Friday, September 30, 2011

CRACK AND POT OR COGNAC AND UGLY WOMEN?

I think Layne’s liar – oops, I mean lawyer – is trying to pull a fast one. I’ll take the narcotics officer’s word in this case over a lying lawyer. Ghetto gang bangers drinking cognac – what a bunch of supreme shit! Beer and wine for sure, Jack Daniel’s maybe, cognac never.

DO YOU DRINK ‘YAK’ OR SMOKE IT? NEW YORK JURY GETS A LESSON IN HARLEM SLANG DURING GANG TRIAL

Mail Online
September 29, 2011

Depending on who you speak to, Jaquan 'Jay Cash' Layne either has a love of crack cocaine and marijuana... or cognac and ugly ladies.

A New York court case descended into farce yesterday, after a police narcotics expert clashed with a street-wise defense attorney over the meaning of words 'yak' and 'scud'.

Both words were used in a surveillance recording of 20-year-old Layne, who is accused of being the head of notorious Harlem gang Goons On Deck.

He and four other members of the 137th Street gang are facing charges relating to drug dealing and weapons offenses.

Layne, already in prison on other convictions, was recorded talking to associates from a payphone in Rikers prison.

It was during these conversation that Layne used slang terms, and the meanings of these terms led to the bizarre and amusing sparring match between Detective Alfred Hernandez, of the NYPD drug enforcement task force, and Layne's lawyer Frank Rothman.

Detective Hernandez told the court that 'yak' was a rhyming code for crack cocaine, while 'scud' referred to marijuana

But Mr Rothman had a far more innocent translation, saying that his client was merely referring to alcohol and women.

Mr Rothman said that, in Layne's world, 'yak' was a contraction of cognac. He added that 'scud' referred to 'a female who appears to be attractive from a distance but who isn't, close up'.

At one point, Mr Rothman seemed to suggest Detective Hernandez was behind the times by asking: 'You've never heard of sipping yak?'

The detective replied: No sir. I've heard of somebody yacking, as in throwing up.'

While Mr Rothman insists that the imprisoned Layne was unable to co-ordinate the gang's operations, prosecutors claim the recordings prove he directed his crew and advised his girlfriend, Afrika Owes, on where to deliver firearms.

Owes, a 17-year-old 'choir girl' who attended a $44,000-a-year school, hit the headlines in February this year after being convicted of conspiracy and weapons possession.

During her trial prosecutors claimed that Owes regularly carried Layne's loaded handgun, at one time complaining that it was ‘too heavy’.

THE MAJORITY OF CALIFORNIANS APPARENTLY ARE NOT KOOKS

I recently watched a video clip of two Sinaloa Cartel members being beheaded by men of unknown affiliation wearing military style clothing. The first to die gets his head lobbed off with a chainsaw. The other one gets decapitated with a hunting knife. The gruesome blood splattering video reminded me that Mexico does not have the death penalty. Bloody killings like this would not be deterred by the death penalty because the murderers in Mexico’s drug wars are a subhuman species.

My reasons for mentioning the bloody beheadings is that they shows exactly why the death penalty is justified. These inhuman butchers do not deserve to walk among the rest of us or even among inmates in prison. Amnesty International, the Pope and his bishops, Jimmy Carter and all the other death penalty opponents should be made to watch this video, whether they can stomach it or not. If they are still against the death penalty after seeing those beheadings, then their heads aren’t screwed on straight.

It is truly refreshing to see that the Golden State really isn’t full of kooks - more than two-thirds of Californians still favor the death penalty.

CALIFORNIANS REMAIN STAUNCHLY IN FAVOR OF DEATH PENALTY, POLL FINDS
By Sam Stanton

The Sacramento Bee
September 29, 2011

As death penalty opponents work to get a ballot measure before California voters next fall to abolish capital punishment, a new Field Poll indicates the initiative would be a tough sell.

More than two-thirds of state voters – 68 percent – favor keeping the death penalty, the poll found, with 27 percent favoring abolition and 5 percent expressing no opinion.

"We've polled on this for 55 years," Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said. "It's changed a little here and there, but just removing the death penalty as a potential punishment is opposed. That's pretty clear."

Death penalty opponents launched an effort in August to replace capital punishment with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, something they said would save the state millions of dollars each year.

On that point, the poll released today found that more voters – 48 percent – now support imposing a life-without-parole sentence for first-degree murderers than those who favor the death penalty – 40 percent – in such cases.

"I think what the public had in mind is the use of the death penalty for very heinous crimes, like multiple cop killings or terrorists," DiCamillo said.

But, he added, the poll makes it clear that "the public wants to maintain (capital punishment) as a potential form of punishment."

The Field Poll has consistently found over the years that a majority in the state want the death penalty to remain law.

Despite that, those in favor of abolishing it say they believe they can convince voters that the death penalty is too costly and should be replaced with a sentence that guarantees a prisoner will remain incarcerated for life.

"I think there's a decent chance," said Sacramento attorney Don Heller, who wrote the voter-approved measure that reinstated the death penalty in California in 1976 and who now supports abolishing it.

In announcing their ballot measure campaign in August, opponents of capital punishment said California spends $184 million annually on the death penalty.

But crime-victim advocate Harriet Salarno scoffed at the argument that the death penalty is too costly, saying the costs are increased by opponents pushing for repeated legal appeals.

She added that the latest poll results simply confirm what California voters have supported for years.

FINALLY, AFTER 33 YEARS

Justice was denied for 33 years. September was a banner month for the South. Say what you will about the South, but unlike California, it does meet out justice to cold blooded killers, no matter how long it takes to do so.

FLORIDA MAN EXECUTED FOR KILLING POLICE OFFICER
By Brendan Farrington

Associated Press
September 29, 2011

STARKE, Florida — A Florida man convicted of killing a police officer during a traffic stop 33 years ago has been executed at the Florida State Prison.

The governor's office said Manuel Valle, 61, was given an injection and pronounced dead at 7:14 p.m. (2314 GMT) Wednesday. He was the first Florida prisoner to be executed with a newly revised mix of lethal drugs.

Valle fatally shot police officer Louis Pena in 1978. He also shot fellow officer Gary Spell, who was saved by his bulletproof vest and later testified against Valle.

Florida's action was the latest in a spate of executions across the South in recent days, including the Sept. 21 execution of Troy Davis in Georgia for a policeman's shooting amid an international outcry and claims that he was innocent. That same day, Texas executed white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer for the dragging death of a black man. Last week, Alabama executed Derrick O. Mason for shooting dead a store clerk in a 1994 robbery.

Valle's execution began at 6:56 p.m. When the first drug was administered, Valle raised his feet, turned his head toward the execution team warden and said something that could not be heard in the witness room. He then yawned, placed his head back down, closed his eyes and made movements with his mouth before going still.

Jeneane Skeen, who was 13 when her father was killed, sat in the front row. She blinked rapidly and clenched her lips as she watched Valle's execution. Once Valle was pronounced dead, Skeen held back tears as she hugged a woman next to her and other relatives who also witnessed the execution consoled each other.

Pena's son, also named Louis Pena, stood outside the Florida prison hours before the execution and talked of closure. "It means finally, my dad's soul is put to rest after 33 years," said Pena while awaiting the execution. He was 19 when his father was killed and now is 53.

He noted that Valle's case worked through the courts for years, adding: "He killed a cop and lived 33 years. This man lived another lifetime after taking a life."

PUTTING MONEY WHERE IT COUNTS, OR NOT

There is more money being spent on breast implants and on Viagra and Cialis today than on Alzheimer’s research.

This means that by 2040 there will be a lot of old women with perky boobs. And there will be a bunch of old farts running around with a hard-on and absolutely no recollection of what to do with it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

DISGUSTING WORSHIP OF A CHILD MOLESTER

Let me be perfectly blunt. Michael Jackson was a low-down child molester! OK, so he was never convicted as such, but that is only because (1) he bought off one of his accusers who then fled to Europe and (2) in his subsequent trial for molesting another one of his victims, his multimillion dollar high-powered legal team overpowered a far less funded Santa Barbara County bush-league prosecution team. The best you can say about this creep is that he was legally innocent but morally guilty!

I have absolutely no sympathy for Dr. Conrad Murray who is now on trial for manslaughter in Jackson’s death. He was obviously hired by the creep to supply him with the drugs he wanted to take. Murray is no different from California’s pot prescribing doctors who are handing out scripts for ‘medical’ marijuana like giving candy to kids. If Murray is convicted – and you can bet he will be – he is getting exactly what he deserves.

My disgust – and that’s putting it mildly – is with the millions of fans worldwide who continue to worship this sorry-ass child molester. Just because Michael Jackson was an extremely gifted and talented singer and dancer does not alter the fact that a child molester should never receive the adulation he’s continued to get ever since it first came out that he was in the habit of ‘sleeping’ with young boys.

I can understand why Jackson’s European and Asian fans continue to worship the creep. In those parts of the world, sexual exploitation of children is quite common. But this is America where the molesting of children is a very serious offense, as it should be. His American worshipers can keep deluding themselves by saying he was found innocent by a jury, but the bottom line is that Michael Jackson was a low-down child molester and the worship this creep continues to receive is downright disgusting.

CARTEL WARS SPILL OVER INTO BROWNSVILLE AND MCALLEN

The drug cartel wars are also likely to spill over into El Paso since that city is situated directly across the border from Ciudad Juarez, the murder capital of the world.

From Borderland Beat:

SOURCES: FATAL GUNSHOTS ON MCALLEN EXPRESSWAY POINT TO GULF CARTEL

The Monitor
September 27, 2011

Fatal gunshots volleyed from one vehicle to another along the expressway early Tuesday morning point to a power struggle within the Gulf Cartel, sources familiar with the victim said.

McAllen police continue to investigate the apparent murder of Jorge Zavala, 32, a Mission man slain as a volley of gunfire penetrated his Ford Expedition about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Zavala and a 22-year-old man fell victim to the gunfire when an unknown shooter attacked their dark-colored SUV from a Chevrolet Tahoe with oversized rims as they headed west past the Jackson Road interchange.

Investigators believe the shots came from a semi-automatic rifle, but would not confirm how many struck the victims. The gunfire caused Zavala to lose control of the vehicle and crash along the expressway.

Police had no motive for the shooting as of Tuesday afternoon. But two sources familiar with the situation said Zavala had ties to Gulf Cartel members in Matamoros and Reynosa, which has shown signs of its own internal power struggle in recent weeks.

THE ATTACK

Zavala and another man were riding home from the Tex-Mex Lounge strip club, 2017 Owassa Road, Edinburg, when the shooting occurred, causing their vehicle to lose control and crash, McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.

Zavala died at the scene and the other man was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in serious condition Tuesday evening.

Police refused to say how many times the victims were shot, but preliminary autopsy results revealed that Zavala died from multiple gunshot wounds — not the crash.

A female employee at Tex-Mex said Zavala had been at the bar with a group of men. The suspected shooters were at the establishment, as well, but the employee refused to comment any further.

Public records show Zavala has a criminal history that dates to his youth. Offenses that date back to 1995 include arrests for burglary of a vehicle, tampering with government records, driving while intoxicated, theft of property, criminal mischief, failure to identify a fugitive and evading arrest.

CARTEL TIES?

Investigators could not confirm a motive for Zavala’s slaying Tuesday afternoon. But sources familiar with Zavala say his death could be part of a power struggle within the Gulf Cartel between two groups: the Rojos and the Metros, which have engaged in several grenade attacks in Matamoros and Reynosa in recent weeks.

Zavala had been a close associate of Gulf Cartel plaza boss Gregorio “El Goyo” or “El Metro 2” Sauceda Gamboa, 44, who was arrested by Mexican Federal Police in April 2009. He died of cancer while behind bars, one source said.

That connection to the Metros has made headlines in recent weeks, after a high-profile execution in Reynosa.

Samuel “Metro 3” Flores Borrego, 39, was found assassinated Sept. 2 alongside the body of a high-ranking Tamaulipas state policeman in the bed of a pickup truck along the Reynosa-Matamoros highway.

A Mexican law enforcement source confirmed and photos showed the Gulf Cartel kingpin and policeman’s bodies stripped to their underwear after they were severely beaten and shot in the head.

The execution brought the struggle between the Gulf Cartel’s two current enforcement groups to the forefront. Several sources have said Flores’ execution was part of the blood-soaked feud between the Metros and Rojos.

A local law enforcement investigator unauthorized to speak publicly said that same power struggle within the Gulf Cartel may explain Zavala’s slaying.

SIMILAR TECHNIQUE

The attack on Zavala followed a similar Gulf Cartel hit in Brownsville last year.

That attack occurred in October 2010, when three Gulf Cartel hit men drove alongside a gray Dodge pickup truck and opened fire, killing Omar Castillo Flores and his bodyguard, Jose Guadalupe Lopez.

Castillo was the youngest brother of Alberto “Beto Fabe” Castillo, who at the time was the Gulf Cartel’s plaza boss in Matamoros. His subordinates carried out the execution after Beto Fabe’s younger brother, Oscar “El Apache” Castillo Flores, took sides with the Gulf Cartel’s rival, the Zetas.

The eldest Castillo’s execution cleared the way for El Apache to carry out a slew of revenge attacks and assassinations throughout Matamoros.

After the Gulf Cartel’s enforcers killed most of El Apache’s supporters, he fled with his family to Brownsville, where he was arrested by federal authorities and sent to prison after pleading guilty to illegal re-entry.

The Zetas once worked as the Gulf Cartel’s enforcement wing prior to their widely publicized split in early 2010 that has left much of northeastern Mexico awash in bloody street battles that have left an unknown number dead.

The turf battle between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel continues. But what may come of the latest internal struggle within the Gulf remains to be seen.

Hours after the murder of Zavala, grenade attacks were reported in Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Ciudad Victoria, while an intense firefight took place in Matamoros.

AK-47 RIFLES OUT OF DATE?

Used by 50 national armies, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa and Asia, Mexican drug cartels and countless others, the Russians must be out of their minds when they say the AK-47 - a gun that is almost jam-proof - is out of date.

RUSSIAN ARMY STOPS ORDERING ‘OUT OF DATE KALASHNIKOVS’ … BUT WON’T TELL INVENTOR IN CASE SHOCK KILLS HIM
By Will Stewart

Mail Online
September 28, 2011

The Russian army has done the unthinkable and stopped ordering new Kalashnikov rifles, fearing its most famous weapon is no longer up to date, it was revealed today.

The move is so sensitive military chiefs do not dare tell the trademark gun's inventor, now aged 91, concerned it maybe too much of a shock for him.

Soviet hero Mikhail Kalashnikov, a former Red Army conscript, designed the AK-47 in 1947, since when more than 100 million have been sold worldwide. Later he produced the AK-74.

'We don't want to commit the sin of telling him this news,' said one source. 'He may not outlive hearing about this.'

Russia's Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said he is already awash with Kalashnikovs but needs a more modern gun, which is still on the drawing board at the brand's Izhevsk plant in central Russia.

A new model is due next year but Makarov has already ruled out buying again from the world famous plant before 2014.

Military expert Igor Korotchenko said the Russia army has an armory of AK-74s for the next 15-20 years.

'There are millions of the guns at warehouses since Soviet times,' he said.

A company spokesman said: 'For now we will concentrate on increasing exports.'

In 2009 Kalashnikov was personally congratulated by President Medvedev on his 90th birthday.

The AK-47 is one of the most popular firearms in the world.

Instantly recognizable by its banana-shaped ammunition magazine and stubby pistol grip, the AK-47 is currently the weapon of choice for some 50 national armies, plus assorted liberation movements, Islamic terrorists, Los Angeles gang bangers, Latin American drug lords and Somali pirates.

Along the way, it has also become something of a cultural icon, featuring in rap songs and ¬fashion shoots, adorning ¬posters and T-shirts.

It was memorably name-checked in Quentin ¬Tarantino's film Jackie Brown, in which a hit man observes with relish: ‘When you ¬absolutely, positively, got to kill every motherfucker in the room, the AK-47 is the very best there is’.

CONFRONTATION CLAUSE OF THE SIXTH AMENDMENT IS INVIOLATE

According to the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the defense in a court trial must have an opportunity to "confront" and cross-examine witnesses. In ‘Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36’ (2004), the Supreme Court increased the scope of the Confrontation Clause in trials. The Court ruled that "testimonial" out-of-court statements are inadmissible if the accused did not have the opportunity to cross-examine that accuser and that accuser is unavailable at trial.

It is likely that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - the state’s highest criminal appeals court – ruling will not be followed by appellate courts in other states.

What is surprising about the TCCA ruling is that it is a conservative court, not a liberal one.

VIDEOTAPED TESTIMONY OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS HELD UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Liberty and Justice for Y’all
‘A blawg about Texas criminal law and procedure’

September 21, 2011

Last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued its opinion in Coronado v. State.

__[The CCA] granted review of the case to determine whether the videotape procedures set out in [the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure] Article 38.071, Section 2, including the use of written interrogatories in lieu of live testimony and cross-examination, satisfy the Sixth Amendment rights of confrontation...

The case involved a six year-old victim (who was three years-old when the abuse began) that the trial court determined was "unavailable" to testify in court because of the likelihood that she would suffer severe emotional trauma upon seeing the defendant. Accordingly, the trial court allowed a neutral child interviewer to videotape an interview pursuant to Article 38.071, Section 2. The defense counsel agreed to this procedure and propounded numerous questions for the interviewer to ask. The defense counsel also agreed to allow the interviewer to ask follow-up questions that she deemed appropriate. At trial, the video of the interview was played to the jury in lieu of any live testimony by the victim.

The videotape procedures of Article 38.071, Section 2, were enacted prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Crawford v. Washington. Since that time, there has been a marked shift in confrontation clause jurisprudence in favor of a strict requirment of face-to-face live confrontation. The lower appellate court, however, failed to cite (or even mention) the Crawford line of cases in its analysis. The CCA, on the other hand, explained:

__We are unable to find any post-Crawford precedent from any jurisdiction that states, or even suggests, that a list of written interrogatories, posed by a forensic examiner to a child in an ex parte interview, is a constitutional substitute for live cross-examination and confrontation...There was no "rigorous adversarial testing" of [the child victim's] testimonial statements by that greatest legal engine for unconvering the truth: contemporaneous cross-examination. The written-interrogatories procedure used in this case does not pass muster under our English common-law adversarial system or our United States Constitution.

The CCA's reluctance to overturn this case was apparent. On page 2 of the opinion, Judge Cochran writes, "On federal constituional matters, we are obliged to follow the dictates of the United States Supreme Court regardless of our own notions."

Judge Hervey concurred. While she agreed with the majority that the procedure used in this case was unconstitutional, she wrote separately to express her opinion that the defendant's right to confrontation should be balanaced with the societal interest in protecting child victims. She would not foreclose the possiblity of allowing testimony via closed circuit television where the witness would testify in a separate room, but where the victim could still see the defendant and the jury.

Presiding Judge Keller dissented. In a well-reasoned opinion, she explains why she believes that the confrontation clause was not violated in this case. She calls this a "close case," but she would have affirmed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PALESTINE ACCORDING TO THE PALESTINIANS

Here is further proof that the real goal of the Palestinians is one state, a Palestinian state “From the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.” At the UN, Abbas’ delegation handed out maps on which Israel did not exist.

Israel Today reports that Abbas' speech [to the UN], during which he all but labeled Israel as illegitimate, "distorted the historical record and showed open hatred and hostility for the Jewish state," Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told Japanese Ambassador Haruhisa Takeuchi on Monday.

Prior to his speech, Abbas' delegation handed out maps of "Palestine" to UN delegates. The maps erased Israel completely and replaced the entire Jewish state with a Palestinian one.

Rivlin concluded that Abbas' actions "leave little hope [for peace]."

THE CONGREGATION OF THE FIRST NEW MOUNT CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH IS LOOKING FOR A NEW PREACHER

These low-life idiots must have been watching too many soap operas.

PASTOR’S DEFENSE LIES IN BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE
He says son framed him for killing so he’d have mistress all to himself

By Brian Rogers

Houston Chronicle
September 26, 2011

After a Houston pastor's wife was shot execution-style in her garage last year, police suspected her husband.

They later came to charge the pastor, his son and the woman who was dating both men.

Pastor Tracy Bernard "T.B." Burleson distracted Pauletta Burleson with a shouting match so his 21-year-old son could creep up and shoot her in the head for part of her life insurance money, prosecutors said Monday.

"He manipulated his son, who was easily manipulated," prosecutor Kari Allen said Monday in opening arguments of Burleson's capital murder trial. The 46-year-old faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Defense lawyers for Burleson said a web of skulduggery, including an affair Burleson had with a woman his son was in love with, led to the slaying.

Attorney Laine Lindsey said William Fuller was trying to frame his father for the shooting so he could date Burleson's mistress, Tyonne Palmer.

"William ended up dating Ty after the shooting," Lindsey told jurors. Fuller, who is charged with murder, is expected to testify against his father.

Lindsey also suggested an even more nefarious plot alleging that Palmer, 32, orchestrated the shooting to be with the pastor whose church burned down a week earlier. Palmer also is charged with capital murder, accused of picking up Fuller after the shooting and helping him destroy the murder weapon.

POLITICS, SOUTH TEXAS STYLE

South Texas, where those resting in their graves arise for every election to cast their votes on Spanish language ballots.

SHE-MALE PORN PICS COME TO FORE IN VALLEY COP ELECTION
By John Nova Lomax

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 27, 2011

A South Texas county constable election turned smutty last week when one candidate texted his opponent several graphic images of "she-male porn."

Cameron County Precinct 4 Constable Robert Lopez was on the receiving end of the chicks with dicks images sent by electoral foe Joe Rodriguez, police chief of the town of Primera. Lopez expressed his disgust and outrage to Valleycentral.com:

"I want people to know I don't deal with pornographic stuff on my phone... That is wrong... This is a county phone... And I would never," he said. He even filed a police report for harassment. He says it was all a set-up -- that his opponent was hoping that the smut would only come to light after some ambitious reporter did an open records request on his phone and found the porn there. (If that was in fact Rodriguez's scheme, the guy is a nitwit. Wouldn't that same revelation also uncover the fact that he had sent the porn?)

Rodriguez says it was all a mistake, a misdial. He explained that he had intended to send the porn to his cousin.

He also says the whole thing is just hardball politics, Rio Grande Valley-style.

This is not Chief Rodriguez's first porn rodeo. Four years ago he was fired from his position as a cop in the Rio Hondo ISD after he was found to be ogling porn on school computers.

So far no charges have been filed against the chief. The commenters on Valleycentral.com have some interesting things to say about Lopez, nuggets which could lead a reasonable person to check the box marked "other" come election time should these two guys be the only names on the ballot.

WHEN OUR PETS BECOME OUR CHILDREN

This poor woman wasn’t about to leave her beloved pet as road kill.

WOMAN RUN DOWN WHILE RETRIEVING HER DEAD DOG
By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
September 26, 2011

A 61-year old woman was run down by a hit-and-run driver near San Diego yesterday while she was retrieving the body of her dog from a road.

The woman discovered her dead pet about 11:30 p.m. last night along Central Avenue in the Castle neighborhood of City Heights. As she was removing the dog she was hit by an older four-door red Buick. The car did not stop.

The as-yet unnamed victim is in the hospital with a broken leg and lacerated liver.

HOW DID THESE COPS GET TO BE COPS?

This sounds so farfetched that it could actually turn out to be true. You have to wonder how some cops get to be cops when they undergo extensive background investigations and psychological tests before they are hired.

THREE HOUSTON COPS ACCUSED OF EATING EVIDENCE IN POT CASE
By John Nova Lomax

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 26, 2011

Man, the Houston Police Department is starting to seem less like a police force and more like the world's biggest frat party these days. Hard on the heels of the dismissal of one veteran cop for driving to work drunk off his ass and crashing into a (luckily almost empty) school bus, comes an allegation that three other boys in blue chomped down on some pot brownies they had seized in a drug raid.

According to a court document, around ten or eleven on the night of May 10, a narcotics complaint was phoned in to the Kingwood Patrol of HPD. At least three officers responded to an apartment on Lake Hills Drive in Atascocita. There, according to the report, they could smell burning marijuana clear out in the parking lot.

Officers knocked on the door to the unit rented by 19-year-old Nicholas Charles Hill and were invited to come in. Once inside, according to the report, police reported seeing a small group of people seated around a bong. Hill reportedly was holding "a very large bag" of weed and had another smaller one in his lap. Police say Hill told them he was a weed dealer and that he'd just taken delivery of his supply earlier that day.

Three other people in the apartment were allegedly holding drugs, and a thorough search of the apartment turned up a couple of shotguns, an unknown quantity of 'shrooms, around $940 cash, a little more weed, and an assortment of bongs and pipes.

What this official report does not mention specifically is the tray of pot brownies Hill says the cops seized and ate right in front of him and his fellow suspects.

All of this would emerge in Hill's conversations with his lawyers Daniel Cahill and J. Julio Vela. Cahill was disbelieving at first -- although only 19, Hill has a little bit of a precocious record in drug arrests -- but investigated his client's claims nevertheless. And now he says he has what might be a smoking gun.

Hill told Cahill that after eating the brownies and arresting him and two of his buddies, the cops got on their in-car computers and started squawking about how stoned they were.

KTRK's Ted Oberg got ahold of the transcripts:

"So HIGH...Good munchies," typed one at 2:44 a.m.

"Everything should be open when we get done," responds a second cop.

"Two hours, max," replies the first.

"Probably, but this will take the whole shift," answers his buddy. (The cops in question have not been named officially.)

Hill was charged with two felonies in the incident -- one for the weed and the other for the 'shrooms. His lawyer thinks the cops should be hit with felony cases of their own: eating those pot brownies would constitute felony destruction of evidence. Cahill also says that the incident represents official misconduct, as there's nothing in the HPD code of conduct that condones officers rolling around H-Town with buzzes even Devin the Dude would envy.

Internal affairs told KTRK they were aware of the incident and the cops in question have been drug-tested, apparently long after the event in question allegedly took place. They have yet to be disciplined and may never be. As for Hill, the two felonies against him still stand, pending the results of HPD's investigation.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE TEXAS?

A man in California walked into the produce section of his local supermarket and asked to buy half-a-head of lettuce. The boy working in that department told him that they only sold whole heads of lettuce. The man was insistent that the boy ask his manager about the matter.

The boy found the manager in another part of the store and told him, “Some asshole insists on buying only a half-a-head of lettuce.” As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him. So he added, “And this gentleman kindly offered to buy the other half.”

The manager approved the request, and the man went on his way.

Later, the manager said to the boy, “I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier. We like people who think on their feet here. Where are you from, son?”

“Texas, Sir,” the boy replied.

“Well, why did you leave Texas?” the manager asked.

The boy said, “Sir, there’s nothing but whores and football players down there.”

“Really?” said the manager. “My wife is from Texas.”

“No shit?!” replied the boy. “What team did she play for?”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

HOMELAND SECURITY PARANOIA

The lingering effects of 9/11 show that the terrorists have won! When we cannot take pictures without getting arrested that we normally took before 9/11, we have all become victims of a permanent state of paranoia created by al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Then again, when the police jail people for photographing them while they are making an arrest, homeland security probably has nothing to do with it. Cops became camera-shy after the Rodney King fiasco and just don’t want anyone to take pictures of them making an arrest because it might show them in a bad light.

WHEN IS PHOTOGRAPHY A CRIME?
By Diane Dimond

Jewish World Review
September 26, 2011

The scene is repeated across America millions of times each year. Citizens raise their cameras to snap a picture and immortalize what they see. Taking photographs is as much of the American fabric as driving a car.

But since 9/11, that right has begun to erode like so many others — walking unencumbered onto an airplane; living without the multitude of leering surveillance cameras; gaining entrance to a public building without showing identification.

I get the reason for all the cautious security, I honestly do. I think our country is still under the threat of a terrorist attack. But some of those with badges tasked with monitoring the threat overstep their bounds in the name of national security. I can't get over the feeling that every time they overreact, the terrorists — who are determined to change our freedom-loving way of life — win.

The Patriotic Act of 2011 expanded law enforcement powers to search for evidence of possible terrorist activity. The law says nothing about allowing officers to order us to put down our cameras, cell phones and other recording devices. Yet, in case after case, it is this law that's invoked when a security official wants to get a civilian to stop taking pictures.

I've read about all sorts of horror stories involving the seemingly innocent taking of photographs.

In February, Nancy Geovese stopped her car on a public road outside a public airport and took a picture she thought would be great for her "Support Our Troops" website. After this mother of three snapped photos of a decorative helicopter display, she was arrested by Suffolk County, N.Y., officers and told she was being charged with terrorism. After a long ordeal, including being put into a straitjacket and a solitary cell, she was charged with criminal trespass. Geovese sued the town and police department for $70 million in a case that is still pending.

Then there was the story of a veteran NASA employee named Walter Miller who was spotted taking pictures of an art exhibit near the Indianapolis City-County building. He was detained and told to stop because "homeland security" prohibited photos of the facility. Just so you understand the nonsensical nature of this, Google that Indiana building and see how many pictures of the structure are already out there.

If the subject of someone's photograph happens to be a police officer the photographer can be in serious jeopardy — even if they take the picture in their own home.

In Houston, a homeowner named Francisco Olvera was having a house party when an officer responded to a noise complaint. When asked for his identification, Olvera went to get his wallet. He did not think the officer had the right to follow him inside so he snapped his picture with his cell phone. Big mistake. Olvera was charged with illegal photography, public intoxication and loud music. All charges were later dropped.

Anthony Graber, a motorcyclist in Maryland, admits he was speeding on the highway and should have anticipated he might be pulled over by a state trooper. But he failed to turn off his helmet cam during the stop, and after he posted the video on the Internet, Graber got the surprise of his life. He was indicted for violating the state's wiretapping laws. He faces up to 16 years in prison.

In Seattle, amateur photographer Bogdan Mohora happened to be an eye-witness to police arresting a man on a public street. By his account, he was 10 feet away when he took a few pictures and began to walk away. The officers followed and demanded his camera. When Mohora asked what he had done wrong, he was handcuffed and taken to the precinct. No charges were filed, but he was told he could have been arrested for provoking a riot or endangering a police officer. Mohora won an $8,000 settlement with the city.

I could go on and on with cases of civilians — and some members of the accredited media — begin harassed for taking a photo or a few minutes of video. But I think you get my drift.

For those who think over-vigilant security is better than being lax, the words of security expert Bruce Schneier may be of interest. "Look at the 9/11 attacks, the Moscow and London subway bombings, the Fort Hood shooting — no photos," he says. "I'm not seeing a whole lot of plots that hinge on photography."

Other security professionals point to the POSITIVE aspects of a citizenry armed with Canons, Nikons and flip-cams. After the unsuccessful Times Square car-bombing, detectives found clues about the suspect in home movies shot by tourists. Police departments across the country are making arrests by watching videos posted on YouTube by shortsighted shutterbugs.

I don't want to give up any more of my rights as an American citizen. And I don't think we need to if only we would adequately train all security personnel about the specifics of the law in their state.

Citizens have every right to take a picture or video in a public place, as long as they don't disturb the peace or impede police from doing their duty. To think otherwise is downright un-American.

COSTA RICA AND EL SALVADOR'S DESPERATE PLEA FOR HELP

The two Central American countries are suffering the consequences of being squeezed between the South American drug producing countries and the U.S. with its insatiable appetite for illegal drugs.

DRUG TRAFFICKING GREATEST THREAT TO LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES TODAY, UN HEARS

Borderland Beat
September 25, 2011

UN - Costa Rica and El Salvador, two countries highly affected by drug-related violence in recent years, have urged the United Nations to help fight drug cartels and organized crime, and called on Member States with high numbers of drug consumers to take the lead on the issue.

“Our region has become prey to malevolent geopolitics,” Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda told the General Assembly’s annual general debate last night.

“As a result of our location between the largest centres of production and demand in the world, we have become a target to the dynamic of death that they both create, and we must bear the burden of extraordinary material, institutional and human costs What for the main perpetrators of these atrocities are mere ‘collateral damages,’ for Central Americans represent extreme challenges and deep wounds.”

Ms. Chinchilla added: “From here stems our greatest frustration. Thus we demand that the international community, in particular the greatest consumers of drugs and suppliers of arms that materialize the violence, assume completely and without further delay, the responsibility of their actions.”

El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes echoed his Costa Rican counterpart’s call for international support and stressed that drug trafficking affects not just Latin America but every country where drugs are obtained illegally.

“The international community must understand that it also suffers from this problem,” he said in his address today. “There is no nation in the world where there hasn’t been a drug consumer that has obtained drugs from the hand of criminal drug networks.”

He also said that Central American countries will continue to combat drug trafficking by strengthening their institutions, seeking transparency in their security bodies, and helping young people stay away from gangs. But he stressed that there would be no progress without the leadership of consumer countries, and called on the United States to take immediate measures.

“El Salvador and Central America are making great efforts to face this reality but the numbers are not on our side,” he said.

“We are talking about a drug trade route that moves about $100,000 million per year, and that culminates in the biggest market in the world and the main consumer of these substances: the United States. Not even a big country like Mexico can take a step on its own and have any possibilities of success in this battle in the face of such a terrorist threat.

“The battle against organized crime is everyone’s fight and in this sense, I would like to make a special appeal to the United Sates so that it assumes a resolute and concrete leadership in this battle against drug trafficking and organized crime.”

I'M FINE OFFICER, I'M FINE!

In Louisiana , this fella, Boudreaux, had a bad vehicle accident, caused by an 18-wheeler that ran a stop sign.

In court, the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning Boudreaux: Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, "I'm fine"? the lawyer asked..

Boudreaux responded, "Let me told you what happened. Me, I had jus loaded my favorite mule, Bessie, into da . ."

"I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted. "Just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, "I'm fine!"?

Boudreaux said, "I had jus got Bessie into da trailer and I was driving down da road . . "

The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the State Policeman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to answer the question."

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Boudreaux's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule, Bessie.."

Boudreaux thanked the Judge and proceeded, "I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into da trailer and was driving her down da highway when dis huge semi-truck and trailer ran da stop sign and smacked my truck right in da side. Me, I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into da udder..
I was hurting, real bad and didn't want to move at tall. But, I could herd ole Bessie moanin and groanin. Me, I knew she was in some kind o' terrible shape just by her groans.

Shortly after da accident, a State Policeman, he came on da scene. He herd Bessie moanin' and groanin' so, him, he went over ta her. After he took hisself a look at her, he took out his gun and shot her between da eyes.

Den da Patrolman came cross d a road, gun in hand, and looked at me, and said 'How are you feeling?...'"

"...Now what da hell would you say?!"

Monday, September 26, 2011

NETANYAHU DISPUTES REPUBLICANS, SAYS OBAMA SUPPORTS ISRAEL

Fortunately for Obama, Netanyahu’s remarks will help him regain most of the Jewish voters he may have lost in the last two years. Even if what he says is true, there is no getting around the fact that Obama has been the least supportive of Israel of any American president. While Jimmy Carter is much more anti-Israel than Obama, his hatred of Israel has manifested itself only since he left office.

NETANYAHU EXPRESSES ‘DISAPPOINTMENT’ WITH PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT’S UN SPEECH
In an interview with NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, Netanyahu talks about Mahmoud Abbas’ consistent refusal to ‘accept Israel’s existence’, the ‘insatiable crocodile’ of Islamism, and America’s continual support for Israel.

By Natasha Mozgovaya

Haaretz Daily
September 25, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “disappointment” on Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly, during an interview with NBC’s long-running news show “Meet the Press”.

Netanyahu, who sat down for an interview with host David Gregory, stated both that he was “trying to move forward” the peace process through negotiations, and that the “core of the conflict” lies with the Palestinians’ persistent “refusal to accept Israel’s existence.

When asked about threats facing Israel, Netanyahu answered that he is responsible for the “fate of the one and only Jewish state", and he seeks to "erect the wall against insatiable crocodile of Islamism, before it devours us for breakfast.”

Netanyahu further rebuffed several Republican presidential contenders’ claims that Obama is “throwing Israel under the bus” by saying that America supports Israel in “unprecedented ways” and that this support is “expressed by any person who happens to be in the White House".

Netanyahu also commented on former President Bill Clinton's claim that the Israeli Prime Minister is not interested in peace, telling Gregory that Clinton's successor, President George W. Bush, knows well “how the Palestinian leaders moved away from the Israeli prime ministers' proposals. They didn't come, and now they go to the UN".

MUSLIMS SCREAM 'ISLAMOPHOBIA' AFTER JURY VERDICT

Surprise, surprise, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said Friday it was "deeply troubled" by the convictions. "If allowed to stand, this will undoubtedly intimidate students in Orange County and across the state, and discourage them from engaging in any controversial speech or protest for fear of criminal charges," said Hector Villagra, executive director.

Villagra must be stoned on medical marijuana if he believes that disrupting a man’s speech to the extent that he could not make his presentation, is ‘engaging in controversial speech or protest.’

JURY CASTS GUILTY VERDICT ON IRVINE MUSLIMS WHO ‘GAGGED’ ISRAELI AMBASSADOR
A California jury found 10 Muslim students guilty and placed them on three years of probation for disrupting a speech by Israeli envoy Oren

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

IsraelNationalNews.com
September 25, 2011

A California jury delivered a guilty verdict against 10 Muslim students and placed them on a year’s probation for disrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at the Irvine campus of the University of California-Irvine last year.

A government attorney labeled the students’ behavior as “thuggery,” but Muslim leaders were furious over the verdict that that one local group said killed the “heart of America.”

The students heckled and shouted at Oren for more than 20 minutes as he tried to talk. One student stood up before Oren could talk and said, "You, sir, are an accomplice to genocide."

Oren was forced to leave the lecture hall until university authorities could lead the protesters out of the lecture hall.

Each of the students was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 56 hours of community service and fines. They could have been jailed for up to one year.

"In a civilized society, we cannot allow lawful assemblies to be shut down by a small group of people using the heckler's veto," said Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Aljazeera published an opinion article, with a disclaimer that it does not necessarily express its views, under the headline “The Irvine 11: Islamophobia is alive and well.” Only 10 students were convicted in court because charges were dismissed against an 11th Muslim after he completed community service.

“Prosecuting the Irvine 11 has reeked of the anti-Arab, Islamophobic, anti-Palestine and pro-Israeli stance that we are more and more forced to accept as the status-quo, as the US moves further away from what might be considered a democracy,” charged the writer, journalist and activist Kristen Ess Schurr, who is a Los Angeles coordinator for the CODEPINK group.

Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, told the Times, “I believe the heart of America has died today. This is clearly an indication that Muslims are permanent foreigners, at least in Orange County."

The students claimed they were exercising their freedom of speech but received a tongue-lashing from university officials for denying Oren’s freedom to speak. The university also disciplined some of the students and suspended the Muslim Students Union, but officials objected to the criminal proceedings.

FOR 37 YEARS, DEAD MAN COLLECTED MORE THAN HALF-A-MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL BENEFIT PAYMENTS

When dead people can vote in Chicago and other cities, it stands to reason that they are able to keep collecting their federal benefit payments.

U.S. GOVERNMENT PAID $600 MILLION IN BENEFITS TO DEAD, 5-YEAR STUDY REPORTS
By Sam Hananel

Associated Press
September 23, 2011

WASHINGTON — The federal government has doled out more than $600 million in benefit payments to dead people over the past five years, a watchdog report says.

Such payments are meant for retired or disabled federal workers, but sometimes the checks keep going out even after the former employees pass away and the deaths are not reported, according to the report this week from the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general, Patrick McFarland.

In one case, the son of a beneficiary continued receiving payments for 37 years after his father's death in 1971. The payments — totaling more than $515,000 — were only discovered when the son died in 2008.

The government has been aware of the problem since a 2005 inspector general's report revealed defects in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Yet the improper payments have continued, despite more than a half dozen attempts to develop a system that can figure out which beneficiaries are still alive and which are dead, the report said.

"It is time to stop, once and for all, this waste of taxpayer money," it said.

Office of Personnel Management spokesman Edmund Byrnes said he could not immediately comment on the findings. But the report said OPM Director John Berry agrees that stopping the improper payments should be a priority.

There are about 2.5 million federal workers who receive more than $60 billion in benefit payments from the program each year.

Federal officials have tried matching the fund's computer records with the Social Security Administration's death records, checking tax records and improving the timeliness of death reporting.

OPM has also sampled its records of all recipients more than 90 years old to confirm whether they are still alive. In 2009, there were more than 125,000 recipients identified as over 90 and about 3,400 over 100 years old.

Both the Obama administration and Congress have made it a higher priority to crack down on improper government payments.

Last year, government investigators found that more than 89,000 stimulus payments of $250 each from the massive economic recovery package went to people who were either dead or in prison.

HELLS ANGELS VS. THE VAGOS

All the outlaw motorcycle gangs are a rough and tough bunch, but none is tougher than the Hells Angels. Any time they meet up with another outlaw group all hell is likely to break out.

I once had a parolee who rode with the Devil’s Disciples, a small Southern California outlaw motorcycle gang. One Sunday afternoon my parolee had the misfortune of riding with his Disciple brothers when they happened to meet some Angels on the roadway. On Monday, I visited my parolee at Riverside General Hospital. His face was almost unrecognizable. And there were about a dozen other beds occupied by his Disciple buddies.

SAN JOSE HELLS ANGELS LEADER KILLED DURING SHOOTOUT IN NEVADA CASINO
By Sean Webby

MercuryNews.com
September 25, 2011

The president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club -- and a San Jose city employee -- was killed Friday night during a shootout inside a Nevada casino with a rival outlaw motorcycle club, officials said.

Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, 51, worked for 20 years as a heavy equipment operator for the city's Department of Transportation. But San Jose police know him as the charismatic local leader of the notorious biker club that law enforcement has long identified as one of the most powerful and influential criminal motorcycle gangs.

Local police and other gang experts predicted that Friday's homicide, which sources said has been attributed to members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, could presage further bloodshed.

"In the outlaw motorcycle gang culture, Jeff Pettigrew was a local icon in San Jose, a very well-respected member within the ranks of the Hells Angels," said San Jose police Sgt. Larry Day, who has investigated biker clubs.

"This incident could definitely result in retaliation against the Vagos, and a full-blown war that may result in deadly violence in San Jose and throughout California."

The shootout on the casino floor of John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks recalls the infamous motorcycle club gunfight at Harrah's Casino & Hotel in Laughlin, Nev., in 2002. In that showdown, members of the Hells Angels and the Mongols motorcycle clubs fought each other, leaving one Mongol and two Hells Angels dead on the casino floor.

Friday night's bloodshed began at 11:26 p.m., during the annual five-day "Street Vibrations" biker festival in which thousands of bikers from across the country ride into Reno and nearby cities to celebrate.

Sparks police said they responded to a fight involving a large group armed with guns inside the casino. Police said that as their units were on their way to the fight, shots were fired.

Inside the casino, officers found three male gunshot victims. Sparks police identified Pettigrew as the dead man. Vagos Motorcycle Club members Leonard Ramirez, 45, and Diego Garcia, 28, were in stable condition at a hospital after suffering gunshot wounds. Both were identified only as California residents.

In connection with the shooting, Hells Angels member Cesar Villagrana, 36, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm. Police said he was videotaped shooting into the crowd, but could not verify if any of his shots hit the victims. No other suspects have been arrested.

As a result of that shooting and a separate shooting Saturday morning, the Sparks' part of the Street Vibrations event was canceled Saturday afternoon. Police would not say if the shootings were related.

Law enforcement experts said members of the Hells Angels and Vagos clubs are blood enemies.

"There's going to be hostilities," predicted Jorge Gil-Blanco, a former San Jose police officer who is familiar with outlaw motorcycle clubs.

"When you have a situation where one member gets killed by another gang, then something is going to happen," he said. "It might be right away or it might be down the road."

The editor of Ride Rag, an influential biker publication, said that law enforcement and media were misinterpreting a rare act of violence.

"Unfortunate events are prevalent in every culture and subculture," said the editor, who goes by the name Yve.

"As a motorcycle club advocate," she added, "it is our position that motorcycle clubs are, in essence, families, and as such our respective 'communities' should be able to exercise the right to reserve comment and reflect on the situation without outside opinion or condemnation."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

THEATER OF THE ABSURD

Whereas PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas received a standing ovation and frequent applause when he addressed the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu received a cool reception and his speech was met with silence by the assembled delegates.

Netanyahu laid out the case against the Palestinian bid for UN statehood recognition and offered to meet with Abbas in New York ‘today’ to start negotiating for peace. "I'll tell you my needs and concerns. You'll tell me yours. And with God's help, we'll find the common ground of peace,” said Netanyahu.

Saying that he had come to speak the truth and not to win applause, Netanyahu labeled the UN as the “theater of the absurd” for its long history of condemning Israel for what it does to stay afloat in a stormy sea of enemies.

Here is an excerpt from the September 24 issue of The Jerusalem Post:

Netanyahu attacked the UN for its poor record on Israel, calling it the “theater of the absurd.”

“It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain, it often casts real villains in leading roles,” said Netanyahu.

He reminded the UN that Libya under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi had chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights and that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had headed the UN Committee on Disarmament.

“You might say: That's the past. Well, here's what's happening now -- right now, today. Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world's security,” the prime minister explained.

The UN, Netanyahu said, has condemned Israel more than any other country, even though it is “the only true democracy in the Middle East.”

In 1975, the UN branded the Jewish yearning for a state in its biblical homeland as “racism.” In 1980 it denounced the peace treaty with Egypt.

“You couldn't make this thing up,” he exclaimed.

Now, Netanyahu said, “they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.”

CROOKED USBP AGENT CLAIMS CARTELS HAVE SPIES THROUGHOUT U.S. LAW ENFORCEMENT

I'm sure that the cartels have infiltrated a few of our law enforcement agencies, but to say they have done so throughout the U.S. is a load of crap from a crooked cop trying to justify his disgraceful conduct. It does stand to reason though, that cartel members are doing time in a number of American prisons.

From Borderland Beat:

JAILED U.S. BORDER AGENT: SCARY INSIDE LOOK AT DRUG CARTELS
By Andrea Canning and Christina NG

ABC News
September 24, 2011

A corrupt U.S. border agent sitting in a federal prison cell is offering a chilling view of the Mexican drug cartels whose drug shipments he protected for years in return for hefty bribes.

He is so terrified of the cartel's famous vicious streak that he fears for his own life -- and the lives of his family -- if he is identified as speaking to ABC News. He depicts a dangerously paranoid crime organization that has spies throughout U.S. law enforcement.

To illustrate the cartel's pervasive reach, he said he got his introduction to them through an American cop. From there the former border patrol agent was convicted of shepherding cartel vehicles loaded with drugs safely over the border. Prosecutors say he profited handsomely, being paid $4,000 per car and $6,000 to escort vans - in addition to a $10,000 retainer fee.

According to the indictment, the agent's run came to an end after he unknowingly offered his services to other drug dealers-- who were undercover FBI agents. In the sting, the agent assisted the undercover agents in smuggling a huge shipment of cocaine into the U.S. He largely concedes the facts of the case against him, but insists there is more to his story.

"First and foremost, I was a USBP agent. But when the threat is real and it's on your own family... it turns into a whole new ball game," he said in a series of emails in which he answered questions put to him by ABC News.

"Regardless of my crime, I served my country and my community to the best of my abilities (above and beyond)... no one will ever take that away from me," he wrote.

The disgraced agent said the cartel was more powerful than the U.S. government and overrode his oath as a law enforcement officer.

"In my opinion they have unlimited power..they have informants of all kinds, good and bad," he said. "They have informants in the city level, county level and, from what they claim, federal."

"At the time I was just thinking of a possible life and death situation and DEATH had better odds than I had.... Until you are faced with a situation like mine... no one can really say what they could have done."

He said he first reached out to the cartels because it was a form of security. If he helped the cartels, he could keep his drug-dealing brothers in Mexico safe.

"Of course I knew I was taking a big risk. It went against everything I believed in and worked hard for," the agent said. "Yes, I was terrified of getting caught, but more terrified of losing my brothers."

At a softball game, the police officer introduced him to a man who had connections in the part of Mexico where his brothers' lives were being threatened and the guard believed they might be able to help his brothers if he worked with them. He did not know, however, that once he got involved with this dangerous world, it would be impossible to get out.

He also did not identify which of the Mexican drug cartels he dealt with.

"At first I was doing it for free because I wanted to get my brother's problems taken care of, but then I got whatever they gave me," he said. "They wouldn't take no for an answer and I had to play along."

In a world where suspicion could be fatal, the former guard said he had to accept the bribes in order to curb the cartel's paranoia.

"The money was not something I could say no to...because I had to make them believe that I was doing all I could to be on their good side," he wrote.

He communicated with the drug trafficking organizations by radio and sometimes in person, which he said was "scary and stressful."

Trusting no one, he believed he was under constant surveillance and described a situation where he met a woman at a safe house. The meeting came right after he and other officers had been warned that the cartels were using women to try to get agents into Mexico in order to kill them.

When the first person he met at a safe house was a woman, he was terrified. The cartel told him the woman was there for his "personal enjoyment," but he suspected the real purposed was to get him naked so that they could see that he was not wired.

He can't stop thinking about what he has done and can't stop worrying about the cartel, even behind bars.

"I worry a lot because I know [their] method of operation and in what areas [they operate]," the guard wrote. "In other words, I believe that they think that I know too much."

He isn't just afraid for himself.

"I worry about my family because they are living in border towns and in Mexico," he said. "I fear for their lives because I believe that those people are just waiting for me to say the wrong thing about them or someone in particular."

The Mexican drug cartel industry has an estimated worth of more than $15 billion and continues to grow. Violence has escalated in the industry and battles involving automatic weapons and grenades are common. Over 34,000 people have been killed in Mexican drug wars over the past four years.

In a disturbing trend, new figures show 122 current or former U.S. federal agents and employees of the Customs and Border Protection agency have been arrested or indicted for corruption since October 2004. It's not just for money, some agents are accepting payment from the cartels in the form of sexual favors.

Just last week, a police officer, a state trooper and three TSA officers in Florida and Connecticut were among 20 arrested for allegedly running an interstate drug ring. "

"It will get worse before it gets better," the former agent predicted.

Even though the agent describes prison life as "a terrible experience," he believes he did the best he could for the circumstances he was in.

"I knew that what I was doing was wrong. But, at the time, I thought I had no other options," he said. "It's easy to find an answer right now, but back then...it was a nightmare."

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

Do what any good citizen should do and – wham - you’re busted!

JOSE ACUNA: IF YOU’RE WANTED FOR MURDER, DON’T TELL A COP YOU JUST TAPPED HIS CAR IN THE PARKING LOT
By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 23, 2011

You could say Jose Acuna did the right thing -- he had lightly tapped into a car in a restaurant parking lot, so he went inside to find the driver.

Commendable.

On the other hand, when the tapped car in question is a Center, Texas, police car and -- and really, this is the more important thing -- you have a homicide warrant out on you -- maybe it would be better to just quietly drive away.

Acuna, however, found the driver, and they went out to inspect the scratch, KTLA reports.

"Even though the car left just a scratch, they decided to call a state trooper in to investigate the accident," the station said.

The trooper apparently ran a search on Acuna's license, because he soon discovered the man was wanted for criminally negligent homicide. He had been a wanted man since June for a February incident when he ran a red light and killed a man in Panola County.

GOVERNOR MOONBEAM'S LATEST GAMBIT

What a novel idea.

“SELF SERVICE PAROLE MODEL” ANNOUNCED
By Jeff Doyle

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
September 22, 2011

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced plans to “make state parole supervision better” through the implementation of a “Self Service Parole Model” for non-violent, non-sex-offenders under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Brown indicated the projected costs savings realized through self-parole would be reallocated to augment AB 109 realignment funding.

“Placing thousands of offenders under their own supervision is key to the whole realignment process,” Governor Brown said. “We will do whatever it takes to hold offenders accountable to themselves because public safety is the number one responsibility of government. I recognize that and I want to achieve it.”

In April, Governor Brown signed AB 109, a landmark law that realigns certain responsibilities for lower level offenders and parolees from state to local jurisdictions. ….. Self Service Parole will allow the state to save more money, while placing responsibility for offenders on others–In this case, it is the offenders themselves.

Governor Brown expects that offenders who use drugs or otherwise violate their parole conditions, will voluntarily submit parole violation reports and urine specimens, as well as summon police in the event they want to be arrested.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While Jeff submitted this post as a parody, it probably isn’t all that far from the truth. When you have what is officially designated as ‘Non-Revokable Parole’ you are really giving parolees carte blanche to screw up without fear of having their parole revoked.

ADVICE FROM MY BROKER

Thought I’d pass along some advice my broker gave me last week

I called my stockbroker & asked him what I should be investing in as I feel interest rates are going to be rising as they did during the late 70’s early 80’s. So I told him I thought we ought to be looking to getting out of bonds & looking for a safe haven to invest. Should we move to precious metals, foreign currency or what?

He said to me, "If the Obama administration is in office much longer, canned goods, water, an AK-47, a Glock 22, and ammunition are your best bet."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

WAY TO GO MR. PRESIDENT

As a severe critic of Obama’s Mideast policy, I must say that I am very pleased by his references to Israel, and to the Palestinian UN statehood bid, in his speech before the UN General Assembly.

OBAMA’S APPROVAL SOARS IN ISRAEL AFTER UN SPEECH
By Ryan Jones

Israel Today
September 22, 2011

For the first time since he was elected three years ago, US President Barack Obama on Thursday was viewed by a broad cross-section of Israeli Jews as a friend of their nation.

The reason behind that shift (most Israelis had previously seen Obama as overtly pro-Muslim and pro-Palestinian) was Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly a day earlier in which he firmly rejected the Palestinians' unilateral statehood bid.

Obama was one of the first leaders to address the world body as the Palestinians officially kicked off their effort to gain international recognition for an independent Palestinian state.

The president was not impressed by the stunt, and stated in no uncertain terms that it would not bring peace.

"Genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves," said Obama, reiterating his call for bilateral negotiations, which Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been avoiding for the past two years.

"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now," Obama continued. "Peace depends upon compromise among peoples who must live together long after our speeches are over, and our votes have been counted."

While Obama did repeat his support for the Palestinians achieving an independent state, he spent far more time stressing America's commitment to Israel's security.

"We believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day," said Obama. "Let's be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it."

Obama even acknowledged the hate-filled anti-Jewish indoctrination of young Arabs throughout the region:

"Israel's children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them."

Perhaps most importantly, Obama clearly identified the Land of Israel as the "historic homeland" of the Jewish people.

Israeli leaders insist that a cornerstone of any future peace agreement must be a public recognition by Palestinian leaders of Israel as the Jewish state. Abbas has vehemently rejected that condition, and Obama's remarks were seen as a rebuke of Abbas' position.

Palestinian officials were furious, and declared Obama's speech a "stab in the back" to Palestinian aspirations.

Demonstrating that they just don't grasp what Obama was trying to say, a Palestinian official told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas "can't understand why Obama has changed his position regarding a Palestinian state."

Of course, Obama has not changed his position. He still wants to see a Palestinian state birthed on the ancient Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria. But the brashness of the Palestinian stunt at the UN has forced leaders like Obama to take a step back and publically highlight Israel's own claims to the land. And Israel has so far leveraged that situation masterfully.

The stern tone of Obama's address is believed to have blunted the Palestinian effort, and on Thursday a senior aide to Abbas announced that while the Palestinian leader would still request UN membership from the Security Council on Friday, he would not demand an immediate decision.

The White House on Wednesday confirmed that Obama told Abbas it doesn't matter how long he gives the Security Council to consider Palestinian statehood, because the US will veto the motion.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a rocky relationship with Obama, personally thanked the American before the two men met behind closed doors.

Netanyahu hinted that Obama had altered his previous position that seemed to suggest Israel alone was to blame for the lack of peace, and now recognized that it was Palestinian rejection of Israel's legitimate conditions that most hindered a final status agreement.

Back in Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barack and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman labeled Obama's UN speech as the words of a true friend and ally.

While most Israelis were appreciative of Obama's speech and the opportunity it afforded Israel to highlight its position, there was still skepticism as to his motives.

The issue of Israel is expected to play an even larger role in next year's presidential election that it did in 2008. Aware of that fact, Obama's media advisers contacted supportive Jewish leaders in the US and urged them to get their communities to watch the president's UN speech. That according to Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

"The advisers, all Jewish themselves, asked the supporters to 'spread the word' that Obama will give a pro-Israel speech which reflects his own genuine positions and implored them to pay close attention to the president's UN address," reported the newspaper.

There is also the matter of the Christian vote. Already, the Republican Party presidential frontrunners - Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman and Mitt Romney - have been emphasizing their pro-Israel credentials, and Obama may be feeling pressure to one-up them.

Whatever Obama's motivation, Israel appears determined to use the opportunity to correct numerous misconceptions surrounding the Israeli-Arab conflict.

THE NEW YORK TIMES IS IN THE GEORGE SOROS-THOMAS FRIEDMAN ISRAEL-HATING CAMP

In keeping with its left-wing ideology, The New York Times joins its columnist Thomas Friedman and billionaire George Soros, two Israel-hating Jews of the worst kind. The Times, Friedman and Soros all pretend to be supporters of the Jewish state while doing everything in their power to ensure the eventual extermination of Israel by its enemies, the intractable Palestinians and their Islamic allies.

Here is an excerpt from an op-ed by Caroline Glick that was published in the September 23 issue of Jewish World Review:

Thursday the New York Times published a news story/analysis that essentially rewrote the history of the last two and a half years. The paper ignored Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's open admission that US President Barack Obama compelled him to radicalize his own policies towards Israel when Obama demanded that Israel abrogate Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as a precondition for negotiations. This was a precondition the Palestinians themselves had never demanded. And by making it a US demand, Obama ended any possibility of resuming negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

By the Times' telling, Obama is a victim of the combined forces of an intransigent Israeli government and the pro-Israel lobby that holds sway in Congress. These nefarious forces made it impossible for Obama to bring the sort of pressure to bear on Israel that would have placated the Arab world and paved the way for a peaceful settlement. And in the absence of such presidential power, Israel and its lobbyists wrecked Obama's reputation in the Arab world.

The lesson that Israel should take from the Times' borderline anti-Semitic historical revisionism and conspiracy theories is that Israel will never be rewarded for its concessions. The Times and its fellow anti-Israel activists don't care that since 2009 -- and indeed since 1993 -- Israel has made one concession after another only to be rewarded time after time with ever escalating demands for more concessions. The Times and its fellow Israel baiters have a story of Israeli conspiracies and bad faith to tell. And they will tell that tale regardless of objective facts and observable reality.

NATIONAL RIGHT-TO-CARRY RECIPROCITY ACT

Contrary to the opinion of the liberal Washington Post editors, I believe this to be a very sensible congressional bill. The current reciprocity agreements on whether or not a concealed weapons permit holder in one state can carry a concealed weapon in another state are a mish-mash of agreements between certain states. This act would standardize the reciprocity agreements for all states that issue concealed weapons permits.

The nation’s police chiefs strongly oppose this measure. That comes as no surprise. The police chiefs have opposed every concealed handgun law wherever and whenever it has been proposed, warning that such laws would make our streets more dangerous and would jeopardize the lives of our police officers. Nothing like that has happened. There have been no shootouts at the OK Corral because of the concealed weapons permit laws and there will be none if the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act ever becomes law. And police officers will not be put in more danger.

While the act is likely to pass the Republican controlled House, its passage in the Democratic controlled Senate is not certain. And if the act does pass both houses of congress, it faces the possibility of a presidential veto.

HAVE GUN PERMIT, WILL TRAVEL

Washington Post
September 21, 2011

Forty-eight states - 49 in November, when Wisconsin joins the pack - allow their residents to carry concealed weapons. Illinois remains the only holdout.

Until now, states have been able to set their own rules for concealed-carry permits. New York, for instance, has fairly stringent standards that ban licenses to those convicted of certain misdemeanors, require individuals to demonstrate a legitimate need and mandate firearms training. Utah's is laxer, essentially issuing licenses to residents and nonresidents alike.

These differences would be obliterated by the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which was taken up by a House panel last week. The act would force states that allow concealed-carry to permit out-of-town visitors to tote hidden handguns if they have obtained a license elsewhere - regardless of the issuing state's standards. Advocates say that the law will allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves wherever they are and to ensure that their right to travel - with gun handy - is not impeded by an obstinate state. This approach is bad policy and unnecessary law.

Many states already have agreements to recognize concealed-carry licenses from other jurisdictions. Virginia, for example, honors licenses from 27 other states that have similarly robust standards; Maryland, which strictly regulates concealed-carry, and the District of Columbia, which essentially prohibits it, do not recognize out-of-state licenses. These are legitimate choices that would be overridden by a federal legislature that too easily bends to the will of the gun lobby. Nevada, a strong gun-rights state, rescinded its agreement with Utah because Utah does not require live-fire training. Why should Congress overrule that judgment?

Allowing more guns on the streets and highways would also increase the risks to law enforcement officers, which explains why the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association are among the organizations that oppose the measure.

The Supreme Court in 2008 recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms in the home for self-defense. But the Second Amendment, like every other constitutional provision, has its limits. "Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings," the majority concluded. Regulating who is allowed a concealed weapon should be left to the states.

LAST OF THE LAST MEALS

Thanks to that piece of shit Lawrence Brewer, murderers about to be executed will no longer receive a special last meal. When Brewer ordered two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover’s pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts, he brought about the end of those special last meal requests.

Last meal requests should never have been granted in the first place. As Sen. Whitmire said, a special last meal is an "extremely inappropriate" privilege given that the murderer did not provide his victim that same privilege.

It should be noted that Brewer, the unrepentant white supremacist, was being a royal fucking asshole to the bitter end, making a mockery out of his sumptuous request. He did not eat any of the seven-course two dessert meal he ordered and all that food ended up being discarded.

NO MORE LAST MEAL REQUESTS ON DEATH ROW
By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 22, 2011

Houston State Senator John Whitmire, who wields great influence on prison issues, says he wants to do away with granting last meal requests for inmates about to be executed.

The over-the-top meal of Lawrence Brewer, executed last night for the dragging death of James Byrd, was the last straw. Whitmire wrote to the executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Division that he had long opposed the practice, and "enough is enough."

“For TDCJ to allow inmate Brewer to order...two chicken fried steaks, a triple meat bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet, a large bowl of fried okra, three fajitas, a pint of Blue Bell ice cream and a pound of barbecue with half a loaf of white bread is ridiculous.”

"I am asking you to end this practice immediately or I am prepared to do so by statute next session," he wrote.

Whitmire said the last meal request is an "extremely inappropriate" privilege, "one which the perpetrator did not provide to their victim."

TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston promptly issued the following statement:

“I believe Senator Whitmire's concerns regarding the practice of allowing death row offenders to choose their last meal are valid. Effective immediately, no such accommodations will be made. They will receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob Walsh wrote, “Personally I think they should get a happy meal, but maybe that’s just me.” To which someone replied, “Bob, make sure it’s the healthy version – no fries or soda. Instead apple slices and juice/milk. Don’t want the condemned to die from clogged arteries. Oh yeah, no toy either. This IS Death Row!”

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

I completely concur with this judge’s ruling. She obviously considered her options very carefully before arriving at this precedent-setting decision.

JUDGE SAYS JURY CAN WATCH VIDEO OF DYING MAN’S BLINKING EYES TO SEE IF HE IDENTIFIED HIS KILLER
By Martin Robinson

Mail Online
September 23, 2011

A video of a murdered man on his deathbed blinking to identify his alleged killer is to be used as evidence in a Cincinnati court.

Two weeks before his death David Chandler was interviewed on a ventilator, paralyzed after being shot in the head and neck, because prosecutors believed it could help convict suspect Ricardo Woods.

In a landmark case a Hamilton County judge has now ruled jurors in 33-year-old Woods' murder trial will be allowed to see it.

Police maintain that Mr Chandler identified Woods through a series of eye blinks, but Woods' attorney argues they are not conclusive and should not be allowed as evidence.

But Judge Beth Myers watched the video and said Chandler identified the shooter as 'O,' apparently Woods’ street name.

She found 'the identification is reliable, and there is not a substantial likelihood of misidentification.'

Chandler’s identification was not made by routine involuntary eye blinking, but by 'pronounced, exaggerated (blinking) movement of the eyes,' the judge added.

But Woods' lawyer Kory Jackson says he believes there could be flaws in interpretations of the blinks, and that the blinks were inconsistent.

'The judge on at least two occasions disagreed with how the detective interpreted some blinks,' he said.

The defense is considering asking that a doctor review the medical records to see what effects Chandler’s condition at the time and drugs used to treat him would have on his ability to understand and respond to questions.

Based on the findings from that review, Jackson said he may ask the judge to reconsider her decision.

Woods’ trial is scheduled for October 3.

UNLESS YOU HAVE SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, DON'T PULL A FAKE GUN ON THE COPS

I suspect that this is why they call some people ‘Dumb Mexicans.’ He pulled a ‘replica weapon’ that looked like a semi-automatic handgun on cops who were chasing him. That was really dumb. And if he thought it would actually fire bullets, that was even dumber.

WHEN GOING TO A GUNFIGHT, TAKE A REAL GUN
By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
September 23, 2011

A total doofus learned that pulling a fake gun on real cops is not a way to ensure a long and healthy life. Last evening a pedestrian attempted to cross into the U.S. at San Ysidro and attempted to evade screening. The Customs officer yelled for him to stop, and he beat feet. Two other agents grabbed him, then he pulled a chrome-plated semi-auto from his waistband and pulled the trigger. The weapon produced the sound of a shot being fired. The two customs people then pulled real guns that shot real bullets and gave the doofus a couple of extra bodily orifices.

The doofus is expected to survive and is currently a guest of Uncle Sam at a local hospital, under guard. One customs officer was slightly injured in the initial scuffle.

Friday, September 23, 2011

TEA PARTY CAUCUS PUSHES INVESTIGATION OF $1.25 MILLION JUSTICE DEPARTMENT GRANT

Michelle Bachmann, leader of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, called on Congress to investigate the $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women for a study linking breast milk and serial rapists.

The research, which was conducted by Berkeley psychiatric researcher Ima Stoner, MD, PhD and her collaborator, Ura Schlemiel, PhD, found that breastfeeding plays an integral part in the development of serial rapists and recommended a ban on breastfeeding male infants.

Bachmann told her fellow caucus members that many Tea Party members had contacted her to complain about the huge sum awarded to Drs. Stoner and Schlemiel. Bachmann expressed the opinion that Dr. Stoner’s recommendation banning breastfeeding of male infants was unwarranted. She pointed out that her husband was breastfed and did not develop into a serial rapist.

Rep. Joe Putz, R-SC, agreed that the grant was way too excessive. He thought that $250,000 would have been enough to conduct such a study. “This is just one more example of unrestrained spending of taxpayer money by the Democrats,” Putz said. "America can no longer afford any more of these spending binges."

Rep. George Schmuck, R-NY, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee for Research Grants, promised Bachmann that his subcommittee would investigate Drs. Stoner and Schlemiel to see if any federal funds were misspent. And he intends to subpoena the Justice Department officials that approved the grant. He noted that both researchers were from Berkeley, a hotbed of left-wing radicalism. Schmuck said he was not surprised that President Obama’s appointees would make exorbitant funds available to a couple of radical left-wingers.

When Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, was asked what he thought of Dr. Stoner’s finding linking breastfeeding and serial rapists and the recommendation that no male infants should ever be breastfed, he replied that, as a physician, he was not surprised by the results of the study. As for banning breastfeeding, Paul said that was up to each mother. As a libertarian, he emphasized that the government has absolutely no business interfering in the development of serial rapists. Paul said that if a mother chose to breastfeed her son that was her business, and if he turned out to be a serial rapist, then that’s the libertarian way.

Gov. Rick Perry was asked if he would consider issuing an executive order banning breastfeeding of male infants in Texas. Perry replied: “No way! I got burned when I issued an executive order mandating that all young schoolgirls be given the HPV vaccine Gardasil and I sure-as-hell don't aim to get singed again!”

When contacted in Berkeley about the pending congressional investigation, Drs. Stoner and Schlemiel both stated that they can account for every penny they spent of the $1.25 million grant. They said that on the advice of their attorneys, they could make no further comments.

ISRAEL FACING DESTRUCTIVE WAR It is now weaker while its enemies are stronger

Emboldened enemies are likely to strike Israel in the not too distant future. Due to Obama’s policy of appeasement, our weariness of war, and the nation’s unsustainable debt, Israel’s enemies are beginning to believe that ‘the United States now cannot or will not come to Israel's aid’ if the Jewish state is attacked.

CAN ISRAEL SURVIVE?
By Victor Davis Hanson

Jewish World Review
September 22, 2011

Will Israel survive? That question hasn't really been asked since 1967. Then, a far weaker Israel was surrounded on all sides by Arab dictatorships that were equipped with sophisticated weapons from their nuclear patron, the Soviet Union. But now, things are far worse for the Jewish state.

Egyptian mobs just tried to storm the Israeli embassy in Cairo and kill any Israelis they could get their hands on. Whatever Egyptian government emerges, it will be more Islamist than before -- and may renounce the peace accords with Israel.

One thing unites Syrian and Libyan dissidents: They seem to hate Israel as much as the murderous dictators whom they have been trying to throw out.

The so-called "Arab Spring" was supposed to usher in Arab self-introspection about why intolerant strongmen keep sprouting up in the Middle East. Post-revolutionary critics could freely examine self-inflicted Arab wounds, such as tribalism, religious intolerance, authoritarianism, endemic corruption, closed economies and gender apartheid.

But so far, "revolutionaries" sound a lot more like reactionaries. They are more often retreating to the tired conspiracies that the Israelis and Americans pushed onto innocent Arab publics homegrown corrupt madmen such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak.

In 1967, the more powerful periphery of the Middle East -- the Shah's Iran, Kemalist Turkey, a military-run Pakistan and the Gulf monarchies -- was mostly uninvolved in the Israel-Arab frontline fighting.

Not now. A soon-to-be-nuclear Iran serially promises to destroy Israel. The Erdogan government in Turkey brags about its Ottoman Islamist past -- and wants to provoke Israel into an eastern Mediterranean shooting war. Pakistan is the world's leading host and exporter of jihadists obsessed with destroying Israel. The oil-rich Gulf states use their vast petroleum wealth and clout to line up oil importers against Israel. The 21st century United Nations is a de facto enemy of the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, the West is nearly bankrupt. The European Union is on the brink of dissolving, its population shrinking amid growing numbers of Islamic immigrants.

America is $16 trillion in debt. We are tired of three wars. The Obama administration initially thought putting a little "light" into the once-solid relationship between Israel and the United States might coax Arab countries into negotiating a peace. That new American triangulation certainly has given a far more confident Muslim world more hope -- but it's hope that just maybe the United States now cannot or will not come to Israel's aid if Muslim states ratchet up the tension.

It is trendy to blame Israel intransigence for all these bleak developments. But to do so is simply to forget history. There were three Arab efforts to destroy Israel before it occupied any borderlands after its victory in 1967. Later, it gave back all of Sinai and yet now faces a hostile Egypt. It got out of Lebanon -- and Hezbollah crowed that Israel was weakening, as that terrorist organization moved in and stockpiled thousands of missiles pointed at Tel Aviv. Israel got out of Gaza and earned as thanks both rocket showers and a terrorist Hamas government sworn to destroy the Jewish state.

The Arab Middle East damns Israel for not granting a "right of return" into Israel to Palestinians who have not lived there in nearly 70 years. But it keeps embarrassed silence about the more than half-million Jews whom Arab dictatorships much later ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and sent back into Israel. On cue, the Palestinian ambassador to the United States again brags that there will be no Jews allowed in his newly envisioned, and American subsidized, Palestinian state -- a boast with eerie historical parallels.

By now we know both what will start and deter yet another conflict in the Middle East. In the past, wars broke out when the Arab states thought they could win them and stopped when they conceded they could not.

But now a new array of factors -- ever more Islamist enemies of Israel such as Turkey and Iran, ever more likelihood of frontline Arab Islamist governments, ever more fear of Islamic terrorism, ever more unabashed anti-Semitism, ever more petrodollars flowing into the Middle East, ever more chance of nuclear Islamist states, and ever more indifference by Europe and the United States -- has probably convinced Israel's enemies that finally they can win what they could not in 1947, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006.

So brace yourself. The next war against Israel is no longer a matter of if, only when. And it will be far more deadly than any we've witnessed in quite some time.

BEING A BILLIONAIRE DOES NOT MAKE HIM RIGHT

Lewis is spewing forth the same phony baloney about how harmless and how beneficial marijuana is, as do all the other proponents of pot. He says that half the people in the U.S. believe that our marijuana laws are “outdated, ineffective and stupid” and that more than half of all Americans have used pot. Well whoopee, what does Lewis expect? It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to figure out that those who have used pot favor changing the law. That’s just their way of justifying their illegal use of an illegal drug.

Lewis says he’s been doing “a great deal of research on public opinion on marijuana.” Well, I’ve done a great deal of research on marijuana and, public opinion notwithstanding, marijuana is not the innocuous substance that its proponents claim it is. It is a dangerous drug! It is not less harmful than alcohol! I’ve worked many cases with pot heads both as a narcotic officer and as a parole officer. I’ve seen the debilitating effects of marijuana use.

Lewis says that, after a leg amputation, his use of marijuana made the excruciating pain tolerable. I’ve got news for Peter the Progressive. Jack Daniel’s also makes pain tolerable and Jack is legal, while ‘Mary Jane’ is not.

Lewis says that he’s “amazed that anyone could oppose marijuana for medical use.” Apparently it doesn’t bother this ‘progressive’, i.e. left-winger, that the legalization of ‘medical’ marijuana in California, Colorado and several other states has turned into a perverted farce of major proportions – doctors are prescribing pot to just about anyone for just about any claimed ailment.

Peter Lewis is more flaky than Flo, the beloved character in his Progressive Insurance commercials.

BILLIONAIRE PETER LEWIS: MY WAR ON DRUG LAWS
Progressive Insurance chairman Peter Lewis has devoted many years and millions of dollars to reforming marijuana policy. Below, in his own words, he tells FORBES why he’ll keep battling drug laws. This story is featured in the latest FORBES 400 issue, newsstand date October 10, 2011.

Forbes
September 21, 2011

Our marijuana laws are outdated, ineffective and stupid. I’m not alone in thinking this: Half of Americans believe we should stop punishing people for using marijuana. And not coincidentally, more than half of Americans have used marijuana themselves. I am one of those Americans, and I know firsthand that marijuana can be helpful and that it certainly isn’t cause for locking anyone up.

My story is fairly simple. I grew up after college in a world where social drinking was the norm but marijuana was hidden. When I was 39 I tried marijuana for the first time. I found it to be better than scotch. But it wasn’t until I had serious medical problems that I realized how important marijuana could be.

When I was 64 my left leg was amputated below the knee because there was an infection that couldn’t be cured. I spent a year after the amputation in excruciating pain and a year in a wheelchair. So during that period I was very glad I had marijuana. It didn’t exactly eliminate the pain, but it made the pain tolerable—and it let me avoid those heavy-duty narcotic pain relievers that leave you incapacitated.

I am a progressive by birth, by nature, by philosophy—that’s the name of the insurance company I ran as well, which is coincidental—but I am a small ‘p’ progressive. I don’t believe that laws against things that people do regularly, like safe and responsible use of marijuana, make any sense. Everything that has been done to enforce these laws has had a negative effect, with no results.

It’s become sort of a central philanthropic interest of mine—by no means my only interest. But I’m pretty clear. I’ve thought it through, and I’m trying to accomplish something. My mission is to reduce the penalties for growing, using and selling marijuana. It’s that simple.

I’ve been conducting a great deal of research on public opinion on marijuana. Change in this area is inevitable, much like the movement toward equal rights for gays and lesbians. An ever shrinking fraction of the country resists changing marijuana laws, largely for moral reasons. But change is coming. It’s just a question of when and how we get there.

When you think about all the people who have used marijuana—from political leaders to sports stars to corporate executives to people from every walk of life—one way to win this battle is for people to just be honest. If everyone who used marijuana stood up and said, “I use this; it’s pretty good,” the argument would be over.

I’m amazed that anyone could oppose marijuana for medical use. It’s compassionate. Doctors recommend it. But the federal government is so hung up on its war on drugs that it refuses to even allow medical research on marijuana. So I’ve ¬supported changing the laws state by state, and I’ll ¬continue to do so.

On legalization beyond medical use, we may be some years away, or we may find that we suddenly reach a tipping point, much like the end of alcohol prohibition in the last century. I’m supporting innovative ideas to move toward a system that would regulate, control and tax marijuana.

I’m retired; I have time to work on this, to treat it with the same seriousness that I treated my former work running a large corporation. I care deeply about it. I deeply believe that we’ll have a better country and a better world if marijuana is treated more or less like alcohol.