Wednesday, February 21, 2018

TOP COPS WANT BAN ON CIVILIAN OWNERSHIP OF MILITARY-STYLE ASSAULT WEAPONS LIKE THE AR-15

Police Chiefs Push for Gun Control, Including Ban on Assault Rifles

By Charles Rabin and Jay Weaver

The Miami Herald
February 20, 2018

MIAMI -- For Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, the anguish of Florida's worst school shooting remains raw. Families are still burying some of the 17 students and faculty members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, victims of a deeply troubled ex-student with an assault rifle.

For Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates, the scars are six years old but still deep. He headed the police department in Aurora, Colorado, when a mentally ill killer armed with a similar high-power rifle killed a dozen and injured 70 others in a movie theater.

These two South Florida police chiefs share the up-close and personal horrors of overseeing mass shooting investigations that have reinforced their beliefs about gun control:

First, they want military-style weapons like AR-15 rifles, the weapon used in both events, out of the hands of civilians. Second, they argue that lenient state and national gun laws and mental health privacy laws are hampering the mission of police to keep the public safe from gun violence, prohibiting officers from confiscating weapons -- often even from people who have produced a trail of warnings like Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz.

"Based on the law, if someone [who has weapons] says I want to grow up and be a serial killer, there's nothing you can do about it," Israel told the Miami Herald on Monday. "We can't arrest for something a person is thinking about."

They're not alone among top state law enforcement officers calling for lawmakers to tighten gun control and reverse decades of bidding by the powerful National Rifle Association. The Florida Police Chiefs Association called for an emergency meeting Monday night that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to attend. Exactly what suggestions might emerge, is not yet clear.

Kevin Lystad, the Miami Shores police chief who is president of the FPCA, said the plan is to offer gun legislation to state lawmakers in the coming weeks. Lystad said he's focused on assault weapons and background checks.

"Congress messed up when they didn't renew the assault weapons ban [in 2004]. I think that was problematic," Lystad said. "We need to deal with assault weapons, background checks. It's about finding common ground."

One immediate change that Oates and Israel want to see: Ban the legal sale of the AR-15s used in both massacres.

"In only one condition should you have an assault rifle, if you've joined the Marines and you're going to fight," Israel said.

The chiefs have joined a growing chorus of gun control advocates statewide that is suddenly being led by the young survivors of Stoneman Douglas shootings. A number of the students are busing up to Tallahassee and expect to meet with state legislators on Wednesday.

One thing clearly on the agenda will be how to restrict weapons access to people like Cruz and Colorado shooter James Eagan Holmes, who issued threats while also undergoing mental health care. It's an issue where protecting mental health privacy will likely clash with increasining public safety.

Aurora killer Holmes, for instance, "was in psychiatric treatment for months before the shooting,'' said Oates. "There were indicators in his digital profile for months before the shooting. Like all the rest of the cases, it was out there."

According to Oates, a psychiatrist who had been treating Holmes told a university police department that her patient had been fantasizing about killing lots of people. The police chose not to Baker Act Holmes and did not pass along the information.

Law enforcement sources say Cruz had purchased at least five guns other than the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle he used to mow down the students. A call to an FBI hotline in January that warned Cruz was planning a school shooting, was never forwarded to the Miami field office. And the Broward Sheriff's Office received dozens of calls about Cruz's erratic behavior.

It's far from the first time that issues of gun control and mental health have become national talking points.

Despite similar massacres in Aurora, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and at a concert on the Las Vegas strip only last year, Congress has largely rejected calls for gun control -- even those from first responders they so often praise after massacres.

Many police chiefs, particularly in big cities, have long pressed for tougher gun laws to protect the public and their own officers to largely no avail.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said he has first-hand knowledge of the difficulty of monitoring an unstable person who poses a serious potential threat.

He said he has been contacted repeatedly by someone he says exhibits signs of mental illness. Police went to his home, Perez said, and found a cache of weapons, including a hunting rifle. There's little police can do, Perez said, because the person has not committed a crime.

"This guy has hunting rifles," said the director. "There has to be reform on both sides -- on mental illness and on firearms."

Carlos Baixauli, a retired agent who worked at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami, said reform of any kind is a "major problem because of the conflicts between privacy laws and gun rights."

Baixauli, who spent his 30-year career in South Florida, said at the very least there should be universal background checks on all gun sales, including private sales, which are unregulated. He also praised several states that have passed firearms-restraining laws that -- patterned after the Baker Act -- would allow a family member or friend who knows that a person is exhibiting "red flags" to go and apply for such an order.

Baixauli said that politicians in Washington, under the sway of the NRA, also have blocked efforts for a national gun registry. Under current federal regulations, a gun store owner keeps the record of a criminal and mental background check on a buyer.

An ATF agent or investigator only sees the form if a trace of a specific weapon is requested or during a gun shop inspection. The agency doesn't keep any copies of the background check. In fact, whether the gun buyer clears the background check or not, the federal Brady law requires the history of that search be purged as a record.

"I don't see why they [law enforcement] shouldn't be allowed to keep the background checks on persons prohibited from buying guns," Baixauli said.

The difficulties of reform have been well chronicled. The NRA, one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, has successfully fought to restrict waiting periods for gun purchases and to avoid limits on the number of bullets in magazines used with assault rifles. It has successfully opposed a national gun registry and universal background checks.

While the NRA is the most powerful lobbying voice against gun-control, strong regional and cultural resistance also has defeated past efforts to tighten national gun laws. In more rural regions, residents have made it clear that backing gun control would be political suicide for lawmakers.

Colorado state senators John Morse and Angela Giron, for instance, were recalled from office after the Aurora shooting when they voted for new laws that would have imposed universal background checks on gun purchases and limited magazines to 15 rounds.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County have enacted more restrictive weapons purchase laws than the rest of the state. To buy a weapon in South Florida's largest counties -- as Cruz did in Broward last February -- there is a five-day waiting period for a background check. In the rest of the state there is a three-day wait for a handgun and no wait for a rifle.

To purchase an AR-15 like Cruz did at Sunrise Tactical Supply in Coral Springs, all he needed to do was fill out a firearms transactions record form issued by the Department of Justice. Cruz gave his name, address, date of birth, sex and height and included a copy of his driver's license. Cruz checked off "no" in the section that asked if he'd been adjudicated or institutionalized for mental illness.

Oates, the Miami Beach police chief, called it a "given" that at the very least a person should not be able to buy an assault weapon until 21. Federal law allows such a purchase at 18. The Miami Beach chief said he'd like to see lawmakers pass a bill that would put the burden of proof on the suspect after he or she is Baker Acted.

Israel struck a similar tone, saying police would be more likely to employ the Baker Act if they knew it would keep guns out of the hands of unstable people for more than 72 hours. He believes they should not be able to retrieve their weapons until a doctor clears them as mentally healthy.

State social workers were called to Cruz's home in 2016 when he became despondent after breaking up with a girlfriend and made a Snapchat video of himself cutting his arms. They chose not to hospitalize him. It was one of a number of episodes of erratic behavior.

"When we release someone from a mental health facility, they're not healed," Israel said. "You have to be an immediate threat [to others or yourself] or by law your weapon has to be returned. Absolutely, we're handcuffed and our hands are tied."

EDITOR’S NOTE: The AR-15 is the most popular rifle among gun owners. If a total ban on AR-15-type rifles were to be passed which would not only ban their sales, but would also require all such rifles already owned by private citizens to be turned in, several million Americans would instantly become criminals. They are simply not going to turn their beloved Ar-15s in.

Paraphrasing Charlton Heston: “I'll give you my AR-15 when you take it from my cold, dead hands”

ANOTHER ONE OF MOONBEAM'S FEEL GOOD LAWS ABOUT TO BITE CALIFORNIA ON THE ASS

by Bob Walsh

In 2016 Jerry Brown, aka Governor Moonbeam, managed to sucker the gullible voters in the People's Republic of California into buying into Proposition 57. This was an alleged criminal justice "reform" measure. It was actually a hug-a-thug proposal that was overly broad in construction. It allows "non-violent" offenders to be eligible for early parole consideration. It was originally aimed at the juvenile justice system but was tweaked between point A and point B to broaden and blur what was and what was not a violent felony.

The upshot is that most sexual offenses, including violent child abuse and rape of unconscious persons are considered under the law to be non-violent. This means that now as many as 20,000 sexual offenders who are currently guests of the state will be eligible for consideration for early parole.

Proposition 57 is controlled by section 667.5 of the penal code when defining what a violent felony is. It does NOT exempt registered sex offenders in the text of the initiation. The DOC can not administratively insert this requirement into their interpretation of the law. It just plain isn't there. That does not mean all those applying for early release will be granted early release. But it doesn't mean they won't either..
__________

CALIFORNIA’S VIOLENT PRISON INMATES BECOME NON-VIOLENT BY THE STROKE OF A PEN
Inmates with Violent Pasts Paroled Under Prop. 57


By Eric Leonard

NBC4
February 16, 2018

A number of California prison inmates who committed violent crimes, including stabbings and shootings, have been granted parole under Proposition 57's Nonviolent Parole Program, according to records obtained by NBC 4.

Prop. 57, approved by voters in 2016, promised to reduce the state's overcrowded prisons by expanding parole eligibility for nonviolent criminals, and by encouraging inmates to take part in rehabilitation, therapy, and vocational programs.

The cases include those of Alfredo "Freddy" Casillas, who took part in the murder of a rival gang member in Burbank, and Luis Steven Flores, who went to prison for assault with a deadly weapon with a semi-automatic firearm, and served time for battery on a peace officer, as well as battery on another inmate.

They, along with other prisoners with violent histories, became eligible for parole because their most recent convictions for subsequent, unrelated crimes were categorized as nonviolent and the inmates satisfied other conditions.

Prosecutor Michele Hanisee, president of the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, said the public was duped by the language of the proposition.

"It's very clear they intended to release violent offenders by re-describing them, despite their crimes, as nonviolent offenders," she said. The association and numerous other law enforcement groups campaigned against Prop. 57.

"This is a cynical attempt to scare and mislead the public by an interest group more focused on flouting the will of the voters — who passed Proposition 57 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin in 2016 — than improving our criminal justice system," said Vicky Waters, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilition.

"Moreover, the majority of inmates referred to the board for the nonviolent parole process under Proposition 57 -- about 80 percent -- are denied parole under this process."

Casillas satisfied the 16-years-to-life sentence for the 1985 murder in Burbank before he was eligible for parole. He was serving a subsequent sentence for a nonviolent offense when the Board of Parole Hearings considered his case and recommended his release.

"The victim was shot three times," said Burbank Airport Police Chief Ed Skvarna, who at the time of the killing was a patrol officer in Burbank and helped to investigate the case.

Skvarna said the 1985 attack involved six men who surrounded the victim on a side street near Victory Boulevard and Verdugo Avenue.

"They began to beat him, and beat him severely, basically to death," Skvarna said.

While Casillas was in prison he stabbed another inmate and was later caught with a cell-made weapon, according to state records.

The Casillas parole decision acknowledged the history of violence.

"However, the passage of time coupled with the lack of violent behavior over the last 22 years diminishes the prejudicial impact of the prior convictions. Thus, the inmate’s prior criminal history is a mitigating factor for the reasons discussed above," an official wrote.

In the Flores decision, the Board of Parole Hearings referred to the inmate’s "extensive history of violence."

"However, the fact that his last act of violence occurred well over 10 years ago substantially reduces his current risk of violence, and his positive institutional programming efforts since his incarceration on the current offenses reduces even further his risk to the community," an official wrote.

Corrections officials said the department was in the process of finalizing the parole regulations.

Separately, a tentative ruling last week in a Northern California lawsuit could affect whether some sex offenders will be eligible for or excluded from Prop. 57 parole consideration.

According to the Associated Press, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner rejected an argument from the California Attorney General’s office that the ballot measure gave state officials discretion to exclude any class of offenders whose release might harm public safety.

"If the voters had intended to exclude all registered sex offenders from early parole consideration under Proposition 57, they presumably would have said so,” the judge said.

Full statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:

"This is a cynical attempt to scare and mislead the public by an interest group more focused on flouting the will of the voters — who passed Proposition 57 by a nearly 2-1 margin in 2016 — than improving our criminal justice system. Public safety remains CDCR’s top priority, which is why there is a rigorous screening process in place that requires individuals referred under Proposition 57 to demonstrate that they are rehabilitated and don’t pose an unreasonable risk of violence to their community. Parole decisions are made by a board of public safety and law enforcement professionals – all of whom have decades of experience — weighing a variety of factors, including written statements from victims, prosecuting entities, and the inmate, as well as the inmate’s behavior while serving their time. Moreover, the majority of inmates referred to the board for the nonviolent parole process under Proposition 57, about 80%, are denied parole under this process."

WHERE IS BLACK LIVES MATTER? OH I FORGOT, BLM IS ONLY CONCERNED ABOUT WHITE COPS KILLING BLACK MEN, NOT BLACK MEN KILLING BLACK MEN

Baltimore Named Nation's Most Dangerous City, Ahead of New Orleans and Detroit

By Justin Fenton

The Baltimore Sun
February 20, 2018

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore's highest-ever per capita homicide rate in 2017 also made it the deadliest big city in the country, USA Today reported Monday.

Though official data from the FBI won't be available until later in the year, USA Today reviewed the homicide rates in the nation's 50 largest cities and Baltimore came out on top. The 342 homicides the city experienced in 2017 were a 17 percent increase over the prior year, and translated to a rate of 56 killed per 100,000 people.

That easily outpaced New Orleans and Detroit, which both had about 40 killings per 100,000 people, according to the report.

Baltimore had more homicides last year than New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, all considerably larger cities. Only Chicago, also a considerably larger city, had more.

USA Today used the nation's top 50 cities, which omits St. Louis, a city of about 315,000 people that had 205 killings in 2017. St. Louis' homicide rate of 65 would easily top Baltimore's rate.

The review showed killings across the country decreased by at least 1 percent in large jurisdictions compared with 2016.

So far in 2018, Baltimore is seeing a decline in homicides. Through Sunday, 31 people had been killed, compared with 47 killed at the same time last year -- a decline of about 34 percent. Other types of crime are also down across the board.

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh fired Police Commissioner Kevin Davis in late January, replacing him with department veteran Darryl De Sousa. State and federal authorities have been stepping up arrests using open warrants, and residents organized a recent Ceasefire weekend.

SHOULDN'T THEY CUT OFF THIS GUYS HEAD TO SEE IF HE HAS RABIES?

Tarzana suspect bites LAPD officers multiple times

City News Service
February 20, 2018

TARZANA — Two Los Angeles Police Department officers were bitten several times Monday night by a 30-year-old man who had triggered a cash register alarm at an AT&T store in Tarzana, police said.

Officers from the West Valley Division responded to an alarm at the AT&T store at 18640 Ventura Blvd., between Reseda Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue, around 7:15 p.m., said LAPD Officer Tony Im.

It’s unclear what the man was doing in the store, or if he was trying to rob it, Im said.

While interviewing the man, the officers got into a physical altercation with the suspect, Im said. Both officers suffered multiple bites from the man during the struggle. The officers then used a Taser to subdue him.

Both officers went to Providence Tarzana Medical Center for treatment of their bite wounds, according to Im. The suspect was also hospitalized for treatment of injuries he suffered in the struggle.

The charges the suspect would be booked on were not immediately known, Im said.

“However, at the very least I would expect he would face assault with a deadly weapon — his mouth — on the officers,” Im said.

WHY SHOULD ISRAEL PAY TERRORISTS WHO HAVE MURDERED ISRALIS?

Palestinian Leaders Angry That Israel Won't Pay Terrorist Salaries

Israel Today
February 19, 2018

The government of "moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday condemned Israel for deciding to no longer help it pay the salaries of jailed Palestinian terrorists.

Under the terms of various signed peace agreements, Israel is obligated to collect tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and transfer those funds accordingly.

At the same time, the Palestinian Authority is obligated to cease all incitement to violence against Israel. And Israel considers providing handsome salaries to those who attack and kill Jews to be incitement, or, at the very least, incentive.

As such, Israel's Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved a bill promoted by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to deduct any amount the Palestinian Authority pays to terrorists from future tax revenue transfers.

The Palestinians called the move an act of "piracy, a theft of money, and yet another crime added to the Israeli occupations' ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people."

WARNING: DO NOT GET A COLONOSCOPY IN SAN FRANCISCO

Being nervous, and embarrassed about my up-coming colonoscopy, on a recommendation, I decided to have it done while visiting friends in San Francisco, where the beautiful nurses are allegedly more gentle.

As I lay naked on my side on the table, the gorgeous nurse began my procedure...

"Don't worry, at this stage of the procedure it's quite normal to get an erection," the nurse told me..

"I don't have an erection," I replied.

"I do." replied the nurse.

Never get a colonoscopy in San Francisco.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

TO THE FATTEST POLICE DEPARTMENT IN THE COUNTRY: NO MORE DUNKIN DONUTS AND CUT WAY DOWN ON THE BEER

Fat cops are weighing down the NYPD

By Shawn Cohen, Aaron Feis and Bruce Golding

New York Post
February 18, 2018

The NYPD is being dragged down by overweight cops — and the brass isn’t doing anything about the ballooning problem, police sources told The Post.

“We really are the world’s largest police department,” said one veteran cop who’s worked in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“We’re the fattest police department in the country … because we have no requirement to stay in shape.”

Some cops are terrified that their out-of-shape colleagues won’t be able to provide backup in physically demanding situations — even if they don’t keel over from the exertion.

“If you have a 300-pound partner who can’t even run up a flight of stairs. … it’s dangerous for everybody,” one cop said.

Ex-NYPD cop Jose Vega provided a vivid example of the problem last week when he filed suit for a job-related disability pension — because his weight soared from 180 to 395 pounds during 17 years on the force.

Multiple NYPD sources blamed the situation on the lack of any fitness mandate once cops graduate from the Police Academy.

“You see some of these officers out there: They’re fat, they’re sloppy, they’re disgusting and they’re not healthy,” one cop said.

The FDNY, by contrast, requires that firefighters and emergency medical technicians undergo comprehensive, annual physicals that include weigh-ins, cardiac exams, blood tests, X-rays and hearing and vision checks.

Those who fail to meet official standards are sidelined until they do, the FDNY said.

In 2015, then-Commissioner Bill Bratton was considering the implementation of a British program that requires bobbies to pass fitness tests, but NYPD officials said nothing came of the idea because it would have to be written into union contracts.

“We don’t have the London model — we have the London broil model,” one NYPD source joked.

Some police departments across the country use incentives to keep their cops in shape, with Chicago awarding a $350 bonus for passing a fitness test and Columbus, Ohio, giving out cash, vacation days and ribbons.

In 2015, surveillance video caught two tubby NYPD detectives unable to chase down a shooting suspect who escaped from custody and outran them in Harlem — with both hands cuffed behind his back.

Some cops are so overweight, they struggle to buckle up inside patrol cars and “need to literally move the seat back so they could fit,” another source said.

One cop told The Post about having to use the stairs with the elevator out while responding to an incident in a Brooklyn housing project. His partner was a woman about 5 feet tall and more than 250 pounds.

“Around the fourth flight, I turned around because I couldn’t hear her anymore,” the cop recalled. “I had to go down to the third flight and find her. She was folded over, hanging on to the wall.

“God forbid there was an emergency, I’m pretty much on my own,” he said.

Another cop recalled how an elite NYPD counter-terror unit set up an obstacle course for applicants, but quickly dropped the test because so few could complete it.

“There was a wall you have to climb, and there were guys who had to walk around the wall because they’re so out of shape,” the cop said.

“It was a 4-foot wall, not the Hoover Dam.”

Only one NYPD union leader, Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins, said he favored enforcing weight and strength requirements.

“More needs to be done to address the physical and mental demands on police officers,” Mullins said.

“Fitness requirements would be a first step toward improving officers’ health and conditioning throughout both their careers and lifetimes. Simply put, it’s vital to officer safety.”

NATIONAL GUARD FOR PRISON DUTY??

by Bob Walsh

Two members of the legislature of North Caroline have proposed that the governor send National Guard troops to staff the state's prisons, which are woefully and perhaps critically understaffed. There were five staff murdered in N. C. prisons last year. Much of this violence is being blamed on chronic short-staffing.

In April last year Sgt. Meggan Callahan was murdered in the Bertie Correctional Institution. They were running 20% staff vacancies at the time.

Four staff were murdered at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution during an abortive escape attempt. At the time of the murders the facility was 28% short-staffed.

West Virginia had similar short staffing problems and Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency. He sent in 80 members of the National Guard to provide perimeter security at jails and prisons, freeing up correctional staff for inside duties.

Ruben Young is the head of the N. C. prison system. He has acknowledged the serious staffing issues, but has said he is unsure the National Guard is the answer, citing concern over their lack of training and background in this particular field. Some N. C. prisons are currently 30 % understaffed.

EDITOR'S NOTE: National Guard troops doing the perimeter security duties and even manning the prison guard towers sounds like an idea whose time has come.

A MEAL TO DIE FOR

by Bob Walsh

It went down in beautiful downtown Atlanta, GA. An Uber Eats driver had just delivered a meal to a customer just before midnight. For reasons not yet fully determined the driver then whipped out a pistol and shot the customer five times. The 30-year old, Ryan Thornton, died. The driver then split.

The Uber people at least pretended to be properly aghast. They claim their drivers are not supposed to carry guns, though nobody knows if Uber ever checks to see if their drivers are in fact packing.

The driver is not yet in custody though of course his identity is known. At least his identity according to Uber. Their background checks aren't exactly 100% on.

I wonder if maybe the Chablis wasn't cold enough and the customer complained. I am sure further will come out along the line..

PEOPLE NEED TO PUT THEIR BRAINS IN GEAR

by Bob Walsh

The drivers of two press vans in the President's entourage in Florid were jacked by the Secret Service for carrying weapons. They were in legal possession of the guns but there is sort of a mobile exclusion zone around the President where you can not carry. These guys should have been aware of that and acted accordingly. As far as I know nobody got arrested, but you need to think people.

I remember years and years ago a yahoo wanted to watch the President's motorcade come by his apartment building and he wanted a good look so he went out onto the apartment roof, with his scoped rifle. He didn't get shot, he didn't even get arrested, but it could have gotten real interesting. After it was all over the guy was very contrite, recognizing that it wasn't one of the smartest things he had ever done.

SUSPECT SLIPS CUFFS, ESCAPES FROM COP CAR AND STEALS DIFFERENT COP CAR

Heroin trafficking suspect escapes squad car, leads deputies on chase in Adams County, Wisconsin

WMTV
February 13, 2018

ADAMS COUNTY, Wis. -- A 27-year-old man arrested during a traffic stop escaped through a squad car window and led deputies on a chase in a stolen squad car Monday night.

Around 10 p.m., members of the Adams and Marquette County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop for a vehicle driven by Levi Hedding, age 27 of Coloma, in the 2800 of STH 13. Hedding had active warrants for his arrest and was a suspect in a heroin trafficking case.

According to the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, while deputies were processing evidence, Hedding slipped out of his handcuffs and escaped through the rear window of an Adams County squad car. He then got into a Marquette County squad car and fled the scene. Hedding led deputies on an 18 mile chase until the squad car he stole entered a ditch and hit a tree on County Highway EE near 2nd Avenue.

Authorities say Hedding attempted to run away on foot, but was caught by a Marquette County K9 and deputies from both agencies. Hedding was taken to a local hospital for injuries received from the K9 arrest.

Hedding is currently in custody and faces charges of Possession of Heroin with Intent to Deliver, Escape, Operate Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent, Operating with a Restricted Controlled Substance, Reckless Driving, Obstructing/Resisting an Officer, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Operate Without a Valid Driver’s License, Felony Fleeing and Felony Bail Jumping.

A LITTLE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION BETWEEN TWO BOYS IN BLUE OVER WHO WAS IN LINE FIRST

Massachusetts Trooper Allegedly Attacks Police Officer

By Owen Boss

Boston Herald
February 16, 2018

PLYMOUTH, Massachusetts -- A 62-year-old state police sergeant was relieved of duty after allegedly attacking an off-duty police officer at a Plymouth CVS, an official said.

Sgt. Brian Duffy of Kingston was arraigned yesterday in Plymouth County District Court on charges of assault and battery on a person over 60 and disturbing the peace. Duffy, who is assigned to Troop F, was relieved of duty immediately following his arrest Tuesday, state police spokesman David Procopio said.

Plymouth cops responding to a reported fight at the Pilgrim Hill Road CVS were met by a 64-year-old off-duty Carver police officer, who said Duffy pushed him over during a heated dispute over his place in the checkout line, according to court documents. Witnesses backed up the man’s account, according to police.

Duffy was ordered released on his own recognizance. Procopio said there will be a duty status hearing “in the near future” to determine his status with the department.

14,000 POUNDS OF COKE WITH A WHOLESALE VALUE OF $190 MILLION HAULED IN BY SEVEN USCG BUSTS

U.S. Coast Guard Brings in 7 Tons of Cocaine

By Joe Cavaretta

Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel
February 15, 2018

PORT EVERGLADES, Florida -- Traffickers continue to use the eastern Pacific Ocean as a transit route for drugs and the U.S. Coast Guard — and other international agencies — continue to pursue and catch them.

The estimated 14,000 pounds of cocaine that arrived at Port Everglades Tuesday morning aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is the result of seven recent busts of suspected drug smuggling boats, officials said.

The offloaded drugs have a wholesale value of about $190 million and were seized by five different Coast Guard crews in international waters off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America, according to the agency.

The Hamilton, Northland, Diligence, Venturous and Harriet Lane were the cutters involved in the interdictions.

The effort to interrupt drug trafficking in the eastern Pacific involves numerous U.S. agencies teaming up with international partners to locate, track and ultimately board vessels suspected of carrying drugs.

“It truly is a team effort stopping these drugs from entering the United States,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, the Hamilton’s commanding officer.

In recent years, the Coast Guard has made it a regular practice to showcase the offloading of seized drugs at various ports in Florida and elsewhere in order to emphasize the ongoing effort to deter narco-traffickers.

The agency’s efforts have been noticed by some people with a stake in public health.

“We value the courageous and heroic work to stop these drugs from entering our country. We honor the work of interdiction and law enforcement alongside prevention and recovery to keep our communities safe,” said Gonzalo Cadima, director of the United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention.

More than two dozen people connected to the alleged drug smuggling have been detained, officials said. Eighteen were brought to the U.S. while the others were taken to another country.

The seized drugs will be tested by federal authorities and then given to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to be processed for evidence before being disposed.

THE NUMBER OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IS FLAT WRONG

No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018

By John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich

The Washington Post
February 15, 2018

The stunning number swept across the Internet within minutes of the news Wednesday that, yet again, another young man with another semiautomatic rifle had rampaged through a school, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in South Florida.

The figure originated with Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group, co-founded by Michael Bloomberg, that works to prevent gun violence and is most famous for its running tally of school shootings.

“This,” the organization tweeted at 4:22 p.m. Wednesday, “is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018.”

A tweet by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) including the claim had been liked more than 45,000 times by Thursday evening, and one from political analyst Jeff Greenfield had cracked 126,000. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted it, too, as did performers Cher and Alexander William and actors Misha Collins and Albert Brooks. News organizations — including MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Time, MSN, the BBC, the New York Daily News and HuffPost — also used the number in their coverage. By Wednesday night, the top suggested search after typing “18” into Google was “18 school shootings in 2018.”

It is a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.

Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings. Take, for example, what it counted as the year’s first: On the afternoon of Jan. 3, a 31-year-old man who had parked outside a Michigan elementary school called police to say he was armed and suicidal. Several hours later, he killed himself. The school, however, had been closed for seven months. There were no teachers. There were no students.

Also listed on the organization’s site is an incident from Jan. 20, when at 1 a.m. a man was shot at a sorority event on the campus of Wake Forest University. A week later, as a basketball game was being played at a Michigan high school, someone fired several rounds from a gun in the parking lot. No one was injured, and it was past 8 p.m., well after classes had ended for the day, but Everytown still labeled it a school shooting.

Everytown explains on its website that it defines a school shooting as “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.”

Sarah Tofte, Everytown’s research director, calls the definition “crystal clear,” noting that “every time a gun is discharged on school grounds it shatters the sense of safety” for students, parents and the community.

She said she and her colleagues work to reiterate those parameters in their public messaging. But the organization’s tweets and Facebook posts seldom include that nuance. Just once in 2018, on Feb. 2, has the organization clearly explained its definition on Twitter. And Everytown rarely pushes its jarring totals on social media immediately after the more questionable shootings, as it does with those that are high-profile and undeniable, such as the Florida massacre or one from last month in Kentucky that left two students dead and at least 18 people injured.

After The Washington Post published this report, Everytown removed the Jan. 3 suicide outside the closed Michigan school.

The figures matter because gun-control activists use them as evidence in their fight for bans on assault weapons, stricter background checks and other legislation. Gun rights groups seize on the faults in the data to undermine those arguments and, similarly, present skewed figures of their own.

Gun violence is a crisis in the United States, especially for children, and a huge number — one that needs no exaggeration — have been affected by school shootings. An ongoing Washington Post analysis has found that more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. That figure, which comes from a review of online archives, state and federal enrollment figures and news stories, is a conservative calculation and does not include dozens of suicides, accidents and after-school assaults that have also exposed youths to gunfire.

Just five of Everytown’s 18 school shootings listed for 2018 happened during school hours and resulted in any physical injury. Three others appeared to be intentional shootings but did not hurt anyone. Two more involved guns — one carried by a school police officer and the other by a licensed peace officer who ran a college club — that were unintentionally fired and, again, led to no injuries. At least seven of Everytown’s 18 shootings took place outside normal school hours.

Shootings of any kind, of course, can be traumatic, regardless of whether they cause physical harm.

A month ago, for example, a group of college students were at a meeting of a criminal-justice club in Texas when a student accidentally fired a real gun, rather than a training weapon. The bullet went through a wall, then a window. Though no one was hurt, it left the student distraught.

Is that a school shooting, though? Yes, Everytown says.

“Since 2013,” the organization says on its website, “there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America — an average of about one a week.”

But since Everytown began its tracking, it has included these dubious examples — in August 2013, a man shot on a Tennessee high school’s property at 2 a.m.; in December 2014, a man shot in his car late one night and discovered the next day in a Pennsylvania elementary school’s parking lot; in August 2015, a man who climbed atop the roof of an empty Texas school on a Sunday morning and fired sporadically; in January 2016, a man in an Indiana high school parking lot whose gun accidentally went off in his glove box, before any students had arrived on campus; in December 2017, two teens in Washington state who shot up a high school just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, when the building was otherwise empty.

In 2015, The Post’s Fact Checker awarded the group’s figures — invoked by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — four Pinocchios for misleading methodology.

Another database, the Gun Violence Archive, defines school shootings in much narrower terms, considering only those that take place during school hours or extracurricular activities.

Yet many journalists rely on Everytown’s data. Post media critic Erik Wemple included the 18 figure in a column Wednesday night, and Michael Barbaro, host of the New York Times’ podcast “The Daily,” used the number to punctuate the end of his Thursday show.

Much like trying to define a mass shooting, deciding what is and is not a school shooting can be difficult. Some obviously fit the common-sense definition: Last month, a teen in Texas opened fire in a school cafeteria, injuring a 15-year-old girl.

Others that Everytown includes on its list, though, are trickier to categorize.

About 6 p.m. Jan. 10, a bullet probably fired from off campus hit the window of a building at a college in Southern California. No one was hurt, but students could still have been frightened. Classes were canceled, rooms were locked down and police searched campus for the gunman, who was never found.

On Feb. 5, a police officer was sitting on a bench in a Minnesota school gym when a third-grader accidentally pulled the trigger of his holstered pistol, firing a round into the floor. None of the four students in the gym were injured, but, again, the incident was probably scary.

What is not in dispute is gun violence’s pervasiveness and its devastating impact on children. A recent study of World Health Organization data published in the American Journal of Medicine that found that, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 who were killed by bullets lived in the United States.

And the trends are only growing more dire.

On average, two dozen children are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any previous year this millennium.

Monday, February 19, 2018

ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN CALLS TRUMP A PSYCHOPATH

Reaction to Trump’s tweet on Florida school shooting is fast and furious

On Saturday night Trump tweeted:

“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

Trump issued his tweet around 11 p.m. Not five minutes later, Arizona congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, issued this tewet:

“You [Trump] are such a psychopath that you have to make even the death of 17 children about you. America will regret the day you were ever Born.

I’ve got to hand it to Trump … no one can stop him from letting his big mouth overload his ass.

FART FIGHT FOILS FLIGHT

by Bob Walsh

A Transavia flight from Dubai to Amsterdam made an emergency landing due to a fight on board over excessive farting.

A total of four people were removed from the aircraft when it landed in Vienna. Two of the passengers, sisters, allege that they had zero involvement in the altercation and are threatening legal action. None of the four were actually arrested, but all have been banned from future flights on Transavia.

The original incident involved two Dutchmen and another man. The Dutchmen complained of the third man's incessant farting and further complained that the flight crew made no effort to moderate the situation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: One could say the sisters suffered collateral fart damage.

CA EXPANDS RAT-OUT-A-GUN-OWNER PROGRAM

by Bob Walsh

In the formerly great state of California the current law allows law enforcement or a family member to petition the court when they believe someone presents an "immediate danger to themselves or others." If the judge agrees, the person named must surrender any guns they own and can not buy any more for 21 days, as a review is under way.

The new bill would add employers, co-workers, high school and college staff, mental health workers, ex-girlfriends and the crazy neighborhood cat lady to the list. (I just made up those last two. Probably.)

Assemblyman Phil Ting, democrap from San Francisco, is sponsoring the bill, asserting that the bill could have helped teachers and administrators at the high school in Parkland, Florida. I guess he is too much of a dumb fuck to know that California law does not impact Florida.

During calendar year 2016, the first year of the current law, courts issued 86 gun violence restraining orders, mostly in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. It is unknown (or at least they aren't talking about) how many of them were later vacated or overturned.

SCREAMING FOR GUN CONTROL

The Florida school massacre could affect the outcome of the 2018 congressional elections

By Howie Katz

Big Jolly Times
February 18, 2018

As can be expected, the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 14 students and three faculty members shot dead, has led to screams for gun control. High school students and parents at rallies all over the country are demanding that AR-15-type rifles be banned and that background checks be conducted for all firearms sales at gun shows.

Voters are being urged to throw out any member of Congress who received a donation from the NRA, and to vote for the candidates that are opposing pro-Second Amendment candidates.

Kathaleen Wall, a Republican candidate for Congress from Houston, has sparked outrage nationwide for running a TV ad just 24 hours after the Florida school shooting that shows her holding and then firing a rifle as a voiceover is heard saying, “Ready, aim, breathe in, breathe out, gently squeeze trigger and fire.” Stupid is as stupid does!

Pro-gunners will say that this will all blow over by the time the November elections are held. After all, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting affected only elections in Connecticut and not any elections held in other states. Besides that, those Connecticut elections would have gone to anti-gun Democrats had there been no Sandy Hook shooting.

This time may be different because the charge for gun control is being led by students, Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez, a Rose McGowan lookalike, gave a McGowan-like fiery speech demanding that lawmakers restrict gun ownership.

Walkouts by students and teachers are being planned throughout the country as well as a march on Washington. And you can bet the Democrat-allied American Federation of Teachers will urge its members to suggest to their students that they remind parents to think about the mass school shootings when casting their vote this November.

So, could the screams for gun control affect this year’s congressional elections? They could. Before this latest shooting, there were already predictions that Democrats would take control of the House, and possibly even the Senate. That may have been wishful thinking on the part of Democrats and their allies in the media. But that was before Parkland. This time NRA-backed candidates may be in trouble. The Florida school shooting may very well tip the scales in favor of the Democrats.

If the Democrats do gain control of the House, look for passage of a bill that would call for strict gun controls, similar to those in California, including a ban on AR-15-like rifles.

AND I THOUGHT IT WAS THE JEWS WHO SUFFERED THE HOLOCAUST ….. MY BAD

German police probe British ex-model socialite for telling neo-Nazi rally 'the only Holocaust in Europe was against German civilians'

BY Keiran Southern

Daily Mail
February 18, 2018

A British former model and socialite is being probed by German police after she questioned the Holocaust during a far-Right protest in Dresden.

Australian-born Michele Renouf is one of two people being investigated for remarks made at a neo-Nazi rally on Saturday commemorating those killed in the 1945 Allied bombing of the city.

Videos of the rally posted online show Lady Renouf saying the only Holocaust perpetrated in Europe was against German civilians.

Publicly denying the Nazis' well-documented murder of six million Jews is a criminal offence in Germany.

Lady Renouf has in the past supported Holocaust-deniers such as British historian David Irving.

Dresden police spokeswoman Jana Ulbricht said officers ordered the rally dissolved after determining that two speakers had broken the law.

Lady Renouf is the former wife of the late Sir Frank 'The Bank' Renouf, a wealthy New Zealand financier who was almost 30 years her senior.

The marriage collapsed in 1991 after only a few months.

In 2015, Lady Renouf was pictured attending a secret rally in London at which speakers unleashed anti-Semitic rants, referring to Jews as ‘the enemy’ and ‘children of darkness’.

Held in London’s Victoria, the meeting was described by experts as the most significant gathering of Holocaust deniers Britain had ever seen, with speakers invited from Spain, Canada and the United States.

The star speaker at the event was Spanish self-confessed Nazi Pedro Varela. Lady Renouf was pictured speaking to him outside the venue.

She has previously been quoted as saying: ‘People should have the freedom to question the accepted view of what happened.’

IFYOU ARE WHITE, YOU ARE A RACIST WHEN YOU CRITISE A BLACK PERSON FOR CRITICIZING PRESIDENT TRUMP

LeBron James responds to Fox host's controversial 'shut up and dribble' comment

The Guardian
February 17, 2018

LeBron James has responded to what many perceived as racist comments from Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

After the NBA star had said Donald Trump doesn’t “give a fuck about the people” in an interview on his Uninterrupted social media channel Ingraham said athletes should stay out of politics and “shut up and dribble”. She then took James to task for his “ungrammatical” and “unintelligible” language.

NFL player Chris Long who, like James, has been a vocal critic of the US president pointed out on Twitter that Fox News has a long history of inviting celebrities, including Kid Rock, Chuck Norris and Jon Voight, on to its shows to comment on politics. The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, who appeared on the Uninterrupted show alongside James, called Ingraham’s comments “racist” in an interview with USA Today.

On Friday night, James posted a sign from the Uninterrupted’s offices that reads “I am more than an athlete” along with the hashtag #wewillnotshutupanddribble. James, who is currently at the NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, was then asked about the comments on Saturday. He said he welcomed Ingraham’s thoughts. “I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice, equality and why a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble,” James said. “So, thank you, whatever her name is — I don’t even know her name.”

Ingraham put out her own statement, denying her remarks had racist undertones. “In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called Shut Up & Sing, in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics ... If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks - false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.”

During the Uninterrupted interview James was asked if wealth had insulated him from racism. He cited his own experience last year, when his house in LA was daubed with racist graffiti. “I’m a black man with a bunch of money. And having a crib in Brentwood and having the word nigger spray painted over my gate – that lets you know that I ain’t too far removed and I still got a lot more work to do.

“No matter how far, money, or access, or how you become in life as an African American man, female, they will always try to figure out a way to let you know that you still beneath them. It’s either one of two things at that point. You either cave into that notion, or you just chalk it up and say: ‘You know what? I’m going to paint over this goddamn gate and I’m gonna make it taller.’”

Sunday, February 18, 2018

SCREWING AROUND

Sex in a hallway and who among White House staff is romping around

British businessman Peter de Savary and his third wife Lana were having a business lunch in 1985 with Donald Trump. De Savary, now 73, says that half-way through the luncheon Trump excused himself, saying he had a very important conference call to mske.

Lana then left to go to the john, but she rushed back blabbering, ”I took the second on the left as you said, and the girl who was serving us lunch had her skirt up and Trump was having sex with her in the corridor.”

As they say, any port in a storm.

Hmmm, I wonder how much The Donald tipped their waitress. $100? $200? $500?

Omarosa Manigault, who resigned or was fired from the White House staff, appeared on Celebrity Big Brother when Brandi asked her, “Did you ever sleep with him [Trump]?”

Omarosa replied, “Hell no! Oh, my God. Brandi, that's horrible. I'm not… There's somebody in the White House that's sleeping around with everybody, but she is not me… I've never had to do that.”

Hmmm, I wonder which White House female staffer is romping around with everybody. Could it be Hope Hicks? Nah she was hooked up with wife beater Rob Porter. How about Kellyanne Conway? Nah, she wouldn’t do that ….. or would she?

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

by Bob Walsh

There are calls to tear down the three story classroom structure in Florida where the majority of the 17 killed in the recent school shooting died. The notions is that it would be inhuman and cruel to force the children to return to a building and classrooms where their buddies were murdered. Similar ideas prevailed in Sandy Hook and in Dunblane in the U.K. These, however, involved much small structures and much less money.

I am not saying this is a great idea. I am not saying it is a lame-ass idea. I am saying that it is an expensive idea. Should we jackhammer up street intersections where kids and run down by drunk drivers? Should we bulldoze private homes where children are murdered by parents or other caregivers? Or should we say, "Shit Happens, suck it up and deal with it."

I admit I don't know the "right" answer. I don't live in Florida so little if any of my money will be involved. I also don't have children so maybe I can't relate to the angst the fragile little creatures will otherwise suffer. They are not third graders, they are highs school students.

I am just throwing it out for discussion. How much is too much??

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is ridiculous! As you say, "Shit Happens, suck it up and deal with it."

STUPIDITY AND NASTINESS IN LACKAWANNA P.A.

by Bob Walsh

Seven staff members at the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton are now facing charges of sexually abusing female prisoners. Allegedly the abuse was broadly known and covered up. Allegedly the "guards" traded commissary goodies and phone time for freebies from the women prisoners.

There will be a preliminary hearing next week. The staff are looking at major time as guests of the state if convicted.

EDITOR'S NOTE: No lack a wanna there.

TITLE NINE BACK-AWAY

by Bob Walsh

The Trump administration recently announced that they do NOT believe the issue of transgender bathroom facilities at public schools is a legitimate Title Nine issue. The language of the actual statute does not address 'gender identity" in any fashion.

Doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. It does mean that, at least for the next three years, the feds are not going to FORCE it to happen.

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING SMART

by Bob Walsh

If passed into law SB1305 would legally the practice of first responders providing CPA and similar aid to animals. Under current law it is actually illegal for anyone but a licensed veterinarian to do so.

There are actually plenty of known instances of this being done and many fire rigs carry special air masks designed for small furry animals. As far as I know nobody has ever been prosecuted for doing so.

At least 22 other states already have made this legal.

DID ARIZONA COPS GGET TOO ROUGH WITH 84-YEAR-0LD WOMAN?

Family claims Mesa officers assaulted grandmother; police are reviewing incident

By Lexi Sutter and Jeff Popovich

ABC 15 Arizona
February 16, 2018

MESA, AZ - A Valley family is alleging police brutality after they say their grandmother was assaulted and left bloodied and bruised after an incident with Mesa police officers.

"I've talked to police out in front of my house for 30 years but there was never anybody who has behaved like this," said Virginia, the woman injured in the incident. She spoke on the condition her last name not be used.

A family member says they contacted police on February 14th for a welfare check on a relative near McKellips and Gilbert roads.

However, Mesa police officials say their officers responded to an emergency call for a suicidal man sitting in a car with a gun in front of a house.

Police say when officers arrived on the scene, they saw a man matching the description get out of a car and head into a residence.

When officers called for the man to come back out, an elderly woman came to the door and stepped outside. Police say the woman responded to the officer's commands and walked towards them.

Officers said the woman appeared confused and tried to return to the residence after she reached the officers.

According to Mesa police, officers used force to keep the woman out of harm's way during the potentially dangerous situation, resulting in her injuries.

Officers called for medical attention, and the woman was taken to a hospital. Pictures shared by family members showed the grandmother suffered cuts and bruises to her arms and face.

"This shouldn't happen, there should never be any reason for an 84-year-old grandmother, who just had her fourth stroke in December, to be put on the ground like that," Ashlee Hahn, Virginia's granddaughter said.

The man police observed earlier was found, and was taken for evaluation after a BB gun was found inside the home, police say.

Mesa police are conducting an internal review to determine if the officers involved acted with professional standards and training.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The bruises can be easily explained in that a person that age bruises readily. The cuts, however, are not so easily explained.

‘AT SOME POINT, WE’RE GOING TO BE FATIGUED WITH EVERYBODY BEING THE VICTIM’

'It's becoming a gladiator spectacle': Black Justice Clarence Thomas says he is 'exhausted' with people saying they have been 'victimized' because of their race

Daily Mail
February 17, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that he was exhausted with the current climate of victimhood culture in America today.

'At some point, we're going to be fatigued with everybody being the victim,' the 69-year-old justice said during an on-stage interview at the Library of Congress in Washington on Thursday. 'I just get worn down,' he added.

Thomas, the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court, also relayed a recent experience he had with a female college student in Kansas where she told him: 'I'm really tired of having to play the role of being black. I just want to go to school.'

Appointed to the bench in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, the famously taciturn justice said that his grandfather's resilience inspired him to never take anything for granted.

'When I was a kid, there were tons of people who were in really bad circumstances,' Thomas said. 'My grandfather would not let us wallow in that.'

Born in 1948, Thomas was raised in Georgia coastal lowlands and spent his childhood working on his grandfather's farm.

With most opportunities unavailable in the Jim Crow South to the black community, Thomas said his family did the best that they could with what little they had.

'You always have to play the hand you're dealt,' he said. 'If you're dealt a bad hand, you still have to play it.'

Thomas added that he considers his grandfather 'my hero' and 'the single greatest human being I've ever met... With nine months of education. But he never saw himself as a victim.'

The long-time lawman also touched on the the confirmation process for federal judges, a process he went through five times in ten years which only 'got increasingly worse.'

'I don't think the process is what it ought to be,' Thomas said. 'I think that these are serious jobs, and they should be serious. I don't think they should become spectacles.'

Thomas faced a grueling confirmation process to become a justice on the highest court in the land. Allegations of sexual harassment from a former assistant, Anita Hill, nearly derailed his bid for the seat 28 years ago. Thomas denied the allegations.

'I don't think the process is what it ought to be,' Thomas said. 'I think that these are serious jobs, and they should be serious. I don't think they should become spectacles.'

'This is not the Roman Colosseum,' he continued. 'We're not gladiators. And I think we're going to lose some of our best people who choose not to go through the ordeal. They don't want to have to fight the lion in order to be a judge or to be in government. And I think it's our own fault for allowing this to happen.'

YEARS OF MILITARY DEFECTIONS ARE FUELING MEXICO'S MURDER RATE

'The training stays with you': the elite Mexican soldiers recruited by cartels

By Falko Ernst

The Guardian
February 10, 2018

Apatzingán municipality -- Delfino was handpicked twice. At 18, he was chosen by the Mexican army to join its elite unit, the airborne special forces group known by its Spanish acronym, Gafe, where he specialized as a sniper.

Ten years later, he was recruited again – this time by the very people he’d been trained to kill.

Nowadays, the only outward sign of his military background is the camouflaged hat on his head, and the Panther .308 sniper rifle slung across his back.

Delfino belongs to what remains of a cult-like drug cartel called Los Caballeros Templarios, or the Knights Templar, whose original leaders blended extreme violence with pseudo-religious teachings and claimed a mandate from God.

Once a dominant force in the rugged western state of Michoacán, the group is now locked in a bitter war for survival with rival crime factions.

But Delfino describes himself as an instrument of divine justice.

“God has his will,” he said. “But he still needs people to do his work here on Earth.”

Over the past decade, Mexico’s drug violence has undergone a dizzying escalation, claiming more than 230,000 lives and last year pushing the country’s murder rate to the highest level since records began.

Security analysts and cartel sources agree that a key factor in the transformation of underworld rivalries into a full-throttle war has been the cartels’ recruitment of elite soldiers.

The leakage of Mexican special forces into organized crime began in the 1990s when the powerful Gulf cartel recruited a group of ex-Gafe troops to create its own paramilitary enforcement unit, known as Los Zetas.

They eventually turned on their masters, establishing the Zetas as a cartel in their own right. But other narco bosses followed suit, turning to the military for skilled recruits.

The scale of the problem remains unclear – not least because the Mexican government has been unwilling to release data, said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an associate professor at George Mason University and author of Zetas Inc.

“It’s an inconvenient issue for the government, so they deny freedom-of-information requests. But what we do know is that special forces helped turn Mexico’s narcos into the paramilitary armed groups we see today.”

According to Mexico’s defence ministry, about 1,383 elite soldiers deserted between 1994 and 2015.

Defectors included members of units that received training in counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, interrogation and strategy from French, Israeli and US advisers, according to a 2005 FBI intelligence document.

Internal documents from Mexico’s attorney general’s office obtained by the Guardian also confirm accounts from sources in Michoacán that the Templars’ predecessor organization – known as La Familia Michoacana – sent envoys to Guatemala to recruit former special forces soldiers known as Kaibiles.

Members of the Kaibiles unit, which has received US training since the 1970s, committed some of the worst atrocities in Guatemala’s civil war, notably the 1982 slaughter of 201 civilians in Dos Erres.

Mexico’s military has also received US support: between 2006 and 2017, Washington provided just over $2.7bn in security assistance, including military and counter-narcotics support.

According to Kate Doyle, senior analyst at the National Security Archive in Washington DC, the US focus on military aid to the region has helped drive the militarization of Mexico’s drug conflict.

“That US military training and intelligence techniques ended up in the wrong hands is far from unusual. Its lethal spillage into the contemporary criminal context is one of the legacies of US security policy in Latin America,” she said.

Rarely, however, has a soldier-turned-narco gone on the record.

As he led the way up a steep path to a sniper’s nest of volcanic stone and brush, Delfino said he had his own reasons for speaking to a reporter. “We want the world to understand what we’re doing out here: protecting the communities against the enemies that come to rape and pillage.”


Below his lookout unfolded the scrubby plains and rugged canyons of Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente – the Hot Land. It was here that the former president Felipe Calderón first deployed the country’s armed forces against the cartels in 2006.

The military crackdown was eventually extended across the country, but its initial targets were the cartels of Calderón’s home state: La Familia Michoacana and its offspring, the Knights Templar.

For a time, it seemed that the strategy was working. When the Templars finally collapsed under the joint pressure of federal forces and an armed “self-defense” movement in 2013, the government claimed victory.

But for every fallen kingpin, there was a host of would-be successors: organized crime in Michoacán shattered into a patchwork of warring fiefdoms. And though now reduced to a fraction of their former strength and cut off from vital trafficking routes, the Templars are still in the thick of it.

In a desperate bid to cling to its remaining territory, the group has joined forces with a former rival: a fast-growing cartel called the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Their current enemies are a group of former allies, to whom Delfino refers contemptuously as “locusts”.

Up on the hill, he eyed the enemy positions through his scope. Locusts surrounded his position on three sides and had attempted to overrun the Templars several times in recent months.

But Delfino was dismissive of his counterparts, who he said were untrained boys sent into battle doped up on crystal meth.

“The difference between them and us is that we always take precise shots,” he said.

Most of Delfino’s own fighters were barely adults, but he still claimed to abide by the principles of his military training. “The strict rules, the way they prepared me psychologically, morally and practically – that stays with you forever,” he said.

Delfino’s training began not long after he joined the army in 1996. After selection for the Gafe, he underwent months of instruction, including courses in jungle survival and amphibious combat.

After specializing as a sniper, he was deployed in counterinsurgency operations in the southern state of Chiapas, where the indigenous Zapatista guerrillas had risen up in 1994.

Later, he was moved to the Pacific port city of Lázaro Cárdenas, where he became involved for the first time in counter-narcotics: his unit was tasked to chase speedboats bringing cocaine from South America.

But off-duty, Delfino and his fellow soldiers came into contact with narco bosses in local nightclubs. Before long, he was receiving expensive bottles of Scotch – and then job offers.

“They knew exactly what they were looking for: our knowledge, our professionalism, our loyalty,” he said.

Delfino resigned from the army, and in 2006, he joined La Familia Michoacana.

The cartel presented itself as the only force able to provide stability in a region long neglected by the Mexican state.

Delfino specialized in tracking down alleged kidnappers. “I just grabbed them and handed them over – that was my job. Others would then take care of the rest,” he said.

“The rest” was La Familia’s trademark brutality: alleged wrongdoers were killed, beheaded and mutilated, their bodies then dumped with messages justifying the murder.

Vigilantism helped win some local support; it also removed criminal competitors, and by 2009, the group had become one of the most powerful in the country.

But what set the group apart was its home-brewed ideology, which blended the language of self-help with fire-and-brimstone theology.

When La Familia’s ideological leader, Nazario Moreno González, was killed in 2014, the religious aspect faded. But Delfino still claims he’s following a divine mission.

“Technically it’s not correct to take somebody’s life,” said Delfino. But then he reached for a biblical justification: “Not a leaf moves without God’s permission.”

At the height of the cartel’s power, nothing in Michoacán moved without the cartel’s permission. It monopolized crime, but it also penetrated ordinary life, using the threat of lethal violence to arbitrate anything from land disputes to marital conflicts.

That soft power was fused with strategic sophistication, thanks to the influx of former soldiers, said Correa-Cabrera. “Their rapid expansion, the way they controlled territories, used communications and armament – they were now doing it like the army,” she said.

The involvement of veterans has enabled cartel combatants across the country to organize tactical responses to the deployment of troops and paramilitary federal police. More recently, the CJNG has become notorious for a string of ambushes that have killed dozens of federal officers.

In Tierra Caliente, such head-on confrontations have given way to a constant state of low-intensity warfare. In 2017, 1,510 murders were registered in Michoacán, a state of 4.5 million inhabitants.

Delfino’s role in the bloodletting is no secret to his former brothers in arms. He remains in touch with soldiers on active duty, and even meets up to reminisce when security conditions allow, he said.

“We like each other, and they respect my decision,” he said, “but if they learn that I’m out here doing something which doesn’t square with our values – if I mess with innocent people – they will come for me. From them, there’s no hiding.”

Saturday, February 17, 2018

LOOKS LIKE TRUMP WAS RIGHT...AGAIN

by Bob Walsh

The Office of the Inquisition (Bob Mueller) announced 16 indictments today. They were 13 individual Russians and 3 Russian corporations. All are believed to have fiddled with the 2016 election, starting in 2014, BEFORE Trump decided to run.

The Chief Inquisitor has stated (admitted) that there is ZERO evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign was knowingly involved, though they may have been suckered into the mess. All the players presented at legit American citizens and had a reasonably solid electronic footprint to back up their claims.

Their instructions from Moscow were to support Trump and Bernie and piss on Hillary's parade whenever possible. Everything was public relations related, there is ZERO evidence that the Russian penetrated or even attempted to penetrate the mechanics of the voting system.

Anybody want to be on how likely it is that the Russian will turn over to us any of those indicted?

FBI SCREWED THE POOCH

by Bob Walsh

It was discovered on Friday that the Florida school shooter had been ratted out to the FBI BY NAME weeks before the shooting. The FBI protocol says that, since they had a named individual and a specific threat of harm, they should investigate. They actually did somewhere between jack and shit.

If you see something, say something. Trouble is, it is distinctly possible that nobody in a position of authority will do a damn thing with the information.

MALICIOUS PROSECUTION OF COP AT THE BEHEST OF NY NAYOR DE BLASIO FAILS

NYPD Sergeant Acquitted in Fatal Shooting of Mentally Ill Woman

By Anthony M. Destefano

Newsday
February 16, 2018

NEW YORK -- A Bronx State Supreme Court justice acquitted an NYPD sergeant of murder and other charges Thursday in the case of a mentally ill woman, Deborah Danner, whom the officer shot during a confrontation in her apartment.

Sgt. Hugh Barry, 32, showed no emotion to onlookers in the courtroom as Justice Robert A. Neary announced his verdict clearing him of one count of second-degree murder, two of manslaughter and one of criminally negligent homicide stemming from the Oct. 18, 2016, incident in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx.

Barry, a 9-year NYPD veteran, opted to have a nonjury trial with Neary deciding the verdict. In his brief statement read in a packed courtroom, Neary said prosecutors in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office had failed to meet their burden of proof in the case.

Barry, who testified at the trial, said he fired at Danner, 66, in self-defense as she was about to swing a bat at his head. Trial evidence showed that Danner was schizophrenic. Danner also wielded scissors during the confrontation with Barry.

The case caused a political firestorm after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill indicated in statements that they thought Barry acted improperly. The case also spotlighted NYPD policies on the handling of emotionally disturbed people.

Barry quickly left the courtroom and didn’t comment. He is currently suspended with pay. Defense attorney Andrew Quinn told reporters he had been optimistic.

“We’ve always felt confident we would win, but you never know,” Quinn said.

Veteran defense attorney Stacey Richman, who wasn’t involved in the case, said Quinn’s decision to pursue a nonjury trial was a tactical decision that paid off, particularly considering the negative perception of police in the Bronx.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement that she was disappointed in the verdict but accepted Neary’s ruling.

“I believe the death of Deborah Danner illustrates the larger issue of how we need changes in the way we address people with mental health issues,” Clark wrote.

O’Neill said in a statement that cops had a difficult job but needed to be accountable for their actions. He said the department would be reviewing the tactics and decisions that led to the shooting in the case, an indication that Barry would be facing departmental charges.

Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins applauded the verdict and expressed outrage over the actions of de Blasio, O’Neill and Clark in what he called a “malicious prosecution.”

The group Communities United for Police Reform said the verdict was “another injustice” that failed to hold police accountable.

TEXAS POLICE MISTAKENLY SHOOT MAN WHO TOOK GUN FROM SUSPECT

Associated Press
February 15, 2018

AMARILLO, Texas — A Texas Panhandle shelter worker who wrestled a gun away from a man holding hostages was then shot by a police officer who mistook him as the suspect.

Amarillo police say they received a report Wednesday of a man holding dozens hostage in the chapel of Faith City Mission, a shelter serving the indigent and others.

An officer confronted a man inside holding a gun and shot him. Police say the investigation revealed the man who was mistakenly shot had moments earlier fought with the gunman and took away his weapon.

Police say the worker remained hospitalized Thursday with injuries not considered life-threatening.

Authorities say 35-year-old Joshua Len Jones is being held at the Potter County jail on multiple counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Online jail records don't indicate an attorney who's representing him.

ATTORNEY SAYS APPLAUDING A COP KILLER IS FREE SPEECH

Inmates who clapped for cop death suspect may face reprisals

By Don Babwin

Associated Press
February 16, 2018

Five Cook County Jail inmates who applauded as the man charged with the fatal shooting of a Chicago police commander was led by their cell could face reprisals for their actions, a jail official said Friday.

Cara Smith, the chief policy officer for Sheriff Tom Dart, said a security video shows them clapping as suspect Shomari Legghette was being led past a crowded holding cell on Thursday after his first court appearance. The inmates were in the holding cell awaiting action on their cases. Legghette is charged with first-degree murder in Tuesday's shooting death of Commander Paul Bauer.

She said the five inmates were transferred overnight from Chicago to a jail in southern Illinois, where it will be more difficult for family and friends to visit them while they are in custody.

The jail also is forwarding to prosecutors the video and reports of the incident Thursday afternoon so they can use the information if the inmates are convicted, she said.

"The conduct that those detainees engaged in was disgraceful... and speaks to their character," Smith said. "We feel it should be considered by prosecutors in connection with their sentencing."

The video could be a "factor of aggravation" considered by a judge in sentencing.

But Steve Greenberg, a prominent Chicago defense attorney, said there is no way the inmates should be penalized for what he said is a clear exercise of their right to free speech.

"These inmates ... no matter how vile or disgusting you may think their expression is, they have an absolute right under the First Amendment to express those feelings and it is a violation of their rights as citizens to penalize them or consider that as aggravation," said Greenberg, who is not representing any of the men.

The video was taken moments after the 44-year-old Legghette appeared in court on charges of first-degree murder of a peace officer, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and possession of a controlled substance.

Police say they wanted to question Legghette Tuesday when he took off running and Bauer pursued him on foot. He caught Legghette near the James R. Thompson Center, a government building, where the two struggled and Legghette fell down the stairs. Bauer either fell or ran after him to a landing where, Legghette, wearing a bullet proof vest and armed with a semi-automatic handgun, allegedly shot the 53-year-old Bauer six times.

Bauer, a 31-year veteran of the police force, was pronounced dead a short time later.

EL CHAPO’S PLEA

Complete Letter: El Chapo writes a letter to Judge Cogan; "All I ask for is a fair trial"

By Chivis Martinez

Borderland Beat
February 15, 2018

Text of Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s statement to Judge Cogan (translated from the Spanish original):

February 15, 2018

Judge Cogan

I, Joaquin Guzman-Loera, want to explain to you the problems that I have regarding my case:

Due to the rules that you authorized, I find it impossible to mount my defense in a case that you yourself said is very complex.

Due to the rules you authorized, I have not had contact with my wife for 13 months, either in person, on the phone or by letter. It has never been explained to me why that contact is not allowed. Six month s ago I wrote her a letter and, as far as I know, she has not received the letter. Because of the impossibility of contact, she has not been able to help me get the funds to pay my lawyers.

You authorized personal visits with my sister, but after a one-hour visit, which was monitored, the united states government revoked her visa. She can no longer enter this country.

You authorized phone calls with my sister and mother but they do not have the ability to pay the lawyers. Because the rules forbid me to give them instructions on how to get funds for my lawyers, they can not resolve the problem.

I have had some visits with my little girls who are 6 years old, but obviously they can not resolve the problems. I cannot even send my family greetings with them. When I told them to say hello to their mother, the agents who monitored the visit stopped it to scold me about passing messages.

Only my current legal team can visit me, but the rules do not allow them to pass messages to my family with instructions on how to obtain the fees.

The conditions that you authorized have greatly hurt me because I cannot build my defense with the teams of lawyers that I chose.

With luck and much effort, my family was able to make the first payment to Attorney Balarezo, but because of the rules I could not get the rest. The people who helped me make that first payment cannot do more.

At this moment Attorney Balarezo is doing the best he can with what he has. But my agreement with him included more resources to be able to defend myself. Not only his fees, but also for the necessary expenses.

Because I do not have access to the necessary resources, my case is affected because I do not have the full team of lawyers that I selected. To this day, my defense is not complete due to lack of resources.

Some articles that were published last week have said that my family does not want to pay the fees in part because they do not know what I want to do. I want to make it clear - I want my family to know that I want to go to trial. I do not have any intention to cooperate or to plead guilty. I also want them to do what they can to pay the attorney fees. The problem is that without instructions from me, they cannot do it.

Judge Cogan, I ask that you please modify the rules to allow me to speak with my wife faceto-face to resolve this situation. If not, my trial will be a farce.

I also want to explain to you that the rules you authorized are affecting me physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I suffer from headaches every day.I vomit almost every day.

They have not fixed two teeth and they are very painful.

I have not seen the sun or breathed fresh air for 13 months in your country.

The air I breathe comes through a duct in my cell and it is very dry - my throat and sinuses constantly hurt.

The light in my cell is on all hours of the day and it is difficult for me to sleep.If it’s not too cold, it’s too hot.

I am not even allowed to buy the same things that other prisoners can.

Because of the conditions and how they have affected me, I cannot focus to study the evidence in my case. I can not concentrate to help my defense. It is clear that the conditions have hurt me a lot. It is torture 24 hours a day.

Judge Cogan, I ask you to please authorize some medication to help me relax and focus so I can help my defense.

Finally, the decisions you have made about the motions are based on evidence that I do not have the opportunity to refute and that is not fair. I am not going to see important evidence until very close to trial and I will not have the ability to defend myself against it.

I thought that the American justice system was at least going to give me the opportunity to defend myself. But now I see that that is not the truth. All I ask for is a fair trial.

/s Joaquín Guzmán Loera

SYRIA AND IRAN BEWARE

Netanyahu Insists Israel Will Continue Bombing Syria As Needed

Israel Today
February 16, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rejected the idea of internationally-imposed restrictions on Israeli military action in Syria after a serious clash with Iranian and Syrian forces earlier in the week.

Israel has bombed Syrian regime, Iranian and Hezbollah targets and facilities in war-torn Syria a number of times over the past few years, usually to prevent the transfer of game-changing weaponry to terror groups.

But last weekend, it was Iranian provocation that resulted in a significant confrontation that left numerous bases in Syria destroyed and saw Israel lose its first military plane to enemy fire in nearly 35 years.

Minutes after an Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace, it was destroyed by Israel Air Force helicopters.

The Air Force launched an immediate retaliatory strike against the facility from which the drone was piloted, deep inside Syria. An Israeli F-16 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed shortly after returning to Israeli airspace.

Israel again responded with a massive aerial assault on Syrian anti-aircraft batteries and secret Iranian bases throughout the country.

Netanyahu is heading to the Munich Security Conference, which he called "the most important security convention in the world," and where the prime minister is expected to come under heavy pressure to limit Israeli military responses to what's happening in Syria.

Speaking to reporters before departing Israel, Netanyahu said that's not going to happen.

"I will again emphasize our determination to defend ourselves, of our own power, with no restriction," he said while boarding his plane at Ben Gurion Airport.

Friday, February 16, 2018

HASHTAG MENTOO

Men shouldo have their own #metoo movement ….. the #mentoo movement

The #metoo movement has thousands of women relating instances of sexual harassment, sexual assaults and domestic violence in their past lives. Women who have sounded off on #metoo range anywhere from Hollywood actresses to the common garden variety.

While many of the stories related by women may be true, it stands to reason that some of the tales are figments of the imagination or deliberate attempts to pillage an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, one of the world’s most famous sexual predators, it depends on what the meaning of the term sexual harassment is. It now appears that taking a second look at a woman may be interpreted as sexual harassment. Realistically speaking, what woman has never been sexually harassed? It’s the nature of beastly men to be attracted to women.

Of course, women themselves can bring on sexual harassment. Wearing revealing miniskirts in public or thongs on the beach are not exactly designed to drive those beastly men away. Yeah, yeah, I know all about the blah, blah that women have a right to wear what they want, etc., etc. But provocative wear, or non-wear, can have unwanted consequences.

OK, so women have their #metoo movement with their tales of being sexually abused. But men should have their own hashtag movement, the #mentoo movement whereby they can relate instances of being sexually amused. Thousands of men can come forward with their tales of sexual amusement that may be true, it but it stands to reason that some of the tales will be wishful figments of the imagination or deliberate attempts to pillage an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife.

Now if we can only get Bill Clinton to give a fiery speech urging men to ‘call it out’ on #mentoo, just like crazy Rose McGowan did for #metoo, we will have the Bill Army, just like Rose has the Rose Army.

If we can’t get Bill, there’s Steven Seagal. Steve speaks softly but carries a big stick. He can relate many instances of being sexually amused. Nah, Steve is damaged goods. Several women have accused him of rape. Worse yet, Steve is a personal friend of Vladimir Putin.

OK, so if Bill and Steve are out, who does that leave? How about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Arnie has had plenty of women sexually amuse him ... just ask his ex, Maria Shriver. But better yet, how about Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson?

Hey, come to think of it, here’s an idea for yet another hashtag movement ….. #mecheattoo. The #mecheattoo movement would enable both men and women to call out how they cheated on their wives or husbands. That should really bring out those Hollywood celebrities. And Bill Clinton would have many instances of cheating on Hillary to relate. Why even President Trump could relate his bedroom romps with porn actress Stormy Daniels, Playboy model Karen McDougal and other women.

And if you think there would be few women that have cheated on their husbands, studies have shown you’d be sadly mistaken.

PIECE OF SHIT DOG KILLER BEING PROSECUTED

by Bob Walsh

There are a lot of criminal acts in the People's Republic of San Francisco that get a ho-hum from the authorities, like shitting on the sidewalk or auto burglary. Wakeen Best, however, picked a hot button issue. He killed a dog.

Mr. Best, 35, is being accused of breaking into a car in a S.F. parking garage, finding it occupied by a Chihuahua, and tossing the dog to it's death from the garage. He is being charged with felony auto burglary (I didn't even know there was such a thing in S.F.), vandalism and felony cruelty to animals. He is also being hit with several misdemeanor charges including violation of a stay-away order.

Mr. Best, who is sometimes Ms. Best depending on which way the wind is blowing, had been out of the slammer for about a month when he (allegedly) murdered the dog. He/She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

I hope they hang the asshole.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Throwing him/her off the top of a 10-story garage would be much better!

IF YOU WANT TO OWN A GUN AND LIKE SHOOTING YOU ARE TOO CRAZY TO BE ALLOWED TO OWN A GUN

by Bob Walsh

The latest abomination, this time a school shooting in Florida, is bringing the psychopaths out of the woodwork. It seems that this young man left enough bread crumbs that seemed to indicated he might have been a problem that somebody should have noticed. A LOT of the kids at the school had said to each other than this guy was the student most likely to go 5150 and shoot up the school.

Almost everybody agrees that dangerous crazy people should not own or have access to guns. Trouble is who defines the parameters and who makes the decisions at what stages.

Is it the ex-girlfriend who got dumped and wants some payback? Is it the extreme liberal school counselor who thinks that anybody who wants to own gun is crazy? Should the local cops be allowed to seize guns (temporarily) from people that they think are scary? Should you have to have a psych interview to be able to get some sort of a certificate to own a gun? If you are seeing a shrink for ANY REASON should you be prohibited from owning a gun? If you are on anti=depressants should you be prohibited from owning a gun?

I don't have the answers. I don't even know most of the questions. I do know this. We live in what is basically a free and open society. There are risks, and costs, that come with living in a free and open society. How much risk is too much? How much infringement on our basic freedoms are we willing to accept to mitigate some of that risk?

Damned if I know.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Former President Obama thinks he has the answer. You knew he's pipe in on the Florida school shooting by once again pleading for strict gun controls ..... it's sort of like 'I told you so.'

ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL

by Bob Walsh

There were two false starts. The City Clerk of the teeming metropolis of Stockton, CA twice turned down the recall petition aimed at Mayor Tubbs, citing flaws. The third time was the charm and the city clerk has declared that the current form of the petition meets the legal requirements and beginning on Monday the recall proponents will begin their attempt to collect about 16,000 valid signatures. They have 160 days in which to do so.

Tubbs received about 70% of the vote in November but that wasn't really much of a trick. The then-current mayor, Anthony Silva, was in very deep trouble with allegations of fraud and sexual shenanigans at a city-run summer camp. In addition a gun owned by him disappeared under odd circumstances and was used in a murder in the area. Idi Amin could have run against Silva and won.

In any event a combination of the folks who think that Tubbs has just plain done a crappy job so far and the people who believe he is trying to sell off the city owned golf courses and put in low rent housing may just be enough to push things over the top.

The recall committee is not endorsing any possible replacement for Tubbs.

TEXAS EXECUTION DRUG IN POPULAR DOG FOODS

Dozens of dog food brands mainly owned by Smucker's are pulled from shelves after investigation triggered by a dead pug found they contained a EUTHANASIA drug used to put down canines, cats, and horses

BY Ariel Zilber

Daily Mail
February 15, 2018

Retailers have removed at least 31 types of dog food mostly owned by Smucker's after an investigation triggered by a canine who died of poisoning discovered they contained traces of a euthanasia drug used to put down other animals.

Lab tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration showed that many brands of dog food were found to have been contaminated with pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital is a drug used to put down animals, including dogs, cats, and horses.

It is also prescribed to humans suffering from insomnia, according to eMedicinehealth.

Smucker’s, the company that owns many of the brands in question, said it would voluntarily pull its products from shelves, including Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Skippy, and Ol’ Roy canned food, WJLA-TV reported.

Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, said it had removed the brands from all of its 4,700 stores.

The investigation began after Nikki Mael, a resident of Washington state, noticed that her four pugs were acting unusually after feeding them Evanger’s Hunk of Beef with au jus canned wet food on New Year’s Eve 2016, KATU-TV reported.

‘I fed them one can and within 15 minutes, they were acting drunk, walking around, they couldn’t … they were falling over,’ she said. ‘So I grabbed them all and took them to the emergency vet.

‘And when they got there, they were just limp. They weren't moving or anything. And so they were in ICU. Tito and Talula ate the most [food] and Talula passed away,’ Mael said.

The three surviving dogs came home, but they are still suffering from complications.

‘Tito, we got to bring him home today,’ Mael said.

‘He still suffers from seizures. I don't know if there's any long-term [effect] on the other two, but it's terrible.’

Evanger’s told KATU News that they investigated the incident.

‘We at Evanger's are deeply horrified about this,’ the company said.

‘We take the safety and quality of our products as top priority.

‘We need to investigate and act upon this issue immediately and would require the LOT code found on the bottom of the can.

‘Please email or get in contact with us. We also feed our own dog, Lilly, this food.’

The family sent the remaining food to a lab. They also drove Talulah’s corpse to a veterinary pathologist for a postmortem exam.

‘Poisoning from the dog food. That’s what killed her,’ Mael told WJLA-TV.

What was even more shocking was that the poison contained in the food was pentobarbital, a lethal drug used to euthanize dogs, cats, and even horses.

WJLA-TV had another lab, Ellipse Analytics, test other dog foods for potential contaminants.

After months of tests, Ellipse Analytics found that samples of the Gravy Train brand of wet food given to dogs were positive for pentobarbital.

The chemical likely made its way into the products through a process used by the pet food industry known as rendering.

Rendering works by gathering together the carcasses of dead animals including diseased cattle, tumor-ridden chickens, road kill, zoo animals, dogs and cats.

The corpses of the dead animals are then heated before the moisture and fat are removed, according to Healthy Holistic Living.

Chemicals and additives are then added to the mix, creating a stew that is used in pet foods.

While the amount of pentobarbital traces found were not considered lethal, federal law bars any level of the contaminant.

Gravy Train, which is produced by Big Heart Pet Foods and owned by the Smucker’s company, generates $40million worth of sales every year.

Big Heart Brands also makes other popular pet foods like Meow Mix, Milk Bone, Kibbles’n Bits, 9 Lives, Natural Balance, and Pup-Peroni, among others.

Both the FDA and Smucker’s refused to comment on how pentobarbital ended up in dog food.

Smucker’s did release a statement to WJLA-TV saying: ‘We launched and are conducting a thorough investigation, including working closely with our suppliers, to determine the accuracy of these results and the methodology used.’