corrections departments nationwide, and in the midst of a long-fought court battle over inmate healthcare and changes to visitation.

The strip search has haunted the girl, who already suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and ADHD, said her mother.

“She’s a minor, she’s a girl. She was traumatized,” her mother said. “She gets emotional, she will break down.”

She’s missed school because of it, her mother said.

Just after the visit, the girl texted her mom in shock.

“Hey Mom, am so mad the jail had to strip me with all of my clothes off this doesn’t make no sinc (sic)” the girl texted.

The names of the girl, her mother and father are being withheld by The Virginian-Pilot because she is a minor and because of the trauma she experienced.

“Did they make you take all of your clothes off," her mother texted back just before calling her daughter.

“Yes all of my clothes off," she responded.

The incident

The Nov. 24 visit to Buckingham Correctional Center started out as routine, said Diamond Peerman, who drove the girl the two-and-a-half hours from Hampton and is the girlfriend of the 8-year-old’s father. They stood in line with other visitors, and were circled by a DOC dog trained to sniff out drugs and other contraband.

The dog singled out Peerman, requiring that she be strip searched. Peerman asked if the 8-year-old would need to be searched, too. Initially prison guards said no, but after consulting with a captain, that decision was reversed, Peerman said.

They would have to consent to the girl being strip searched or visitation rights would be terminated. Peerman said she believed the girl had to be searched or she couldn’t see her dad anymore.

The DOC policy on employee, visitor and offender searches states: “If a visitor refuses to submit to a search, or if a parent or guardian refuses consent for the search of a minor, the individual shall not be searched by force, but shall be denied entry into the facility.”

ACLU of Virginia lawyers have examined the policy and interpret it to mean just what Peerman assumed that day.

“We would characterize that as a highly coercive policy,” said Bill Farrar, director of strategic communications for ACLU of Virginia.

Peerman says that when she was told the girl must strip and realized her lack of options, she cried.

The girl looked at her and asked what being strip searched meant.

“I told her, that means you have to take all of your clothes off or you’re not going to be able to see your dad," Peerman said. “That’s when she started crying.”

Peerman said she told the DOC captain and other corrections officers that she was not the girl’s legal guardian. They told her she had to sign the consent form anyway.

Performing the search without a legal guardian’s consent is a clear violation of DOC policy, which states, “Searches shall be conducted on a minor (person under 18 years of age — not emancipated) only with the consent of and in the presence of the minor’s parent or legal guardian." It also states that if they are not accompanied by a legal guardian and there is “reasonable belief to strip search a minor” that they should not be allowed to visit.

In her email, Kinney said that strip searching a minor was extremely rare and that in this case the department’s procedures were not followed.

“Our procedure states that only a parent or legal guardian can approve the strip search of a minor; in this case the adult visitor who signed the consent for the minor to be strip searched wasn’t the minor’s parent or legal guardian,” Kinney said in the email. “The staff member who authorized the search of the minor following a K-9 alert didn’t have the authority to do so. We take this matter very seriously and as mentioned above will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible.”

By the time two female corrections officers took them to a bathroom, the girl had stopped crying and was resigned to taking her clothes off.

First Peerman was searched — taking all of her clothes off before being told to bend over and cough. Then it was time for the girl.

After taking off her clothes and also being asked to bend over and cough, she was slowly handed back her clothing, piece by piece. One of the corrections officers asked, “How old are you, sweetheart?”

“I just looked at her and I’m like, ‘That’s not even appropriate to be asking her right now,’ ” Peerman said. “Why would you ask that when she’s naked?”

The officers then searched Peerman’s car. No contraband was found and the two were allowed to visit with the girl’s father but only through glass. They were denied a contact visit.

Later, the girl’s mother called the DOC captain, who she said cursed at her, telling her Peerman signed the papers. She said the captain eventually hung up on her.

The policy

Martin F. Horn, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Executive Director of the New York State Sentencing Commission, said in very rare circumstances there may be need to strip search a minor but that DOC’s actions were draconian.

“It seems to me the prison had options available to them that were less intrusive and that those would be preferable,” he said.

While he could not speak about the specifics of this incident, Farrar said there is no reason DOC should ever strip search children.

“Policy or not, there is never a circumstance where a child should be subjected to invasive, traumatizing, humiliating searches by a stranger, whether or not they’re trying to get to a loved one who is incarcerated,” he said. “That should never happen.”

The strip search policies “are in place to keep offenders, visitors, and staff as safe as possible by reducing the contraband (e.g., drugs, cell phones, weapons) smuggled into the state’s prisons,” Kinney wrote in an email. “Strip searches are requested when a K-9 has alerted on a visitor. Visitors are always free to deny the strip search request and leave the facility.”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation drafted regulations in 2015 that would allow for children to be strip searched but were quickly rejected by the public.

“I remember the debate here and it was just considered an absolutely outrageous practice because it traumatizes kids,” Macallair said. “Being subjected to that type of an intrusive search body search by an adult in a uniform is quite frightening and certainly something that if you’re a parent you wouldn’t want to subject your kids to.”

The 8-year-old’s mother said her daughter misses her dad but won’t be visiting him anymore because of how she was treated.

“Her and her dad have a good relationship ... because she gets to go see him every weekend," the mother said. "But, at the same time, she went through something that traumatized her. I’m not sending her back there.”

ISRAELI DEFENSE OFFICIALS HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT JOINT DEFENSE PACT WITH US

PM: Israel has ‘full right’ to annex strategic Jordan Valley

Associated Press
December 5, 2019

LISBON, Portugal -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel has the “full right” to annex the Jordan Valley if it chose to, even as the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court warned the country against taking the bold step.

Netanyahu said his proposal to annex the strategic part of the occupied West Bank was discussed during a late-night meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said they also agreed to move forward with plans for a joint defense treaty.

The longtime Israeli leader, beleaguered by a corruption indictment and political instability at home, is promoting the two initiatives as a justification for staying in office.

The Trump administration has already delivered several landmark victories to Netanyahu, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Netanyahu says that thanks to his close relationship with Trump, he is singularly positioned to further promote Israeli interests at this junction before the 2020 U.S. election season heats up.

The annexation move would surely draw condemnation from the Palestinians and much of the world and almost certainly extinguish any remaining Palestinian hopes of gaining independence.

The Palestinians seek all the West Bank, captured by Israel in 1967, as the heartland of their hoped-for state. The Jordan Valley comprises some 25% of the West Bank and is seen as the territory’s breadbasket and one of the few remaining open areas that could be developed by the Palestinians.

But many Israelis say the area is vital to the country’s security, providing a layer of protection along its eastern flank.

In her annual report, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office was following the Israeli annexation proposal “with concern.”

When asked by reporters about the warning, Netanyahu insisted that it is Israel’s “full right to do so, if we chose so.”

Netanyahu’s visit with Pompeo was their first since the secretary of state announced last month that the U.S. no longer considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law. Israeli nationalists have interpreted that policy change as a green light to begin annexing parts or all of the West Bank.

Netanyahu called their 1 hour and 45 minute-meeting in Lisbon “critical to Israeli security.”

In particular, he noted the progress they made toward a joint defense pact that would offer Israel further assurance against a future attack from Iran. He said he has informed his chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, of the progress in the initiative.

Israeli defense officials, and Gantz as well, have expressed concern that such a pact could limit Israel’s freedom to operate militarily. Netanyahu said he was aware of the reservations but assured that it was a “historic opportunity” and Israel would not be limited to act against archenemy Iran.

Mike Makovsky, president and chief executive of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America in Washington, which has been promoting the idea of a narrow defense pact, said the proposal would offer “an extra layer of deterrence” and “mitigate the intensity and scope” of a potential war with Iran.

“Just like every other mutual defense treaty it would be left to the discretion of both parties how it would be implemented,” he said. “Mutual defense pacts have been sources for stability.”

In Lisbon, Netanyahu also met with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and thanked him for adopting the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which toughens guidelines to include some forms of criticism of Israel. Israeli researchers reported earlier this year that violent attacks against Jews around the world spiked significantly in 2018, with the largest reported number of Jews killed in anti-Semitic acts in decades.

The trip gave Netanyahu a brief respite as he fights for political survival in the wake of two inconclusive elections and a damning corruption indictment. He refused to discuss his future options but vowed to carry on.

Israel’s attorney general last month indicted Netanyahu for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases.

It is the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister has been charged with a crime. Unlike mayors or regular ministers, the prime minister is not required by Israeli law to resign if indicted. Netanyahu is desperate to remain in office, where he is best positioned to fight the charges.

NEW ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER TAKES HARDLINE POSITION ON TERRORISM IN ALL FORMS

Naftali Bennett's policy seeks to deter attacks against Israelis from air, land and sea, while he also aims to improve living conditions for Palestinians in neighboring Gaza

JNS
December 6, 2019

When Naftali Bennett was appointed last month as Israel’s defense minister, it was seen as a temporary political move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to shore up his right-wing flank until a new government could be formed.

Yet, with the Jewish state likely headed towards a third election in less than a year, Bennett, co-founder of the New Right Party, will likely hold the office for several months and is already making significant changes to the nation’s defense policies in just three weeks on the job.

Since taking office, he has immediately responded to all missile fire from Gaza and Syria; has announced a moratorium on returning the bodies of terrorists killed in Israel to their families; approved construction of a new Jewish neighborhood in Hebron; and instituted a hard-line policy on Iran.

"The Iranian leadership must know that they have no place in Syria, and they should focus their attention on the pressing needs of the Iranian people and not on attacking Israel," he told JNS.

According to Bennett, who was recently seen visiting an Israeli air-force base carrying a book by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Israel will no longer take a defensive posture in Syria, but will attack and even kill any Iranian presence there in order to force the regime out of the region.

Similarly, Bennett said Israel will respond immediately to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, even if they land in open areas. "A missile which lands without any damage to Israel is no different than one which hits an Israeli home," he said. "Anyone who shoots will be hit."

There have been two attacks from Gaza and two missiles fired from Syria since Bennett became defense minister. No damage in Israel was caused; nonetheless, Bennett ordered the Israel Defense Forces to retaliate against Hamas targets in Gaza and Iranian targets in Syria.

Another new Bennett policy seeks to deter Palestinian attacks against Israelis with the announcement that Israel will not return the bodies of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks.

Until now, Israel returned the bodies of terrorists, and their funerals became a basis for further incitement against Israeli and turning the murderers into heroes, inspiring more Palestinians to carry out similar attacks.

Bennett’s hardline policy not to return terrorists' remains is intended to serve as a deterrent; potential terrorists will know that they won’t be treated as heroes and their bodies will stay in Israeli hands.

The ascension of Bennett to the position of defense minister has been several years in the making and a remarkable political turnaround for the former Netanyahu protégé.

Bennett, who served as education and diaspora affairs minister until earlier this year, has had his sights set on this position since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, during which he openly criticized the defense establishment and Netanyahu for not taking a strong enough stance against Hamas.

As former leader of the right-wing national-religious Jewish Home Party from 2012-18, Bennett and his political partner, Ayelet Shaked, made a huge gamble and decided to leave the party and form a new one ahead of the April 2019 elections. However, their gamble flopped when the party narrowly failed to cross the threshold to enter the Knesset, leaving them without jobs and an uncertain political future.

Yet thanks to an ongoing election impasse, Bennett and Shaked were given another shot when new elections were called and held in September. Learning from past mistakes, both politicians once again hitched their fortunes to the Jewish Home Party, creating a new temporary right-wing slate called Yamina for the election.

Netanyahu feared that Bennett’s party would lend its support to Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz while he was tasked with trying to form a government. And so, Netanyahu made him an offer: continue to support Netanyahu and serve as Israel’s Minister of Defense, a position that would enable him to act on his strong right-wing ideology.

Implementing policies aligned with right-wing base

Beyond his stances on Iran and Palestinian terrorists, Bennett is also implementing policies aligned with his right-wing base.

On Sunday, he approved the construction of a new Jewish neighborhood in the wholesale market complex of Hebron, which will double the number of Jews living in the city and create a connection of land from the Cave of the Patriarchs to the already existing Avraham Avinu neighborhood.

The plan is to destroy the now-abandoned marker buildings. New stores will be built, and Palestinians will retain rights to the ground floors. But Bennett’s official statement declares that all property above the ground-floor market will be "returned to Jewish hands."

The move has led to strong condemnation from the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli left.

Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat called on the international community to take "concrete measures, including sanctions against settlements." Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh called the decision "dangerous," and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg calling the move "messianic" and "a victory for [the late Rabbi Meir] Kahane."

Bennett has made it a point to emphasize that his policies are only to serve as deterrents for terrorists, not the Palestinian people.

As an example, he has proposed a massive new project for the Gaza Strip, which has been under a blockade by Israel and Egypt ever since Hamas took control of it in 2007. While Israel allows hundreds of trucks to bring the most basic humanitarian needs into Gaza on a daily basis, the people living there suffer from a lack of ability to travel and trade with other countries.

Bennett announced support for a plan to build an artificial island off the coast of Gaza and has instructed the IDF to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

The proposal, which seeks to provide civilians in Gaza with humanitarian needs while bolstering Israel’s security needs, involves creating a three-mile causeway from the coastal strip to a three-square-mile island that would house an electricity plant, freight harbor and storage; a desalination plant for clean water; and an international airport.

The hope is that this move will lead to concessions from Hamas, including a possible breakthrough regarding the bodies of two Israeli soldiers currently being held in Gaza.

Previous defense ministers had vetoed the plan, which was created by now Foreign Minister Israel Katz, though Bennett has always supported it as a minister in the security cabinet.

His appointment has enabled Bennett to move forward with the project, to be financed by the international community. It is expected to take five years to build.

Bennett’s success in promoting his right-wing agenda could provide the New Right Party with a boost in the next round of elections with some polls indicating that in certain scenarios, the party could rise into double-digit mandates.

Friday, December 06, 2019

I KNOW IT'S CRAZY, BUT HERE ARE SOME ACTUAL FIREARMS FACTS

by Bob Walsh

According to the ATF annual Firearms Commerce Report and the 2018 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report, the following are actual facts.

There are about 422.9 million firearms in the hands of private citizens in the U.S. That is about 1.3 guns per warm body.

There are 17,740,000 Modern Sporting Rifles (meaning AR-15 variants) in private ownership right now.

About 54% of all firearms produced in the U. S. in 2017 were Modern Sporting Rifles.

In 2017, a total of 7,901,218 firearms were either produced or legally imported into the U.S. Of those 4,411,323 were handguns.

Interim estimates indicate that in 2018 a total of 7,660,772 firearms were either produced or legally imported into the U.S. Of that number 4,277,971 were handguns.

An estimated 8.1 billion rounds of ammo were produced or imported for the American market in 2018.

NANNY BLOOMBERG WANTS TO MAKE US SAFER BY MAKING SELF DEFENSE ILLEGAL

by Bob Walsh

Yesterday Nanny Bloomberg, rich nuev-Candidate for the Democrat nomination for President, announced his "new" plan to make us all safer.

His plan would create tens of thousands of target-rich no-self-defense zones within the United States. In these zones, (called schools, colleges and universities) possession of firearms would be totally prohibited except for on-duty peace officers.

He was a little fuzzy about what federal power allowed him to do that. He was also a little fuzzy on how school shootings like Cleveland School, New Town and Columbine were "legal" and would now be "illegal" if his plan was passed.

He is also a fuckfaced psychopathic idiot, but since he's rich people think he knows shit.

PRESIDENT MACRON HAD SOME NERVE IN MOCKING PRESIDENT TRUMP

France is paralyzed by worst nationwide strike for decades, with schools shutting and public transport grinding to a halt, as furious public sector workers protest Macron's pension reforms

Daily Mail
December 5, 2019

More than half a million demonstrators have marched on cities throughout France, with railway workers, teachers and hospital staff joining the largest strikes in decades.

Authorities in Paris barricaded the presidential palace and deployed some 6,000 police as activists, many in yellow vests, gathered for a major march aimed at forcing President Emmanuel Macron to abandon his pension reform plans.

Officers were forced to use tear gas to disperse rioters who set fire to a vehicle and smashed windows as tensions heightened close to the Place de la Republique square.

AN ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN BAN ON CASH BAIL

Another Battle Over Crime Looms In California

LAPPL News Watch
December 5, 2019

No California ballot would be complete without at least one measure about crime and punishment and 2020 will be no exception. A referendum seeking to overturn California’s landmark ban on cash bail in criminal cases will once again test voters’ sentiments about the treatment of accused lawbreakers.

During previous decades, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, voters endorsed a tough, lock-‘em-up attitude, culminating in passage of the state’s famous — or infamous — three-strikes-and-you’re-out law aimed at repeat offenders.

At some point — roughly a decade ago — voter attitudes about crime softened and criminal justice reform advocates began winning in the political arena.

When Jerry Brown returned to the governorship in 2011, he strived to undo some of the punishment laws he had signed three decades earlier by reducing penalties for crimes deemed to be nonviolent, diverting more offenders into probation rather than putting them behind bars and making it easier for felons to win parole.

Law enforcement officials objected, saying that fewer offenders behind bars would imperil the public, but in 2014, Brown won passage of a key ballot measure, Proposition 47, encompassing his reforms.

WOMAN IS LOSER IN WAR ON DRUGS

Border Agents Arrest Woman Who Appeared To Use Child To Seem Less Suspicious To Smuggle 49 Pounds Of Meth Into U.S.

LAPPL News Watch
December 5, 2019

A woman attempted to smuggle 50 pounds of methamphetamine into the U.S. while using her child to appear less suspicious, Border Patrol officials said Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Mexican national was traveling into the country with a valid B1/B2 tourist visa on Tuesday afternoon when she was stopped by the Border Patrol agents near the Oceanside Harbor exit on Interstate 5.

San Diego Sector agents who pulled the woman over said they became suspicious of her due to her behavior, according to a news release.

Agents found a duffle bag with 20 bundles of meth that weighed a total of 48.94 pounds inside the trunk of the woman’s car. The estimated value of the drugs was $92,986, officials said.

She was arrested and could face charges for felony drug trafficking.

YOU WILL NOT FIND THIS ON VICE NEWS

Former Vice editor gets nine years in prison for recruiting young drug mules for massive cocaine smuggling ring

By Adrian Humphreys

National Post
December 3, 2019

TORONTO — A former high-profile Vice Media music editor who recruited young musicians, models and a former Vice intern to smuggle huge loads of cocaine — hidden in their luggage — on flights to Australia was sentenced to nine years in prison, Tuesday.

Yaroslav Pastukhov, 29, best known under his pen name Slava Pastuk or his online alias Slava P, was found not to be the mastermind of the international plot that ended when four Canadians and one American were caught at Sydney airport with more than $20 million worth of pressed cocaine bricks glued into the lining of their suitcases.

He was, however, found to be directing frontline couriers and organizing and facilitating the network’s Toronto end, along with a co-accused, a judge said.

Ontario Court of Justice Judge Heather Pringle said Pastukhov’s actions were more significant because he “exploited his relationship with these couriers,” several of whom he met through his work at Vice.

She noted that in text messages he sent when he was recruiting drug mules, Pastukhov said one was “too young” but he might still be considered, and that a female courier interested in a free trip to Australia didn’t even need to be told about the hidden cocaine.

“The evidence convinced me that Mr. Pastukhov was not a leader or a principal in this large-scale cocaine importation scheme,” Pringle said in her sentencing decision.

“Obviously there were people much higher than the defendant who controlled it from the American and the Australian end using various middlemen. The defendant had (himself) been a courier but weeks before, and it was most unlikely that he climbed the ladder from courier to trusted mastermind in the span of those few weeks.”

In an Agreed Statement of Facts submitted in court earlier, when Pastukhov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, he admitted he personally smuggled cocaine hidden in his luggage from Las Vegas to Australia before he arranged for others to do the same thing.

He worked at Vice from 2014 until he was fired in February 2016.

Months before he was charged by the RCMP, a National Post investigation revealed allegations from former and current Vice employees that Pastukhov used his position at the youth-oriented media outlet to try to recruit them to also carry contraband to Australia. They refused the offer.

To prepare for a day he knew would end with him being taken to prison, Pastukov chose clothes that were casual and “comfy” instead of a suit and tie, he said outside court before his sentencing.

“I’m going to throw a bunch of this stuff out after I get released,” he said of his coat and shoes. “I’m going to see if I can take the hoodie in with me at some point because it’s fairly warm, same with the hat,” he said of his toque.

He said living without the internet would be a challenge.

“That’s going to be the worst thing about it. I’m not going to get my hot takes off,” he said. “I’m going to do a newsletter, that’s going to be sent out to some of my closer friends and family.”

His hot takes and his seemingly unrepentant internet activity during his trial was at odds with his demeanor in front of the judge. Asked about that contrast, he said, “You know, I’m a changed person.” When it was pointed out the change was evident within weeks, he added, “People change everyday.”

The day did finish with him being sent to prison.

He sat for a few minutes after Pringle’s ruling with his mother in court, both teary as they hugged. A Toronto Police special constable then asked him if had anything in his pockets. The officer did paperwork and pulled out a few tissues and handed them to Pastukhov. As Pastukhov continued to wait, he spoke with a journalist who is preparing a podcast on his case.

Then the officer asked him to stand and turn. He locked a pair of handcuffs around his wrists behind his back and led Pastukhov away through the hallway.

In her sentencing, Pringle accepted as fact the submissions made by Pastukhov’s lawyer, Dan Kirby — that Pastukhov claims he was trying to find an edgy story that would draw accolades from Vice brass when he was first drawn into the cocaine ring.

“He found the glamour, the famous people and the club life appealing. The defendant started experimenting with cocaine, finding it a common feature in the music industry,” said Pringle. “Mr. Pastukhov also desired to advance his journalism career further.”

As he had seen happen to others at Vice who landed a big, flashy story, “he hoped to embed himself into the narrative of a cocaine importation scheme, write about it and break his journalism career wide open,” she said in her ruling.

“This misguided ambition got him criminally charged and dragged down others with him.”

Vice sources disputed and ridiculed that contention.

The Crown had sought a 12-year sentence and Kirby asked for six-to-eight years. Pringle said one was too high and the other too low.

She said Pastukhov would likely have been given an 11-year sentence if not for mitigating factors. He was “youthful,” she said, as he was 24 at the time of his crime. He had no previous criminal record and strong prospects for rehabilitation.

“The defendant is most unlikely to return to the criminal justice system,” Pringle said, “but the crime he committed must be met by a significant penitentiary term.”

After settling on nine years, she deducted 113 days for pre-sentence custody, 14 of which were in jail before he was granted bail on house arrest supervised by his mother.

His co-accused, Ali Taki Lalji, who met Pastukhov while both worked at Vice, was also charged with the drug conspiracy. Allegations against Lalji have not been proven in court and his case has not yet been heard. His lawyer said his client maintains his innocence.

The five couriers who were caught at the airport each pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison in Australia.

A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT IS LIKELY TO RETURN TO THE OBAMA POLICY OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS BEING ILLEGAL

Could future US administration undo Trump’s policy on Israeli settlements?

JNS
December 5, 2019

The announcement last month by US Secretary Mike Pompeo that Israeli settlements are not illegal was either warmly welcomed or hotly rejected, depending on how you interpret international law.

Indeed, recently 107 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Pompeo expressing "strong disagreement" with the State Department’s new policy and urged Pompeo to "reverse this policy decision immediately."

Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said that Pompeo "did a great service for Israel and for truth by stating that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not illegal."

"And it is unfortunate," he added, "that there are some members of Congress who want to second guess him," referring to the Democratic lawmaker’s letter. For his part, Gold sent a letter to each of those lawmakers explaining why Pompeo’s decision was correct.

The change in policy was allegedly timed to counter the European Union’s decision to label goods made in Judea and Samaria, as well as to reverse the previous administration’s stance, which viewed the settlements not only as an obstacle to peace but actually illegal.

As such, how subjective is international law and could the decision be reversed by a future president, especially a Democrat?

Gold said that the Trump administration’s view of settlements helped to provide a different interpretation of international law.

"I thought it was very important to put on the table the issue of the improper application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the case of Israel," Gold said. "International law is a subject where people do interpret way of norms differently. That is simply the way it works."

He added that the decision made during former-President Jimmy Carter’s administration to declare the settlements a violation of international law "was wrongheaded."

Taking it a few steps further, Gold said the basis of claiming that the settlements are illegal came from the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which said that a state occupying territory in war cannot move the population out of the occupied territory, and, secondly, that it cannot move its own population into the territory in question.

"In Israel’s case," he said, "both statements are irrelevant."

What has bothered him, in particular, was that the idea that an occupying power cannot move its population into occupied territory came from the actions of Nazi Germany, which moved its Jewish population into places like Poland for purposes of extermination.

"So somebody has the nerve to say that Israelis who have voluntarily moved into the West Bank are violating an international law that was based on a completely different situation?" he asked incredulously. "Comparing what Israel does in the West Bank to what Nazi Germany did in Poland to the Jews of Germany is something I find repulsive."

Gold said he felt it was important to send the letters because "if you don’t say anything, it will continue."

'A solution on how to move forward'

Pnina Sharvit-Baruch of the Institute for National Security Studies said it is necessary to move away from the arguments over who is right or wrong, and instead to "find a solution on how to move forward."

She said she fears that a future US Democrat administration might not just go back to the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush kind of ambiguity when they said settlements are "an obstacle to peace." Instead, it might return to the Obama policy of saying settlements are illegal.

Since international law is often interpreted differently, are people simply propagating their own subjective views?

"Almost any legal question is often the issue of different interpretations," said Sharvit-Baruch, "and settlements are no different than any other legal question, especially with regard to international law."

"An argument can be made – and it is not baseless to say – that the settlements are not necessarily illegal," she said. "The case of why Palestinians have a right to this territory is not a clear-cut question. Even if they have the right of determination, there is still no clear-cut legal answer as to what territory this right applies to because the Green Line of 1967 is not a border."

She said the main point is that the two sides, and even the wider Arab world, previously agreed that the topic of settlements and borders is an issue that needs to be negotiated and that it is not supposed to be determined in court.

Sharvit-Baruch said that by declaring the settlements a violation of international law, the Obama and Carter administrations were "very unhelpful."

"Those who insist on discussing it in legal terms," she emphasized, "are doing a disservice to any kind of peaceful settlement to the conflict."

ISRAEL REPORTEDLY HAS COVERT RELATIONS WITH UAE, OMAN, MOROCCO AND BAHRAIN

White House said pushing Israeli-Arab non-belligerence agreements

The Times of Israel
December 4, 2019

A senior White House official has reportedly urged several Arab states in the Middle East to sign non-belligerence agreements with Israel as a step toward normalizing relations with the Jewish state.

Citing “Israeli, Arab and US sources,” Axios reported on Tuesday that the US administration’s deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates met last week with ambassadors to Washington from four Arab nations — the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Morocco and Bahrain — and said the US would support the move.

The meetings sought to gauge the willingness to upgrade relations with Israel among the four countries, the report said. All have maintained increasingly robust strategic and intelligence ties with Israel, a link bolstered by a common view of Iran as a shared regional foe.

But the defense ties have remained mostly secretive, and have not translated into formal diplomatic relations.

The ambassadors all told Coates they would consult with their governments and return “soon” with their response, the report said.

Then, on Monday and Tuesday, Coates and other US officials met with a delegation of their Israeli counterparts to discuss the matter.

The report cited Israel’s current political deadlock and the Arab governments’ longstanding desire to see progress on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process as factors that “will make implementation very difficult.”

The initiative was first proposed by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who revealed in October he had been pushing such non-aggression treaties with several Arab countries in the Gulf, a “historic” démarche he said could end the conflict between Jerusalem and those states.

“Recently I have been promoting, with the backing of the prime minister, a diplomatic initiative to sign ‘non-aggression agreements’ with the Arab Gulf states,” Katz wrote on Twitter in early October.

“It’s a historic move that will end the [formal] conflict [with those states] and enable civilian cooperation until the signing of peace agreements,” he said, in what appeared to be a tacit acknowledgement that no Arab country is currently willing to establish full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved.

Katz further confirmed that he presented his plan to several Arab foreign ministers during his visit to New York in late September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. He also discussed the proposal with the US administration’s outgoing special envoy for the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, he said.

On September 23, Katz tweeted that he had held talks with an unnamed counterpart from an Arab country with which Israel does not have formal relations, and said they discussed “ways to deal with the Iranian threat” and a process for boosting “civilian cooperation.”

Katz agreed with his Gulf Arab interlocutors during “a series of meetings” in New York to set up working teams to take the non-aggression pact forward, a Channel 12 report that month said, citing sources close to Katz.

The draft clauses would reportedly include commitments to develop “friendly relations and cooperation” in accordance with the UN charter and international law; to prevent hostility or incitement to hostility against each other; and to eschew any military or security alliance with other parties against each other.

Among other elements, the TV report said, the draft text specifies cooperation in the fight against terror, and in advancing economic interests.

Katz, who is also intelligence minister, has previously met with senior Arab officials at least twice: In early July, he met an unnamed senior Emirati official during a visit to the Gulf city of Abu Dhabi. Later that month, he shared a photograph with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa during an event hosted by the US State Department in Washington. It marked the rare instance in which a top Arab official was publicly documented meeting a senior Israeli figure.

In November 2018, Katz traveled to Oman to attend an international transport conference. “In my view cooperation between Israel and the Gulf states can and should be expanded,” he said at the time. “Israel also has a lot to offer when it comes to water desalination and irrigation, agriculture and medicine.”

In his speech at the UN last month, Katz stressed that Israel “has a clear policy to advance ties, and normalization with the Arab Gulf States. We have no conflict with the Gulf states, and we have common interests in the field of security against the Iranian threat as well as in developing many joint civilian initiatives,” he said.

“Israel has a lot of capabilities in many areas, including hi-tech, innovation, agriculture and water technology, which can help the Gulf states, and the Gulf states have a lot of capabilities that can help Israel as well,” he noted. “I hope that this cooperation will lead to the signing of peace agreements between our countries, as we did with Egypt and Jordan.”

In August, Katz said it was realistic to expect formal peace deals with moderate Sunni Gulf states within a few years.

Reached for comment on the reported new push by the Trump White House, a “senior administration official” told Axios the US “would certainly welcome expanding relationships between our critical allies and partners in the Middle East,” but declined to confirm or otherwise comment on specific initiatives.

JIMMY MUST BE LAUGHING FROM HIS CEMENT TOMB

Is 'The Irishman' right about Hoffa? US attorney promises 'more to come'

By Debra Cassens Weiss

ABA Journal
December 3, 2019

The U.S. attorney for the office that investigated Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance isn’t relying on the Netflix movie The Irishman for its theories of the case. Nor is a law professor whose stepfather was portrayed as the man who drove Hoffa to his death.

Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told reporters that he has seen the film, and he has a lot of thoughts about it, the Detroit Free Press reports. “I will talk about this but not now,” he told reporters.

“I have my own theories,” Schneider said. “There will be more to come on this.”

Schneider says his office has its own files on the case, which will be 45 years old next summer.

Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School, did his own investigation and published a book, In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth, that attempts to show that his stepfather did not drive the car that delivered Hoffa to his killers as portrayed in the film. He wrote about his conclusion in September for NYR Daily.

The Irishman is based on a 2004 book, I Heard You Paint Houses, about Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The writer, Charles Brandt, was a Delaware medical malpractice attorney who helped win early release from prison for Sheeran.

Hoffa, a former Teamsters Union president, disappeared from a suburban Detroit parking lot in 1975 after he had been released from prison. Robert De Niro plays Sheeran in the movie, and Al Pacino plays Jimmy Hoffa.

Goldsmith thinks The Irishman’s theory about who killed Hoffa is wrong, and so is its portrayal of his stepfather, Charles “Chuckie” O’Brien, a Hoffa aide. Goldsmith was 12 years old when Hoffa was killed.

Goldsmith says he had been close to O’Brien, but he cut him out of his life in law school because he feared the impact of the relationship on his career. He reconciled with O’Brien in 2004. O’Brien had insisted that he was innocent, and Goldsmith spent seven years investigating.

Sheeran had told several different tales of Hoffa’s disappearance, according to Goldsmith. At first, he denied any involvement. In 1995, Sheeran said Hoffa was killed by contract killers linked to the White House. In 1996, he said the killers were Vietnamese mercenaries. He told a Hoffa biographer that he helped dispose of Hoffa’s body but did not kill him. Sheeran told Brandt, however, that he was the murderer and allowed a taped confession.

An FBI agent who was the lead investigator on the Hoffa case told Goldmith that the video of Sheeran was laughable and unbelievable. Three other FBI agents who worked on the case told Goldsmith that they knew of no evidence supporting Sheeran’s confession.

FBI agents who worked on the case think the actual hitman was someone from Detroit possibly acting under orders of mobsters who feared that Hoffa might disclose the Mafia takeover of the Teamsters Union pension fund, Goldsmith says. Those agents also think O’Brien was not involved, Goldsmith says.

The Netflix-financed film had a limited run in theaters before Netflix made it available Nov. 27, the New York Times reported.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN SUES FAMILY OF TRAYVON MARTIN

by Bob Walsh

George Zimmerman, Florida's favorite Caucasian-Hispanic, has just filed a $100 million civil action against the parents of Trayvon Martin and the local constabulary.

You will no doubt remember that Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin to death in 2012. He was eventually arrested and charged, but in 2013 a jury found him not guilty.

Zimmerman is suing the parents of the young Mr. Martin, who was a juvenile at the time as well as two women who allegedly provided fake witness testimony to the cops. He is also suing the cops and the DA for malicious prosecution and defamation. Also, to round it out he is suing the Martin family lawyer, Benjamin Crump and Crump's publisher.

The cause of action is negligent and malicious infliction of mental anguish.

My GUESS is that he may have a case against the parents and the witnesses. Going after the cops, the DA and an author and publisher may be a serious stretch, and the family and the two women probably don't have $100 million.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Zimmerman has made such an ass of himself since he was acquitted of Trayvon's killing, that he probably won't be able to squeeze even a dime out of any jury.

AT LEAST HE DIDN'T KILL THEM OVER SOMETHING TRIVIAL

by Bob Walsh

Danielle Jette has had some rough breaks, but not nearly as rough as the rest of her family.

Her ex-con boyfriend moved into the house two weeks ago. The BF, Paul W. Ferguson, 42, was tired of being ragged on by Ms. Jette's 15 year old daughter about his smoking in the house. So he did what any other self-respecting arrogant and violant sociopathic asshole would do, he grabbed his gat and murdered the 16 year old girl and shot her 15 year old brother to death to boot. He then had the decency to self-rehabilitate, saving the state the cost of a trial.

Three years previously Ms. Jette's husband and father of the two now dead children killed himself after a domestic dispute.

KAMALA HARRIS BELIEVES THAT DEMOCRATS AS A GROUP ARE RACIST

by Bob Walsh

In her "good bye, fuck you" speech two days ago Kamala Harris blamed, among other things, inherent racism and opposition to women of color for her inability to get traction. Since she was running for the Democrat nomination for president, and only self-designated Democrats get to vote, that clearly means she believes that the members of her party are inherently racist and sexist.

It couldn't POSSIBLY be her fault (in her eyes) or the fact that she ran a shit campaign with no focus. It couldn't POSSIBLY be her fault that she changed direction every time the wind changed. It MUST be somebody else's fault. Her constituency was just too stupid to understand how wonderful she is / was.

I think maybe she got that last one right, or at least half right.

PIERS CALLS CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU AND FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON SPITEFUL MEAN GIRLS FOR MOCKING TRUMP

What the hell made these smug, spiteful Mean Girls think they’ve got the right to mock President Trump, given what’s going on in their own backyards?

By Piers Morgan

Daily Mail
December 4, 2019

My favorite scene in Mean Girls is when Gretchen Wieners, one of the ghastly trio of vain, self-obsessed, sneaky, gossipy and gutless ‘Plastics’, cracks up during a Shakespeare class and launches into a bitter tirade.

‘Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet?’ she wails. ‘What’s so great about Caesar? Hmm. Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody, huh? Because that’s not what Rome is about. We should totally stab Caesar!’

I thought of this as I watched the hot-mic video clip of French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a Buckingham Palace drinks reception for NATO leaders last night.

There they all were, sniggering and bitching away like spiteful little Mean Girls about US President Donald Trump, the modern-day Caesar.

It was a very revealing clip for many reasons.

First, the pathetic cowardice of them all huddling in a group mocking Trump behind his back like schoolkids who give it the Billy Big Balls swagger about their teacher the moment the teacher’s left the room.

Second, the brazen disrespect they showed to the President of the United States, by far the most important member world leader at the NATO summit.

And third, the unbelievable stupidity of none of them realizing there were TV cameras in the room that might capture their duplicity.

‘Is that why you were late?” chuckles Johnson accusingly at Macron at the start of the video.

Before Macron can respond, Trudeau, swigging from his drink, pipes up with a jibe at Trump: ‘He was late because he (Trump) takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.’

The video cuts to a slightly later clip that sees Macron gesticulating furiously before Rutte exclaims ‘fake news media’ and Trudeau interjects: ‘You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor!’

As he says this, Trudeau mimics his own jaw collapsing.

There’s lots of guffawing amid all this, all of them thoroughly enjoying having a good old laugh at President Trump’s expense.

And standing right there among them is Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen.

When I saw Anne’s world-famous never-changing hairstyle nodding away in obvious amusement too, something inside me flipped and I found myself mouthing my own words of indiscretion: ‘What the hell are you lot all laughing at?’

This is the same Princess Anne whose brother Andrew wasn’t able to attend the reception because he’s just been fired from public life in shameful disgrace over his support for serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Just 24 hours earlier, on Monday night, a woman named Victoria Roberts Giuffre wept on the BBC’s Panorama investigative news program as she recounted horrifying details of allegedly being sex trafficked on multiple occasions by Epstein to Prince Andrew when she was just 17 years old.

You’d have thought that might have put a slight dampener on his sister’s willingness to engage in group mockery about the leader of Britain’s most important ally at a public Palace event.

But it didn’t.

I wonder if any of those fearless world leaders around her had the guts to divert from their Trump-scorning long enough to ask if Andrew would now submit himself to an interview with the FBI, under oath, in which he would finally be forced to tell the truth about exactly what he knew, saw and did in the company of one of America’s worst ever sex offenders?

Yeah, right – and pigs were flying past the Palace windows…

As for the leaders, they should probably look in their own mirrors before seeking to make fun of Trump.

Trudeau, the most ultra-liberal virtue-signalling snowflake in global politics – he’s the clown that wanted to abolish the word ‘mankind’ because it’s sexist - just narrowly escaped being booted out of office in the Canadian election after photos emerged of him wearing blackface on numerous occasions.

Like all PC-crazed preachers, he was found to be a shameless hypocrite. He’s also been a distinctly unimpressive Prime Minister.

Trudeau now presides over a minority government, saw his approval ratings crash to 32% this summer, was recently convicted of breaking the country’s conflict of interest laws by allowing a giant engineering and construction firm to avoid a corruption trial, and has mis-managed Canada’s economy so badly that it trails way behind America on every important financial metric.

In a damning moment during his live press conference with Trump yesterday, Trudeau was directly challenged by the US President to say if Canada was yet paying 2% of Canada’s GDP on defence, as required to be part of NATO. He stammered and blustered, before eventually admitting it pays just 1.4%.

So on balance, if I were Trudeau, I’d pipe down with the Trump taunts.

Little wonder the President today branded him ‘two-faced.’

Macron, if anything, is in an even worse position.

Even the French can’t stand the arrogant condescending pipsqueak, with his approval ratings plunging to under 30% and two-thirds of his countrymen saying they’re dissatisfied with his performance.

The ‘Yellow Vest’ protests, driven by fury at his perceived disregard for pensioners and workers, have ravaged France all year and a devasting national general strike tomorrow could be the biggest for decades.

Macron’s also outraged NATO members by rudely branding the coalition ‘brain-dead’ due to a supposed lack of leadership by Trump.

Yet the truth is Trump’s been NATO’s biggest cheerleader this week - and has been successful in his thoroughly reasonable campaign to make other cheapskate countries pay more of their dues, and for America to rightly pay less of the overall cost of NATO’s bills.

As for Boris Johnson, it’s hard to know where to start with reasons why he should avoid taking the high moral ground with Trump, from his chaotic private life (he won’t even say how many children he has, possibly because he doesn’t know) to racially-tinged comments and downright lies splattered across buses over how much money Britain pays to the European Union.

Yet this hasn’t stopped him treating the President like a piece of brand-damaging gum on his shoe.

Despite fulsome praise and support from Trump since Johnson became Prime Minister a few months ago, he’s tried everything not to be seen with the President this week lest it damage his chances of victory in next week’s UK General Election.

If that wasn’t spineless enough, Johnson’s also ducked various promised election interviews with British TV interrogators – including me! - which compares very unfavorably with Trump’s extraordinary willingness to regularly lay himself bare to the media dogs.

The President spent more than two hours yesterday alone fielding questions on any topic journalists wished to raise. No other world leader does this, and love him or hate hi – or his answers - it’s impressively transparent.

As a result of this hot-mic chortling at Trump being leaked, the President has naturally been exposed to much ridicule both here in London at the NATO summit and back home in the US where the media’s already reveling in his supposed humiliation.

But Trump hasn’t been humiliated at all.

He’s just had to endure the petty mockery of a jealous bunch of Mean Girls who like to make fun of him behind his back but don’t have the courage to do it to his face.

The real embarrassment is on them, not him.

DEMONCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SPIKE GUN SALES

Gun Background Checks Are On Pace To Break Record In 2019

LAPPL News Watch
December 4, 2019

Background checks on gun purchases in the U.S. are climbing toward a record high this year, reflecting what the industry says is a rush by people to buy weapons in reaction to the Democratic presidential candidates' calls for tighter restrictions.

By the end of November, more than 25.4 million background checks — generally seen as a strong indicator of gun sales — had been conducted by the FBI, putting 2019 on pace to break the record of 27.5 million set in 2016, the last full year President Barack Obama was in the White House.

On Black Friday alone, the FBI ran 202,465 checks — one every 4.85 seconds.

Some analysts question how accurately the background check figures translate into gun sales, since some states run checks on applications for concealed-carry permits, too, and some purchases involve multiple firearms. But the numbers remain the most reliable method of tracking the industry.

EDITOR’S NOTE: These gun buyers must think Trump is going to lose in 2020.

FAILURE TO NOTIFY POLICE HE HAD FOUND HIS STOLEN CAR LEADS TO DEADLY ENCOUNTER

Petaluma man mistaken for car thief dies after being put in carotid restraint

KRON4
December 3, 2019

SONOMA COUNTY, California — A Petaluma man who was driving a car that he had reported stolen died last week after being tased and restrained by deputies in Sebastopol.

52-year-old David Glen Ward died on Nov. 27 after a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy placed him in a carotid restraint, authorities said.

Ward was driving his own vehicle which he had reported stolen days earlier, but never told police he had found it.

Police also say the suspect in the initial theft of the vehicle on Nov. 24 was armed with a gun.

At 5:54 a.m. on Nov. 27, authorities say Ward led a deputy and two Sebastopol police officers on a chase through part of Sonoma County.

When the pursuit ended, police say Ward did not follow their orders to open the door.

“They [had] given Mr. Ward orders to put his hands in the air,” Lt. Dan Marincik with Santa Rosa Police told KRON4. “He put his hands up and down. He was not complying. So at one point they approached him from the drivers side, he didn’t exit and they tried to remove him from the drivers window and a struggle ensued.”

This led to a confrontation that ended with a deputy tasing him and another putting him a carotid restraint, police said.

Officers were then able to remove Ward from the vehicle and place him in handcuffs.

At 6:10 a.m., a deputy told dispatch that Ward did not appear to be breathing and they began to administer CPR.

Ward was rushed to Petaluma Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:17 a.m.

“There’s often times when multiple uses of force need to be done to get someone into custody,” Marincik said. “In terms of this case the ultimate determiner of whether the use of force complied with the law is the district attorneys office.”

Family tells KRON4 Ward was disabled from a car accident that happened about 15 years ago and was unable to get out of the car.

“Why were they so rough with him? Tasering him and that hold, it makes me want to cry. He was disabled. He couldn’t get out of the car. It would take him ten minutes. His body was broken,” his mother said.

The mother said her son suffered from a heart problem.

“He had a heart problem, a hole in his heart. He sat in a wheelchair most of the time and had to take oxygen. And when they put the hold on him, I assume they cut off his oxygen,” she said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office will be doing an administrative review to determine if deputies followed policies during this incident.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In NYC, an officer applying a carotid restraint would have been fired and charged with murder. Not so in California?

IT NOW LOOKS LIKE MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT WAS RIGHT IN FIRING POLICE CHIEF EDDIE JOHNSON

Multiple CPD officers under investigation for allegedly covering up Eddie Johnson’s indiscretions

By Fran Spielman, Frank Main, and Sam Charles

Chicago Sun Times
December 3, 2019

Multiple Chicago police employees are under investigation for allegedly engaging in a widespread cover-up to protect then-Supt. Eddie Johnson and conceal the circumstances surrounding an Oct. 17 drinking and driving incident that Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Johnson lied about, prompting her to fire him weeks before his retirement.

Johnson was found slumped over in his police SUV at around 12:30 a.m. that day, near the 3400 block of South Aberdeen — after dismissing his driver and trying to drive himself home.

The alleged cover-up took place “that night and the next day” and could end up being “even worse than” the incident itself, said a source familiar with Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s ongoing investigation.

That’s saying something, considering new details obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Not just ‘dinner with friends’

Rather than having “a couple of drinks” during a “dinner with friends,” as Johnson told the mayor, sources said the now-former superintendent spent three hours drinking at Ceres Cafe — a restaurant known for pouring large drinks to patrons from the nearby Chicago Board of Trade — with a woman whom he had promoted to his security detail shortly after becoming the city’s top cop.

Sources said Johnson and the woman, who has since been reassigned to another job in the police department, are seen on restaurant video kissing repeatedly.

The woman has been interviewed by the inspector general’s office. Sources said she acknowledged drinking with Johnson for hours before Johnson was found in his SUV. But she also said they only were friends.

The woman also told investigators that both she and Johnson have troubled marriages and that they frequently talk to each other. Records show she filed for divorce from her husband in 2018. She did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Johnson has not been questioned by the inspector general as part of the investigation. Sources said he put off at least two attempts to interview him.

Johnson has declined to comment to the Sun-Times. In a prepared statement to all news media, he said he did not “intentionally mislead or deceive the mayor or the people” of Chicago.

“I acknowledge that I made a poor decision and had a lapse of judgement on the night of Oct. 16. That was a mistake and I know that. However, I have no interest in fighting a battle for my reputation with those that want to question it now,” Johnson is quoted as saying. “Reputations are not built in a day and not damaged in a day, either. They are the result of years of living. We reap what we sow in this world. I will simply rely on the reputation for integrity that I think I have earned during my long career with the faith that we should all be judged by the entirety of our lives and not on what happened on our worst days.”

Johnson lawyer speaks out

Johnson’s attorney, Thomas Needham disputed that Johnson put off appointments to speak with the inspector general’s office.

“That’s not true,” he told the Sun-Times.

Needham said the inspector general’s office contacted him on the morning of Nov. 7, the day Johnson announced his retirement and asked for Johnson to give a statement that night at 6 p.m. “We declined because we did not think that was reasonable,” Needham said.

Needham said he and the inspector general’s office went back and forth on scheduling an interview.

“We were totally cooperative. I gave them Friday, Dec. 6, and Friday, Dec. 13. Those were open days. The response was ‘No, that’s too late for us because we will be done with our investigation.’ I said ‘I hope your investigation notes that we were not evading you,’” Needham said.

Needham also said he informed investigators that Johnson was at Ceres before the incident in his car.

Needham declined to talk to the Sun-Times about what happened at Ceres.

“I have not seen the video. I have no comment on that,” Needham said.

Multiple restaurants involved

Johnson’s visit was discussed at length Tuesday at Ceres Cafe, where one bar regular, Alex, who declined to give his last name, said he saw Johnson seated in a booth on the north wall on the night in question.

A security guard in the Board of Trade building, where Ceres is located, said security footage of Johnson arriving and leaving had been subpoenaed by Ferguson’s office.

Sources told the Sun-Times that, along with Ceres Cafe, Johnson also visited Volare, an Italian restaurant in Streeterville.

The owner of Volare, Benny Siddu, declined to comment on Johnson’s visit, citing advice of his attorney.

At some point later that evening, Johnson got behind the wheel of his police SUV and drove to police headquarters, where he dropped off the woman, sources said.

He then attempted to drive to his Bridgeport home but was apparently unable to continue.

Both police and Chicago Fire Department personnel responded to a 911 call of a parked vehicle near 34th Place and Aberdeen Street. The SUV had the engine running with Johnson fast asleep inside for quite a while before police and the fire department responded, sources said.

Bodycam and dashcam video of the police response show officers engaging in conversation with Johnson, but only briefly after the superintendent displays his badge, sources said.

Responding officers essentially asked the top cop, “Are you OK?” When Johnson replied, “I’m OK,” the officers can be heard telling him to have a good night.

Johnson was then allowed to drive home without a sobriety test that would normally be required for any other motorist found in a similar situation.

Johnson initially blamed a change in his blood pressure medication and his failure to fill the replacement prescription.

But the mayor accused him of concocting a false narrative to conceal the embarrassing circumstances surrounding the incident, then “lying” to her when she questioned his version of events.

While investigating the failure to administer the sobriety test and whether rules were bent to protect the boss, sources said Ferguson found evidence of a cover-up by others in the police department. Freedom of Information requests for bodycam video of the incident have been denied pending the outcome of Ferguson’s investigation.

Still on payroll, but not as superintendent

Although he has been fired as Chicago’s $260,044-a-year police superintendent, Johnson is not yet off the police payroll. He has returned to his career service rank of lieutenant.

The question now is whether he will be allowed to remain in that position or whether the mayor will demand his resignation — or move to fire him if he refuses to quit.

In announcing Johnson’s termination on Monday, Lightfoot said Ferguson’s investigation “as to others” involved in the incident remains ongoing. “While at some point, the inspector general’s report may become public and those details may be revealed, I don’t think it’s appropriate or fair to Mr. Johnson’s wife or children to do so at this time,” she said.

During a news conference at police headquarters Tuesday to announce gun and drug arrests, Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck was asked to comment on the allegations that Johnson was seen drinking for hours with a woman.

“None of us are perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. But we have to live with that. We have to live with our errors,” Beck said.

“Two things are important to me in policing. Well, actually three things. One is public trust. One is police accountability. And the third is police effectiveness.”

GUARDS DID NOTHING FOR SEVEN MINUTES TO STOP SUICIDE ATTEMPT

4 Rikers guards suspended for waiting several minutes to save teen who tried to hang himself

By Larry Celona and Ben Feuerherd

New York Post
December 3, 2019

Four Rikers Island guards were suspended for allegedly waiting several minutes to rescue an inmate who had tried to hang himself in a cell, authorities and law-enforcement sources said.

The guards — three correction officers and one captain — are accused of inaction during the near-fatal incident when an 18-year-old man attempted to hang himself at the George R. Vierno Center at about 12 a.m. on Nov. 28.

The captain had witnessed the incident on surveillance footage and went to the inmate to cut him down, sources said.

The detainee was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where he remained on Tuesday, a Department of Correction spokesperson said.

The city’s Department of Investigation opened an inquiry into the incident, the spokesperson added.

“The claims being made here are extremely troubling and we are taking them seriously,” DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann said in a statement. “Three officers and one captain have already been suspended and if the outcome of the investigation warrants we will take appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination,” Brann added.

The inmate, identified by the New York Times as Nicholas Feliciano, was placed on a respirator and was in critical condition on Tuesday.

Jail records show Feliciano was arrested on Nov. 19 for violating parole and was being held at the jail on Rikers Island.

Feliciano had been in an altercation at the jail earlier in the day of suicide attempt and had been moved from general population into a holding cell by himself, the Times said.

Video footage of the suicide attempt described to the Times shows him wrap one end of a piece of clothing around his neck and another to a pipe on the ceiling of the cell. He then stepped off a wall that separates the toilet from the rest of the cell and hangs from his neck.

At one point during the attempt, Feliciano appeared to have second thoughts and struggled to get his feet back on the wall. He hung from the pipe for about seven minutes before he was rescued.

The grisly incident comes as the City Council approved a plan in October to shut the embattled jail and replace it with four smaller jails in separate boroughs by 2026.

In an effort to keep offenders waiting for trial out of jail, New York State also passed a bail reform law that will go into effect in 2020 that will eliminate bail for an array of misdemeanor and felony charges.
__________

FAILURE TO ACT IN SUICIDE ATTEMPT MAY CAUSE BIG PROBLEM

by Bob Walsh

Recently an inmate who had been in a fight at Riker's Island was moved to some sort of restrictive housing under a suicide watch. At some point he did try to hang himself. Four staff members, including one supervisor, stood around and watched for seven minutes before intervening. At one point on of the "guards" unlocked the cell door, but then closed and relocked it without entering the cell.

The incident was recorded both on body cams and the jail surveillance system.

The inmate is currently in critical condition on a medically induced coma. The staff involved are under investigation.

I remember back in the day, when I did this sort of stuff, you did NOT enter a cell, even a one-man cell, without backup. Since they had four people present, including a supervisor, one would think they would leave one man on the door, send three men in and attempt some sort of assistance. I have no idea how this will shake out and obviously I do not have all the facts, but clearly at this stage it does not look good.

MARYLAND, HOME OF PRISON CORRUPTION

Indictments charge 25 corrections officers with using excessive force, intimidation to dominate Maryland jails

By Kevin Rector and Phil Davis

Baltimore Sun
December 3, 2019

More than two dozen Maryland corrections officers and staff were indicted on charges they used excessive force, intimidation, evidence tampering and other criminal measures to ensure their special tactical unit maintained “dominance of its operational territory” within state-run jails, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said Tuesday.

The indictment of 25 members of the Baltimore Central Regional Tactical Unit on 236 criminal counts — including first-degree assault, participation in a criminal gang and misconduct in office — pushes to more than 200 the number of corrections officers, inmates and civilian accomplices who have been criminally charged in prison corruption cases in the state in the past four years.

Those indicted Tuesday include the tactical unit’s supervisor and about half its membership. The group is tasked with responding to incidents and maintaining order in state facilities.

Mosby said the latest charges stemmed from an investigation state corrections officials launched last year, after “rumors and anecdotes” were relayed regarding abuses by the unit.

“While the investigation revealed a series of seemingly isolated incidents dating back to 2016, further examination divulged multiple examples of excessive force utilized against detainees at different facilities, which ultimately led to the discovery of a criminal enterprise functioning within the tactical unit," Mosby said.

Corrections officials then worked with prosecutors to build a case against the officers, many of whom were placed on administrative leave last year but only arrested Tuesday, officials said.

Those indicted included supervisors, officials said. Some of the officers charged face up to 150 years behind bars. Corrections officials said all would be suspended without pay pending trial.

At least 25 detainees have been identified as victims, with investigators gathering information from surveillance footage and interviews with corrections staff, officials said. The unit worked at the Metropolitan Transition Center, the Baltimore Pretrial Facility, the state Corrections Department’s Jail Industries Building and Baltimore City Booking and Intake Facility, officials said.

Among those charged was acting Capt. Kevin Hickson, 49, the tactical unit’s supervisor. The indictment accused Hickson of being the “organizer, supervisor, promoter and manager” of the criminal enterprise, and outlined 47 incidents in which they alleged he or other members of his team assaulted detainees.

Hickson and those under him used “illegal and excessive force through assaults of inmates, use of threats against inmates, and various retaliatory tactics to assure complete compliance with [the tactical team’s] authority, which bolsters [its] overall reputation within the territory and suppresses any dissension and discord among the overall prison population," prosecutors wrote.

Neither Hickson nor an attorney for him could immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Robert Green, secretary of the state corrections department, called the allegations “disturbing" and noted the investigation is ongoing. He also credited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for the priority his administration has placed on confronting corruption in the corrections department.

“This case represents our strong effort to root out people who don’t belong in the field of public safety and rehabilitation,” Green said. “This is a disturbing case, but it does not and should not cast a shadow on the commitment and integrity of the exceptional correctional professionals in this department.”

Hogan, in a statement, also touted the arrests as the result of the state’s “anti-corruption actions.”

“We are again making clear that we have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever for corruption of any kind in our state prison system or anywhere else in state government,” Hogan wrote.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents corrections officers in the state, said in a statement that it had only learned of the indictment Tuesday, and had “no independent knowledge about the facts alleged” in the case.

“The correctional officers charged today should receive the process and rights that they are due under Maryland law and the US Constitution. They are innocent until proven guilty,” the union said. “AFSCME does not condone any unlawful acts or any mistreatment of detainees, inmates, or any individual. ... Safety for officers and inmates is a top priority.”

The union said the “vast majority” of officers it represents “perform their duties admirably and tirelessly each day," and the “actions of any few officers should not be held against, or diminish the work, of those many who serve with honor.”

Mosby made the announcement in an administrative building on the massive Baltimore jail complex downtown. The jail became notorious in 2013 when federal prosecutors indicted 25 people, including corrections officers, in a smuggling scheme. Prosecutors said the Black Guerrilla Family had gained control behind bars and turned the jail into a gang stronghold.

Tuesday’s announcement represents the latest case by authorities trying to crack down on rampant corruption in Maryland’s 24 prisons and detention centers.

In April, federal authorities arrested 19 people — including three prison guards — and charged them with running a smuggling ring at the state’s medium-security prison in Jessup. They allegedly smuggled inside heroin, cellphones and pornography-loaded flash drives in exchange for sex and wire payments.

In January 2018, 18 people — including two guards — were charged with smuggling heroin, cocaine and cellphones into the nearby maximum-security prison at Jessup. A yearlong wiretap investigation led authorities to that smuggling ring. The guards were sentenced to serve three years in prison.

Two months before that case, officials arrested and imprisoned a sergeant who worked at the prison and who they say ran the Crips street gang inside the walls. He pleaded guilty to state charges of participating in a criminal gang.

And in October 2016, federal agents indicted 80 people in the largest prison corruption case in Maryland history. Corrections officers and inmates were charged with smuggling heroin, cocaine, cellphones and pornography into the Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County on the Eastern Shore. Seventy-seven people were convicted, officials said, including 16 correctional officers who were sentenced to as much as six years in prison.

Green on Tuesday denied that the long line of prison corruption cases in the state indicated a failure on the part of state officials to get a handle on the problem with better training and vetting of hopeful officers.

“I don’t see it as a failure. Evidence here today is that we investigated this case, we brought this forward,” Green said. “It is a committed effort to be excellent.”

FLORIDA TEACHER MADE HER SON’S FRIEND A HAPPY CAMPER

Escambia County teacher accused of having sex with teen 'several hundred times'

By Colin Warren-Hicks

Pensacola News Journal
December 3, 2019

An Escambia County School District special education teacher allegedly had a sexual relationship with one of her son’s teenage friends for more than a year.

Susan Weddle, 40, of Cantonment, was arrested Monday and charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, sexual assault and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony. She was booked into the Escambia County Jail on Monday.

On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Dannheisser set Weddle's bond at $150,000. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 26.

Weddle resigned Monday from her position as a learning resource specialist at the J.E. Hall Center, according to Escambia County School District Superintendent Malcolm Thomas

Thomas said Weddle had worked at the center as a learning resource specialist — essentially a teacher who helps train other teachers — for the past 11 months. Prior to that, Weddle was employed as a teacher at L.D. McArthur Elementary School. In both roles, Weddle had worked with special education students and special education teachers.

“We will not have any tolerance for a teacher that crosses that line,” Thomas told the News Journal on Tuesday. “Allegations of crossing the line sexually with a student, are some of the most serious allegations that a teacher can face.”

Report: She told him she knew it was wrong, but then eventually gave in

According to Weddle's arrest report, one of her son’s friends admitted to authorities in late November that he had been in a sexual relationship with the woman for more than a year.

The teenager told Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigators that he was 15 and Weddle was 39 at the outset of their sexual relationship. He estimated they had sex “several hundred times” at various locations including her house, his home, her vehicle and the beach, the report stated.

“Weddle was his first and only sexual partner, and he believed himself to be in love with her,” stated her arrest report.

The teen told authorities that the first time the two had sex was after he and Weddle's son attended a football game and a party together, and then went back to Weddle's house and started drinking, the report stated. The teen said after he was intoxicated, he tried to persuade Weddle to have sex with him. She told him she knew it was wrong, but then eventually gave in, according to the report.

Weddle allegedly gave the teenager an iPhone as a gift

A high school guidance counselor notified authorities last month about the possible relationship between the teen and Weddle. A witness told the counselor about discovering explicit text messages between the two, and the counselor reported the incident to the Department of Children and Families.

A witness also told the ECSO about seeing Weddle and the teenager kissing April 3, when the witness had been hired to pressure wash Weddle’s home. That same witness told investigators the teenager had previously shown him naked photos of Weddle on his phone, as well as a video of what he believed to be the two having sex, the report stated.

During the more than year-long relationship, Weddle allegedly gave the teenager an iPhone, necklace and a bracelet as gifts.

The teen said the two discussed future plans of having a life together occasionally but they would routinely break up over jealousy issues, according to the arrest report.

The teen also said he and Weddle routinely exchanged nude photos but claimed all of the devices used for their communications had been destroyed or factory reset.