Sunday, November 19, 2017

HILLARY CONTINUES TO QUESTION THE LEGITIMACY OF TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY

Trump tells Clinton to get on with her life and try again in three years

During an interview with Mother Jones magazine on Friday, Hillary Clinton continued to question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency by now blaming her election loss on Voter ID laws and Russian interference.

Trump won the key electoral state of Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes. Hillary says the voter ID law of Wisconsin caused thousands of her supporters among African-Americans to be turned away at the polls. Had she won Wisconsin, she would now be president of the United States.

On Saturday, in response to the Mother Jones interview, Trump tweeted:

“Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can't stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give another try in three years!”

I have strongly criticized Trump’s tweets, but in this one he is spot on!

I WONDER WHAT THE FALLOUT WILL BE ..... IF ANY

by Bob Walsh

A woman as yet not named in the Oakland paper had two pit bulls that were deemed to be dangerous. She was supposed to surrender them to animal control on Thursday. She welched.

On Friday the two pit bulls attacked a 53-year old woman, her pit bull, and a 71-year old man. The dog was killed in the attack. Both humans were severely injured, including bites to the head and face.

The two attacking dogs were seized by animal control. One would hope there would be some sort of negative fallout on the owner of the aggressive animals. Maybe.

THEY THINK THE CELLIE MIGHT HAVE DONE IT

by Bob Walsh

Wayne Bradley, 50, was a guest of the people at the Mule Creek State Prison until Saturday morning. He was found "unresponsive" (dead) in his assigned cell at the 0230 count. He had been serving 25 years for robbery. His cell partner, Everett McCoy, 35, is doing 28-life for murder and robbery.

Since the two men were locked in a two-man cell and Bradley appears to have been murdered they are reasonably suspicious that McCoy might have done it. Must be some very perceptive people in the investigations unit there,.

THEY MIGHT BE HOMELESS, BUT THEY CERTAINLY ARE NOT BIKELESS

by Bob Walsh

The evil mean powers-that-bee cleared out a homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River in Orange County, CA a couple of days ago. They found a wooden door, camouflaged, leading to a bunker. There was a tunnel coming off the bunker. In that tunnel were more than 1,000 bicycles.

The local constabulary says they have a sneaking hunch that at least some of the bicycles might be stolen.

I DON’T THINK I WANT TO TAKE ANY GIN SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS FROM THIS GUY

Man accidentally shoots himself and his wife during a talk on 'gun safety in places of worship' at a church

BY Jessa Schroeder

Daily Mail
November 18, 2017

A man accidentally shot himself and his wife while giving a lecture about guns in places of worship following recent nationwide shootings.

The incident took place Thursday afternoon at the First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains, Tennessee.

Police say two unnamed individuals, in their 80's, were immediately transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

They suffered non-life threatening injuries after the gun lesson went horribly wrong.

It seems the elderly husband took out his '.380 caliber Ruger handgun, removed the magazine, cleared the chamber, and showed the gun to some of the men in the church' at the time, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Police Chief Russ Parks said when the man put the magazine back in, he loaded a round in the chamber without thinking twice.

When another person approached him to inquire about the gun, the man took it back out of its holster and said: 'With this loaded indicator, I can tell that it's not loaded', just before pulling the trigger.

The wife standing nearby was shot through her abdomen and the man, in the hand, according to the newspaper.

He 'evidently forgot that he re-chambered the weapon,' Parks said of the incident.

The incident comes nearly two weeks after Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire into the congregation of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing 26.

Just prior to the massacre, Kelley posted a photo of a AR-15 style gun to his Facebook page, while writing in a caption: 'She's a bad b***h.'

Some victims of the attack included eight members of one family, a pregnant mother and her three children, a toddler and the pastor's daughter.

Police said following the deadly attack there was likely 'no way' congregants would have escaped.

'He (Kelley) just walked down the center aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out,' said Wilson County Sheriff, Joe D. Tackitt Jr.

'It's unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenseless people.'

INSTANT JUSTICE

Drunken man gets beat up by straphangers after he attacks mom on New York subway train

By Kerry Burke, Rocco Parascandola and Ginger Adams Otis

New York Daily News
November 17, 2017

An avenging group of straphangers who witnessed a volatile drunk walloping a young mom on a Bronx subway delivered some street justice — punching and kicking the attacker into submission.

The violent melee broke out around 7:15 p.m. Thursday on a Manhattan-bound No. 6 train near the Hunts Point Ave. station, police sources said.

Ana Yates 29, was traveling with daughters Bryanna and Irene, ages 8 and 1, and son Evan, 4, when a man police sources identified as Ramel Jefferson went berserk on the train.

With her terror-stricken children watching in horror, Jefferson launched a violent attack on Yates, menacing her with a bottle, punching her in the face and grabbing her by the hair to drag her. Jefferson also shoved her into a pole and bench.

Yates was alone in the subway car with just her kids and Jefferson when the vicious assault took place, according to her ex-boyfriend Byrant Bostick, the dad of the three kids.

“[Jefferson] was drunk and vulgar around my children, that’s how it started,” he said.

“They were in the car alone, and she did the right thing, she kept his focus off the kids and on herself. She’s a good mother and a strong woman,” Bostick, 29, added.

When the train pulled into the Hunts Point Ave. station, shocked commuters on the platform saw Jefferson hitting Yates. Several good Samaritans pulled the crazed drunk away from the mom and threw him to the ground, kicking and punching him until police responded.

“I’m really grateful to those people,” Bostick said. “I’m glad for what they did.” Cell phone video posted online by a passenger shows an intoxicated Jefferson, 58, struggling with police.

Yates, who brings the kids home to Bostick in Bushwick every night from her mom’s house in the Bronx, suffered cuts on her chin and arm, as well as a bruised right shoulder.

Jefferson, who has eight prior arrests, was charged with assault, acting in a manner injurious to children, menacing and resisting arrest.

He has eight prior arrests for criminal contempt, theft of service and drugs, sources said.

He was held on $2,500 bail at arraignment Friday night.

NEW JERSEY LAWYER BECOMES FREE SPIRIT ON ECSTACY

Lawyer 'high on ecstacy' barges into a home wearing only high heels and a black t-shirt and shouts 'I'm here'

By Ariel Zilber

Daily Mail
November 18, 2017

A New Jersey lawyer believed to be high on ecstasy and wearing 'nary a thing' below his waist except for high heels barged into the home of horrified strangers and exclaimed 'I'm here!' before he was arrested hours later, police said on Friday.

Justin Paul Christodoro, 39, a lawyer from Hackensack, entered the home of an unsuspecting couple in Rutherford at about 5pm on November 11, according to police.

Moments later, Christodoro left when he realized he was not where he intended to be, the New Jersey Law Journal reported.

Rutherford Police Captain Patrick Feliciano said that Christodoro entered the home wearing a tight black shirt, high heels, and 'nary a thing' while the couple was watching television.

'He didn't do anything to them; it was just the breaching of the threshold, as it were,' Feliciano said.

'It did not appear he had bad intentions. I'm grateful nothing worse happened.

'No one got hurt.'

Hours after he barged into the home, Christodoro was found asleep in his car as it was parked in the driveway of a home in nearby Lyndhurst, police said.

He was found in the same state of dress.

According to Lyndhurst police, Christodoro was 'kind of out of it' and 'had no idea how he got there.'

Police said they found Christodoro in possession of a plastic bag containing MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Christodoro was arrested but not held. Instead, he was taken to a nearby hospital because it appeared he was under the influence of ecstasy.

He faces charges of criminal trespass, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, lewdness, and a traffic violation for blocking the driveway.

Christodoro is scheduled to appear in Bergen County Superior Court on November 29.

Christodoro has law offices in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. He specializes in divorce cases, criminal law, and traffic law.

TRUMP OCEAN CLUB INTERNATIONAL HOTEL AND TOWER

Trump building in Panama tied to Russian mafia, international crime: report

By John Bowden

The Hill
November 17, 2017

Investors and customers of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City carried deep ties to organized crime and drug trafficking, according to an NBC News and Reuters joint investigation.

A Brazilian real estate salesman who partnered with the Trumps to attract condo buyers for the tower told NBC that the Trumps and others connected to the project were unaware that he was attracting shady investors to the project, but that they never asked any questions.

“I had some customers with questionable backgrounds,” said Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, who spoke to NBC on camera but under disguise from an undisclosed European city.

“Nobody ever asked me. Banks never asked. Developer didn’t ask and (the) Trump Organization didn’t ask. Nobody ask, ‘Who are the customers, where did the money come from?’ No, nobody ask.”

The Reuters and NBC News investigation said it found no indication that the Trump family or the Trump Organization engaged in any illegal activity or know of the backgrounds of people who did have links to organized crime.

In a statement in response to the investigation, the Trump Organization distanced itself from the Panama project.

“The Trump Organization was not the owner, developer or seller of the Trump Ocean Club Panama project,” the statement said. “Because of its limited role, the company was not responsible for the financing of the project and had no involvement in the sale of units or the retention of any real estate brokers.”

Still, legal experts contacted by Reuters for the story said Trump should have asked those questions.

Because Panama is “perceived to be highly corrupt,” said Arthur Middlemiss, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan and a former head of JPMorgan’s global anti-corruption program, those who do business there should perform due diligence on others involved in their ventures.

If they fail to do so, he told Reuters, they risk being liable under U.S. law of being found having turned a blind eye to wrongdoing.

The Trump Organization does not own the hotel, but rather licenses the Trump name to the project in order to boost sales.

Ventura, according to the report, had a "challenge" with Ivanka Trump over whether he could sell 100 of the units in the building. If he succeeded, she would name him the lead sales rep for the project.

“The agreement was, I had a week to sell 100 units,” Ventura said. “I said, ‘I’m going to do better, I’m going to sell without telling (the buyers) the price.”

Ventura ended up selling the units, and eventually ended up appearing alongside Trump in a video promoting the project. He was also photographed with President Trump himself.

Several of those units were sold to David Murcia Guzmán, the founder of a large Colombian marketing company. Guzmán now sits in a U.S. jail cell, awaiting extradition to Colombia after being convicted of laundering money for drug cartels.

In fact, some of the units seemed to be sold several times. Once the project was completed, complaints began arising that Ventura double- or triple-sold units and that several customers "ran into each other."

“When the building was completed and people arrived to seek out their apartments, they ran into each other — two, three people who were fighting for the same apartment," said a former lawyer for Ventura.

Now, Ventura is a fugitive from justice in Panama, where he told Reuters an arrest warrant is still waiting for him. He is under a federal investigation for international money laundering, and admitted to laundering money for corrupt Panamanian politicians. In 2009, he was arrested on fraud charges related to the project.

“Of course right now, I can be considered by the justice system to be fugitive. But there are two sides to everything," he told Reuters.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

CREATIVE RELIGIOUS INTERPRETATION DRAWS MAJOR CRITICISM

by Bob Walsh

Greggs is a large bakery chain in the U.K. They came up with a promotional image for their advent calendar which replaced the baby Jesus in a nativity scene with a sausage roll (with a bite taken out of it). For some reason or other a lot of people were well and truly pissed off about it.

I guess Christians have no sense of humor. Since they stole most of their holidays from the pagans you would think they could kind of loosen up a little. You don't hear the Jews going ballistic every time somebody shows a photograph of some foliage on fire..

POLICE COLLISION KILLS TWO CHILDREN

by Bob Walsh

A secondary collision involving an LASO vehicle responding to an emergency killed two children and injured other people in Boyle Heights on Friday.

The Los Angeles S. O. car was responding to a shooting scene at about 7:30 p.m. when it collided with another vehicle, The S.O. vehicle was knocked into a group of pedestrians, killing two children, ages 7 and 9. The other vehicle struck a third vehicle, then rebounded into another group of pedestrians in a crosswalk, injuring two adults..

The matter is under investigation.

LETTER TO UCLA CHANCELLOR CONCERNING THREE THIEVING BASKETBALL PLAYERS

Under no circumstances should they ever be reinstated to the UCLA basketball team

By Howie Katz

Big Jolly Times
November 16, 2017

I sent the following email to UCLA chancellor Gene Block concerning UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill who were arrested for stealing merchandise from three high-end stores in China:

Chancellor Gene Block

I am a former California law enforcement officer and retired criminal justice professor. Please allow me to make some comments about the three student athletes that were arrested for shoplifting merchandise from three high-end stores in China.

I watched the ‘apology’ offered by LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill which they read from a script. They referred to the thefts as ‘mistakes.’

These were not mistakes. 2 plus 2 equals 5 is a mistake. Misspellings and typos are mistakes. Theft is a crime, not a mistake.

The three would have been sentenced to prison were it not for the intervention of President Trump. Wendell Brown has not been as fortunate. The former Ball State football player has been confined to a Chinese prison for more than a year for getting into a barroom brawl.

Had Ball, Riley and Hill stolen from three stores in California, they could have been charged with two counts of burglary. CA Penal Code 459 is when a person, upon entering a structure intends to commit a crime. So stealing from the first store would constitute theft, but thereafter stealing from the second and third store could have constituted the more serious crime of burglary.

I see where UCLA coach Steve Alford said “These are good young men who exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment.” If they were not star basketball players, no one would say that. Back in the community they would be considered nothing more than common criminals.

Suspension is not enough. They committed multiple thefts while on a UCLA basketball team trip. You should expel these thieves from UCLA. Short of that, their athletic scholarships should be revoked.

Do I believe in giving someone another chance? Of course I do! But I do not believe a criminal should be rewarded for his outstanding athletic abilities. Even if Ball, Riley and Hill were to be expelled from UCLA, they would be snapped up by other colleges or universities eager to use their basketball talents. That’s not the treatment an ordinary person would receive.

Under no circumstances should they ever be reinstated to the UCLA basketball team.

Howie Katz
__________

Here is the reply I received:

Dear Howard,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. As Chancellor Block, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero and Coach Alford said this week, the actions of these three student-athletes are totally contrary to our values.

Although UCLA Athletics has imposed an indefinite suspension on each of these students, prohibiting them from practice or play, please know that this does not represent our final determination on how to proceed in light of their actions. As the chancellor said in his campuswide message earlier this week, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident using fair and thorough processes to guide any action with respect to the involved students. Those determinations have yet to be made. Please note that these proceedings are confidential, limiting the amount of information we are able to share, but be assured that we take this matter seriously and will take appropriate action.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

Taleen Ananian
Manager, Executive Communications
UCLA Communications and Public Outreach

Reading between the lines, I would say they'll be reinstated.

COLORADO EXPERIENCES 34 PERCENT INCREASE IN CHILDREN UNDER 10 COMING TO AN ER AFTER EXPOSURE TO MARIJUANA

First ever fatal marijuana overdose reported in Colorado: Doctors claim the drug killed an infant who ate some of his parent's stash

By Natalie Rahhal

Daily Mail
November 17, 2017

The world's first documented fatal marijuana overdose has been reported for the first time by two doctors in Colorado.

An 11-month-old boy died of a sudden heart attack that the doctors claim was caused by high levels of marijuana in his system.

He was brought to the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, where Dr Thomas Knappe and Dr Christopher Hoyte could find nothing to explain his heart inflammation, aside from his levels of THC - the psychoactive component of marijuana.

The case, originally published in a journal in August, has ignited debates over both the risks of marijuana and the legitimacy of the doctors’ claims since they came forward today.

According to the original case study, the boy had been living in an ‘unstable’ situation in a hotel, but had previously been healthy, and appeared well-fed to the doctors.

But that morning he was reportedly sluggish before having a seizure. After recovering he tried to vomit, and eventually lost consciousness.

When he arrived at the emergency department of the University of Colorado Colorado of medicine at Anschutz Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, the infant was completely unresponsive, slipped into a coma and then had a heart attack.

Despite an hour’s worth of attempts to revive him, the little boy died at the hospital.

The doctors performed an autopsy, but claim that they could find no signs of infection, and nothing unusual to explain the heart inflammation that had killed him.

With one exception: His blood work revealed that he had 7.8 nanograms/ml of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – in his blood.

THC causes the sensation of a 'high,' and is often excluded from medical marijuana which uses cannabidiol (CBD) to relax muscles without the psychoactive effects.

In Colorado, an adult is considered to be driving illegally under the influence if they have more than five nanograms of active THC in their blood.

The doctors were unable to determine how the boy had gotten exposed to so much of the psychoactive chemical. According to their report, the parents were unsure if he had eaten an edible, or ingested the cannabis some other way, but admitted to having drugs - including marijuana - in their household.

The claims of critics and anti-drug campaigns that weed can kill have long been debunked and even organizations like the National Institutes of Health and CDC acknowledge that there have been no previously documented cases of overdose.

But if the doctors’ conclusions are confirmed, this boy’s sudden death could drive new challenges to marijuana legalization and research efforts.

Much of the research done on cannabis and heart attacks, heart disease and stroke is based on people who were either also taking other substances, or had smoked marijuana. Since smoke inhalation has known effects on heart health, it’s difficult to establish to what extent these health problems are caused by the smoke or by the cannabis itself.

Marijuana-smoking has been shown to aggravate chest pain for those who already have heart problems, but, that is ‘one of the few things scientists know for sure about marijuana and cardiovascular health,’ according to a Harvard University explainer on the subject.

Aside from people with heart disease, inexperienced cannabis users are the most likely to feel the effects of the substance on their hearts. Marijuana has been shown to drive heart rates and make the heart work harder, especially in new users.

But no deaths have ever been reported as directly caused by the drug.

This case study is also unique in that it involves a child. There is, of course, little research dedicated to cannabis’s effects on people under 18.

Hospitals have seen an increasing number of children coming to the ER after cannabis exposure, according to recent research. Marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012. A study published in JAMA reported that marijuana cases for children under 10 increased by 34 percent in Colorado between 2009 and 2015.

While no one has been able to previously prove that cannabis was the cause of a death, a robust body of research has documented the therapeutic benefits of the previously reviled drug for cancer patients, a non- (or less, depending on what you read) addictive alternative painkiller to opioids.

It is also worth noting that most sudden cardiac arrests in children happen before they reach their first birthdays – as it did for the boy in the case study. Often they are caused by respiratory failure, but many are categorized as incidents of sudden infant death syndrome, and have no clear explanation.

LARGEST EVER FENTANYL SEISURE IN THIS COUNTRY

Mexican traffickers making New York a hub for lucrative — and deadly — fentanyl

By Nick Miroff

The Washington Post
November 13, 2017

NEW YORK — The middle-aged couple in the station wagon went shopping at a New Jersey Walmart on a warm night in August. They stopped for dinner at an IHOP on the way home. And when they arrived at their apartment building in a quiet residential section of Queens, the narcotics agents -following them got a warrant to go inside.

They found several suitcases loaded with brick-shaped bundles of what appeared to be heroin. But lab tests determined that most of it — 141 pounds — was pure fentanyl, a synthetic and supremely dangerous opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

It was the largest fentanyl seizure in U.S. history. There was enough inside the apartment to kill 32 million people, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The married couple who were arrested, Rogelio Alvarado-Robles, 55, and Blanca Flores-
Solis, 52, had no criminal record in the United States. They had flown to New York a few weeks earlier with Mexican passports. They had no weapons.

But they were drug cartel emissaries, investigators said, sent to broker the sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics, like pharmaceutical executives on a business trip.

DEA agents say recent arrests reflect an emerging pattern, as Mexican trafficking groups ¬attempt to turn New York City into their Northeast distribution hub. They operate with ¬quasi-corporate sophistication and an inconspicuous, transient presence, sending sales teams to deliver staggering quantities of drugs and then quietly disappear.

This year, narcotics agents have seized more than 350 pounds of pure fentanyl in New York City, 10 times as much as they did in 2016. A calculated business decision appears to be behind the boom.

“The cartels realize that fentanyl is much more profitable than heroin,” said James Hunt, head of the DEA’s New York Division.

Unlike heroin, whose raw opium base must be collected from poppy growers in remote mountain valleys, fentanyl can be made in clandestine labs using relatively inexpensive chemicals. And because it is so much more potent, it can be diluted with cutting agents to make exponentially more street-level doses, whether in powder form or ersatz pills pressed to resemble brands such as OxyContin and Percocet.

“These guys are evil businessmen, but they are still businessmen,” Hunt said. “I don’t know of any other product where you could invest $3,000 and make millions.”

More than 60,000 people died from overdoses in the United States last year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl increased fivefold.

According to DEA intelligence gleaned from wiretaps, about 80 percent of the fentanyl seized in the New York area appears to be linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. The organization remains North America’s dominant trafficking group, even as its leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, awaits trial in a maximum-security jail in Lower Manhattan.

Sinaloa’s smuggling machine has carried on without Guzman, meaning his legal defense may be funded in part with profits from fentanyl sales made just a few miles from his cell.

The Sinaloa group does not bother with retail-level commerce, according to the DEA. It uses New York to deliver large wholesale shipments to middlemen, typically local Dominican traffickers. Those groups distribute to markets in New England, Pennsylvania, Baltimore and other places where the opioid crisis is raging.

Late last month, as President Trump declared opioid addiction a public health emergency, Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to a mail inspection facility at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to praise the customs agents who have intercepted fentanyl shipments arriving from China.

“With synthetic drugs flooding our streets, drugs are now more powerful, more addictive and more dangerous than ever,” Sessions said.

“Fentanyl is the number one killer drug in America,” he said. “And as deadly as it is, you can go online and order it through the mail.”

But Mexican traffickers are sending fentanyl through the U.S. interstate highway system, not the postal service, and in quantities that dwarf the amounts arriving in envelopes.

They smuggle it across the border in fake vehicle panels or commercial loads of produce, furniture, auto parts and other cargo, driving it across the country from California and Arizona.

The loads arrive at industrial parks in New Jersey, where cartel emissaries are sent to meet the shipments and oversee wholesale transactions. Then they must figure out what to do with bricks of cash that are even bulkier than the drugs.

The Bronx and northern Manhattan are choice locations for the traffickers, agents say, because their proximity to major bridges and highways offers the same logistical advantages sought by any commercial distributor.

Last month, narcotics agents arrested a Mexican driver in an industrial area of the Bronx with 37 pounds of fentanyl in the back of a delivery truck. The location was not far from a hotel where, in June, they seized 40 pounds of the drug stashed in a duffel bag.

Like the couple in Queens, traffickers appear to be avoiding high-crime neighborhoods where they might be at greater risk of being robbed or detected. DEA agents in August found 20 pounds of fentanyl and heroin at a $4,000-a-month apartment overlooking Central Park. The building’s exterior had appeared in episodes of the sitcom “Seinfeld” as the apartment of the Elaine Benes character.

Inside, a Dominican drug gang was blending fentanyl and heroin in coffee grinders and stamping the drug packages with labels such as “Pray for Death,” “Uber” and “Gilligan’s Island.” As police raided the apartment, an elderly resident came outside to walk her poodle. She complained to the DEA about her neighbors’ loud music.

“Two years ago, any one of these seizures would have been huge,” Bridget Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, said in an interview. “But we’ve never seen volumes like what we’re seeing now,” she said. “Not even close.”

The couple arrested in Queens face major drug trafficking charges. An attorney for Flores-Solis said she was not aware of any illegal activities that her husband, Alvarado-Robles, may have been involved in. His attorney declined to comment.

New York City’s homicide rate soared in the 1980s, when Colombian traffickers dominated the cocaine trade, setting up extensive distribution networks and defending them with lethal force.

The Mexican traffickers flooding the city with fentanyl and other drugs are different. They largely eschew violence, and they don’t carry guns. They are the sales teams — not the enforcement division — of Fentanyl Inc.

“They’re smart,” said Jimmy Arroyo, a DEA special agent who leads the team that in recent months has made several large busts linked to the Mexican traffickers. “They know that if they kill people, they will attract attention.”

Last year, amid an unprecedented surge of opioids into New York City, the number of homicides decreased to 335, the lowest total since 1963.

This is not to say the cartels are not violent, only that they are strategic. In Mexico, where they kill easily and with near-total impunity, the homicide rate is at a 20-year high. And in some major New York drug cases, prosecutors say, their U.S. trafficking partners have been forced to send relatives to Mexico as insurance in case a deal goes bad. One major heroin dealer sent his own son.

Although the opioid boom hasn’t led to more violence in New York, it has produced a staggering amount of death. The city had nearly 1,400 fatal overdoses last year, a 46 percent increase from 2015. Fentanyl showed up in 44 percent of autopsies.

Heroin spiked with fentanyl — known on the streets as “fire” — had been in the city’s drug supply for years, but recent lab tests showed that doses were increasingly composed of cutting agents and pure fentanyl, which users say provides a more intense high than heroin alone.

It’s also shorter in duration, requiring more frequent doses to avoid crippling withdrawal symptoms.

Prosecutors say there are signs that the Mexican trafficking groups have started taking steps to dilute their fentanyl shipments before delivery, apparently worried that the surge in overdose deaths could harm sales. Recent seizures have found pre-mixed packages with lower and somewhat less lethal concentrations of fentanyl.

“The cartels have their own self-interest at heart, and if they do nothing but put out fentanyl, they will kill their customer base,” said Brennan, the special narcotics prosecutor. “From a business perspective, it’s good to send a small, compact load, but if the person receiving it is not familiar with how to dilute it, you will kill too many people and draw more law enforcement attention.”

Getting accurate test results on the composition of seized drugs now takes longer, because narcotics agents can no longer cut open packages to conduct field tests. The fentanyl is too dangerous; even a dusting of airborne powder can trigger an overdose. Narcotics agents must conduct raids using respirator masks, gloves and even full-body suits, and when they enter a “pill mill,” they increasingly find criminals wearing the same gear.

DEA agents say they do not think that Mexican trafficking groups will eventually take over retail-level fentanyl distribution in New York. That would require far more personnel, exposing the organization to more arrests, and therefore more informants. They prefer to continue outsourcing and remain mostly anonymous in the drug trade.

The sales representatives who reach New York, communicating with encrypted software such as Silent Circle and Signal, are typically nameless figures whom narcotics agents have never seen. And in a matter of days or weeks, they’re gone.

In June, when Arroyo’s team seized 40 pounds of pure fentanyl at the Umbrella Hotel in the Bronx borough of New York, they arrested Carlos Ramirez, 25. He wore thick glasses, shorts and sneakers. He looked like he was in town for a comic book convention, not a massive fentanyl deal.

Prosecutors say he arrived from Lakeland, Colo. But a clerk at the hotel who remembered Ramirez said she spoke to him in Spanish. He had stayed there on other occasions before his arrest, she said, telling her he was a pipe fitter in New York for construction jobs. He asked her for advice on where to eat, and what clubs to go to. He told her he was from Sinaloa.

“It was strange,” the clerk said. “I never saw him wearing any work clothing.”

EVENTUALLY COULD BE CONSTRUED AS NEVER

US Ambassador Vows Embassy Will Eventually Be Moved to Jerusalem

Israel Today
November 13, 2017

Israelis were disappointed when US President Donald Trump didn't immediately move his nation's embassy to Jerusalem in accordance with repeated campaign promises.

Sure, nearly every recent US presidential candidate had promised the same. But Israelis actually believed Trump would do it.

So, it was something of a let-down when over the summer it was reported that Trump would follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama and George W. Bush, at least for now, in extending a national security waiver to avoid moving the embassy.

Putting the US Embassy in Jerusalem would cement Israel's claim to the city as its undivided capital, something much of the Arab world vociferously opposes.

Nevertheless, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday reaffirmed that the Trump Administration does indeed intend to move the embassy, eventually.

During a speech to the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala in New York City, Friedman stated:

"The president has also made clear that he intends to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when. And I take the president at his word, and I'm personally committed to do all that I can to advocate for this move."

Friday, November 17, 2017

TAYLOR SWIFT CONDEMNED FOR NOT JOINING TRUMP-HATING CELEBRITIES

A little known women’s fashion magazine attacks the singer for being apolitical

I am not a Taylor Swift fan but I have to admire her for not joining Alec Baldwin, Barbara Streisand, Rosie O’Donnell and other Trump-hating celebrities.

According to to news.com.au, last month, Swift’s lawyers threatened to sue a blogger for online magazine PopFront over an article which suggested the 27-year-old was “an icon of white supremacist, nationalists and other fringe groups” and described her relative political silence as a “subtle encouragement” of the far right.

MARIE CLAIRE is a little known women’s fashion magazine. In a November 14 article, the magazine attacked Swift for being apolitical. The writer Kayleigh Roberts said:

Fall of 2016 saw a slew of celebrities get vocally and visibly involved in the political process, supporting candidates and encouraging their fans to get out and vote.

After a period of complete silence about the election, Taylor did post on Instagram about the fact that she was voting:

Some people interpreted her sweater as confirmation that she was casting a vote for Hillary Clinton (see this post by Lena Dunham for explanation of the theory), but that's a far cry from stating her political stance outright. Taylor is not required to be open about her politics, of course, but it's also fair to question her decision to remain silent in what was a particularly contentious and consequential presidential battle.

Just this month, the ACLU released a statement admonishing Taylor for what it saw as an attempt to silence constitutionally protected free speech after the singer's legal team demanded that a blogger retract a post about Swift's status among white supremacists. Whether she likes it or not, Taylor's politics (or her perceived political apathy) are a part of her reputation, and a song addressing or at least acknowledging that (even if the song did not address her personal politics) would have been impactful.


Then the Magazine then tweeted:

We’re still waiting for an explanation of Taylor Swift’s decision to remain apolitical during the 2016 election.

Swift does not owe that little feminist magazine or anyone else an explanation for why she hasn’t joined other celebrities in bashing Donald Trump.

Alec Baldwin may be funny at impersonating Trump on SNL but he has expressed his hatred of Trump on several occasions. And didn’t Streisand and O’Donnell say they would leave the country if Trump got elected ….. why are those two still here?

Swift could be either a Trump-hater or a supporter of Trump, and that is her right, but she does not have to go public with her beliefs.

I hope Swift sticks to her guns and keeps doing what she does best … sing! She should ignore MARIE CLAIRE and other Trump-haters by remaining apolitical.

TEACHER’S SPECIALTY IS DEALING NARCOTICS IN SCHOOL

Special education teacher, 51, is busted for 'dealing heroin and oxycodone pills at her high school'

BY Snejana Farberov

Daily Mail
November 16, 2017

A special education teacher in a Maryland high school has been charged with selling drugs and opioid prescription pills on school property.

Monica Snee, 51, of Salisbury, was arrested on Tuesday on seven criminal counts, among them possession of heroin; distribution of heroin; distribution of heroin on school property; possession and distribution of oxycodone and distribution of suboxone on school property.

Donna Hanlin, the superintendent of Wicomico County public schools, says the alleged drug sales took place in a parking lot behind Parkside High School, where Snee worked as a special education teacher.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis says the investigation started in October when a recovering addict came forward to reveal his previous drug source, who was identified as Snee.

Just before 3pm on Tuesday, deputies conducted a traffic stop on Snee as she drove off school grounds.

When they searched her SUV, deputies recovered more than 100 capsules of heroin, hundreds of oxycodone pills and a small amount of suboxone strips.

‘Snee did not have a prescription of either the oxycodone or the suboxone nor were they in a proper prescription container,’ according to a press release from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.

The 51-year-old teacher was also found to be in possession of almost $3,000.00 in cash and a supply of empty plastic baggies commonly used in the distribution of illegal narcotics.

During Snee initial court appearance on Wednesday, a judge set her bond at $50,000.

Administrators at Parkside High School placed Snee on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, reported DelmarvaNow.com.

Parkside Principal Kim Pinhey contacted students' parents by phone on Tuesday to deliver the news of Snee's arrest, according to a press release put out by the county schools superintendent.

'Every day, you trust your children to our care, and our number one priority is the safety of our students,' Pinhey was quoted as saying on the call. 'It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. Please be assured I will always take immediate action anytime there appears to have been a violation of the trust between students and educators.'

As of Thursday morning, Snee's name has been scrubbed from the Parkside High School's website.

TOP SINALOA CARTEL LIEUTENANT FOUND TORTURED AND SHOT TO DEATH

Charged with El Chapo in Chicago; dead in Mexico after torture

By Chuck Goudie, Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel

ABC 30 Action News
November 15, 2017

CHICAGO -- A top lieutenant in El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel-and key figure in the druglord's Chicago case-has been found tortured and killed, the I-Team has learned.

Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo, alias "El Marito Choclos," had been missing for several days last month in Mexico. Federal prosecutors in Chicago on Wednesday asked a federal judge to drop the charges against Valenzuela Verdugo, 36, since the "government has obtained credible information that defendant Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo died on or about October 22, 2017. Specifically, the government has learned from, among other sources, a copy of a Mexican death certificate, that Valenzuela Verdugo is deceased."

For Valenzuela Verdugo it was apparently a violent ending to life in a lethal business.

Mexican law enforcement officials said they found Valenzuela Verdugo deposited on a dairy farm near Culiacán in Mexico's Sinaloa state. The drug operative had been tortured, shot and covered with lime-a chemical that already had begun to decompose his remains, police sources said. He was found east of Culiacán, Sinaloa, about 400 meters from the Stanza Torralva district.

He had been a fugitive since late 2014 when indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago and added to the burgeoning case against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the world's richest drug kingpin.

Two years ago Valenzuela Verdugo was named as a major trafficker and money launderer by U.S. Treasury Department officials under the so-called "Kingpin Act." At the time, the Treasury Dept. froze his assets. And said that he had "reinforced the criminal power and the influence of the infamous activities of Mr. Guzman." El Chapo himself is currently held in New York and being prosecuted there on charges similar to the Chicago case.

Federal authorities in Chicago did not respond to I-Team requests for information on Valenzuela Verdugo's torturous murder. Prosecutors have asked to appear in front of Chicago District Judge Ruben Castillo on December 5th when they will present the motion to dismiss charges.

AVOCADO INDUSTRY FINANCED MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS

Powerful Mexico Crime Groups Grew by Extorting Avocado Trade: Report

by Parker Asmann

InSight Crime
November 1, 2017

A new report suggests that two organized crime groups in Mexico initially funded their criminal enterprises through extorting and kidnapping avocado farmers, shedding new light on how these now-powerful players got their start in the underworld.

Throughout the 1990s, Mexico's Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (Cartel Jalico Nueva Generación - CJNG) and the Cuinis criminal group pioneered the extortion and kidnapping of wealthy avocado farmers to fund their expansion, according to a report from the National Center for Planning, Analysis and Information for Combating Crime (Nacional de Planeación, Análisis e Información para el Combate a la Delincuencia - Cenapi) of Mexico's Attorney General's Office, Reforma reported on October 29.

The criminal groups reportedly had an "intelligence system" that targeted wealthy avocado farmers by using information obtained from records from Mexico's now-defunct Agriculture Secretariat (Secretaría de Agricultura).

After being targeted, the farmers were then charged an extortion fee. If they refused to pay, the criminal groups proceeded to kidnap or kill the farmers and their families. This turned large-scale avocado producers into "parallel financial sources" that supplemented income from drug trafficking, according to the report.

InSight Crime Analysis

The report provides additional insight into the different criminal activities that CJNG and the Cuinis -- now two of Mexico's most powerful organized crime groups -- used to build their criminal operations.

In subsequent years, other crime groups, like the Knights Templar and Familia Michoacana, have used extortion of the avocado industry as a source of financing.

This pattern underscores how organized crime in Mexico has been fueled by US demand for products other than illicit drugs. And the size of the growing industry suggests it will continue to be a target for extortion by criminal elements.

Avocado exports earned Mexico more than $1.5 billion in 2016. The embattled southwestern state of Michoacán, particularly the city of Tancítaro, is at the heart of this industry. The state is the world leader in avocado production and produced about 80 percent of the country's avocados in 2016.

The United States accounted for nearly 80 percent of Mexico's avocado exports in 2016. Moreover, imports and per capita use of avocados in the United States has steadily increased since 2000.

Between 2009 and 2013, organized crime groups earned an estimated $770 million from Michoacán's avocado business, around $154 million annually. In response to the extortion, vigilante groups of avocado growers have taken up arms to attempt to fend off criminal groups trying to capitalize on the lucrative industry.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

COLORADO EXPERIENCES 145 PERCENT INCREASE IN FATAL CRAHES BY DRIVERS WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR MARIJUANA

Marijuana legalization synonymous with increased car crashes in Colorado

BY Dave Werner

Adirondack Daily Enterprise
October 30, 2017

Legal recreational marijuana in Colorado began with adult use in late 2012 and was followed by legal sales in 2014. Even though the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado who tested positive for marijuana has risen sharply each year since 2013, more than doubling in that time, Colorado transportation and public safety officials say the rising number of pot-related traffic fatalities cannot be definitively linked to legalized marijuana.

A Denver Post analysis of the data and coroner reports provides the most comprehensive look yet into whether roads in Colorado have become more dangerous since the drug’s legalization. Increasingly potent levels of marijuana were found in positive-testing drivers who died in crashes in Front Range counties, according to coroner data since 2013 compiled by The Denver Post. Nearly a dozen in 2016 had levels five times the amount allowed by law, and one was at 22 times the limit. Levels were not as elevated in earlier years.

Let’s take a look at come Colorado crash statistics. The 2013-16 period saw a 40 percent increase in the number of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado, from 627 to 880, according to the NHTSA data. Those who tested positive for alcohol in fatal crashes from 2013 to 2015 (figures for 2016 were not available) grew 17 percent, from 129 to 151. By contrast, the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana use jumped 145 percent — from 47 in 2013 to 115 in 2016. During that time, the prevalence of testing drivers for marijuana use did not change appreciably, federal fatal-crash data show.

Among The Post’s other findings:

¯ Marijuana is figuring into more fatal crashes overall. In 2013, drivers tested positive for the drug in about 10 percent of all fatal crashes. By 2016, it was 20 percent.

¯ More drivers are testing positive for marijuana and nothing else. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 who tested positive for cannabinoids, more than 52 percent had no alcohol in their system. By 2016, it had grown to 69 percent.

¯ The average age of drivers in deadly crashes in 2015 who tested positive for marijuana was nearly 35, with a quarter of them over 40.

In 2016, of the 115 drivers in fatal wrecks who tested positive for marijuana use, 71 were found to have Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in their blood, indicating use within hours, according to state data. Of those, 63 percent were over 5 nanograms per milliliter, the state’s limit for driving.

So, as other states consider legalizing marijuana use, can we learn lessons from Colorado, a state with experience? “I never understood how we’d pass a law without first understanding the impact better,” said Barbara Deckert, whose fiance, Ron Edwards, was killed in in a 2015 collision with a driver who tested positive for marijuana use below the legal limit and charged only with careless driving. “How do we let that happen without having our ducks in a row?” Good question!

EDITOR’S NOTE This is what California can be looking forward to.

FEDS LOOOKING FOR MORE SANCTUARY CITY SCALPS.

by Bob Walsh

The D.O.J. has recently sent letters to 29 jurisdictions in the U. S. demanding that they show they are cooperating with ICE by not later than December 8 or else. These letters "remind" the powers that be in those areas that their sucking up federal money requires that they comply with 8 USC 1373, forbidding local authorities from pissing in ICE's Cheerios.

The DOJ has not yet supplied any specific information as to what would happen to those jurisdictions if they fail to comply. One expects the feds could attempt to claw back the money they have already kicked down and refuse to kick down more. Maybe. We shall see if the courts try to screw it up. They probably will.

TDC CUSTODY STAFF BEATING FEET FOR BETTER PAYING DIGS

by Bob Walsh

The improving economy has some negative issues for some employers. There has been what is described as a "mass exodus" of custody employees from the notoriously shitty pay of the Texas Department of Corrections.

There are currently 3,027 empty positons within the Texas system. That is about 12 % of the custody staff. Last year a total of 22.8% of the staff left for other gigs. This calendar year the number seems to be running higher. Hiring can't keep up.

Some individual facilities are running staff vacancies of more than 30%. Three of their facilities turn over more than 50% of their staff in any given year. By comparison the formerly great state of CA is currently running about 3% custody staff vacancies.

Texas pay starts are $32k and tops out at $43k. They are now offering $4k sign-up bonuses at several of the more severely impacted facilities.

Looking for a retirement job Howie??

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, but no thanks!

THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN

by Bob Walsh

Rare indeed. For only the third time known in the history of the country a U. S. execution was halted while in progress. Alva Campbell, 69, a guest of the people of Ohio, was supposed to be scragged by lethal injection on Wednesday but, after working for 80 minutes, they couldn't find a good vein to plug into. At that time witnesses were dismissed but not told what was going on.

Campbell, who has a shitload of adverse medical conditions, had previously requested to be allowed to be executed by firing squad (still legal in Utah). A federal judge refused, noting it would take a change in Ohio law which the legislature appeared to be reluctant to enact.

If I recall, death warrants are only valid for one calendar day so presumably a new one will have to be issued when-if the powers that be believe the situation has improved enough to find a legal way to kill him.

THIS JERK IS JUST PLAIN SUICIDAL

'Fuck TRUMP' truck sticker photo goes viral, leads to search for driver

Click2Houston
November 15, 2017

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - A photo posted on social media showing a truck sticker with an expletive directed toward President Donald Trump is going viral and prompting local law enforcement to search for the driver.

Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls posted a photo of the back of a white pickup truck with a tinted back window and a large sticker that reads, 'Fuck Trump and Fuck you for voting for him.'

Here was Nehls' caption of the photo:

"I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359. If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you. Our Prosecutor has informed us she would accept Disorderly Conduct charges regarding it, but I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it."

In the comments of the post, Nehls posted context about the disorderly conduct charge "(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: (1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace; (2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace."

KPRC2 legal analyst Brian Wice said this was a free speech issue and referred to the 1971 case of Cohen v. California. According to the case, the Supreme Court "overturned a man's conviction for the crime of disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket in the public corridors of a courthouse that displayed the phrase, 'Fuck the Draft.'"

Comments on Nehls' Facebook post were varied. Some supported his message, while others defended free speech or said the sheriff's department should focus on other high-profile crime in the community.

Nehls defended his post, commenting "It is important to respond to calls from residents, yes."

UPDATE: KPRC2 located and spoke with the driver of the truck.

Karen Forsenca said she and her husband have had the decal on their truck for almost a year.

"I thought the whole thing was totally crazy. It's been on there for such a long time and we have so much positive out of it -- more positive that outweighs the negative," Karen Fonseca said.

The mother of 12 said she and her husband stand by the stickers and don’t plan on taking them down. Forsenca said she doesn’t understand why the sheriff didn’t reach out to her, instead of posting it on Facebook.

“I mean, look, y'all don't know me and y’all found me. He could have done that at the same time, it is an invasion of privacy and everything else because he put me on blast on his Facebook Page,” explained Forsenca.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This looks like something Alec Baldwin or Rosie O’Donnell would say.

Never mind that Forsenca has had the sticker on her truck for about a yeat. This jerk better get that sign removed from her truck pronto because sooner or later some redneck Trump supporter is going to shoot her fucking ass off.

I do not believe any criminal charges will stand up in court. Back when I was a cop, some free spirits started wearing jackets and t-shirts with the words ‘Fuck You’ prominently imprinted on them. They were busted on public obscenity charges, but eventually in 1971, SCOTUS ruled that, offensive as it may be, ‘Fuck you’ is protected speech.

CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE VICTORY COULD BE SHORT LIVED

Judge Rules Against New Chicago Police Disciplinary Guidelines in Victory for FOP

By Dan Hinkel

Chicago Tribune
November 15, 2017

CHICAGO -- An administrative law judge has recommended that the Illinois Labor Relations Board throw out the Chicago Police Department’s new disciplinary guidelines, dealing an early defeat to the city as it attempts to standardize the punishments of an erratic and often toothless police disciplinary system.

The finding in favor of the city’s largest police union, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, determined that the department violated labor law by failing to bargain with the union over the new guidelines.

The recommendation from Administrative Law Judge Anna Hamburg-Gal calls on the state board to force the Police Department to rescind any discipline imposed under the advisory guidelines since they were adopted in February and reassess the punishment to be imposed under the more informal system in place before the guidelines existed. While it is unclear how many cases could be affected, the city closes hundreds of disciplinary cases in a typical month. Through the first five months of this year, for example, the department had closed more than 2,000 disciplinary cases, though historically the department has found misconduct and levied punishment only in a slim percentage of cases.

The recommendation, issued last week, does not carry the force of law, and months will likely pass before the state panel makes its ruling, said the board’s executive director, Kimberly Stevens. The department and union can file briefs in support of their positions on the recommendation in the coming months, and the board’s ruling could lead to further challenges in court.

“This is a great victory for our members,” FOP President Kevin Graham said in a statement on the union’s blog. “The City is obligated to negotiate with us. According to this ruling, they will now have to. We will fight every attempt by the City to make changes without negotiating first.”

Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey voiced disappointment in the recommendation and said the city’s lawyers would challenge it.

“The Chicago Police Department has authority from the collective bargaining agreement to impose discipline, and the disciplinary matrix is designed to provide certainty for officers and serves as a management tool so that recommendations are consistent across the department," he said in a written statement.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and department officials vowed to overhaul the police disciplinary system in the wake of the scandal sparked nearly two years ago by the release of video of a white police officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. The controversy highlighted the failings of a sluggish disciplinary system that has often levied light punishments or none at all, even when evidence suggested wrongdoing.

Before February, the department had never used standardized punishment guidelines for most disciplinary cases, though experts and panels suggested it for years. The guidelines offer a range of punishments for various common violations, and supervisors are instructed to consider "mitigating factors," such as an officer's inexperience or acknowledgment of wrongdoing, as well as "aggravating factors" such as attempts to cover up misconduct.

Along with the Police Department, the city’s new police watchdog agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, also uses the guidelines as it makes recommendations for discipline to the department.

The Fraternal Order of Police filed a charge with the labor relations panel, arguing that the new guidelines should have gone through the collective bargaining process that is now ongoing. The union has taken similar action recently in response to new departmental initiatives such as the introduction of body cameras; those cases are pending.

In the case of the disciplinary guidelines, the administrative law judge sided with the union in finding that the department had made a unilateral change to a mandatory subject of bargaining. The city argued that the guidelines resulted in limited change by simply putting in writing the department’s informal process for formulating discipline.

The union challenged the new guidelines before elections in April swept in new FOP leaders who have been vocal in their opposition to the city’s efforts to revamp discipline and make other changes in the Police Department.

THE REACH OF MEXICAN DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS

Which Cartels and Where they Dominate the World Drug Market

Borderland Beat (Translated from Zeta)
November 12, 2017

MEXICO CITY, Sin Embargo -- The narco-empire built by Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán in the Sinaloa Cartel continues to be the most powerful internationally among its Mexican competitors, according to the latest report of the Mexican prosecutor's office. which detected nine major criminal organizations in the country.

According to official data, these gangs carry cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and chemical precursors to 51 countries on five continents, through alliances with criminals based in Colombia, Italy and some African countries, among others.

The Sinaloa Cartel, despite the imprisonment of its leader, continues to have the greatest impact, with influence or presence in 43 states, according to the report of the Attorney Generals Office (PGR, prosecutor's office), published by El Universal.

For its part, Los Zetas, an organization made up mainly of former members of the military, ranks second in the list, with a presence in 20 countries. The infamous podium is completed by the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel, which is highlighted as the one with the greatest financial resources and its rapid growth.

In its October report, the DEA (US anti-narcotics agency) detailed the activity of six cartels: de Juarez, del Golfo, Sinaloa, Jalisco Nueva Generación, Beltrán Leyva and Los Zetas. However, the PGR has three other organizations in its sights: the Tijuana Cartel, the Knights Templar and the Michoacán Family.

The DEA had singled out these Mexican organizations as the biggest criminal drug threat to the United States. "There is no other group that is currently positioned to challenge them," the agency emphasized, highlighting the weight of the Sinaloa Cartel and the growing preponderance of the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco.

The list of countries in which each cartel has presence or influence:

CÁRTEL DE SINALOA:
Canada, United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. In addition to Uruguay, Argentina, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, West Africa, Sudan, United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Arab Emirates, India, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.

THE ZETAS:
United States, Guatemala, Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Sierra Leone, West Africa, Spain, Italy, Russia, United Arab Emirates, China and Japan.

JALISCO NEW GENERATION CÁRTEL:
United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Colombia, Bolivia, West Africa, India, China and Japan.

MICHOACAN FAMILY:
Canada, United States, Ecuador, Spain, Bulgaria, Holland, India and China.

CÁRTEL DEL GOLFO:
United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador and Italy.

CÁRTEL DE TIJUANA:
United States, Colombia, Peru and Argentina.

TEMPLAR KNIGHTS:
Canada, the United States and China.

CÁRTEL DE JUÁREZ:
United States, Colombia and Peru.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PIERS MORGAN SLAMS AMERICAN TRUMP-HATING MEDIA

Trump’s Asia tour was a triumph for him and a failure for the US media because his hosts did what our press refuses to - they treated him with respect

By Piers Morgan

Daily Mail
November 14, 2017

‘Trump finds success in Asia’ screamed the CNN headline.

Wait, WHAT?

Every part of that sentence is bordering on unprecedented.

First, Donald Trump being called a ‘success’ during his tenure as President of the United States by someone other than himself or his White House staff.

Second, CNN, his most entrenched mainstream media enemy, being the ones to say it.

Yet what else could my old network say?

By any yardstick, Trump’s 12-day tour to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines has been a resounding triumph.

The main purpose of such a trip for any US president is to shore up relations with the countries you are visiting, and their leaders, and to represent America in a good, positive way.

Trump did all that. And he did it with an ease, confidence, respect and good humour that often seems sorely lacking back home when he’s strutting around the White House in what seems like perpetual rage.

He may be one of the most divisive presidents in history, but in terms of his celebrity status, already very big before he even ran for office, Trump’s also a political superstar of almost unprecedented proportions.

Hence the amazing scenes of excitement that have greeted him throughout the tour.

It’s been notable to see how much his numerous hosts have lavished him with extravagant praise and parades, just as we saw on his previous visits to places like Saudi Arabia and France.

They’ve worked out how to make Trump happy: treat him like the most powerful man in the world.

For a guy so widely reviled and scorned in his own country, this high level of ostentatious respect must come as a blessed relief from the relentless hour-by-hour war of attrition he wages at home with anyone and everyone from the media to grieving war widows.

On the first stop, in Japan, Prime Minister Abe played golf with Trump and a top Japanese professional star, gave him customized hats saying ‘Donald & Shinzo, make alliance even greater’, and treated him to a steak dinner, remembering Trump’s infamous claim during a trip to Japan in 1990 that he did want ‘f***ing raw fish’.

‘There has never been such close bonds intimately connecting the leaders of both nations as we do now in the history of the Japan-US alliance,’ said Abe.

Wow. Trump himself couldn’t have out-hyperbole’d that euphoric statement.

In South Korea, where Trump’s had a frosty relationship with president Moon Jae-in, he was met with thousands of flag-waving children, military marching bands and hundreds of guards.

Moon told his guest he was ‘making great progress on making America great again.’

He added: ‘There is a special bond forged between President Trump and myself which is meaningful and I am grateful to be part of.’

Not to be outdone by Abe, he treated Trump to grilled Korean beef rib cooked with a 360-year-old soy sauce.

Next day, Trump was given 20 rousing ovations as he addressed South Korea’s National Assembly.

Chinese President Xi saw all this, and raised the bar ten-fold, unleashing the full armoury of Chinese 7-star hospitality and pageantry for the man who had spent his entire presidential campaign abusing and deriding China.

It included dinner inside the Forbidden City, where no foreign leader since 1949 has been invited to dine.

In return, Trump avoided attacking China’s human rights record, and proudly showed Xi a video of his granddaughter Arabella speaking Chinese.

(I first heard Arabella, Ivanka’s daughter, do this on the set of Celebrity Apprentice, when she was just two years old. It was even more impressive then).

Trump also praised China for out-smarting America in business.

They don’t hear that very often, and certainly not from US presidents.

But it’s true, they have, and Trump’s made it clear he’s not going to make it so easy for them going forward.

Knowing the Chinese mentality a bit from filming a documentary in Shanghai a few years ago, I’d say this a very good strategy.

They respond well to a respectful carrot-and-stick approach, as indeed does Trump.

State-run broadcaster CCTV said after he left that Trump ‘has given China what China wants, which is that respect on a global stage as the other preeminent nation.’ That’s a highly significant vote of confidence in the world’s new most important relationship.

In Vietnam, Trump offered to mediate in the South China Sea dispute, and made encouraging noises about ‘fair and reciprocal’ two-way trade deal, both vitally important issues for Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Throughout his tour, Trump avoided publicly criticizing any of his hosts.

For a man who delights in criticizing absolutely everyone, this must have taken quite extraordinary self-control.

But it paid off. The press coverage from this trip, both in the countries concerned and in the US, is the best Trump’s enjoyed since becoming President.

The only time he strayed off message and sparked controversy was when he tweeted that Kim Jong UN was ‘short and fat’, despite, ironically, this being one of his most undeniably truthful public statements.

The US media were desperate to ‘gotcha’ Trump making a fool of himself during the tour.

Witness their lip-licking joy when they heard he’d chucked a whole bowl of food into a pool full of rare Koi fish in Japan.

Twitter blew up with a video clip displaying his apparently crass, potentially murderous stupidity.

Then a fuller tape emerged showing President Abe had done the exact same thing a few seconds before.

The only people to make fools of themselves over this were the US media, and it exposed the inherent weakness of their relationship with this President - they know that bad Trump news sells better than good Trump news, and it warps their judgement.

As he flew home, Trump predictably declared his Asia tour ‘tremendously successful’.

For once, the claim was justified.

He landed hundreds of billions of dollars worth of new trade deals, had important discussions over security issues like North Korea and ISIS, and got a chance to show off his world class schmoozing skills, honed from decades travelling the world doing real estate deals.

On his last night, equally controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sang Trump a love song after dinner in Manila.

One of the verses was: “You are the light in my world, a half of this heart is mine.”

It would take a heart of granite not to smile at that footage, nor to recognise that this moment typified the spirit of this whole trip: one of reconciliation, inclusion and mutual respect.

Not one of scoring cheap political points, which is Trump’s preferred option from his Washington bunker.

Even during the absurd mass crossed-hands leaders’ handshake on Sunday at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila, when Trump at first looked completely clueless, he soon got into with commendable enthusiasm and even looked like he’s learned how to laugh at himself.

Donald Trump showed on this Asia tour that he has it in him to be fun, charming, dignified, on-message, self-aware and a proper statesman.

Dare I say, he was thoroughly presidential.

(I should also point out his wife Melania continues to be a very impressive First Lady who rarely puts a foot wrong).

The question now is can he bring that same Donald Trump to the US domestic stage?

I hope both that he can, and that his hysterical shrieking US enemies calm down a bit to meet him half way.

I’m not suggesting that I expect to see Trump-haters singing him soppy love songs. But I do think it’s time they reminded themselves that he is the President of the United States and that office commands more respect than many have been showing him.

Just as the office demands the President also shows more respect than he has been affording to many fellow Americans.

As the Asia trip proves, Trump can be a very different, far less aggressive and dislikeable beast if he’s shown respect.

POLICE INTERROGATOR ALMOST OVERCOME BY METHANE GAS

KC detective ends interview after suspect answers question with ‘loud fart’

By Tony Rizzo

The Kansas City Star
November 7, 2017

His flatulence stopped one police interrogation, but not a continuing investigation that has resulted in a 24-year-old Kansas City man facing federal gun and drug charges.

Sean A. Sykes Jr., is charged in U.S. District Court possession with intent to sell cocaine and being a felon in possession of three firearms, two of which were reported stolen.

The charges stem from Kansas City police traffic stops on Sept. 1 and Nov. 5, according to court documents.

On Sept. 1, Sykes was in a car that police searched and found a backpack that contained various drugs and two handguns. One of the guns, a .357 Magnum, had been reported stolen out of a car in Independence a few days earlier, according to the documents.

While being questioned, Sykes denied knowing anything about the guns and drugs.

In his report about the interview, the detective wrote that when asked about his address, “Mr. Sykes leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering with the address.”

“Mr. Sykes continued to be flatulent and I ended the interview,” the detective wrote.

Charges were not filed at that time.

Then on Nov. 5, police pulled over a car driven by Sykes.

According to the allegations in court documents, police found marijuana and crack cocaine inside the vehicle. They also found a .38-caliber revolver that had been reported stolen from Overland Park.
Sykes made an initial court appearance Monday and was ordered held in custody pending a hearing later this week to determine if a bond will be set.

BAIL DISPARITY FOR MISDEMEANOR PROSTITUTION IS $1,000 IN ORANGE COUNTY AND $50,000 IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

Unfair impact? Bail in California for the same crime can be $1,000 for some, $50,000 for others

By Kelly Puente

Orange County Register
November 14, 2017

Arrested for being drunk in public?

You could get to bail out of jail in Los Angeles County for $250, but get arrested for the same crime in Ventura County and it could cost you $2,500.

In Orange County, a person arrested for misdemeanor prostitution could need $1,000 to get from behind bars, but in neighboring San Bernardino County the price tag is $50,000 under the posted bail schedule.

California law mandates that judges in each of the state’s 58 counties craft their own bail schedules, which act as guideposts for jurists. As a result, bail amounts for the same crimes can vary widely across California.

Someone who can’t afford to post bail, or just doesn’t want to pay the big bill, could sit in jail longer just because of the county they’re in.

That disparity is one reason why proponents of bail reform are pushing for a complete overhaul, arguing that bail tied to money creates a two-tiered system of justice – the poor remain locked up while the rich buy their way out.

And, they say, it doesn’t adequately protect public safety.

Lawmakers seek change

“To us, it exemplifies why there is a need for reform in the criminal justice system,” said John Bauters, director of government relations for Californians for Safety and Justice, one of the groups leading the effort.

On the forefront is Senate Bill 10, which would largely eliminate the cash-bail system by having judges instead rely on an assessment of a defendant’s flight risk and threat to public safety. If bail is deemed necessary, it would be set based on ability to pay.

That bill is backed by Gov. Jerry Brown and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

Opponents, including bail agents and law enforcement officials, say the changes would cost taxpayers, because of the added expense of the risk assessments, and hurt small businesses: bail-bond firms. Supporters say there would be fewer inmates, and so taxpayers would actually pay less.

Though the issue is hotly contested, people on both sides agree that the counties’ disparity does unfairly impact poor families.

Maggie Kreins, vice president of the California Bail Agents Association and founder of Maggie’s Bail Bonds in Long Beach, said the bail system is necessary to ensure that people show up to court. But schedules could be more uniform, she said.

“Every county is so far off it’s not funny,” Kreins said. “Unfortunately, we’ve never been able to ascertain what the judges are looking at. It’s almost as if they’re picking a charge and throwing darts at a dartboard.”

Per California law, judges in each county meet annually to review and approve the local bail schedule. There are no statewide standards, but judges in some cases will consider current public-safety issues and law enforcement efforts.

Why bails vary

In Orange County, where the district attorney has vowed to fight sex trafficking, bail for felony human trafficking is $250,000.

San Bernardino County, meanwhile, doesn’t break out a specific bail amount for felony human trafficking. But the bail for misdemeanor prostitution is one of the highest in the state at $50,000.

Robert Fleshman, a spokesman for San Bernardino County Superior Court, said that bail rate was set because prostitution has historically been viewed as a public-safety concern.

Still, judges have the discretion to depart from the bail schedule and can choose to lower or raise the amount, depending on many factors.

San Bernardino County Public Defender Phyllis Morris said it is unlikely that judges are setting such a high bail for people accused of misdemeanor prostitution. Most are released on their own recognizance, she said.

Morris said San Bernardino, like Orange County, also has taken a tougher stance on sex traffickers in recent years and that the bail schedule hasn’t caught up with current views.

“It’s something that should be changed,” she said.

Criminal defense attorney Mark McDonald, who serves clients in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, said he’s amazed by the disparities. Bail in San Bernardino or Orange County can sometimes be thousands of dollars higher than in Riverside, which typically has some of the lowest bail rates, he said.

“It’s perplexing to me, because we’re all using the same laws,” he said. “A robbery in San Bernardino isn’t any more serious than in Orange County.”

System’s just fine, judge says

Others say the system works as it should.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Helios “Joe” Hernandez, who has chaired the court’s bail committee, said the bail system is individualized to each county, which is how local government should work.

“We’re never going to get around the economic, cultural and social differences among counties, and to push them to be all the same is not fair to the people who want a say on law and order in their communities,” he said. “They want to do their own thing without Big Brother micromanaging them.”

When deciding the bail schedule in Riverside, Hernandez said, judges will consider the severity of the crime and the impact on public safety.

In San Diego, judges on the bail review committee will look at a number of factors when setting the schedule, including input from the various jurisdictions within the county and new laws, like Proposition 47, which reduces penalties for some crimes, said Karen Dalton, a spokeswoman for San Diego County Superior Court.

George Eskin, a former Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge who served on the bench for 10 years, said the process was simpler in his county.

“We would survey the L.A. Superior Court schedule and someone would move to adopt it and that would be it,” said Eskin, who retired in 2013. “It was completely arbitrary.”

Eskin, a longtime advocate of criminal justice reform, was one of a dozen legal experts to serve on a work group this year that was established by the state’s chief justice to examine the bail system.

In a study released last month, the group recommended that the money bail system be replaced by a risk-based assessment and supervision program.

Who’s eligible?

When someone is arrested for a crime and a judge chooses to set a bail amount, the defendant can pay the full amount or pay a bail bond agent a non-refundable 10 percent of the tab. If the person fails to show up for court, the bail agent agrees to cover the full amount.

It is unclear how many people are in a California jail who are eligible for bail.

But about two-thirds of the state’s jail population – nearly 48,000 on any given day – are awaiting trial or sentencing, according to the Board of State and Community Corrections’ annual Jail Profile Survey. While many can’t afford to post bail, others are ineligible because of prior convictions and violations.

Kreins, who learned the business from her father and founded Maggie’s Bail more than 30 years ago, said some people are sitting in jail because their families choose not to bail them out.

When her grandson called her recently to bail him out for driving under the influence, Kreins said she took a tough-love approach.

Not bailing him out had nothing to do with money.

“I told him no way,” she said. “He has to learn a lesson.”

FUTURE BRITISH KING BLAMES THE DAMN JEWS

1986 Prince Charles letter reveals shocking thoughts on Jews

Israel Hayom
November 12, 2017

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, came under sharp criticism Saturday night after it emerged that he once blamed "the influx of foreign Jews" for causing unrest in the Middle East and said an American president should "take on the Jewish lobby" in the United States.

The British Daily Mail reported Sunday that the incendiary comments are contained in a letter dated Nov. 24, 1986, to his close friend Laurens van der Post, which surfaced in a public archives.

Written immediately after an official visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar he made with Princess Diana, the then-38-year-old prince writes that the tour was "fascinating" and that he learned "a lot about the Middle East and Arab outlook."

The letter continues: "Tried to read bit of Koran on way out and it gave me some insight into way they [Arabs] think and operate. Don't think they could understand us through reading Bible though!

"Also I now begin to understand better their [Arabs'] point of view about Israel. Never realized they see it as a U.S. colony.

"I now appreciate that Arabs and Jews were all a Semitic people originally and it is the influx of foreign, European Jews (especially from Poland, they say) which has helped to cause great problems. I know there are so many complex issues, but how can there ever be an end to terrorism unless the causes are eliminated?

"Surely some U.S. president has to have the courage to stand up and take on the Jewish lobby in U.S.? I must be naive, I suppose!"

Responding to the revelation of the letter, Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle, told the Daily Mail: "To me this is the most astonishing element of the prince's letter. The 'Jewish lobby' is one of the anti-Semitic themes that have endured for centuries. It is this myth there are these very powerful Jews who control foreign policy or the media or banks or whatever."

Pollard described the letter as "jaw-droppingly shocking," adding: "That they [the Prince's comments] come from the heir to the throne is unsettling, to put it mildly."

Whether the prince was referring to Jewish immigration before or after the Second World War, or both, is unclear.

"It is the absolute classic Arab explanation of the problems in the Middle East," said Pollard.

"And it is what everyone has always said the British aristocracy actually thinks – the idea that Jews were some kind of foreigners who had no real place in Israel until we decided to make it their homeland. Historically it is nonsense, and it's quite stunning when it comes from the heir to the throne," Pollard said.

A senior Israeli diplomatic source told the Daily Mail: "He [Charles] was traveling around the Gulf states, which in those years were very anti-Israel. It seems he was presented with a narrative in a very convincing way."

In 1993, the Daily Mail reported, Charles delivered what at the time was considered the most pro-Islamic speech ever made by a British royal family member.

He said: "Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity is poorer for having lost. ... These two worlds, the Islamic and the Western, are at something of a crossroads in their relations. We must not let them stand apart."

In 2003, it was reported the prince had not been to the U.S. for the previous six years on Foreign Office advice, largely because of his criticism of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

A diplomatic source said at the time the prince had "in American terms and international terms, fairly dodgy views on Israel. He thinks American policy in the Middle East is complete madness."

A spokeswoman for Clarence House, the prince's official residence, said of the 1986 letter: "This letter clearly stated that these were not the prince's own views about Arab-Israeli issues but represented the opinions of some of those he met during his visit which he was keen to interrogate.

"He was sharing the arguments in private correspondence with a long-standing friend in an attempt to improve his understanding of what he has always recognized is a deeply complex issue to which he was coming early on in his own analysis in 1986.

"Over the years, the prince has continued his study of the complex and difficult themes he referenced here. He has built a proven track record of support for both Jewish and Arab communities around the world and has a long history of promoting interfaith dialogue and cultural understanding."

In May this year, the British Foreign Office canceled the prince's planned visit to Israel over fears it could harm relations with Arab states. The visit would have been the first official visit by a member of the British royal family to the Jewish state.

Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan and is a strong supporter of Israel, criticized the cancellation of the historic visit, telling The Sun that it was tantamount to "pandering" to Arab regimes and an "insult to British war dead."

The prince was in Israel last September for former President Shimon Peres' funeral, but that was not billed as an official visit. He used the occasion to visit the grave of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Where but to Israel did Charles think Jewish refugees could go? England certainly wanted nothing to do with those damn Jews.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

MAYBE THIS TIME IT WILL REALLY AND TRULY HAPPEN

by Bob Walsh

Yes, I know. Hope clouds reason. I get it. Never the less I am THRILLED that today the DOJ announced they are going to seriously look at the Hillary Clinton-Clinton Crime Family Foundation-Uranium One connection and that they will at least seriously consider appointing a special counsel to look into the matter.

It is still foggy. The A. G. has already announced that he would recuse himself from anything having to do with the Clinton Foundation, so who the hell would appoint a special counsel in this matter? Will Sessions unrecuse himself? God damned if I know.

I do know that, in my own alleged mind, I am absolutely certain that a fair, honest and professional inquiry into the matter will reveal that Bill and Hillary ran the State Department-Clinton Crime Foundation as a pay-to-play operation. No doubt at all. If there is truth and justice in the world ( which probably there isn't ) we could end up with Bill and Hillary making license plates. I am not betting on it. I am, however, hoping for it.

WILL STOCKTON BE THE NEW STATE CAPITOL?

Maybe, but probably not

by Bob Walsh

There is currently a semi-serious proposal kicking around that would split the formerly great state of California into three new states, named Northern California, Southern California, and (wait for it) California.

Under the previous six-way split Stockton would have been part of Central California, which would have been the poorest state in the union, and that is really saying something. Under the current proposal Stockton would be the sixth largest city in Northern California. The new state would be the second richest in the union, behind Connecticut.

Unfortunately this new state would have 60% of its population centered n the Bay Area, which would make Northern California a liberal cesspool. Nor that California isn't already one, at least collectively.

The Draper Initiative, which is pushing this, would also call for a Constitutional Convention which would (if it goes his way) specifically allow states to secede from the union.

Ain't gonna happen, but its fun to think about.

CALPERS HATES TO DELIVER BAD NEWS

by Bob Walsh

CalPERS is the largest public employee pension fund in the known universe. They do, on occasion, have to deliver bad news. They hate that because, like many messengers, they often get the BLAME unfairly. They are trying to get out of that.

They are proposing a new law to the CA legislature that would require public employees to notify their pensioners when a local agency decides to bail out of CalPERS.

This stems from situations with the small city of Loyalton and the East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium. They both stopped paying their cut to CalPERS. CalPERS stopped paying the pensioners. The pensioners blamed CalPERS.

CalPERS wants the law to require that organizations that decide to bail must notify their membership within seven days of making that decision. The East San Gabriel Valley organization took nineteen MONTHS before they took that step. Pensioners from the East San Gabriel Valley group got their pensions cut by 63%. They were not happy. I can imagine not.

ACADEMICS ALLEGE PROACTIVE POLICING TARGETS MINORITIES

Studies show 'proactive policing' works, but social cost less clear

By Martin Kaste

NPR
November 9, 2-17

Any American who pays attention to law enforcement has heard of the strategies: "Broken Windows," "Stop and Frisk," "Zero Tolerance." These are all variations on what's broadly known as "proactive policing": efforts to seek out and prevent the causes of crime before it happens, as opposed to a more reactive policy of just sending police when called.

During the 1990s and 2000s, these approaches were widely credited for bringing down crime rates. But in the years since Ferguson, charges of racial profiling caused proactive policing to fall out of favor. Some critics say the methods don't even work as well as advertised, and they point to the fact that the murder rate stayed low in New York even after police curtailed the "stop and frisk" tactic (more on that below).

And yet in other cities, the rollback of these methods has coincided with disturbing spikes in violent crime. Last week I reported from murder-plagued Baltimore, where the Freddie Gray riots and a Justice Department investigation pushed the department to end tactics that critics labeled "zero tolerance." Former police officials are furious, saying the abandonment of those methods has cost lives.

The argument over proactive policing can be politicized, but now the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is trying to make it more scientific. It's just released a comprehensive survey of the research that's been done on the crime-fighting effectiveness of various policing strategies.

There's more research to draw on than people suspect. The authors say we're actually in a "golden age" of methodical scientific studies of policing, and the report lays out which tactics are backed by the strongest evidence.

The findings are summarized in a handy table on page 141. Some of the highlights:

"Hot Spot" policing — targeted patrols of specific trouble spots — is backed by strong evidence. This may be of interest in Baltimore, which ended the old practice of "clearing corners," under pressure from the Justice Department.

"Stop and Frisk" is more ambiguous. There's strong evidence that it works when practiced in violent-crime hot spots, but the evidence is weaker for its effectiveness when practiced throughout an entire jurisdiction.

"Broken Windows," the notion that addressing small problems can avert more serious crimes, has strong evidence when the tactic focuses on improving a neighborhood, such as cleaning up vacant lots. But when the tactic means wide-spread arrests of people for certain "quality of life" infractions, the evidence is weaker.

The survey includes assessments of other tactics under the "proactive policing" rubric, including up-and-comers such as software-driven "predictive policing" (verdict: too soon to tell.)

An important caveat on all of this: the authors say these tactics should be employed only when constitutional. That leads to a question that crosses from criminology over into law: Does "proactive policing" equate unconstitutional policing? The report hedges its bets in a paragraph that reflects the political sensitivity of the larger debate:

Several scholars have argued that it is unlikely that any programmatic use of stops, frisks, and arrests could be effective in preventing crime and still survive proper constitutional scrutiny (Bellin, 2014; Meares, 2015). If so, then no department should adopt these strategies. That said, courts have not forced many departments to give up SQF [stop, question and frisk], broken windows, or zero tolerance policing. And other scholars assume that a legal version of these strategies is possible, if departments aggressively use the legal authority to conduct stops or arrests (by encouraging officers to make all possible legal stops and arrests) and still train and supervise officers to avoid unconstitutional conduct (Harmon, 2012b). Either way, legal scholars conclude that deterrence based strategies that employ aggressive stops, frisks, and arrests raise the prospect of increased constitutional violations, and the litigation surrounding these programs supports that conclusion.

What long-term effect do these tactics have on a community and its relationship with the police? On that score, the report says more study is needed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Obama’s Justice Department pressured the Baltimore police department into ending its ‘clearing corners’ tactics and now the mayor now complains that violence in Baltimore “out of control.”

MAYOR SUDDENLY DISCOVERS BALTIMORE HAS A VIOLENCE PROBLEM

Baltimore Mayor Says City's Violent Crime is 'Out of Control'

BY Luke Broadwater and Kevin Rector

The Baltimore Sun
November 10, 2017

BALTIMORE — Calling violence in Baltimore “out of control,” Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered 30 agency heads to meet every morning at police headquarters, and to make crime reduction the top mission not only of police, but also of health workers, housing officials and public works crews.

The mayor ordered the directors of more than half of the city’s 55 departments to report to meetings daily at 8 a.m., when they will plan with Police Commissioner Kevin Davis where weeds should be cut, lead paint covered and drug houses boarded up and job applications can be handed out, among other tasks.

Pugh appeared at City Hall Thursday flanked by agency heads.

“Violence in the city is out of control,” she said. “I want every neighborhood to know I am extremely concerned and focused on reducing violence.”

Killings in the city have surged past 300 this year for a third year in a row. Violent crime is up 13 percent over last year, and reports of groups of youths attacking people apparently at random have dominated recent local news cycles.

Pugh said she was calling on businesses and philanthropies to help fund a $10 million expansion of the anti-violence Safe Streets program. And she extended night and weekend hours at six recreation centers to try to keep young people out of harm’s way.

“We must do everything we can,” Pugh said. “We’ve already hit 303 murders, which is totally unacceptable. … We know we can do better.”

City Councilman Brandon Scott, the chairman of the council’s public safety committee and a frequent critic of Pugh, said he was pleased with the mayor’s approach. He said addressing broken street lights, vacant buildings and other problems can help cut down on crime.

Scott said he has been saying as much for months.

“My only disappointment is it didn’t happen earlier,” he said. “I think it can have an immediate impact. When you’re focusing on small geographical areas, you can see the same block where we’ve had three shootings, there are hundreds of housing violations and streets lights out and a rec center that can be opened.”

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young called the mayor’s plan a “good first step” in addressing the violence.

The mayor’s news conference came shortly after another held by Davis at police headquarters. The commissioner decried a “broken juvenile justice system,” in which he said judges, prosecutors, parents and other guardians are failing the young people in their care, and thus the city at large.

Davis said he asks himself every day what else police can do — and believes others in the community must do the same. He said police officers are making arrests and taking violent offenders off the streets, only to see them released with little or no repercussions.

“Poverty, unemployment, family dysfunctions, drug addictions — all those things are very, very real in our city,” Davis said. “But they do not excuse violent behavior by anyone, particularly juveniles.

“We need to all look ourselves in the mirror as a community of parents, grandparents, guardians in particular, and get ahold of these violent kids who are wreaking havoc in our city right now.”

Davis cited the violent carjacking of a 35-year-old man by a group of juveniles near a synagogue in Northwest Baltimore on Thursday morning, and a series of recent attacks downtown and on Halloween night in the city.

He said police see the same youths committing crimes time and time again. He said he knows of one 16-year-old boy who has been arrested ten times since 2014 — for larceny, attempted robbery, burglary, carjacking, assault, two theft charges and three car theft charges — but keeps being released. He said many juveniles have similar records.

“We know who they are,” Davis said. “And if we know who they are — and the reason why we know who they are is because we lock them up again and again and again — then I’m pretty damned certain that their parents and guardians and grandparents and neighbors know who the hell they are as well.

“Step up. Step forward. Get ahold of these violent kids. It’s absolutely unacceptable that I have to stand up here and talk about 13- and 14-year-olds that we have to arrest again and again because our criminal justice system and our society isn’t doing what we need to be doing with these kids.”

Davis said he spoke to Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises “at length” on Wednesday, and they are “looking to see what we can do more together.”

“There are a lot of privacy laws associated with juveniles who are arrested and charged with crimes, and we’re going to work with our attorneys to figure out how we can share the identities of these violent young people with the school system in a legal way so they can attempt some interventions,” Davis said. “Right now, their behaviors need to be interrupted. They either need to be interrupted with a jail cell or some other type of intervention. But the way we’re doing it right now isn’t working.”

Santelises said some of the youths committing crimes have dropped out of school.

“One of the things we’re working on is paying far closer attention to our chronic absentees,” she said. “We are identifying: Who are the young people in each school who are most vulnerable to being recruited for criminal activity?”

Under Maryland law, 16- and 17-year-olds who are charged with violent crimes appear first in adult court. Davis has expressed frustration at the number of such cases that are then moved to juvenile court.

Police spokesman T.J. Smith said the percentage of such cases has “increased dramatically” in recent years.

“That’s not saying juveniles have become less violent or less dangerous,” he said. “They’re just not prosecuting them as adults.

“We’re not trying to over-criminalize anyone. But I think any victim in the city that has a gun stuck in their face by a 16-year-old kid, and their car taken from them, or they’re beat up by this 16-year-old kid with a gun stuck in their face, want that child to be held accountable in some way, shape or form. And that child should not have an opportunity to stick that gun in the face of multiple individuals.”

Davis said the rehabilitation-only focus of the juvenile justice system in Maryland is appropriate for mischief, destruction of property, trespassing or shoplifting. But “today’s violent juvenile offender is robbing people, assaulting people, and carjacking people,” he said, and “our lawmakers need to strengthen the consequences and lower the threshold for detention.”

Police have arrested four juveniles in a Halloween night attack on a woman with a wooden board. Smith said a small group of young people are “disproportionately responsible for way too much of this type of violent crime.”

In the carjacking Thursday morning, Davis said, the victim had just dropped his child off at school when “he was pinned by a suspect vehicle against his car.”

“He started to run away and they chased him, the suspects chased him, beat him up, took his car keys, and took off in his car,” Davis said.

Police are working with regional partners to investigate the incident, Davis said.

City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, who represents the area, said more must be done to address violent attacks by juveniles.

“I’m going to be very clear,” he said. “Those who are committing violent offenses in our communities, wreaking havoc on our communities and our citizens, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These are people who are holding people up at knifepoint, at gunpoint, beating up innocent people, stealing their cars. They need to be held accountable.”

Schleifer said he wants to know why certain offenders he knows from the neighborhood keep getting released after being arrested despite their records.

“How did they get to the point where they are running around with ankle bracelets on and still committing offenses?” he asked.