Sunday, May 31, 2015

GOVERNMENT PAID $20.2 MILLION IN SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS TO MORE THAN 130 EX-NAZIS WHO WENT ON TO LIVE COMFORTABLY IN THE U.S.

The payments were made over the course of 50 years with some being made as recently as this year to former guards at Nazi labor camps where millions died

Associated Press
May 31, 2015

Nazi war criminals, SS guards, and others who may have participated in the Third Reich's atrocities during World War II collected $20.2 million in retirement benefits, according to the Social Security Administration's inspector general.

In a report scheduled for public release next week and obtained by The Associated Press, the inspector general said nearly a quarter of the total, $5.7 million, went to individuals who were found to have played a role in the Nazi persecution and had been deported.

More than $14 million was paid to people who weren't deported but were alleged or found to have assisted the Nazis during a period in which millions of Jews perished in the Holocaust.

The IG's report comes seven months after an AP investigation revealed benefits were paid to former Nazis after they were forced out of the United States. AP found that the Justice Department used a legal loophole to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. in exchange for Social Security benefits. If they agreed to go voluntarily, or simply fled the country before being deported, they could keep their benefits.

Former guards at Nazi labor camps, where millions died, are among those who received payments from the U.S. government, some as recently as this year.

Congress reacted swiftly by passing legislation to close the loophole and bar Nazi suspects from receiving benefits. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law late last year.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, requested the inspector general look into the scope of the payments following AP's investigation.

'This report is another reminder that we must never forget the atrocities committed by the Nazis,' Maloney said Saturday in an emailed statement.

'According to this report, 133 alleged and confirmed Nazis actively worked to conceal their true identities from our government and received millions of dollars in Social Security payments.'

The report doesn't include the names of the former Nazis and is narrowly focused on how many Nazi suspects received benefits.

It criticizes the Social Security Administration for improperly paying four beneficiaries $15,658 because it did not suspend the benefits in time.

The report includes a detailed breakdown of how the payments were distributed.

The Social Security Administration last year refused the AP's request that it provide the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

COLORADO TEACHER AIDE’S FUTURE RATHER DIM

First grade girls at Denver’s Ford Elementary School found Cassandra Rein passed out in a school restroom with a syringe stuck in her arm

Many teacher aides aspire to become certified teachers. That may have been what Cassandra Rein, 27, had in mind. But something happened Thursday at Denver’s Ford Elementary School that makes her future as a teacher, or anything else for that matter, rather dim.

Four first grade girls found Cassandra passed out in a school restroom. Now that could happen to anybody. But Cassandra’s passing out was somewhat unique. When the little girls found her, there was a syringe stuck in her arm and a baggie containing white powder by her side.

One of the girls told her teacher that Cassandra was sleeping on the bathroom floor. Paramedics and the cops were called. Cassandra was taken to a hospital and then arrested for possession of a controlled substance. A search of her bag turned up several bottles of different pills, more syringes, and several metal caps containing the residue of burnt powder.

Cassandra is probably looking at some jail time and can kiss her aspirations of becoming a teacher adios. Eureka, not so fast! If I were her lawyer, I would argue that Cassandra was actually giving a drug education presentation to show her elementary school students what can happen to them if they use drugs. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Friday, May 29, 2015

GUN OWNERS BEWARE!

The Firearm Risk Protection Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, would require all gun owners to have liability insurance

Today, Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York introduced The Firearm Risk Protection Act, a bill that would require all gun buyers to have liability insurance before they can purchase a gun and it would impose a $10,000 fine on any gun owner that did not have the insurance. The bill exempts law enforcement officers and members of the military.

Maloney says that since automobile owners are required to have insurance, so should gun owners.

While mandatory auto insurance is designed to compensate the victim of a car crash where the other driver is at fault, Maloney’s bill is really not meant to compensate a gunshot victim. Make no mistake about it, the purpose of Maloney’s bill is to make it harder for citizens to acquire guns. It’s just one more form of gun control, nothing more or less!

I doubt this bill will survive in a Republican dominated congress, but just to be on the safe side, all gun owners should contact their congressional representative and express their opposition to Maloney’s gun control bill.

Maloney is an ardent anti-gunner. A few weeks ago she also introduced The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act, a bill that requires anyone selling or transferring a gun at a gun show to run a background check on the recipient with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and requires that transfers be reported to the attorney general.

Doesn’t Maloney rhyme with baloney?

EXECUTIONERS WANTED, NO EXPPERIENCE NEEDED

Saudi Arabia advertises for eight new executioners to carry out public beheadings

Justice in Saudi Arabia is harsh under Wahhabism, the Islamic sect of the Saudi rulers, which calls for the execution of murderers, apostates, homosexuals, adulterers, fortune tellers (for performing magic), etc. Executions, except for adulterers who are stoned to death, are by beheading and carried out in public, as are amputations and floggings.

The Daily Mail reports that so far this year, the Saudi kingdom has carried out 89 public executions. To keep up with the rash of beheadings, the Saudis have advertised for eight new executioners, no experience needed. The beginners hired will be given a traditional sword and will train by beheading live sheep. The advertisement promises successful applicants an attractive benefits package including a housing allowance and six months’ sick leave on full pay.

Here is the Daily Mail’s description of the typical Saudi execution:

The condemned, wearing white robes, is driven to a public square in a police van. He is dragged from it by eight officers. The executioner is waiting. He is carrying a four-foot curved silver sword.

He is forced to kneel facing Mecca, and the executioner tests his blade by running it lightly across the prisoner’s exposed neck, making him flinch. There is a drain in the ground to collect the blood.

The executioner raises his sword, then powers it down on to the kneeling man’s neck, slicing through skin, muscle and bone. The head rolls away; the body topples to the ground.

The man’s head is put in a bag and attached to his body with rope. Then the corpse, head dangling, is hoisted on a crane and left to fester in the square for up to three days.


These are equal opportunity beheadings in that the executions of women in Saudi Arabia are carried out in the same way as those of men. That should make the feminists happy.

The new executioners will also carry out amputations on thieves, stoning adulterers to death and surgically paralyzing offenders under the strict eye-for-an-eye Sharia law.

Stoning victims are typically buried up to their waist or neck, unable to avoid the stones hurled at their head by a crowd of bystanders until they slowly die.

The public is encouraged to bring their children to watch beheadings, amputations, stonings and floggings so that they will see the consequences of breaking Wahhabi laws.

I have a very strong suspicion that, even though the crime rate in Saudi Arabia has risen sharply, it is still very low.

STREET JUSTICE IS NO JUSTUCE

Why is it wise to support your local law enforcement (even if you have issues)?

By Greg ‘Gadfly’ Doyle

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
May 29, 2015

The backlash against the Baltimore, Maryland police department in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody has had a chilling effect on police response within the community. Prior to the riots and indictments handed down against six police officers, Baltimore PD conducted proactive policing on the mean streets of that city.

Now policing in Baltimore has been reduced to strictly handling calls for service. And the citizens of Baltimore are suffering as a result.

Proactive policing means the police actively engage criminals in their own neighborhoods to disrupt and suppress their illegal enterprises. By doing so, criminals are generally forced to operate under cover of darkness and take greater efforts to avoid detection.

Reactive policing generally happens in more rural areas where their are fewer law enforcement personnel to cover vast areas of land in sparsely populated areas.

One of the first signs that the shift in policing strategy has changed in Baltimore is the rapid spike in violent crime. Police are armed, trained, and equipped to apprehend violent offenders. In high crime areas, proactive policing has proven to reduce violent crimes.

So what is happening in Baltimore since the riots subsided and the have police backed down due to public vilification?

Here are some of the news headlines:

Violence Spikes in Baltimore; 29 Shot, 9 Dead Just Over the Weekend Holiday (for story read http://tinyurl.com/pxywp29.)

Baltimore’s deadliest month: Can the community still find peace? (for story read http://tinyurl.com/ncslqrl.)

Deadly month sees 35 killings in Baltimore (for story read http://tinyurl.com/paa6dzc.)

Woman, boy most recent homicides in Baltimore as city sees deadliest month in years (for story read http://tinyurl.com/o6u9wcd.)


The point of this article is not about the merits of Freddie Gray ‘s death in police custody. After all the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, someone will determine in a court of law if anything criminal occurred causing Mr. Gray’s death, or if negligence was the main culprit. In order to attain any measure of justice, we must trust our justice system.

The alternative, of course, is community instability and utter anarchy as witnessed in the Ferguson, Missouri riots and the recent Baltimore conflagration.

As I have expressed previously in my 2010 article called Mob Rule,

“Once a crowd becomes a mob, the rule of law is suspended until authority can dispel and disperse the malcontents, and this usually by force, to establish and maintain order. Rioting, looting, violence, and vandalism are the forefathers of mob rule and anarchy.”

In both the Ferguson and Baltimore cases, mob rule resulted in major destruction of property, multiple injuries, and some fatalities. Were the police responsible for the riots?

No. Angry mobs were the culprits. Militant, unthinking mobs demanded justice in the streets without waiting for an official outcome in the courts. As unruly mobs almost always do, they took the law into their own hands and destroyed everything within arms reach, including their own communities.

Street justice is no justice.

Who was charged with quelling the riots? The very police that the mobs were angry at. How would you like to be a Ferguson or Baltimore police officer under those conditions?

As much as the media would like us to all believe that the police were responsible for the devastation based upon a history of systemic racism (triggered by two incidents), I would suggest that this assertion is specious.

I would assert that hatred of the law (by specific segments of our society)—that which defines acceptable and unacceptable behavior—is at the root of the problem; not racism.

As a retired police sergeant, I can attest to the fact that I have encountered many individuals (of all colors, shapes, and sizes) who hated the police because those persons have no respect for the law, little concern for following rules, or any desire to have their illegal activities interrupted.

Since when is it acceptable in ANY community, within any ethnicity, among any cultural group to address an injustice by assaulting the police, rioting in the streets, burning City and private property, and looting local businesses?

Nothing can justify such a response to an injustice. Civilized people do not undo civilization by becoming uncivilized in order to address an injustice. And that is just what the mobs in Ferguson and Baltimore did—unraveled and burned whole communities—without effectively addressing their perceived injustices.

And what will those who riot, burn, and pillage in the same instances get for all their efforts? Nothing.

They will never be satisfied with any legal outcome, because they have no understanding of, or respect for, the law in the first place.

Mob rule flies in the face of logic, reason, and civility.

Why is it wise to support your local law enforcement (even if you have issues)? Because the police are the second line of defense for the citizenry (the first is being constitutionally armed to protect yourself.) Without the police, you go it alone. And if your State or community restricts your right to keep and bear firearms, you are doubly screwed.

Take a real hard look at the numbers in Baltimore and tell me the police were not doing a better job against the criminal element than an unarmed citizenry.

Whose side are you on: the law-abiders or law-breakers?

Let the courts decide, not the angry mob, decide the outcome and abide by it. That is the rule of law.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like it or not, mob rule works. Just look at the rushed indictments of the six cops handed down in Baltimore. And the driver of the paddy wagon containing Freddie Gray is charged with murder. Without the burning and looting that would not have happened.

By the way, I have looked carefully and closely at the pictures of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations from the East Coast to the West. In all of those demonstrations there were a lot of whites participating. Most of those whites, both men and women, appeared to be in their early to mid 20s. This leads me to suspect they were college students or recent (unemployed) graduates influenced (if not indoctrinated) by the Marxist and other far-left professors that have infested our colleges and universities.

The far-left professors constantly criticize our criminal justice system as being racist, our police officers for being brutal and racist, our government for favoring the rich over the poor (blacks), etc. They encourage their students to participate in the demonstrations and often give extra credit to those that do.

I believe that were it not for those far-left professors, there would be few whites participating in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations.

By the way, when you look at the few demonstrations in support of the police, you see mostly the middle-aged and seniors participating. No college students there!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

FOUR LEGGED PARTNER SAVES LIFE OF MISSISSIPPI COP

Hancock County K-9 officer Lucas sprang to the aid of his partner, Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Frazier, who had been ambushed by three men that were about to slit his throat

On Monday night, Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Frazier and his K-9 partner Lucas were patrolling om Highway 90 near Pearlington, Mississippi, close to the Louisiana state line. Frazier spotted a Lincoln Town Car parked in a deserted rest stop. He saw that the driver was not moving.

Frasier got out of his car to check on the driver. Suddenly two men emerged from the woods to ambush the deputy. The driver joined in to pummel Frazier. One of the men cut Frazier’s forehead with a box cutter. They began to drag Frazier to the woods, telling him they were going to slit his throat.

At that point Frazier managed to get a hand free and press a remote control which opened the patrol car doors. That’s when K-9 officer Lucas, a black Belgian Malinois, sprang into action. Lucas attacked the three men, biting the shit out of them. The three assholes fled to the Lincoln and drove off with Lucas still hanging onto the leg of one of the car’s occupants.

Frazier, a three-year veteran, was hospitalized with non- life-threatening injuries that included a gash on his forehead and bruises. Lucas chipped a few teeth and bruised his shoulder. Frazier and Lucas have not returned to work yet.

The three men who attacked Frazier are believed to have fled into Louisiana.

There is no doubt that Lucas saved the life of Todd Frazier. What a great four legged partner!

BARACK OBAMA: AMERICA’S FIRST JEWISH PRESIDENT?

By Zev Chafets

Fox News
May 27, 2015

In March, 2013, President Barack Obama paid a state visit to Israel. At the airport he introduced Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to his staff. One was Benjamin Rhodes, his deputy national security advisor and speechwriter.

“If I say anything offensive, it’s because of him,” Obama told Netanyahu in a jocular tone, according to various news reports. Bibi smiled thinly. He and Obama had a habit of offending one another and there was reason to suppose it would be different this time.

Obama told Bibi that not only was Ben Rhodes a VIP, but his brother David was the head of CBS News. “Talk about having a proud Jewish mother!”

Netanyahu refrained from commenting on Mrs. Rhodes’ good fortune or Obama’s ploy transparent ploy: If Ben Rhodes (and his proud Jewish mother!) think my policies are kosher, who are you to say otherwise?

Since that visit, relations between the two leaders have grown steadily worse. This presents a problem for Obama, who rightly thinks that Bibi is encouraging Congress to block the nuclear deal with Iran, and rousing American public opinion against the president’s goal of establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Last Friday, to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month, Obama took his resentment against Netanyahu and disappointment with Israel to the Jewish public. His venue was Washington’s historic Adas Israel Synagogue. Wearing a gold colored bar mitzvah-boy skullcap, he stood on the pulpit and proudly reminded the audience that journalist Jeffrey Goldberg—a member of that very congregation--had once dubbed him, “America’s first Jewish President.”

When the applause and laughter subsided, Obama admitted that it was not literally true, but he was flattered by the conceit and would be speaking as an “honorary member of the tribe.”

Obama’s speech focused on Jewish values. He began by praising American Jewry’s role in supporting the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. He lamented the recent rise of international anti-Semitism and pledged to fight it (although he refrained from actually naming the perpetrators).

When he came to the subject of Israel, he grew nostalgic. As a young man, he told the audience, he had been inspired by the justice of Israel’s creation, its pioneering spirit and its wonderful values. He especially admired former Golda Meir and General Moshe Dayan—both dead for decades (and both of whom would have been horrified by Obama’s vision of a Palestinian state or his nuclear diplomacy). If there are living Israelis Obama approves of (other than Jeff Goldberg, who is a dual citizen), he didn’t mention them.

The president called the American-Israeli relationship “unbreakable.” And he denounced those who say that he is not a friend and supporter of the Jewish State. In fact, he loves the place. “[And] it is precisely because I care so deeply about the state of Israel -- it’s precisely because, yes, I have high expectations for Israel the same way I have high expectations for the United States of America -- that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I think will lead to long-term security and to the preservation of a true democracy in the Jewish homeland.”

A Palestinian State is, in Obama’s view, not merely good policy but a moral imperative. “The rights of the Jewish people [to have a state] then compel me to think about a Palestinian child in Ramallah that [sic] feels trapped without opportunity. That’s what Jewish values teach me.”

There are some Jews who agree. But they constitute a small minority in Israel. Most Israelis do not see creating a PLO-Hamas regime within a few miles of Tel Aviv as a Jewish value—certainly not one that trumps national security and common sense.

That was the unmistakable meaning of the recent Israeli election and, indeed, of every Israeli election in the past twenty years. It will likely remain the prevailing sentiment as long Hamas and the Palestinian grassroots regard the Jewish state as illegitimate, and the international jihad sees Israel as a strategic target.

Obama is clearly vexed by the failure of Israelis to live up to his high expectations of them or to appreciate the deep love that his incessant criticism expresses. If only they could be more like Benjamin Rhodes or David Axelrod or that nice rabbi at the synagogue who let him hold the Torah. Instead, he gets stuck with Bibi Netanyahu. And what does he know about Jewish values?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Obama, America’s first Jewish president? No way Jose! Let’s not forget that for many years Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a rabid anti-Semite, was Obama’s mentor.

As for Israel, with friends like Obama, the Jewish state does not need any enemies. The only reason Obama supports Israel is because it has the overwhelming support of Congress.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

FIFA BOSSES BUSTED FOR TAKING OVER $150 MILLION IN BRIBES

Bribes involved awarding the World Cup matches to South Africa in 2010, to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022

Do you like soccer? Millions of people all over the world love it passionately. It is called football everywhere but in our country. It is not uncommon for riots to break out in the spectator stands during matches between teams from England and France and teams from Brazil and Argentina. Many football fans have been injured and some have been killed during the riots.

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is the equivalent of the NFL in that it is the governing body of international football leagues. Running FIFA is a big business. It is also a corrupt business. Seven FIFA executives were busted in Switzerland today, accused of taking more than $150 million in bribes during the past 24 years.

The arrests came as the result of separate but parallel investigations by the FBI and Swiss authorities. The seven FIFA execs were busted while living it up at Zurich’s swank five-star hotel Baur au Lac. Those arrested were:

Jeffrey Webb, 50, FIFA vice president.

Eugenio Figueredio, 83, former president of the South American football federation.

Costas Takkas, 58, former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association and current advisor to Jeffrey Webb.

Jose Maria Marin, 83, vice president of the Brazil Football Federation and member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments.

Julio Rocha, 64, FIFA development officer in charge of helping member associations identify and implement future projects within their respective regions.

Eduardo Li, 56, FIFA executive committee member-elect and current CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) executive committee member.

Rafael Esquivel, 69, South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) executive committee member.


Also charged in the U.S. indictment but not yet arrested is Jack Warner, 72, former FIFA vice president and Niccolas Leoz, 86, former president of CONMEBOL.

Bribes involved awarding the World Cup matches to South Africa in 2010, to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022. And, according to Mail Online, the FBI has charged 14 defendants - nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives - with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies in connection with bribes 'totaling more than $150m' linked to commercial deals dating back to the 1990s for football tournaments in the United States and Latin America.

The FBI was able to develop its investigation with the help of New York resident Chuck Blazer who in 2013 secretly pled guilty to a total of 10 counts, including wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, income tax and banking offenses. Blazer, 70, former FIFA executive committee member, cooperated with the FBI by wearing a wire to meetings with FIFA officials.

How about that all you soccer moms? Your kids are enrolled in a sport run by big-time crooks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NO SHOOTOUT AT THE TWIN PEAKS CORRAL

I'm still recovering from some serious April 15th neck surgery. I spent part of Memorial Day at Twin Peaks. No, not the one in Waco, but the one in Webster. There was no shootout at the Twin Peaks corral. It was nice and peaceful, and I was enjoying some beers, a Philly cheese steak sandwich, and of course the view.



As you can see from the pictures, I wasn’t feeling any pain. I don’t know if it was the beer or the boobs, but I felt good. Now that I’m back home, damn it, I’ve got that awful pain in the neck again.

MEMORIAL DAY POLICE CHASE ENDS AT BARBEQUE GRILL

Half-hour chase of burglar by LAPD ends at Chanel Washington’s family barbeque

When South Los Angeles homeowners returned to their house around 3 p.m. on Memorial Day they noticed signs that they had been burglarized. When LAPD officers responded to their call they observed a man in the alley behind the home. The suspect jumped into a red Honda and took off with the cops in pursuit.

The chase started at Hoover and 58th streets and ended in the driveway of a duplex on 87th Place a half hour later. During the chase, according to CBS Los Angeles, the suspect circled surrounding neighborhoods, driving erratically, jumping the sidewalk and sideswiping parked cars.

The Chanel Washington family had been enjoying a family barbeque on their front lawn when they noticed the suspect turning into their driveway with the police in pursuit. They did not stay to see what was going on. Instead they fled indoors and locked the doors.

The Honda came to a stop only a few feet from Chanel’s grill. The suspect emerged from the car with his hands up and was taken into custody.

Monday, May 25, 2015

MEXICO OFFICIALS STAND BY ACCOUNT OF DEADLY RANCH SHOOTOUT

By E. Eduardo Castillo

Associated Press
May 25, 2015

MORELIA, Mexico -- Mexican officials stood by their account Monday of a shootout that killed 42 suspected criminals and one federal police officer last week, dismissing questions raised about the lopsided death toll.

"There was not one single execution, I can say that categorically," Enrique Galindo, head of Mexico's federal police, told local media.

The 42 men died Friday during a three-hour gun battle on a ranch in Michoacan state. Officials say the fight began when police officers came under fire while responding to a report of armed men taking over the Rancho del Sol, in Ecuandureo, a township near the border with Jalisco state.

It was the deadliest such confrontation in recent memory and followed two deadly clashes in the area controlled by the powerful Jalisco New Generation cartel: The gang is blamed for an ambush that killed 15 state police officers in April and for a May 1 attack in which a rocket launcher shot down an army helicopter, killing eight soldiers.

Families of some of the men killed on Friday told The Associated Press that after viewing the remains of their loved ones, they doubted the official account. Relatives gathered at a local morgue said one body was missing an eye and had facial bruising, another had its teeth knocked inward. Another had a gunshot in the top of the head.

Galindo said a helicopter gunship had participated in the shootout and that its role had been decisive. "If the helicopter had not arrived, the death toll might have been different."

National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said at a news conference later Monday that the helicopter had been hit three times by bullets from an AR-15 assault rifle.

Authorities detained three people and confiscated 38 semi-automatic weapons, two smaller arms, a grenade launcher and a .50-caliber rifle. They had initially said they seized 40 weapons.

Speaking to the television network Televisa earlier Monday, Rubido said tests on the bodies of the victims showed they had been shot "from a considerable distance ... dozens of meters (yards)," ruling out anybody having been finished off at close range.

An official from Michoacan state, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, said all the dead were men and most died from gunfire.

Rubido said the three men arrested were "the only three who when told to surrender, did so. The others refused and continued shooting."

But the lopsided death toll, and photographs from the scene in which bodies appeared to have been moved, raised questions about the official version.

Family members who arrived at the morgue in the state capital, Morelia, to retrieve the bodies spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals, but some were willing to provide the names of their dead relatives. Many were from Ocotlan in Jalisco state and said that a group of at least 25 men from the town had gone to the ranch after being offered work.

Juan Enrique Romero Caudillo, 34, was one of those men. Family members said he sold scrap metal to make a living.

"He said he had been offered maintenance work at the ranch," said a relative, adding that Romero didn't belong to a gang.

After seeing his corpse, the relative said Romero had been shot in the head from above and there was bruising on his face. On the death certificate, the cause of death was listed as "destruction of the brain mass due to penetration by a projectile from a firearm." It did not say if the gunshot was from close range or far away.

Romero's relative said he believed what happened on the ranch "was a massacre" not a shootout with criminal gunmen.

Relatives of Mario Alberto Valencia Vazquez, 22, said he worked in a furniture business but had been offered employment on the ranch.

One relative said Valencia's teeth had been knocked inward as if "he had been struck by something" and his body showed signs of having received blows. Another woman said her husband's face had been destroyed and was missing an eye.

Photographs from the site showed the bodies of men, some without shirts or barefoot, strewn over the ranch. Some appeared to lie with semi-automatic rifles in a field with farm equipment and others on a blood-stained patio strewn with clothes, mattresses and sleeping bags. Video of the battle obtained by The Associated Press showed federal police officers coming under fire.

Rubido dismissed photos circulating online, saying some were not from Friday's events and others were captured at different points in time.

The debate recalled a June 30 case in Tlatlaya, a rural community in Mexico state in which the army initially said 22 suspected criminals were killed in a confrontation and only one soldier had been wounded. An investigation by The Associated Press revealed that several of the suspects were executed after surrendering. Seven soldiers have been charged with wrongdoing.

"This is in no way anything like what happened in Tlatlaya," Galindo said. Officials say overwhelming power and training — police used four armored cars and the helicopter in the shootout — as well as the suspects' lack of preparation spelled the difference.

And Galindo noted that not all of the suspects at the ranch were killed. Three surrendered and were taken into custody, and a significant number escaped.

"We calculate there could have been between 60 and 70 people, because some fled," Galindo said.

Rubido said the cartel gunmen invaded the ranch last Monday, but the ranch owner, who lives in Guadalajara, did not report the takeover to authorities until Thursday. The gunmen were seeking a safe place to escape the government's pressure in Jalisco, Rubido said.

A convoy of 42 federal police were headed to the ranch to investigate when fired upon Friday morning, Rubido said. About 60 additional personnel joined them after 1 ½ hours of the battle.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 42 suspects and only one cop killed? That does not pass the smell test! Sure seems like a mass execution to me. Probably in retaliation for the ambush that killed 15 state police officers in April and for a May 1 attack in which a rocket launcher shot down an army helicopter, killing eight soldiers.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

PROFESSOR DAVID KIRK’S ‘AMAZING’ DISCOVERY

The Oxford University sociology professor discovered that dispersing parolees away from crime-infested neighborhoods reduces the parole recidivism rate

David Kirk, a sociology professor at Britain’s prestigious Oxford University, apparently had a lot of money and time to prove what he most certainly had to have already known - that parolees who are released to crime-infested neighborhoods have a high recidivism rate, but if they are dispersed to crime-free neighborhoods, the recidivism rate is substantially reduced.

Kirk’s study on the consequences of concentrating former prisoners in the same neighborhoods as other parolees has just been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here are some excerpts from his study:

The results of my analyses suggest the greater the concentration of ex-prisoners in a neighborhood, the greater the rate of subsequent recidivism. I find that concentrating former prisoners in the same neighborhoods leads to significantly higher recidivism rates than if ex-prisoners were more dispersed across neighborhoods.

The results presented in this study suggest that although parole and public housing policies and practices were designed, in principle, to enhance public safety, they may in fact be undermining it.

The extreme concentration of criminals in geographic space likely produces a contagion effect that not only leads to elevated rates of recidivism among existing criminals but also pulls the previously noncriminal toward deviance.


“Put simply, the alarming rates of recidivism in the United States are partly a consequence of the fact that many individuals being released from prison ultimately reside in the same neighborhoods as other former felons,” says Kirk in summing up his findings.

Wow, double wow, this is really amazing! Who would have ever thought that releasing parolees to the same crime-infested neighborhood results in a high rate of parolee recidivism. Seriously though, here we have another example of how those in academia set out to prove what they most certainly already know.

I don’t know how much time and money Kirk spent on his study, and how many assistants he used to conduct it, but all he had to do was to ask any parole officer and he would have instantly reached the same findings.

Kirk provides us with evidence that professors in academia do not live in the real world. Yes, it would be nice if we could spread all parolees around relatively crime-free America’s middle and upper-class neighborhoods. How about Malibu, the ritzy Dallas suburb of Plano, New York’s upper west side, the Hamptons and other trendy communities? Sorry Prof. Kirk, but it ain’t ever gonna happen. The residents of those communities will not stand for any parolees residing there other than their own family members.

I am sure that Kirk and his assistants have never been involved in counseling prison inmates or in conducting pre-release investigations. Had they been, they would have learned that every counselor and parole officer tries to place each parolee in the best available free world setting.

Here is a dose of reality. Most families of prison inmates live in lower-class neighborhoods, many of which are crime-infested. Other than a halfway house, the only residence usually available to a parolee is with family members. And even if you placed him in a sanitary crime-free environment among complete strangers, he would very likely drift back to his old neighborhood to be in familiar places with old friends, many of them also on parole or engaged in unlawful activities.

Prof. Kirk, I suggest you take a lengthy sabbatical from Oxford to spend time in the real world where you do not have to waste time and money on studies to prove what you already know.

Friday, May 22, 2015

OOPS, THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT TOO WELL !!

L.A. SWAT officer violated policy in use of Taser, police panel says

By Richard Winton and Kate Mather

Los Angeles Times
May 21, 2015

A Los Angeles police SWAT officer violated department policies last year when he used a Taser on a mentally ill homeless man standing on a downtown rooftop who then fell to his death, the LAPD's civilian overseers recently concluded.

The Police Commission voted 3 to 1 in support of Chief Charlie Beck's conclusion that a veteran officer's tactics "substantially and unjustifiably deviated" from his training, according to records obtained by The Times.

The officer said he had fired the electric stun gun to prevent Carlos Ocana from climbing a ladder back up a rooftop billboard. And, he told department investigators, he thought the man would fall in a way that would not hurt him. Instead, the 56-year-old fell to his death.

Another officer on the roof grabbed Ocana's leg, but couldn't keep hold, records show. Ocana fell more than 15 feet and landed in a parking lot below, just missing one of two air cushions that firefighters had deployed, the report states. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

In his report to the commission, Beck said the officer, as a SWAT member, had the tactical expertise, extensive training and other skills to "ensure the highest degree of operational effectiveness."

"I have high expectations for SWAT. They meet or exceed them almost every time," Beck told The Times. "This was a rare exception."

Sources familiar with the matter said Beck's findings were harsher than those of the commission's inspector general, Alex Bustamante, who did not find fault in the officer's overall tactics and use of the Taser.

The names of the officers involved in the incident were redacted from the report provided to The Times. But multiple sources identified the officer who shot the Taser as Stephen Scallon.

Scallon, who has spent most of his 26 years in the LAPD with the elite Metropolitan Division, received the agency's highest honor, the Medal of Valor, and was recognized at the White House for his role in a deadly 2008 shootout in Winnetka that left one officer dead and another seriously wounded. Scallon helped pull the wounded officer, who was shot in the face, from the house as other officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

Scallon could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The incident involving Ocana unfolded the night of May 24, when officers from the LAPD's Central Division responded to a radio call of a homeless man on the roof of the Four Corners Market on San Pedro Street, along downtown's skid row. The officers tried to talk to Ocana, but he ignored them, the report said. Ocana then climbed from the roof to the top of a billboard using a ladder.

Ocana straddled the top of the billboard and began to rock it back and forth. Officers at the scene said he appeared to be under the influence of narcotics or mentally ill, the report said.

Firefighters placed two air cushions, one on the rooftop of a building next to the market and another in the market's parking lot.

When the Central officers were unable to get Ocana down, officials requested SWAT come to the scene.

Believing Ocana posed a threat to himself while atop the billboard, SWAT supervisors devised a plan to prevent Ocana from climbing back up the billboard should he come down to the rooftop. By then, officers said, they had learned Ocana had a history of fighting with police.

Officers planned to grab the suspect but were prepared to use "less-lethal" force, such as a Taser, the chief said in his report.

About 11:30 p.m., an officer placed a cigarette at the bottom of the billboard's ladder and backed away, hoping to lure Ocana down. Ocana hesitantly climbed down to the rooftop and grabbed the cigarette, according to the report.

Another officer then took out a lighter, hoping to coax Ocana further away from the edge of the roof. But the man dug into his shorts pocket and pulled out one of his own. As Ocana smoked the cigarette, Scallon unholstered his Taser and hid it behind his leg, police records state.

Suddenly, Ocana turned and grabbed onto the ladder leading up the billboard. Scallon fired the Taser, causing Ocana to fall.

Coroner's officials determined that he died of blunt force head trauma, with "massive skull fractures," and deemed the death accidental. They also found cocaine in his system.

Although Beck ordered two lieutenants and a sergeant to undergo more training after the incident, the chief primarily faulted Scallon for how he used the Taser. The chief said Scallon deviated from the tactical plan by using the Taser before officers had the chance to grab Ocana and did not provide adequate warning that he was going to deploy the device.

Scallon told investigators that he thought there was only a "small window of opportunity" to use the Taser and take Ocana into custody. He said he thought Ocana would fall onto the roof, the chief's report states.

The Taser was used despite the LAPD's warning to officers against generally using the device against someone who is "in danger of falling which would likely result in death or serious bodily injury," according to the report.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Scallon, a 26-year LAPD veteran, “received the agency's highest honor, the Medal of Valor, and was recognized at the White House for his role in a deadly 2008 shootout in Winnetka that left one officer dead and another seriously wounded. Scallon helped pull the wounded officer, who was shot in the face, from the house as other officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect.”

What’s Chief Beck going to recommend? Does he want to fire this highly decorated veteran officer? Suspend him without pay for 30 days?

Although the use of the taser resulted in a tragic death, I do not believe Scallon meant to harm Ocana. I believe that a reprimand is the most punishment that is called for in this case.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

HISTORY: JAPANESE SURRENDER CEREMONY ON USS MISSOURI

This is an outstanding film of the ceremony on the deck of the U.S. battleship Missouri where the Japanese surrendered to McArthur in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. It is believed to have rarely been seen since 1945. General McArthur's voice is a rarity in these old film clips. This is a 'must see' film for the WWII history buff or anyone else interested in history.

Turn up the volume on your speakers!

A NET ASSESSMENT OF THE WORLD

By George Friedman

Stratfor Global Intelligence
May 19, 2015

A pretentious title requires a modest beginning. The world has increasingly destabilized and it is necessary to try to state, as clearly as possible, what has happened and why. This is not because the world is uniquely disorderly; it is that disorder takes a different form each time, though it is always complex.

To put it simply, a vast swath of the Eurasian landmass (understood to be Europe and Asia together) is in political, military and economic disarray. Europe and China are struggling with the consequences of the 2008 crisis, which left not only economic but institutional challenges. Russia is undergoing a geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and an economic problem at home. The Arab world, from the Levant to Iran, from the Turkish border through the Arabian Peninsula, is embroiled in politically destabilizing warfare. The Western Hemisphere is relatively stable, as is the Asian Archipelago. But Eurasia is destabilizing in multiple dimensions.

We can do an infinite regression to try to understand the cause, but let's begin with the last systemic shift the world experienced: the end of the Cold War.

The Repercussions of the Soviet Collapse

The Cold War was a frozen conflict in one sense: The Soviet Union was contained in a line running from the North Cape of Norway to Pakistan. There was some movement, but relatively little. When the Soviet Union fell, two important things happened. First, a massive devolution occurred, freeing some formally independent states from domination by the Soviets and creating independent states within the former Soviet Union. As a result, a potentially unstable belt emerged between the Baltic and Black seas.

Meanwhile, along the southwestern border of the former Soviet Union, the demarcation line of the Cold War that generally cut through the Islamic world disappeared. Countries that were locked into place by the Cold War suddenly were able to move, and internal forces were set into motion that would, in due course, challenge the nation-states created after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire that had been frozen by the Cold War.

Two emblematic events immediately occurred. In 1990, even before the collapse of the Soviet Union was complete, Iraq invaded Kuwait and seemed to threaten Saudi Arabia. This followed an extended war with Iran from which Iraq emerged in a more favorable position than Tehran, and Baghdad seemed to be claiming Kuwait as its prize. The United States mobilized not only its Cold War coalition, but also states from the former Soviet bloc and the Arab world, to reverse this. The unintended consequence was to focus at least some Sunnis both on the possibilities created by the end of the Cold War and on the American role as regional hegemon, which in turn led to 9/11 and is still being played out now, both to the south and north of the old Cold War dividing line.

The second event was the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Serbian-Croatian-Bosnian war that left about 100,000 people dead. It was a war of old grudges and new fears. It seemed to represent a unique situation that was not applicable to the rest of the region, but it in fact defined the new world system in two ways. First, Yugoslavia was the southern extension of the borderland between the Soviet Union and Western Europe. What happened in Yugoslavia raised questions that most people ignored, about what the long-term reality in this borderland would be. Second, among other things, the war centered on an east-west schism between Christians and Muslims, and the worst of the bloodletting occurred in this context. The United States and NATO interceded in Kosovo against Serbia despite Russian protests, and Moscow was ultimately sidelined from the peacekeeping mission that defused the war. The explosion in the Balkans foreshadowed much of what was to come later.

While Russia weakened and declined, the two ends of Eurasia flourished. The decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany ushered in a period of significant prosperity that had two results. The European Union, created through the Maastricht Treaty the same year the Soviet Union disintegrated, expanded its influence eastward into the former Soviet sphere and southward, incorporating disparate states whose differences were hidden by the prosperous period. And China, after the end of the Japanese economic miracle, became the global low-wage, high-growth country, powered by the appetite for its exports in prosperous Europe and North America.

The forces at work in Eurasia were hidden. The fragility of peripheral nations in Europe relative to German economic power was not fully visible. The cyclical nature of China's growth, similar in many ways to the dynamics of Japan in the previous generation, was also invisible. The consequences of the end of the Cold War Islamic world, the forces that were unleashed beneath the surface and the fragility of the states that were containing them were hidden beneath the illusion of American power after the victory in Kuwait. Only in Russia was weakness visible, and one of two erroneous conclusions was reached: Either Russia was permanently impotent, or its misery would cause it to evolve into a liberal democracy. All seemed right with Eurasia.

Signs of Destabilization

The first indication of trouble was, of course, 9/11. It was the American attack that was critical. Drawing on the recollection of Desert Storm, it was assumed that American power could reshape the Islamic world at will. All power has limits, but the limits of American power were not visible until later in the 2000s. At that point two other events intervened. The first was the re-emergence of Russia as at least a regional power when it invaded Georgia in 2008. The other was, of course, the financial crisis. Both combined to define the current situation.

The financial crisis transformed Chinese behavior. Although China was already reaching the end of its economic cycle, the decline in appetites for Chinese exports changed the dynamic of China's economy. Not only did the decline suppress growth, but Beijing's attempts to shift growth to domestic consumption created inflation that made its exports even less competitive. The result was a political crisis as the Chinese government became increasingly concerned about instability and therefore increasingly oppressive in an attempt to control the situation.

At the other end of Eurasia, the differences between the interests of Germany — Europe's major exporter — and those of Southern Europe's developing economies exposed the underlying contradiction in the European Union. Germany had to export. The weaker countries had to develop their economies. The two collided first in the sovereign debt crisis, and again in the austerity policies imposed on Southern Europe and the resulting economic crisis. As a result, Europe became increasingly fragmented.

In a reversal of roles, Russia took advantage of the fragmentation of Europe, using its status as a natural gas supplier to shape Europe's policies toward Russia. Russia was no longer the cripple of Europe but a significant regional power, influencing events not only on the Continent but also in the Middle East.

It was at this point that Russia encountered the United States. The United States has an elective relationship with the rest of the world. Except when a regional hegemon is trying to dominate Europe, the United States limits its global exposure. It exports relatively little, and almost half of what it does export goes to Canada and Mexico. But as Russia became more assertive, and particularly as it tried to recoup its losses after the fall of the Ukrainian government and the ensuing installation of a pro-Western government, the United States began to increase its focus on Ukraine and the borderlands between Europe and Russia.

At the same time that Washington felt it had to respond to Russia, the United States sought to minimize its exposure in the Middle East. Recognizing the limits of its power, the United States came to see the four indigenous powers in the region — Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel — as bearing the primary responsibility for regional stability and as counterbalances to each other's power.

The Current State of Play

This brings us to the contemporary world. There is general economic malaise around the globe. That malaise has forced China to control social forces by repression. It has created an existential crisis in Europe that goes far beyond Greece but is being acted out in a Greek-German relationship. The Russians have reached for regional power but have fallen short, for the moment. The nation-states of the Middle East are fraying, and the four major powers are maneuvering in various ways to contain the situation.

The United States remains the world's leading power, but at the same time, the institutions that it used during the Cold War have become ineffective. Even though NATO is increasing deployments and training in Eastern Europe, it is a military alliance that lacks a substantial military. The International Monetary Fund has become, in many cases, the problem and not the solution to economic difficulties. The United States has avoided entanglement in the economic problems in Europe and China and has limited its exposure in the Middle East. Yet it is becoming more directly involved with Russia, with its primordial fear of a European hegemon aroused, however far-fetched the prospect.

After every systemic war, there is an illusion that the victorious coalition will continue to be cohesive and govern as effectively as it fought. After the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna sought to meld the alliance against France into an entity that could manage the peace. After World War I, the Allies (absent the United States) created the League of Nations. After World War II, it was the United Nations. After the Cold War ended, it was assumed that the United Nations, NATO, IMF, World Bank and other multinational institutions could manage the global system. In each case, the victorious powers sought to use wartime alliance structures to manage the post-war world. In each case, they failed, because the thing that bound them together — the enemy — no longer existed. Therefore, the institutions became powerless and the illusion of unity dissolved.

This is what has happened here. The collapse of the Soviet Union put into motion processes that the Cold War institutions could not manage. The net assessment, therefore, is that the Cold War delayed the emergence of realities that were buried under its weight, and the prosperity of the 1990s hid the limits of Eurasia as a whole. What we are seeing now are fundamental re-emerging realities that were already there. Europe is a highly fragmented collection of nation-states. China contains its centrifugal forces through a powerful and repressive government in Beijing. Russia is neither an equal of the United States nor a helpless cripple to be ignored or tutored. And the map of the Middle East, created by the Ottomans and the Europeans, has hidden underlying forces that are rearing their heads.

The United States is, by far, the world's most powerful nation. That does not mean that the United States can — or has an interest to — solve the problems of the world, contain the forces that are at work or stand in front of those forces and compel them to stop. Even the toughest guy in the bar can't take on the entire bar and win.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

POLICE NEED MORE AND BETTER TRAINING

The Unconventional Gazette
May 19, 2015

Now let’s see if we can get this right. There's no guidance or discipline in the home.

The family situation is so unstable that Tyrone Washington has never seen his father and doesn’t know who or where he is.

Tyrone gets dumped into the education system where he is socially promoted because the school district will not suspend or expel undisciplined black whelps.

Tyrone's major formative influences are 'gangsta' rap videos and a corresponding peer group of gangsta wannabes.

At age 18, Tyrone is turned loose on society carrying a bad attitude, a broken compass and no respect for authority.

Tyrone gets himself in big trouble with the law because he is illiterate, unskilled, unemployable and his only source of income other than Government assistance is from stealing, burgling, robbing, carjacking and selling dope.

Tyrone points a pistol at the cops and gets shot. ‘Witnesses’ claim Tyrone was unarmed and that the cops shot him for no reason. Massive “No Justice, No Peace” demonstrations follow. Rioting, looting and burning occurs.

Then, according to academia's social scientists, Justice Department officials and civil rights leaders, the solution for situations like those of Tyrone is for the police to get more and better training in compassion, sensitivity and understanding of the urban black culture.

Pardon me for asking, but can you possibly buy this bullshit solution?

NO GAFFE BY JOE BIDEN AT ‘TOP COPS DINNER’

The Vice President paid a resounding tribute to cops at the ‘Top Cops Dinner’ in the nation’s capital

“What shape we’d be in as a nation if we didn’t have you doing the job. We expect you to do everything. We expect you to be constitutional scholars. We expect you to have instantaneous reactions to a crisis without making any mistake or without knowing what’s behind that door or what’s in that guy’s pocket. When you make a mistake, we come down on you like a ton of bricks. But you still do your job. You do it every single day when no one hears about it, when no one knows. We know the risks you take to protect us every single day — from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to New York City.”

Thus spoke Vice President Joe Biden in acknowledging the hard task faced by law enforcement officers when he addressed officers at the annual ‘Top Cops Dinner’ in Washington last Tuesday.

“From Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to New York City” referred to the recent murders of officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate in Hattiesburg and the murder of NYPD officer Brian Moore.

Biden, who is known for making gaffes when speaking, got it exactly right this time. He could not have said it any better.

It’s a shame that President Obama, who has been quick to criticize the police, has not seen it fit to made such a resounding tribute to cops in a public address to the nation.

Monday, May 18, 2015

SHOOTOUT AT THE TWIN PEAKS CORRAL

Nine outlaw bikers are dead and 18 injured after rival gangs shoot it out in front of the cops at a Waco, Texas Twin Peaks restaurant

The old Wild West was relived in Waco, Texas on Sunday when around 200 bikers from several outlaw biker gangs met up at a Twin Peaks restaurant. A fight and then a gun battle broke out between rival gangs, killing nine bikers and wounding 18 others. And the shootout occurred right in front of the cops who had been sent there to avert any trouble.

The day’s festivities started shortly after noon with some shoving in the Twin Peaks restroom, then spilled out into the corral, err the parking lot that is, where it escalated from fisticuffs to a fight with clubs, chains and knives and then erupted into a blaze of gunfire. What started out as a gunfight between bikers quickly turned into a shootout between the cops and the bikers. None of the cops were injured. It is not known how many of the dead and injured were hit by biker or police gunfire.

Five gangs, including the Bandidos, Cossacks and Scimitars, are believed to have been involved in the battles. After the gun smoke cleared, 170 bikers were arrested and charged with Engaging in Organized Crime. Bond for each was set at $1 million.

Twin Peaks is a chain of restaurants competing with Hooters that employs scantily clad waitresses in plaid tops. The Waco Twin Peaks billed itself as the “ultimate man-cave” and apparently had issued an invitation for a bikers’ night.

An open invitation to bikers? What was the Twin Peaks management thinking? Anytime you get rival biker gangs together you can expect a heap of trouble.

I once supervised a parolee in San Bernardino, California who, unknown to me, was riding with the Devil’s Disciples, a local biker gang. One weekend, he and his fellow bikers were out riding when they had the misfortune to come across a small group of Hells Angels with their ballpeen hammers. Within minutes the Disciples were splattered all over the roadway. When I visited the parolee in the hospital he was unrecognizable. It took two weeks for the swelling in his head to go down before I could actually recognize him.

The biker battle in Waco was the worst ever gunfight within the city limits. It just goes to show that we do things bigger and better in Texas!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

SWEARING AT TEACHERS, REFUSING DIRECT ORDERS AND STORMING OUT OF CLASS IS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR FOR BLACK STUDENTS IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

The school board members were concerned that too many black students are being suspended for ‘willful defiance,’ so they voted unanimously to stop such suspensions

The Oakland, California school board is concerned about too many black students being suspended for “willful defiance,” which includes swearing at teachers, refusing direct orders and storming out of classrooms. Their solution? Stop punishing black students for such behavior.

SFGate reports that Wednesday the Board of the Oakland Unified School District voted unanimously to stop suspending students for acts of willful defiance. The new official policy also bans expulsions and involuntary transfers to other schools.

Apparently, “Fuck you motherfucker!” will now be an appropriate response to a teacher’s direct order.

SFGate also reports that the school districts of Los Angeles, San Francisco and several other California cities had already adopted the same official policy.

Our schools are being run by educated idiots. Will someone please explain to me how permissible disruptive behavior of hoodlums will enhance the classroom learning process.

You can bet your life savings that any kind of defiant behavior is not tolerated and does not occur in the schools of our chief international economic competitors - China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Russia.

No wonder our public schools turn out students who, for all practical purposes, cannot read or write, and cannot add, subtract, multiply or divide numbers. And if you asked some of those Oakland, Los Angeles and San Francisco black students to name the state capital of California, after a momentary thought their answer would probably be, “Fuck you motherfucker!”

Saturday, May 16, 2015

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY

A most remarkable photo of a Falcon nesting in a tree

I've received many remarkable nature photographs over the years but this photo of a nesting Falcon is perhaps the most remarkable Nature shot that I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Nature is truly breath-taking!

I've sent this to most of my older friends.

The younger ones probably have never seen a falcon and wouldn't recognize it.

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CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS’ MOONLIGHTING NOT ON APPROVED LIST

Baltimore correctional officers Tamika Cobb and Kendra Richard looted a 7-Eleven store during the Freddie Gray riots

Two African-American female correctional officers employed by the city of Baltimore were caught on video moonlighting during the Freddie Gray riots, but looting a closed 7-Eleven store is not on the approved moonlighting list.

Friday’s Baltimore Sun reports that in the video Kendra Richard is seen coming out of the closed 7-Eleven store holding Slim Jims, while Tamika Cobb has Tostitos chips, police said. Police identified Richard as the woman exiting the store wearing yellow tennis shoes, black Adidas jogging pants and a jean jacket. They said Cobb was the one in yellow shoes, blue pants and a black sweatshirt with a large white graphic on the front.

Cobb and Richard were busted on theft and burglary charges following a tip to the police. Bond for each was set at $35,000. Both have been suspended without pay.

It’s obvious that Tamika and Kendra were merely participating in the evening’s festivities, but those Tostitos chips turned out to be a very, very costly snack!

HOW BROKEN WINDOWS POLICING EMPTIES PRISONS AND JAILS

By George L. Kelling

New York Post
May 12, 2015

From the beginning, Broken-Windows policing had its critics.

“Experts” — many of whom had never been in New York City when Broken Windows was being implemented, never walked a New York beat, never rode in a patrol car — pontificated: New York was “cooking the books”; Broken Windows was criminalizing the poor; broken windows had no impact on crime; New York City was not unique, since crime was declining in many cities that did not practice Broken Windows.

In spite of the fact that virtually all of these criticisms have been proved invalid, today’s activists repeat many of them.

There is no denying that the prevailing narrative of police misbehavior is powerful and contains elements of truth. Some police have been abusive to poor and minorities; racist practices do still exist in some police departments; some departments have dubbed high-arrest programs as “broken windows” policing; some citizens, especially African-Americans, have been pointlessly killed.

But indiscriminately attributing all of the ills displayed in recent events in cities to Broken Windows risks taking us back decades in our attempts to improve public safety and quality of life for all citizens.

In fact, the policing actions involved in recent incidents either ignore or misrepresent the Broken-Windows approach that we conceived either in theory or in policy and practice — or both.

There’s every reason to believe de-policing high-crime minority neighborhoods would be a disaster. We tried it in the past, and it’s taken decades for us to regain control of public spaces, and even now some neighborhoods remain under threat.

Similarly, we experimented with decriminalization in New York City from the 1960s through the 1980s, most memorably in the subway.

The transit police at the time, using their discretion, decriminalized farebeating by not enforcing the law. The result was a disaster — with 250,000 people a day not paying their fare and creating chaos in the subways.

The real issue is to do policing,, including Broken-Windows policing, right. Here’s how.

First, we should reaffirm and re-establish the understanding that Broken Windows is a tactic that must be implemented within the framework of community policing.

This requires that police seek the active and ongoing consent of and collaboration with local communities in the development of safe and secure neighborhoods.

It recognizes that police exercise substantial discretion in their work and in contacts with citizens. Such discretion requires appropriate training, guidance from leadership and experience in a community.

Second, police must focus on citizen priorities. Broken Windows as a policing tactic rests clearly upon the law, but policing activities should also be formulated in response to local citizen demands and priorities.

Citizens, especially African-Americans, want an end to police brutality, but they want quality policing and safe and secure neighborhoods at least as much.

Third, we must clear up confusion about certain police activities used today that do not represent Broken Windows, and instead detract from its value.

In particular, Broken Windows is a powerful tool but — contrary to public perception — it does not rest upon a policy of many arrests, which are a last resort.

Similarly, while some have argued that Broken-Windows policing results in higher incarceration rates, research indicates that police crime-prevention methods, including Broken Windows, have actually reduced mass incarceration.

In New York City, both prison commitments and jailings declined substantially between 1992 and 2013 — prison by 69 percent; jailing by 45 percent.

Broken Windows also should not be confused with zero tolerance or stop, question and frisk. The former implies zealotry and no use of discretion — both antithetical to what James Wilson and I put forward in our explication of broken-windows policing three decades ago.

Likewise, Broken Windows, which is based on illegal behavior, is different from stop, question and frisk, which is based on suspicious behavior.

In 2006, when the evidence showed the effectiveness of this kind of policing, James Wilson and I wrote that it remained a strategy worth pursuing. And nearly a full decade after that, it still is.

Friday, May 15, 2015

NETANYAHU’S RAZOR-THIN MAJORITY COALITION GOVERNMENT LIKELY TO BE SHORT-LIVED

Israel’s new government was formed at the last minute, is hard-nosed on national security and the peace process, but sharply divided on economic issues

In the Israeli elections six weeks ago, Benjamin Netanyahu scored a decisive victory despite the efforts of President Obama’s election team to defeat him. Netanyahu’s Likud party and other right-wing parties together with the center-right parties won 67 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. That should have made it easy for Netanyahu to form a coalition government. But not so fast.

In its attempt to be uber-democratic, Israel established a legislative government with a crazy patchwork of multiple political parties. In 2014, 12 parties held seats in the Knesset. A party needs to win at least 3.25 percent of the national vote to take a seat in the Knesset. That threshold used to be lower prior to 2014.

Because of bickering over ministerial appointments and narrow political concerns among right-wing party leaders, Netanyahu found it hard to put together a majority coalition. Netanyahu presented his new proposed government to President Reuven Rivlin with just 90 minutes to go before the deadline to do so. It has only a one-seat majority in the Knesset.

Netanyahu’s coalition consists of Likud, the centrist Kulanu, right-wing Jewish Home, and the two ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. It is hard-nosed on national security and the peace process, but sharply divided on economic issues. Both Kulanu and Jewish Home detest the massive government payouts ultra-Orthodox Jews have been getting.

As it stands now, that coalition is likely to fall apart sooner or later and, unless the labor party decides to join in a unity government, Netanyahu’s government will be short-lived.

Prior to the elections, the Labor Party led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah Party joined together to form the Zionist Union Party in an effort to defeat Netanyahu. Obama’s election team came to Israel to help run the Zionist Union campaign and it has been alleged that American tax dollars were used to fund Netanyahu’s opposition.

Reports are that Herzog is thinking about withdrawing Labor from Livni’s Hatnuah Party and joining Netanyahu’s coalition in order to form a unity government. If that does not happen and the present coalition falls apart, Netanyahu will have to call for another round of early elections. And then, much to Obama's joy, that may be the last we’ll see of Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister.

VATICAN GIVES OFFICIAL RECOGNITION TO PALESTINIAN STATE WHOSE LEADERS CONTINUALLY VOW TO OBLITERATE ISRAEL

On Wednesday, the Vatican finalized a treaty that officially recognizes the State of Palestine. That treaty was obviously drawn up at the behest of Pope Francis.

While Pope Francis has been a great leader of the Catholic church, he clearly made a mistake in recognizing Palestine as a state.

Pope Francis must have been fooled by the declarations in English by Mahmoud Abbas that he wants a two state solution. As a matter of fact, Abbas and other Palestinian Authority leaders, when addressing their Arab audiences in Arabic, have vowed time after time that “there will be only one state from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea and that will be a Palestinian state.” Furthermore, Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have declared that there will be no Jews in a Palestinian State.

It is beyond my comprehension how Pope Francis can give recognition to a Palestinian state whose leaders continually vow to obliterate the State of Israel and to get rid of the Jews.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

WHY WE LOVE WORLD WAR II

By Robert J. Samuelson

The Washington Post
May 13, 2015

To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II — Victory in Europe Day occurred on May 8, Victory over Japan Day happens on Aug. 14 — the Census Bureau has published some fascinating numbers that also throw light on the war’s larger historical meaning. They help explain why WWII remains our favorite war. Here’s an overview.

First, the numbers

They concern the share of Americans who served in the military. That was, Census reports, 16.1 million men. Of these, 6.1 million volunteered and 10 million were drafted. According to Census, 406,000 were killed and 671,000 others were wounded — a casualty rate of about 1 in 15 for all services.

(These figures cover only men. Census also reported separately that 342,000 women served in World War II; 217 died.)

At the war’s end, 12.1 million Americans were still in uniform. This compared with 3.1 million in 1970 at the height of the war in Vietnam and 1.5 million in 2011. In 1950, 28 percent of all men 18 and over were World War II veterans; today, the active-duty military (men and women) are less than 1 percent of the 18-and-older population, says Census.

What these figures show is that, compared with World War II, we fight our wars today from our hip pocket. The Census numbers actually understate the wartime mobilization. Looking at just men ages 15 to 39 in 1940 (as I have), from 50 percent to 60 percent served in World War II. Presumably, the others were unfit, too old or exempted from service.

Now, the implications

This massive mobilization tells us that the triumph in World War II was a collective, democratic and unifying event, the likes of which we never experienced before (the Civil War in some respects rivaled the effect, but of course, it was also hugely divisive). It involved almost everyone. As soldiers, sailors and airmen, rich and the poor were tossed in together; so were North and South, urban and rural.

The triumph was not the property of any group, region or class; the victory was national. It belonged to everyone. One of the war’s great emotional appeals, I think, is this emphasis on communal responsibility, obligation and reward. (Unsurprisingly, there are many exceptions to this, the most conspicuous being the continued segregation, even in fighting units, of African Americans.)

It’s why we love World War II. It reminds us who we can be when we are at our best. There is much focus now on inequality, but the inequality is economic, measured in dollars and cents. World War II did not eliminate differences of income and wealth, but it did emphasize equality of duty and contribution. Patriotic commitment was not a function of bank accounts.

A second great consequence of the war was that it reconciled Americans — not all, but many — to the inevitability of large organizations, even if they were often clumsy, arbitrary and wrong. The U.S. Army was a massive organization. So were the vast corporations that churned out Sherman tanks, B-24s and Liberty ships. Many veterans knew firsthand the vices of the huge military; but they also grudgingly acknowledged the virtues. We could, it seemed, solve many problems simply by throwing resources at them.

Carried into the 1950s, this lesson meant that the violent ideological battles of the 1930s went largely unrepeated. The combination of victory and economic success laid a foundation of confidence for nearly two decades of prosperity and (relatively speaking) domestic tranquility — until we discovered that World War II’s simple and nostalgic teachings no longer matched the real world’s complexities.

EDITOR’S NOTE: During WW II, unlike the Vietnam War where thousands fled to Canada and Sweden in order to dodge the draft, Americans lined up at the recruiting stations to volunteer and those who were called up by the draft boards did no flee this country.

I do not believe many of today’s soldiers have the fortitude or courage to fight mano-a-mano like they had to in the Civil War, WW I, WW II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam War.

POLICE MORALE IS LOW IN DEPARTMENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Fear of legal and political backlash, similar to what was seen in Ferguson, New York City and Baltimore, is hurting morale

By Kerry Picket

The Daily Caller
May 12, 2015

Law enforcement officers at Washington, D.C.’s annual Police Week tell The Daily Caller that the anti-police climate is taking its toll on the men and women in uniform and that morale is low in departments across the country.

One source told TheDC Monday night that officers have stepped back from engaging in proactive policing, because they often see the same violent criminals they arrest immediately released on to the streets.

President of the Fraternal Order of Police Chuck Canterbury told TheDC that he believes that a shortage of cops is the reason. “For the last six or eight years, proactive law enforcement has come to a stop because of shortage of personnel.”

Additionally, cops say that the fear of legal and political backlash, similar to what was seen in Ferguson, New York City and Baltimore, is hurting morale. One source at Police Week who also does part-time security work for private companies was astounded at how young some of the violent individuals were during the Baltimore riots.

Another law enforcement source described how objects like bottles are often thrown at the police cruiser she drives.

One recently retired police officer told TheDC that people do not seem to understand that cops do not get up in the morning thinking about who they want to hurt that day.

“Morale is low because we don’t have the public’s backing,” she said, noting that the same people who verbally or even physically attack police officers are the same ones who call them for help. “I pulled a guy over, recently. He was a drunk driver. He said, ‘Fuck you, I hate cops.'”

Sources attending Police Week seem doubtful that the officers in Baltimore will be found guilty of the charges that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby slapped on six officers for the death of 25-year old Freddie Gray.

Gray’s death set off violent riots last month in Baltimore, and some at Police Week warned riots could happen again if the officers are not fully convicted.

Baltimore police officers are reportedly feeling dejected since the Freddie Gray riots and the indictments of their fellow officers, The Baltimore Sun reports.

“I’m hearing it from guys who were go-getters, who would go out here and get the guns and the bad guys and drugs. They’re hands-off now,” a shift commander told the Sun. “I’ve never seen so many dejected faces.”

A law enforcement source told TheDC that some attendees are threatening to turn their backs on President Barack Obama at the annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Capitol, where Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks. Obama made comments in the past that many in the police community found offensive.

But Canterbury says he does not think most police officers in attendance will turn their backs on Obama and AG Loretta Lynch at the service.

“This event is not to honor the president of the United States. It’s to honor the officers who have been slain in the line of duty,” he said. “And I think the vast majority of police officers in attendance understand that the National Police Officers Memorial Service is to honor those in our brotherhood that have passed away and that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. No, we don’t anticipate that happening.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: A law enforcement official told me "These cops are not going to do their jobs when they are being thrown under the bus by overzealous prosecutors. President Obama is responsible for a lot of the deteriorating race relations. I believe he has out done President Carter for lack of leadership."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HILLARY NOT THE BISEXUAL CANDIDATE

World News Daily hit the mother lode with report of Yoko Ono saying she had a sexual relationship with Hillary Clinton in the 1970s

“We met many times during the New York Vietnam War protests in the 1970s, and became very intimate. We shared many of the same values about sexual equality, fighting against the authoritarian, patriarchal, male-dominated society we were raised in. We had a brief romantic fling when I lived with John in Manhattan and Hillary was studying at Yale, but eventually we lost touch. I am amazed how things are going well for her and wish her the best for her campaign.”

That’s what World News Daily reported Yoko Ono, widow of icon John Lennon, telling reporters Thursday at a press conference in Los Angeles.

Just as soon as this report was published, the blogosphere filled up with posts by right-wingers and other Hillary haters salivating all over themselves about the expected Democratic presidential candidate’s lesbian relationship. Sorry fellas, but you’ve been had. Yoko Ono never said any such thing.

World News Daily, like The Onion, is a satirical publication that frequently fools its readers with made-up stories. World News Daily hit the mother lode with this laugher.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

JEB BUSH’S DISTRACTORS JUMPING UP AND DOWN WITH JOY OVER IRAQ INVASION STATEMENT

Bush says that like his brother George W., he too would have authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq

“I would have and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

That’s how Jeb Bush answered Megyn Kelly of Fox News when she asked him, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

The Democrats, as expected, were quick to attack Jeb’s statement. So were some conservative commentators.

Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham said “there has to be something wrong with” Bush. “You can’t think going into Iraq now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to do. That’s like you have no ability to learn from past mistakes at all.”

Conservative columnist Byron York of The Washington Examiner says, “As for whether Hillary Clinton would have authorized the invasion "knowing what we know now" — it's hard to believe that Jeb Bush is serious when he says she would. Of course she wouldn't.” He added that “If Jeb Bush sticks to his position — that he would still authorize war knowing what we know today — it will represent a step backward for the Republican Party.”

What a bunch of horseshit! Jeb’s distractors are jumping up and down with joy by knowingly and willfully misinterpreting Bush’s position. They are saying that Bush would have invaded Iraq even if he knew Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. That’s no true and they damn well know it!

Bush said that based on the intelligence supplied by the CIA and Britain’s MI6 that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in 2003, like his brother George W., he too would have invaded Iraq. That intelligence proved to be bogus. Bush never said he would have invaded Iraq had he known there were no weapons of mass destruction.

In 2013, then Mew York Senator Hillary Clinton voted in support of the Iraq invasion. She has since said she regretted her supporting vote. You can bet every last dime you’ve got that had Hillary been President at the time, she too would have sent our troops into Iraq.

Jeb Bush is not conservative enough for the Republican base which detests him with a purple passion. Yet, Jeb is the only Republican that has a chance to defeat Hillary in next year’s presidential election.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

FINAL PROOF

MAN WHO SPIT POOP AT GALVESTON COPS FACES CHARGE OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON

On his way to jail in the back of a cop car, Jonathon Glenn pooped, managed to put some of it in his mouth, then spit it at the arresting officers

Late Tuesday night Jonathon Glenn, 29, stabbed another Galveston, Texas man, leaving him hospitalized in critical condition. On Wednesday,, investigating officers went to Glenn’s hous to arrest him. He was caught after a brief foot chase.

While on the way to jail, Glenn pooped in the back of the cop car. He managed to put some of the shit in his mouth and spit it at the arresting officers. Then he tried to strangle himself with a seat belt, which the officers promptly cut off of him.

Glenn is being held on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge with bond set at $100,000. He is also wanted in Midland, Texas on a kidnapping charge.

At first glance, I thought Glenn was being charged with aggravated assault for spitting his shit at the officers, but the charge is obviously related to the stabbing incident.

Lately, all you read in the papers and see on the TV news programs are reports of alleged police misconduct. In this case, many would have applaud the officers had they kicked the supreme shit out of Glenn for spitting his poop at them. The fact that Glenn was jailed all in one piece goes to the credit of some very tolerant Galveston police officers.

The restraint and control of temper exercised by those Galveston cops should have made all the papers and the national TV news programs. Sadly, because they did not kick the shit out of Glenn, that did not happen.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

SAN FRANSICKO’S SICKO COPS

The Sodom and Gomorrah of our country has a police department that has been beset with a slew of scandals, including racist and homophobic cops

Homophobic cops in the nation’s homosexual capital? All Ian say is, sumbich, what this country isn’t coming to. And that’s just one of the reasons why I call it San Fransicko.

3,000 CASES POSSIBLY AFFECTED BY S.F. POLICE TEXTING, D.A. SAYS
San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon has expanded an investigation into criminal cases that may have been compromised by racist and homophobic text messages sent by members of the police department

By Maura Dolan

Los Angeles Times
May 7, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO -- Prosecutors here are expanding an investigation into criminal cases that might have been compromised by revelations of police officers’ racist, sexist and homophobic texts, Dist. Atty. George Gascon announced Thursday.

Gascon’s probe has so far identified 3,000 criminal cases that could have been affected by perceived bias by 14 officers. Investigators in a task force he created are combing through each case to determine whether some convictions must be overturned or pending cases dismissed.

“If just one individual was wrongly imprisoned because of bias on the part of these officers — that’s one too many,” Gascon said.

He said some pending cases already have been dismissed, and prosecutors so far have alerted defense attorneys of potential problems in about 60 other cases. The office is giving priority to cases that involve people who are behind bars. About 1,400 cases involved arrests but no prosecution.

Gascon also widened the task force’s mission to include an examination of whether a culture of bias exists in the police force, which serves one of the nation’s most liberal cities. He said Thursday he was adding three retired judges, including former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, to work with the group.

The probe began after the U.S. attorney’s office filed a motion in March opposing bail for Ian Furminger, a former San Francisco police officer sentenced to 41 months in prison on various corruption-related charges. The motion, intended to prevent Furminger from obtaining bail while appealing his conviction, listed the texts.

The messages included slurs and disparaging references to African Americans and gays.

Police Chief Greg Suhr has so far recommended that six of the 14 officers who sent such texts be fired and has turned over the results of his investigation to the San Francisco Police Commission.

“We have been cooperating with the district attorney the whole time,” said Officer Grace Gatpamdan, an SFPD spokeswoman. She said some of the officers had “single incidents.”

The furor over the texts followed a series of law enforcement scandals in San Francisco in recent months. Sheriff's deputies have been accused of staging gladiator-like fights among inmates in the jail, and Suhr was suspended for five days for failing to follow department policy in helping a female friend who was a victim of domestic violence.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said he hopes the investigators will interview victims of discriminatory police actions instead of just reviewing documents.

“This is a systemic problem we have in San Francisco,” Adachi said.

He said African Americans are arrested and prosecuted at much higher rates than whites, adding, “This is not an isolated case of 14 officers.”

The Rev. Amos Brown, a San Francisco NAACP board member, said African Americans comprise only about 5% of the city’s population but make up 60% to 70% of those in San Francisco’s juvenile hall.
“This is a moral issue,” Brown said at a news conference with Gascon. “Everybody is guilty, whether Republican or Democrat, whether judge, probation officer or police officer.”

Gascon, a former Los Angeles Police Department assistant chief, served as San Francisco police chief for about a year before his election as district attorney. Suhr succeeded him.

The cases being reviewed go back 10 years, and Gascon acknowledged that some of the alleged officer misconduct took place on his watch.

“I feel terrible,” he said.

The task force’s findings will be made public. Gascon said he hopes the panel will complete the work by the end of the year, but no deadline has been set.

Gascon noted that police misconduct has stirred distrust in cities across the country.

“As recent revelations have shown, we are not immune,” Gascon said. “The actions of a few have undermined the public faith in the system.”

BAN THE OIL BAN

By J.W. "Jay" Wall III

Houston Business Journal
May 7, 2015

In the 1970s, Congress made it illegal to export domestically produced crude oil to try and sustain domestic oil reserves and enhance our national security.

Supporters of the ban argue that it not only keeps prices low, it protects jobs and also helps national security, by promoting self-sufficiency.

It is difficult to listen to the argument that the ban boosts our national security. It undermines America’s moral authority at the World Trade Organization, where the administration berates China, for example, for imposing export bans on scarce minerals. Most important, American crude-oil exports would hurt hostile petrostates, such as Russia and Iran.

Free crude exports would make America richer, its allies stronger, its foes weaker and the world safer, so what stands in the way? Ending the export ban should be an easy call. Not only will it enhance national security, it will also increase jobs and anchor the sputtering U.S. economy. And, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out how or why.

Today’s oil export ban was part of a wave of ridiculous, ill-considered responses to the 1970's Arab Oil Embargo, all of which produced disasters of different duration. As Milton Friedman said, “Economists may not know much. But we know one thing very well: how to produce surpluses and shortages. Do you want a surplus? Have the government legislate a minimum price that is above the price that would otherwise prevail. Do you want a shortage? Have the government legislate a maximum price that is below the price that would otherwise prevail.”

Allowing domestically produced oil to be exported would raise production at home, helping boost employment. Currently, we are producing more sweet crude than domestic refineries — which are mostly set up for heavier oil imported from Mexico, Venezuela, and Canada — can handle. Oil is overflowing U.S. storage facilities. If the oil ban stays in place, domestic producers may have to shut down production because they won’t have anywhere to store their oil.

Lifting the ban would also put more oil on world markets, cutting the price. Ultra-light crudes account for a high proportion of booming shale production in the U.S. Asian refiners especially covet such crudes, which means domestic producers are denied a premium of $10/bbl because they are not able to export their sweet crude. Understand that the delta between WTI (West Texas Intermediate) and Brent is 20 percent. Somewhat paradoxically, were U.S. producers allowed to compete globally, WTI and Brent prices would converge, and all things being equal, gasoline prices would fall.

Lifting the ban would also help U.S. producers adjust to lower oil prices while creating an incentive to increase U.S. production. The result would be less reliance on foreign oil, while reducing severe economic hardship in the oil patch if prices stay low for a prolonged period.

Who wins with the ban? Domestic refiners get artificially cheap oil to process and often to sell on the international gasoline market. Gasoline flows freely in and out of the country, so its price is set by the world market. U.S. refiners simply pocket a higher margin whether they sell their gasoline at home or abroad.

By the estimate last year of the American Petroleum Institute, if the archaic export ban were lifted, the additional export opportunity would allow another 500,000 barrels a day to be produced, worth 300,000 jobs directly and indirectly. With the global oil price 50 percent lower now than it was a year ago, the difference between the depressed domestic price may well be the margin of ruin for some producers.

Refiners do have one leg to stand on: They would be horribly disadvantaged by exports due to the operation of another idiotic law, the Prohibition-era Jones Act (1920), which only allows oil and other cargo to be hauled between U.S. ports aboard U.S.-built, -owned and –operated vessels. The Jones Act delights ship owners and unions, but imposes a hefty cost on anyone wanting to send a tanker from a refinery on the Gulf Coast to a port in the Northeast.

It costs $2/bbl to ship Texas crude to Europe or Asia and $7/bbl to ship it to Philadelphia. If the Jones Act was to stay in place but the export ban lifted, a great deal of U.S. oil would go to overseas refineries solely to take advantage of cheaper shipping rates.

The noncontiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii are especially damaged by the Jones Act, which is actually an archaic throwback to the steamship era. There is no earthly reason to continue the charade that we are somehow being protected by artificially raising the cost of commercial ocean shipping. In today’s competitive, globally interconnected age, it only raises the cost of goods (gasoline) to American consumers.

We need to repeal the Jones Act and lift the ban on domestically produced crude exports, and we need to do it now.
__________

Jay Wall is a commercial real estate broker and senior vice president with commercial real estate brokerage Moody Rambin in Houston. Jay has also been a personal friend for many years.

Friday, May 08, 2015

TEXAS LAWMAKER BELIEVES THAT LIKE TOMATOES, POT IS A GIFT FROM GOD

David Simpson's bill would repeal all the Texas laws against marijuana because "everything that God made is good, even marijuana”

Texas State Representative David Simpson, a Republican from Longview, has introduced a bi that would repeal all the state’s laws against marijuana.

On March 2, when he filed House Bill 2165, the Christian conservative said:

"Everything that God made is good, even marijuana. The conservative thought is that government doesn't need to fix something that God made good. We should use our resources in law enforcement to deal with murder, with rape, with theft, but just possessing a substance that God made is not wrong. Putting people in prison and teaching them a whole lot about crime, separating them from the family, taking away the breadwinners simply for possessing a plant that God made - that's wrong."

Simpson said the state should regulate marijuana like the state regulates "tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee."

On Wednesday the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee unexpectedly voted 5-2 to support Simpson’s bill, with three Democrats and two Republicans voting in favor of the bill. However, it is predicted that HB 2165 will be DOA when it hits the House floor.

Me thinks the state representative from deep in the heart of the East Texas bible belt has been inhaling too much smoke from a crop which he believes is a gift from God, the same as tomatoes or jalapeños.