Thursday, May 25, 2017


'Unbelievable job on the drug problem': Trump's PRAISE for Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte is revealed in leaked transcript of CONFIDENTIAL call as thousands of dealers and addicts are slaughtered

By Ariel Zilber

Daily Mail
May 24, 2017

President Donald Trump late last month praised his Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, for doing 'an unbelievable job' in his war on drugs even as human rights groups accuse him of sanctioning murder and extrajudicial killings in the southeast Asian country, it was learned on Tuesday.

'You are a good man,' the president told Duterte during a phone call on April 29.

'Keep up the good work.'

An official transcript of the call, which was first produced by the Philippine's Department of Foreign Affairs, was obtained by the news site The Intercept.

Trump was heavily criticized after the White House described the call as a 'friendly' one at the end of which the president invited Duterte to visit the White House.

Duterte has faced international condemnation for his brutal crackdown on crime, which has claimed thousands of lives and led to warnings from rights groups about a possible crime against humanity.

In the past, Duterte boasted of throwing people from a helicopter.

Now the newly leaked transcripts reveal the extent to which Trump gushed over Duterte.

The conversation started when Trump complimented Duterte's work ethic.

'You don't sleep much, you're just like me,' Trump told Duterte.

Then the conversation shifted to Duterte's highly controversial crackdown on suspected drug users.

'I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,' Trump told Duterte.

'Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.'

'Thank you Mr. President,' Duterte replied to Trump.

'This is the scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.'

During the conversation, Trump went out of his way to differentiate himself from his predecessor, Barack Obama, who was critical of the Duterte government's policies.

In September, Obama cancelled a planned first meeting with Duterte on the sidelines of an Asian summit in Laos after the Filipino leader blurted 'son of a whore' [Philippine term for ‘son of a bitch’] in warning the US leader not to lecture him on human rights ahead of their meeting.

Duterte later expressed regrets over his remarks.

A month later, Duterte told Obama to 'go to hell' after the then-president again criticized the Manila government's human rights record.

In their phone call, Trump told his Filipino counterpart that unlike Obama, he knows where Duterte is coming from.

'I understand that, and fully understand that, and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that,' Trump said, 'but I understand that and we have spoken about this before.'

During the phone call, Trump appeared to entertain the possibility of a US nuclear strike on North Korea.

'We can't let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that,' Trump told Duterte.

'We have a lot of firepower, more than he has times 20, but we don't want to use it.'

'We have a lot of firepower over there. We have two submarines - the best in the world - we have two nuclear submarines - not that we want to use them at all,' Trump said.

'I've never seen anything like they are, but we don't have to use this, but he could be crazy so we will see what happens.'

Trump told Duterte that the US would try to diffuse the North Korea crisis through China.

Duterte replied that he would be happy to call China's president, Xi Jinping, to facilitate the process.

The chumminess between Trump and Duterte has reinforced concerns among political observers over the US president's public embrace of authoritarian leaders.

In the months since Trump has both campaigned and served as president, he has spoken warmly of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The contrast between Duterte and Obama could not be any clearer.

Duterte is waging a take-no-prisoners war on drugs that has rid the Philippines of thousands of drug dealers and users. Have innocent Filipinos been killed? Yes, but they are the unfortunate collateral damage that can be expected in any war.

Obama on the other hand pardoned and commuted the sentences of several hundred drug traffickers. His administration ordered federal prosecutors to charge drug traffickers in such a way as to get around the mandatory sentencing law.

I’ve been to the Philippines twice within the past couple of years and have seen that Duterte is very popular with the Filipino people.

Like Trump, I too have praised Duterte’s all out war on drugs.


Sessions' first proposed budget: A crackdown on immigration and violent crime

By Joseph Tanfani

Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2017

In the first budget proposal under President Trump and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department is seeking hundreds of millions in new funding to pay for an immigration crackdown on the border and a surge in resources to fight violent crime.

Like the Department of Homeland Security budget, which includes billions for expanded immigration detention, more border agents and technology to catch those crossing the border illegally, the Justice Department budget is a reflection of the new get-tough policies promised by Sessions. The budget asks for another 300 federal prosecutors – 230 to focus on violent criminals and gangs, and another 70 to concentrate on filing criminal charges on those crossing the border illegally.

The shift in the spending priorities are in line with other policy changes ordered by Sessions, including a renewed focus on seeking stiff mandatory minimum sentences for drugs and other crimes.

The $27.7-billion budget seeks 450 new attorneys and support workers for the immigration courts, which are now clogged with a backlog of 560,000 cases. There would also be another $50 million for increased immigration detention, plus 40 new U.S. marshal jobs to help take care of the expected increase in immigrants heading to federal court.

With Trump’s immigration initiatives tied up in federal court, the budget seeks another 15 lawyers to handle that litigation, plus 12 more to help handle property acquisition needed for Trump’s promised Southwestern border wall.

Violent-crime enforcement would get another $198 million, with the largest amount, $70 million, going toward setting up more anti-violence and gang task forces. Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod J. Rosenstein said more resources are needed because of what he called an “alarming increase” in the rates of murder and other violent crimes. The department is also asking for another $40 million for more drug enforcement to combat the opioid epidemic, which he said is spreading “havoc throughout the United States.”

Sessions’ new policies should lead to an increase in prison population, so the budget contains funding to fully open a new supermax prison in Thomson, Ill., with room for 1,500 to 2,000 inmates.

The department also wants to put more resources behind the FBI’s efforts to counter cyber attacks and to figure out ways around encryption technology, along with another 50 agents to counter foreign intelligence and threats from homegrown terrorists.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the DOJ doesn’t crack down on the manufacture and distribution of marijuana in Colorado, Washington, California and the other states that have legalized pot, legalization of this gateway drug will spread like wildfire. Then we will end up with as many stoners as the tobacco users we had when smoking was considered cool. And that will lead to a significant increase in the use of heroin and other opioids, coke, meth, designer drugs, etc.


Texas House Votes to Relax Voter ID Law

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
May 24, 2017

The Texas House has voted to relax the state's restrictive voter ID law that had been struck down in federal courts as intentionally discriminatory against minorities, further solidifying Texas's reputation for having among the worst voter participation rates in America.

Democrats urged lawmakers to think about that reputation as they debated the new voter ID proposal that would bring Texas in line with a federal judge's 2016 order, which created avenues for people to still vote even if they didn't have a government-issued photo ID, as the defunct 2011 law required.

"I’m encouraged by the discussion we’ve had with Chairman [Phil] King today," Representative Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), referencing the bill's Republican House sponsor, said just before full debate began. "But in the back of your mind, think about, are we making it easier to vote? Are we moving the needle in a positive direction? Or are we unnecessarily and artificially limiting the right to vote with no good reason?"

Anchia's pep talk must have worked, because Democrats scored a few key victories as the evening wore on.

The bill, Senate Bill 5, is a near replica of U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos's order that governed the 2016 general election. Like the order, SB 5 allows people who don't have photo IDs to still cast votes by bringing some other type of ID, such as a birth certificate, bank statement, utility bill or voter ID card, and then by signing an affidavit explaining the "reasonable impediment" preventing them from having a photo ID. Government-issued IDs can also be expired up to four years (or longer, with no limit, if the person is over 70). The first win for Democrats was passing an amendment to raise the expiration length to four years, reflecting Ramos's order, from two years, which was originally in the bill.

The only real difference from Ramos's order is the criminal penalty for lying on the affidavit. Originally, anyone who fudged facts would face a third-degree felony — but Democrats scored another win with an amendment to reduce it to a Class A misdemeanor.

Lawmakers hope the bill, which Governor Greg Abbott made an emergency item over the weekend, will finally keep Texas out of court when it comes to voter ID. The stringent 2011 law was struck down by Ramos (2015) and by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (2016) as having a disparate impact on minorities. Ramos had also found in 2015 that the law intentionally discriminated against minority voters, but the next year the Fifth Circuit asked Ramos to consider that opinion again. In 2017, she issued yet another ruling calling the law intentionally discriminatory.

And while the House perhaps pushed the needle in a positive direction Wednesday, Republican lawmakers still pushed back against this idea.

"A majority of us in 2011 simply believed it was pragmatic to require a over ID, because without it, voter results could be skewed and voters could be disenfranchised if votes were stolen," King said. "We didn’t want anyone disenfranchised. We didn’t want any disparate impact. We just wanted a pragmatic law to require voters to identify themselves at polling places."

Even though Democrats were able to tack on favorable amendments, the bill still passed along party lines, 95-54. They had attempted to do more to hold Republicans accountable for the recent rulings which found intentional discrimination. At one point they proposed an amendment to require affidavits to ask a person's race, hoping to show that minorities are more likely to not possess a photo ID and therefore were most harmed by the 2011 law, just as Ramos found. It failed.

SB 5 is closer to Governor Abbott's desk — but there's no guarantee the Senate won't make any big changes to the bill as it heads back to the lower chamber for final review.


White women's burrito shop in Oregon is forced to close after being hounded with accusations it was 'culturally appropriating Mexican food and jobs'

By Liam Quinn

Daily Mail
May 24, 2017

Two white women have been forced to close their pop-up burrito shop after they were accused of cultural appropriation.

Kali Wilgus and Liz 'LC' Connelly opened Kooks Burritos in Portland, Oregon, after taking a trip to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, last December.

For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo.

But that's when the trouble started for Wilgus and Connelly, after quotes they gave to the Williamette Week led to them being accused of stealing their success.

Explaining their trip, Connelly told the newspaper: 'I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did.

'In Puerto Nuevo, you can eat $5 lobster on the beach, which they give you with this bucket of tortillas. They are handmade flour tortillas that are stretchy and a little buttery, and best of all, unlimited.

'They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn't quite that easy.'

Those comments were latched onto by a food blog in the Portland Mercury, which accused Wilgus and Connelly of 'preying' on the women they met in Mexico.

'This week in white nonsense, two white women—Kali Wilgus and Liz 'LC' Connely—decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico,' the piece opened.

'The owners of Kooks Burritos all but admitted in an interview with Willamette Week that they colonized this style of food.

'So let’s recap the story thus far: These two white women went to Mexico, ate tacos, and then decided they would just take what the locals clearly didn't want to give them.

'If that wasn't bad enough, they decided to pack up all their stolen intellectual property and repackage it.'

The piece went on to claim getting the weekend taco truck closed was a 'victory' in Portland - a city it accused of having 'underlying racism'.

'These appropriating businesses are erasing and exploiting their already marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise,' it stated.

Many on social media and the comments section of the Williamette Week article shared in the outrage.

'Stealing is in their nature so I'm not surprised. They're not creative so they had to get the idea from someone,' Tee McNeill wrote on Facebook.

'Kooks Burritos is now closed. Good riddance!' Jonas Lord said.

'Awww, so you nice ladies stole hard-working and low-income Mexican women's tortilla recipes and are now turning a profit. That's not white basic privilege at all. #disgusting,' Alicia Dominguez commented.

'Now that you all boldly and pretty f***ing unapologetically stole the basis of these women's livelihoods, you can make their exact same product so other white ppl (sic) don't have to be inconvenienced of dealing with a pesky brown middle woman getting in their way. Great job,' Shauna MacKinnon added.

However, after news of the closure spread, many came to the defense of Wilgus and Connelly.

'1. Burritos are from L.A. 2. Tortilla making is easy and not a secret 3. Breakfast burritos=white people food,' one person wrote.

'Seriously!!!!? Do you not think they were speaking metaphorically "looking in people's windows"? She ended up with a tortilla recipe she developed herself and she puts french fries in them. Such cultural appropriation,' another said.

'Oh my god. you cannot be serious,' another wrote.

'If learning how to make a food from another culture and selling it is now considered cultural appropriation, then why not take this issue up with the successful Portland businesses that have been doing this at a much larger scale for years, and stop harassing these two women struggling to start a small business,' another added.

Kooks Burritos has deleted its website, Instagram account, Facebook page, and Twitter profile.


If a man lies with another man they should be stoned

In 2012, the state of Washington passed two laws.

They legalized gay marriage and legalized marijuana.

The fact that gay marriage and marijuana were legalized at the same time makes perfect Biblical sense.

Leviticus 20:13 says: "If a man lies with another man they should be stoned.".

Apparently we just hadn't interpreted it correctly before .

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


by Bob Walsh

I have to admit this is a new one for me. Victor Sibson was stinking drunk in his apartment in Anchorage when he attempted to kill himself by shooting himself in the head. He was successful in shooting himself in the head, but the wound was not fatal. The bullet, however, passed thru his skull and hit and killed his girlfriend, Brittanymae Haag, 22. He is being charged with second-degree murder.

The truly interesting part of this case is the cops really do think that only one bullet was fired and the bullet really did go thru Sibson's skull before it hit Brittanymae. Maybe his brain was so small, or shrivled up by alcohol, the bullet hit only empty air in his cranial vault. The cops believe that she was trying to act to prevent him from killing himself when the gun fired. The bullet lodged in her chest.

Victor claims to have no recollection of the incident. He might even be telling the truth. He is being held pending $250,000 bail and could get 99 years as a guest of the people of Alaska if convicted.


New Jersey restaurant fires worker who left 'very gross and disrespectful' message on a police officer's receipt calling cops a 'pig'

By Liam Quinn

Daily Mail
May 23, 2017

A restaurant worker in New Jersey has been fired after writing 'cops pigs' on a receipt given to an officer.

A picture of the receipt from Sunday morning at Romanelli's Garden Cafe in Galloway was shared across social media over the last two days.

The photograph shows the receipt also had the word 'puercos' written on it - which is Spanish for swine.

Romanelli's owner was quick to react to the receipt, and posted a statement on the cafe's Facebook page.

'I find this very gross and disrespectful,' he wrote.

'We have reprimanded the employees involved. We support our local police department and all forms of law enforcement.

'I am the owner I have grown up in this town and I have always relied on the local police department to keep my self and my family and friends safe.

'I would appreciate it you could understand our frustrating situation. We would like to just let let everyone know we do not condone this type of behavior here.'

The comment was enough for some people, who praised the cafe for the response.

'Excellent! Bad situation and I feel it was handled properly. I understand you can't control everything, but you handled this with quickly and with purpose,' John Leon wrote.

'I have no idea what happened but knowing the type of service we have always received and seeing the owners quick reaction to terminate the offending employee I say what more could they do? I will of course keep coming to your restaurant,' Kim Myles said.

'I was impressed by your kindness and warmth when we met and chatted a few weeks ago in your restaurant. I'm even more impressed now. Your attitude and actions have encouraged me to visit your establishment more frequently,' Justine Lukin added.

However, others remained furious at the restaurant - despite it seemingly doing all it could after the offensive note was found.

'This business hires thugs who have hate for the Police who protect us,' Kristos Theodorides wrote angrily.

'What a shame that this establishment would hire anti-police staff. I am beyond appalled at the sheer and utter disrespect towards law enforcement officers,' Jessica Rae added.

Despite the handful of negative comments, most seemed overwhelmingly in support of the Jersey eatery.


For 25 years, the burned remains of a teenager found during L.A. riots was a mystery. Now, the cop who found him has the answer

By Richard Winton

Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2017

This month the Los Angeles Police Department marks a milestone 25 years since the city’s 1992 riots. The department also closed a long open chapter of the violence that claimed more than 60 lives.

Armando Ortiz Hernandez, until now known only as John Doe No. 80, was identified through fingerprints. He was the last victim to be identified. Hernandez, 18, was inside the auto repair shop at 5801 S. Vermont Ave., just north of Slauson Avenue, when it was set on fire sometime after the riots started on April 29, 1992. His body was not found until May 2.

Jorge Macias was a young officer patrolling the area at the time. He discovered the body. Macias had to wait 25 years to learn the name of the dead man. He talked to The Times about his recollection of finding the victim and what it took to finally make the identification:

‘Officer, there’s a dead guy in there!

Here are the circumstances leading to the initial finding of the victim’s body. Although I was assigned to work Southeast Patrol Division, this incident took place in 77th Division. I was patrolling around the third day of the riots, when I was flagged down by a 10-year-old boy. He said, “Officer, there’s a dead guy in there!” He pointed to a burned-out pile of rubble on the west side of the street, which I believe was either Figueroa or Vermont. I asked him to show me where and we approached the still smoldering structure. The boy pointed beyond some fallen girders which had fallen at acute angles ostensibly from the roof, when the roof had given way, sealing the victim’s fate. I had to duck walk under the maze of obstacles including the blackened steel beams until I reached the remains.

‘This became one of those salient moments in my career’

The ground was covered with some four inches of building materials including soaked drywall, which was like a thick opaque slush. Upon seeing the body, I noted the exposed parts including a leg were mostly skeletonized. However, the face and arms were saved by the ground detritus that had protected his hands and face, somewhat mummifying those body parts spared from the flames. I remember thinking that perhaps the Coroner’s Office might be able to fingerprint and identify the body so that loved ones would know what had happened. As a young officer, this became one of those salient moments in my career. I notified Communications Division and set up the ubiquitous yellow crime scene tape as I had so often during that tumultuous time period.

‘I am relieved that there is at last a name to this person’

I remember thinking that the young boy who had spotted the body should never had had to witness such a macabre scene. This latter thought has remained with me all these years and I recounted the experience to my children when they asked about these troubled times.

I moved forward in my career eventually making sergeant and lieutenant, where today I oversee recruitment for the Department. However, I never forgot this person or the young boy that first led me to the body. I am relieved that there is at last a name to this person and closure (if there is such a thing) for the family.


Pot convictions go up in smoke with California marijuana legalization

By Brian Melley

Associated Press
May 22, 2017

Jay Schlauch's conviction for peddling pot haunted him for nearly a quarter century.

The felony prevented him from landing jobs, gave his wife doubts about tying the knot and cast a shadow over his typically sunny outlook on life.

So when an opportunity arose to reduce his record to a misdemeanor under the voter-approved law that legalized recreational marijuana last year, Schlauch wasted little time getting to court.

"Why should I be lumped in with, you know, murderers and rapists and people who really deserve to get a felony?" he asked.

This lesser-known provision of Proposition 64 allows some convicts to wipe their rap sheets clean and offers hope for people with past convictions who are seeking work or loans. Past crimes can also pose a deportation threat for some convicts.

It's hard to say how many people have benefited, but more than 2,500 requests were filed to reduce convictions or sentences, according to partial state figures reported through March. The figures do not yet include data from more than half of counties from the first quarter of the year.

While the state does not tally the outcomes of those requests, prosecutors said they have not fought most petitions.

Marijuana legalization advocates, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, have held free legal clinics to help convicts get their records changed. Lawyers who specialize in pot defense have noted a steady flow of interest from new and former clients.

Attorney Bruce Margolin said he got two to three cases a week, many of them decades old.

Margolin has spent most of his five-decade career fighting pot cases and pushing for legalization of marijuana, even making it a platform for unsuccessful runs for state Legislature and Congress.

A coffee table in the waiting room of his office is covered with copies of High Times magazine, a book called "Tokin' Women," a history of women and weed, and copies of Margolin's own guide to marijuana laws in every state. His office in the back of a bungalow in West Hollywood has the faint whiff of pot in the air.

Since the passage of Proposition 64, he's gotten convicts out of prison, spared others time behind bars and successfully knocked felonies down to misdemeanors.

But he's also encountered a lot of confusion about the law that went into effect immediately in November.

"They were totally unprepared," he said of judges and prosecutors in courts he's appeared in throughout the state. "It's amazing. You would have thought they should have had seminars to get them up to speed so we don't have to go through the process of arguing things that are obvious, but we're still getting that."

That has not been the case in San Diego, where prosecutors watched polls trending in favor of marijuana legalization and moved proactively to prevent chaos, said Rachel Solov, chief of the collaborative courts division of the district attorney's office. They learned lessons from the 2014 passage of Proposition 47, which reduced several nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors.

Prosecutors in the county researched which convicts serving time or probation were eligible for sentence reductions and notified the public defender's office so they could quickly get into court. Many were freed immediately, Solov said.

"Whether we agree with the law or not, our job is to enforce it," Solov said. "It's the right thing to do. If someone's in custody and they shouldn't be in custody anymore, we have an obligation to address that."

San Diego County led the state with the most number of petitions reported in the first two months after the law was passed. It has reduced sentences or convictions in nearly 400 cases, Solov said.

In Mendocino County, where pot farming is big business and violent crimes are often tied to the crop, District Attorney C. David Eyster said he fights any case not eligible for a reduction, such as applicants with a major felony in their past, a sex offense or two previous convictions for the same crime.

He said he would also fight a reduction if someone is caught cultivating weed while committing an environmental crime, such as stealing or polluting water. Otherwise — in a quirk that has some in law enforcement baffled — someone caught with two plants or 2,000 would both face a misdemeanor.

"This is one of those areas where size doesn't matter," Eyster said.

When it came time for Schlauch's hearing this winter, he showed up an hour early at the Van Nuys courthouse. He was anxious but optimistic as he paced the hallway clutching a folder with letters praising him for doing volunteer work with veterans, working with children with disabilities at a martial arts school and earning a nursing degree long after his run-in with the law.

It had been more than two decades since he was sentenced to nine months in jail. He only served about a month.

The case was so old that the court file was incomplete.

A prosecutor rifling through papers wondered whether he was eligible for relief. He had 8.5 pounds of marijuana, she said. The file noted psychedelic mushrooms were also found, and she questioned whether the discovery of guns made him a threat.

Schlauch, 58, was never charged with a gun offense. He said the registered weapons were unloaded and locked in a safe. His only conviction was for possession with intent to sell marijuana, Margolin said.

The judge flipped through the fat penal code book to review the new law.

"I don't see any reasonable risk of danger. It seems like he's entitled," Judge Martin Herscovitz said. "The petition is granted."

It barely took five minutes to lift a weight he had carried so long. He never had to say a thing or show he had turned his life around. He bounded from the courtroom, elated.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some guy by the name of Joe Bates made the following comment on the KPCC publication of this article:

When Mr. Schlauch made the decision to illegally deal drugs 25 years ago he knew perfectly well it was a serious felony. He didn't care. Now I do not care that he ruined his life.

I couldn’t have put it any better myself. When Schlauch decided to sell drugs, whether pot or heroin, he sealed his own fate. Fuck him and the others like him!


Civil Rights Groups, Fearing Racial Profiling, Sue Texas Over SB 4

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
May 23, 2017

And so it begins: Civil rights groups and local government leaders have sued Governor Greg Abbott and the great state of Texas over the so-called "show me your papers" bill, Senate Bill 4.

Alongside El Paso County and its sheriff, Richard Wiles, the Texas Civil Rights Project filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, alleging that SB 4 is a discriminatory, unconstitutionally vague bill that encourages racial profiling and violates protections against unlawful search and seizure. The plaintiffs have also named Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw as defendants.

“For over a quarter-century, TCRP has successfully challenged discriminatory laws targeting immigrant communities in Texas. SB4 is no different," Efrén C. Olivares, the racial and economic justice director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said in a statement. "All Texans, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to live free of harassment and discrimination. The 'show me your papers' law targets communities that have been attacked by both the state and federal governments already, further upending the lives of immigrant families throughout Texas."

Slated to go into effect in September, SB 4 prohibits law enforcement agencies from adopting any policy that "discourages" officers from asking people about their immigration status. Police can ask about immigration status not just during an arrest, but while detaining someone for any purpose. The law also requires all sheriffs and police chiefs to honor ICE detainers, which are requests that suspected undocumented immigrants be held in the county jail until federal agents can pick them up. Should police leaders fail to "enforce immigration law," they can be removed from office and charged with a crime; their jurisdictions can also face a steep civil fine. As the plaintiffs argue, "immigration law" is too vague for such a high price to be paid. The law even says police can't "endorse" policies that conflict with SB 4, which seems to indicate that even just voicing a dissenting opinion publicly can cause police to lose their badge. Plaintiffs argue this chills First Amendment rights.

The real crux of the lawsuit, though, is its focus on how SB 4 could invite racial profiling, therefore violating the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

TCRP pulled no punches in introducing SB 4, saying that, "SB 4 invites racial profiling, permitting officers to demand 'papers' from virtually any person in Texas at any time. History and logic supports that all Texans will not be equally subject to this harassment: Texans of Hispanic heritage and immigrants and their families, particularly those from Mexico, Central America and other Spanish-speaking countries, will be targeted."

“We’ve joined this lawsuit because SB4 would be destructive and hurtful, not only to the people of color who will be subject to increased racial profiling, but to the state’s economy and safety," said Michelle Tremillo, executive director of the Texas Organizing Project. "It seems everyone in this state, except the white men who voted for SB4, is aware that nothing good will come from this law."

In El Paso, more than 82 percent of residents are Hispanic, according to the lawsuit. As police leaders from El Paso, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Arlington have made clear to lawmakers, they believe that SB 4 actually poses a public safety threat given it will erode trust between police and immigrant communities, possibly causing them to fear reporting crimes and cooperating with police as witnesses. (Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, in fact, railed against the law during an impassioned speech last month.)

"It is insulting to the people and leaders of El Paso that the Texas Legislature continues to erode the policy decision-making and sovereignty of local communities based on irrational, unfounded 'fears' of immigrants," TCRP wrote in the lawsuit. Taking away local police leaders' ability to create their own policies related to immigration, TCRP also argues SB 4 violates separation of powers.

Last week, city leaders from all of those cities announced their support for litigation, indicating that they would be launching a coordinated protest against SB 4 through lawsuits and organized action this summer.

Like every highly controversial piece of legislation that comes out of the Texas Lege, be it voting rights restrictions, reproductive rights restrictions or LGBT rights restrictions, the legal battles are bound to extend for months or years.

This time, in fact, Paxton was oddly the first to take legal action regarding SB 4, asking a federal court to declare the law constitutional so that advocacy groups would have to settle down. Apparently, that hasn't slowed them down.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


LGBTQ supporters are crying foul over the Texas House passage of a watered-down bathroom bill

BY Howie Katz

Big Jolly Politics
May 22, 2017

Under Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s threat to force a special session, the Texas House passed a watered down bathroom bill that, unlike the Senate version which applies to all public facilities, applies only to public schools.

The House version was attached at the last minute Sunday night to another bill. It prohibits transgenders from using the public school bathroom of their choice. However the House bill requires schools to have a single-occupancy bathroom for those students who don’t want to use the facilities designated for their biological sex.

Houston’s Rep. Senfronia Thompson cried foul. “I was living through that [Jim Crow] era. Bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now,” she told the House. “America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all.”

I know this is not politically correct, but when we’re talking about transgenders, we could actually be talking about mentally ill people. Dr. Joseph Berger is a prominent Canadian psychiatrist in Toronto whose list of credentials establishes him as a mental illness expert. Dr. Berger believes that people who identify themselves as transgendered are mentally ill or simply unhappy. Accordingly, he has pointed out that hormone therapy and surgery are not appropriate treatments for psychosis or unhappiness.

Bruce Jenner is a perfect example of Dr. Berger’s diagnosis. Brucella – oops, I mean Caitlyn - waited until his 60s to decide he was really a woman. And that was after three marriages and fathering six children, two with each of his wives. He didn’t develop a gender identification problem until he got mixed up with the Kardashians. I’ll believe Caitlyn is a woman when Jenner can get pregnant.

So here we are fighting over bathrooms in order to accommodate a bunch of nut cases. No one knows yet what the final version of the bathroom bill will be when it reaches the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott.

Even the watered down version of the House bill has the LGBTQ groups and their politically correct supporters all exercised. Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas says, “Targeting some of the most vulnerable children in our state is abhorrent, shameful, and disgraceful. The Texas lawmakers of the 85th legislative session are on wrong side of history.”

The wrong side of history? Smith must mean the politically correct version of history. From the founding of our country until a relatively few years ago, no one worried about who used which bathroom. The simple rule of law was, if you had a dick you used the ‘boys/men’ bathroom and if you did not have a dick you used the ‘girls/ladies’ bathroom. And that’s the way it should continue to be.


by Bob Walsh

You might remember Ahmed Mohamed, who at the age of 14 was arrested at McArthur High School in Irving, Texas when he brought to school a device which looked very much like a bomb but was in fact a disassembled, ancient Radio Shack clock wired to some junk that looked remarkably like a bomb.

The D.A. never filed charges. Young Ahmed's father, Mohamed Mohamed, sued the Irving Independent School District, McArthur High School, the City of Irving and the school principal for unspecified damages.

U.S. District Court Judge Sam Lindsay has just told Mr. Mohamed (very politely I am sure) to kick rocks. His mere assertion that they were discriminated against is not proof of actual discrimination.

The family has in the intervening time left the country and moved to some middle-east shit hole country. At one time they were asking for $15 million and an apology. What they got instead was a "fuck you" which is pretty much what they deserved.


by Bob Walsh

I watch a fair amount of Fox News programming. One of the shows I often watch is THE FIVE. One of the regular people on that show is Bob Beckel, an old-line solid liberal (though not a liberal idiot). He is also a more or less solid Christian and an unabashed reformed substance abuser.

He was just canned by Fox for racial insensitivity. If the story going around is to be believed he got very snotty about the IT people sending a black IT tech to his office at Fox to work on his computer.

Beckel is also alleged to have attempted to intimidate the IT grunt into withdrawing his complaint.

The IT guy's lawyer has a total of 22 current clients with cases against Fox, 15 of them allege racial discrimination or behavior, many of them focused on the networks controller, Judith Slater, who has since been sacked.


Donald Trump becomes the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall which is highly sacred to Jews

By Bethan McKernan and Andrew Buncombe

May 23, 2017

Donald Trump made by history by becoming the first sitting US president to visit the sacred Western Wall, vowing to try and secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The President wore a traditional yarmulke as he pressed his right hand against the wall, highly sacred to Jews, and closed his eyes. Later, he said it had been a “great honour”.

But as Mr Trump posed for photographs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he felt a peace deal between the two sides could he achieved “eventually”, there was little indication that he had any sort of road map to hand on how to move forward a challenge that has vexed US administrations for decades.

“I thank the prime minister for his commitment to pursuing the peace process,” Mr Trump said of Mr Netanyahu, who stood next to him at a joint press conference in Jerusalem.

“He’s working very hard at it – it’s not easy. I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all. But I have a feeling that we’re going to get there eventually. I hope.”

For his part, Mr Netanyahu brushed aside the controversy over Mr Trump’s alleged leaking of sensitive intelligence material from Israel to the Russian foreign minister. He said cooperation between the two countries had never been better.

Mr Trump’s visit to Israel came a day after he spoke before more than 50 Muslim and Arab leaders at a summit in Saudi Arabia, where he denounced Shia Iran and called on the mostly Sunni audience to act against extremism.

His flight alone to Israel made history. Reports suggest no American leader has before flown directly between the two nations.

Beyond that, Mr Trump needed to do little in Israel for Mr Netanyahu to consider him an improvement to the New York tycoon’s predecessor in the White House. Barack Obama and Mr Netanyahu had a personal relationship that was said to be toxic, and prior to Mr Trump’s inauguration, relations between the leadership of the two countries hit a low.

Mr Netanyahu, leader of a nation that sees Iran as its most pressing regional threat, opposed the nuclear deal agreed with Tehran and took up an invitation from Republicans to denounce the policy in a speech before both houses of congress.

On Monday, Mr Trump said he shared Israel’s concern about Iran and demanded that Tehran immediately cease military and financial backing of “terrorists and militias”.

“What’s happened with Iran has brought many of the parts of the Middle East toward Israel,” Mr Trump said at a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin.

During the election campaign, Mr Trump had promised to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something that would have represented a shift in decades of US policy.

The city is claimed as a capital by both Jews and Palestinians, however, and relocating the embassy – a move that would in effect be declaring Jerusalem to be Israeli territory – would sharply raise tensions. The Trump administration last week made clear any such plan was on hold.

Israel captured the Old City, home to important Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious sites, along with the rest of east Jerusalem in the 1967 war. The US has never recognised Israeli sovereignty over territory occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem. For this reason, US officials even refuse to say whether or not the Western Wall is part of Israel.

The Associated Press said Israel, which previously controlled west Jerusalem, claims all of the city as its eternal capital and this week is celebrating the 50th anniversary of what it calls the city’s “unification”.

Mr Trump is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, and the Palestinian leader said he hoped the meeting could be “useful and fruitful and will bring results”. In the Gaza Strip, dozens of Palestinians rallied against Mr Trump and burned his picture and an effigy of him.


Texas Legislature Passes Bill Aimed to End Its Forced Child Marriages Problem

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
May 22, 2017

When Dr. Nusrat Ameen hears from young women who married as children, it is often at the stage when they are trying to escape.

Ameen works for Daya, an organization in Houston that helps women or families that are dealing with domestic violence, and has been studying and advocating against forced marriages since 1999. She has heard from a 20-year-old college student whose parents had forced her to marry her cousin at age 16, and whose parents threatened to take away her tuition money unless she consummated the marriage. Ameen has heard from a 17-year-old girl forced to marry a 25-year-old man and who wanted to go off to college, not move in with a man she did not love. She's heard from a mother who was concerned that her daughter's friend was being forced into a marriage, who was wondering, what can we do to stop this?

The Texas Legislature may have just answered with a solution: banning child marriages altogether, as the House voted to do on Friday, sending the legislation up to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature.

Texas has long enjoyed the unfortunate honor of having the second-highest rate of child marriages in the United States, with a rate of seven per 1,000 children married between the ages of 15 and 17, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center report. The Lone Star State just barely second to West Virginia. In Texas, there is actually no minimum age for marriage, so Ameen has even seen child brides as young as 12 or 13 marrying men in their 20s or 30s. From 2000 to 2014, more than 40,000 children got married in Texas, according to data published by the Tahirih Justice Center, another organization staunchly supportive of the bill. The problem cuts across cultural, religious and ethnic divides, Ameen said, but is more common with teen girls than boys.

For a child to get married in Texas, if she is 16 or 17, all she needs is a parent's consent — which can at times be more akin to coercion — and if she is 15 or younger, she also needs judicial approval.

"The parents may have good intentions to get the children off in hands of people they trust, and do something good for them in the long run," Ameen said. "But that may lead to a forced marriage because of the fact that the person is a child, not knowing how to protect herself. Forced marriage can give rise to domestic violence, to having reproductive rights refused and to being financially dependent on the person they are marrying."

Once the child is married and possibly faces domestic violence or sexual assault, even though they are still kids, Child Protective Services cant help them, because they are married.

The bill that passed Friday — Senate Bill 1705, authored by Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano) and sponsored by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) — would change all of that. It makes 18 the legal age to marry, and would only allow people younger than 18 to marry if they have already been emancipated by a court order (i.e., a judge found that they live on their own and are no longer dependent on parents or guardians to support themselves).

"We are very grateful to Senator Taylor for his leadership in taking this critical step to protect children in Texas from being forced to marry," Jeanne Smoot, senior policy counsel at the Tahirih Justice Center, another supporter of the bill, said in a statement. "This bill empowers young people to enter marriage only with their full and free consent."

Two poignant stories that circulated in recent months largely rallied legislators to support the bill. One was that of a Houston Chronicle writer's mother, who was forced into a marriage at age 14 and later escaped the marriage and lived lived out of a car for with an infant for several months at age 17. Another was that of Trevicia Williams, who at 14 was forced into a marriage with a 26-year-old abusive man. She gave birth to her first child while she was still one herself, at 15, and when she turned 18 she filed for divorce.

"I felt a deep sense of being powerless because of my age," she told legislators in written testimony. "Within the first 30 days of the marriage, my now ex-husband hit me. ...I asked my mother if I could return home and she told me no."

Should the bill be signed by Governor Abbott, it will go into effect on September 1.


Don't restore the economic development slush fund

By J.W. "Jay" Wall III

Houston Chronicle
May 19, 2017

The Texas House wisely stripped $43 billion in funding from the Texas Enterprise Fund and redirected that money to improve the state's foster care system. The governor and others want to restore and even increase the funding. With the state Legislature relying on constitutionally questionable accounting gimmicks to balance the budget and urgent needs in other areas of the budget, does a state with a top-rated environment for business need to spend money on an economic development slush fund?

The $43 million Texas Enterprise Fund allows the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House to pick winners and losers. It spends the tax revenue of existing Texas businesses to lure new competitors from outside the state and to pay off businesses that blackmail the state by threatening to leave. Meanwhile, the state has urgent needs in other areas including the failing foster care system. The state would do better to preserve its status as a business-friendly state rather than grow a reputation as a state where the real business is done in Austin.

Technology companies are moving to Texas for its quality workforce and lower cost of living compared to other tech centers. Texas has been the top exporter in the nation for 14 consecutive years. Forbes ranked Texas No. 1 for talent attraction. Thumbtack rated Texas No. 1 for "Small Business Friendliness." CNBC ranked Texas the No. 2 "Best State for Business" - losing to Utah over the cost of doing business, business friendliness, quality of life and education.

Moving to No. 1 would be better-served by lowering the cost of doing business, improving the regulatory and legal environment, upgrading education and enhancing the quality of life in Texas. None of those involve politically motivated payments to bribe businesses to do something they would be doing anyway for purely economic reasons.

One specific area where we can start to enhance the quality of life in Texas is by protecting the most vulnerable members of the community. The Texas foster care system is in disarray. Just how bad is it? In April, a 15-year-old girl in Child Protective Services custody was killed when she left the CPS office where she was being housed because of a lack of foster care facilities and was struck by a car. A second girl had run away from two different CPS offices where she was being housed for lack of available foster homes. In cases where CPS takes custody from one divorced parent, they lack the resources to do the obvious - find the other parent and return the children to him or her. Even at the basic level of technology, CPS caseworkers are overburdened, carrying file folders crammed with papers while electronic tablets would improve efficiency and accountability.

The drastic problems in CPS are just one of the areas where the state's limited resources could be better spent than the Enterprise Development Fund. Rather than spend money on political handouts to favored businesses, the Legislature could improve the business climate for Texas by: improving the workforce through education reform; improving quality of life by reforming and fully funding law enforcement; and simply lowering the cost of doing business for existing as well as new businesses.

Texas businesses should not be funding their own new competitors. Texas taxpayers shouldn't be facing a false choice between improving the business climate and improving quality of life; they are two sides of the same coin. Not every day or even every session does the Legislature make a decision that is such a slam dunk. Let's keep this one.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jay, a personal friend, failed to mention the poor kids in foster care who have been physically or sexually abused, starved and even murdered just here in the Houston area.


Texas House Votes to Restrict Transgender Kids' Bathroom Use in Public Schools

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
May 22, 2017

Thwarting Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's threat to force a special session over the bathroom bill, the Texas House voted Sunday night to pass bathroom restrictions for transgender students in all public schools.

The measure passed 91-50 in the form of an amendment, tacked onto Senate Bill 2078, which relates to schools' "multi-hazard operating plans," and is a stripped-down version of the so-called "bathroom bill," Senate Bill 6. Under the amendment, authored by Representative Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), schools must require students who "do not wish to use the facilities designated for use or commonly used by person's of the student's biological sex" to instead use a single-occupancy bathroom. In other words, transgender kids must be separated from everyone else, which Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) said echoed Jim Crow-era segregation.

"I was living through that era. Bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now,” Thompson, who is 78 and black, said on the House floor. “America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all.”

The vote came in the eleventh hour, after Dan Patrick had threatened Wednesday to force a special session if the House didn't vote on two pieces of Senate legislation, a property tax reform bill and the bathroom bill. He had intended to hold hostage the budget and what's called the "sunset safety net," which keeps various state agencies from shutting down while they await review. House Speaker Joe Straus had called Patrick's threat "regrettable." For months, Straus has refused to even put SB 6 into a House committee, calling it "manufactured and unnecessary." But apparently, not enough House members were willing to give up their summer vacation to stand their ground with Straus.

SB 6 was significantly more restrictive, extending the biological-sex-based bathroom rules to all government buildings and public universities. It included measures allowing bathroom vigilantes to file complaints with the Texas Attorney General's Office if they saw "men in women's restrooms," and the AG would actually use law-enforcement resources to investigate the jurisdiction and see if it had an illegal non-discrimination ordinance in place, such as the failed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Cities could have been fined for adopting such policies.

Under Paddie's amendment, it is unclear what will happen to schools that currently allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identities — but LGBTQ groups are fearing the worst. To many, Paddie's amendment is just as bad as SB 6.

"Targeting some of the most vulnerable children in our state is abhorrent, shameful, and disgraceful," Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, said in a statement. "The Texas lawmakers of the 85th legislative session are on wrong side of history. No matter how upset or scared our LGBTQ friends and families are feeling this evening, Equality Texas wants you to know that we stand with you; and we will fight to protect you."

Senate Bill 2078 still has to head back to the Senate for any final tweaks before it heads to Governor Greg Abbott's desk.

Monday, May 22, 2017


'Your soul will be fully condemned!' Trump's Saudi speech warns terrorists their days are numbered as he implores Arab leaders to stamp out 'Islamic terror groups' and 'drive them out of your places of worship'

By David Martosko

Daily Mail
May 21, 2017

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA -- Donald Trump insisted in a speech addressing global 'Islamic extremism' that Muslim leaders must scare would-be terrorists into submission, warning them about the impact suicide bombings will have on their immortal souls.

'Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity,' Trump said in a sumptuous Saudi ballroom that put Mar-a-Lago to shame.

'If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be fully condemned,' he said.

'Heroes don't kill innocents,' a confident Trump declared at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh. 'They save them.'

The president urged 55 world leaders from Arab and other Muslim nations to 'drive out' terrorists from every corner of their lives – including mosques – in a zero-tolerance approach that lines up with his 2016 campaign rhetoric.

'Drive them out!' he said. 'Drive them out of your places of worship, Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy lands, and drive them out of this earth,' he trumpeted.

Trump's performance was forceful at times but largely a cautious, measured and presidential-sounding effort, raising his voice only once.

'With God's help this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed,' the president said.

Trump insisted that fighting terrorism is 'a battle between good and evil,' not between 'different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.'

'Terrorists do not worship God. They worship death,' Trump declared. 'If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen and what will be the end result.'

He predicted that in the absence of multi-nation commitments to action, 'peaceful societies will be engulfed by violence, and the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.'

And if the world doesn't unite to fight ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other groups, he said, 'not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, we will be judged by God.'

Trump said Middle Eastern nations 'can't wait' for the U.S. to solve the terror problem for them.

'Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization,' he said.

Trump took pains to isolate Iran in his speech, saying the Islamic republican is spreading 'destruction and chaos' throughout the Middle East and gives terrorists 'safe harbor, financial backing and the social standing needed for recruitment.'

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, too, declared on Sunday that 'the Iranian regime has been the spearhead of global terrorism.'

Trump called defeating global terrorism 'history's great test,' as he urged summit attendees to 'vanquish the forces that terrorism brings with it every single time.'

'Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence and innocent from hatred,' Trump said.

Still, the president shied away from referring specifically to 'radical Islamic terrorism,' a phrase he lambasted both his predecessor Barack Obama and his election opponent Hillary Clinton for avoiding.

Instead he said prevailing 'means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists, and Islamic terror of all kinds.'

The White House's prepared remarks were different, citing 'Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.'

'Islamist' is a term meant to apply more to governments and movements than to individuals motivated by religion to sow chaos.

'This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it,' Trump said, reading from teleprompters.

King Salman seemed to agree with Trump's most aggressive and foreboding statement – that jihadi terrorists place their souls at risk.

'Our way to achieve the goals of our religion and win everlasting life in heaven is to promote the tolerant values of Islam, which are based in peace and moderation,' he said in introducing Trump from behind a desk onstage.

'There is no honor in committing murder,' he said through a translator. 'Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. ... it considers killing an innocent soul tantamount to killing all of humanity.'

Salman called on Gulf Cooperation Council leaders to 'reject extremism, work on fighting all forms of terrorism, stop its financing and its propagation, dry up its sources, and stand firm in confronting this scourge that poses a danger to all of humanity.'

And he pledged to prosecute terrorists and terror financing, to 'eradicate' the ISIS terror army 'and other terrorist organizations regardless of their religious, sect or ideology.'

President Trump spoke before the GCC members at an Arab Islamic American Summit event in Riyadh, telling them that 'every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.'

He insisted that heads of state begin 'standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.'

But Trump didn't demand that nations embrace broad cultural or political changes as a condition of working with the United States.

'Our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination. Our partnerships will advance security through stability, not through radical disruption,' he pledged.

'We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes – not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms – not sudden intervention.'

'Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God,' Trump said.

His speech came just hours after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with six Persian Gulf to counter global terrorism by cracking down on people and groups who finance violent jihadis.

Trump, in his address, urged nations to 'cut off the financial channels that let ISIS sell oil, let extremists pay their fighters and help terrorists smuggle their reinforcements.'

'We must stop what they're doing to inspire, because they do nothing to inspire but kill,' he said.

'Inspire' is the English-language online propaganda magazine of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Gulf Cooperation Council nations who agreed to the measure include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Among the agreement's components is the establishment of a center in Riyadh to fight extremism – especially online.

White House deputy national security advisor Dina Powell told reporters in Riyadh on Sunday that the pact represents the 'farthest reaching commitment to not finance terrorist organizations,' and said the U.S. Treasury Department will monitor terror financing in Gulf states.

'The unique piece of it is that every single one of them are signatories on how they are responsible and will actually prosecute the financing of terrorism – including individuals, Powell said.

The president's two-day stop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia marks just the first stage of a nine-day international trip that will see him next in Israel, and then Rome, Brussels and a small resort town in Sicily.

The agenda includes NATO and G7 meetings, along with talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and an audience with Pope Francis.

But Sunday's anti-terror speech in the Saudi kingdom was Job One, widely seen as Trump's first chance to have a global impact on a subject that helped propel him to the White House.

'We can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong – and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden,' the president said.

'Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.

'America is prepared to stand with you – in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them.'

Trump made waves a year and a half ago with a campaign speech in which he called for 'a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States' until measures were taken to stop terrorists at the border.

That, in combination with his 'America first' slogan and its accompanying philosophy, had a worrying ripple effect across the Arab world.

Trump's speech, largely crafted by hard-line aide Stephen Miller, highlighted the advancement of American interests while not condemning his audience's religion.

'America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture – we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,' he said.

'Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all.'

'I know that our time together will bring many blessings to your people and mine,' he said, announcing that he 'a message of friendship, hope and love.'

He insisted that leaders focus on 'protecting equality' in the Arab world, and cultivating a region with 'Christians, Muslims and Jews living side by side.'

'We must practice tolerance and respect for each other again,' he said, insisting on a social system where 'every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity can enjoy a life of dignity and hope.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: Great speech! It beats the supreme shit out of the plea Obama made to Muslims in Egypt in 2009. But the problem is that Trump was speaking to many of the very leaders who have bankrolled terrorist groups. And the Imams of the Wahhabi mosques that have been set up in the U.S. by the Saudis continually preach hatred of the West and praise Islamic terrorism.

It should be noted that Trump’s speech writers and advisers did not let him use his oft said words, “radical Islamic terrorism,” a phrase that is offensive to many Muslims.


A Harvard study found that 80 percent of Trump coverage was negative during his first 100 days in office, with the tone of the coverage being exceptionally antagonistic

By Sally Persons

The Washington Times
May 18, 2017

President Trump has suffered the most unfavorable press coverage of any president on record, according to a report from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard.

Mr. Trump has dominated the news since taking office, with 41 percent of all stories reviewed by the center focusing on the new president. That’s three times more than the average of previous presidents.

But the tone of the coverage was exceptionally antagonistic.

“Negative reports outpaced positive ones by 80 percent to 20 percent. Trump’s coverage was unsparing. In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative and it reached 90 percent negative at its peak,” the analysts said in their new report, released Thursday.

The numbers could be seen to back up Mr. Trump’s claim this week that he’s suffered “unfairly.”

“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly,” the president said in an address to graduates at the Coast Guard Academy.

The Shorenstein study looked at coverage from ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CNN and Fox News as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. It also included the Financial Times, the BBC and ARD, Germany’s oldest public broadcast.

Since the 1960s, every president has dominated the news cycle, accounting for about an eighth of all news. But on national television, Mr. Trump accounted for 41 percent of coverage and was the main speaker in his news pieces two-thirds of the time. Another 11 percent of coverage was his administration staff, including his press secretary Sean Spicer.


Gunmen rob busload of federal police officers in Mexico

Associated Press
May 19, 2017

MEXICO CITY -- Authorities in Mexico say gunmen have assaulted and robbed a bus full of federal police.

The National Security Commission reports that the bus was carrying 29 unarmed officers dressed in civilian clothes Monday night to Mexico City, where they were to be on leave after 25 straight days on duty in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

The commission says the driver pulled over to check a mechanical problem near a toll booth in the state of Morelos. Armed men then boarded the bus, threatened him and the passengers and relieved them of their possessions.

A statement late Thursday says the officers did not resist in order to avoid injuries or loss of life. Authorities are searching for the robbers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Them that robs now know how it feels to be robbed.


'It was absolutely mortifying': Australian woman, 26, who flew to Hawaii for romantic holiday with her American boyfriend ends up in JAIL on her birthday after immigration staff go through her diary

By Stephen Johnson

Daily Mail
May 21, 2017

An Australian woman has spoken of how she ended up in jail during a romantic trip to Hawaii with her American boyfriend because of what she wrote in her diary.

Molly Hill, 26, of Melbourne, visited Honolulu early last week with her new love Ross Maidl, only to end up being stripped searched and jailed on her birthday.

She has described the ordeal of her Hawaiian dream turning into a nightmare, after American immigration officials in the Pacific Ocean state read her diary.

'They were convinced I wanted to immigrate illegally because my diary had notes like 'going away drinks' and 'last day at work', things I got in order before expecting to be away for three months,' she wrote on Facebook.

Hill left Australia for Honolulu on Monday on a 88-day tourist visa on a fully-paid trip.

But after being taken into an interview room, she was handcuffed and locked up in a federal prison.

'I was told there were no more flights to Australia that day and I would have to spend the night at the detention center, which the officer described as 'like jail but you can't make any phone calls',' she said.

'I was frisked, made to undress in front of an officer and show that there was nothing in my hair or mouth, and asked to 'squat and cough' which was absolutely mortifying.'

After two hours behind bars, Hill was told to remove all her jewelry and list her tattoos to ensure they weren't gang related.

She spent the night in jail, before spending her birthday in handcuffs being escorted to the airport for an 11-hour flight.

'I remained in handcuffs and was escorted throughout the airport. Then I was finally allowed to call home, and had to pay $620 for a flight to Sydney,' she said.

'It's been a surreal few days that's taken a big chunk of money, heartache and tears.'

She has called on the media to write a piece against U.S. President Donald Trump.

'If anyone knows of a good immigration lawyer please hit me up. Or if you're a journalist let's write an anti Trump piece,' she said.

Her boyfriend greeted her at Melbourne International Airport on Saturday, with the whole ordeal costing her $2,000.

Hill's ordeal comes only weeks after Canberra-raised personal trainer Baxter Reid was detained in upstate New York after overstaying his U.S. visa by 90 minutes.

The former Fitness First trainer, who worked in Canberra and Sydney, had visited the U.S.-Canada border in late April so he could fulfil visa requirements to leave the U.S. every six months.

It was almost another two weeks before the 26-year-old man was released from a Buffalo detention centre.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


This incident occurred near Vancouver. The little girl is lucky some guy immediately jumped in to save her young ass.


The New York Times and the Washington Post continually receive information damaging to Trump from sources within the President’s administration

There are traitors within the Trump Administration that seem determined to bring the President down. They keep leaking information to The New York Times and the Washington Post, two liberal news organizations that would love to see Trump fall. The leaks are damaging to the President and bring into question his competency as leader of our great nation.

The latest leak to The New York Times involved Trump’s meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador in the Oval Office on May 10. That meeting took place one day after Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey.

Here is what Trump told the Russian officials about the firing of Comey:

“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

That had to be leaked by someone who was present during the meeting or, more likely, by someone who was not present but had access to the records of that meeting. I have a strong suspicion the leak came from someone in the State Department or from an FBI official.

That leak is very damaging to Trump in two ways. First, the statement carries with it the strong implication that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation. And by calling Comey “crazy, a real nut job,” he gave the former FBI director every reason to unload on him when he testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the coming days.

Of course Trump doesn’t help his own cause any because his mouth is the mouth that keeps on giving and giving. And the same with his tweets. The Daily Beast reports that one White House official told it that “if he would just shut his trap” there would be nothing for his enemies to talk about. Another administration official said, “Every day he looks more and more like a complete moron.”

The leak about the May 10 Oval Office meeting is but one of a string of damaging leaks given The Times and the Post since Trump took office. The persons responsible for those leaks are traitors to the President and his administration. Those traitors need to be identified, fired and punished to the full extent of the law if any crimes were committed with the leakage.


by Bob Walsh

OK, what we are talking about here is traffic violations and not robberies or rapes. However, from a numerical standpoint it is a LOT of crime. About four million criminal acts per year. The formerly great state of California is moving towards making most traffic offenses civil infractions rather than criminal ones.

One of the results of this act is that, if passed, violators could not be jailed for refusing to show up in court or refusing to pay fines. I suspect this will greatly increase the scoff-law effect. It would also prevent the state from suspending the licenses of those who refuse to pay their fines.

It should be noted that this proposal is being pushed by the judiciary and not by the legislature, which may still go for it in any case. Most of the CA legislature loves criminals and will do everything in their power to make their life easier.


by Bob Walsh

Betty Shelby is a white female police officer in Tulsa, OK. She has been on unpaid leave since Sept. 22, shortly after shooting an unarmed black man to death while on the job. She was found not guilty on Wednesday in the criminal trial for manslaughter in the death of Terence Crutcher, 40. The chief has announced that Officer Shelby will be returned to duty in a limited (not on the street) capacity for her own safety. Officer Shelby is unsure she wants to return to duty.

The jury that found her not guilty included three African-Americans.

Terence Crutcher was clearly being a dick and not obeying lawful commands. Officer Shelby asserted that she feared he was going for a gun at the time she shot, though video seems to show him walking away from her with his hands in plain sight above his head.


by Bob Walsh

A bill is progressing through the legislature of the formerly great state of California that would place limits on the self-description that judges can put into the ballot pamphlet concerning themselves and their history. It is common to find that a judge bills him/herself as a "domestic violence prosecutor" or a "hard-core anti-gang prosecutor" when in fact they are an ordinary, run-of-the-mill assistant D.A. prosecuting the cases they are assigned.

If passed into law this bill, SB235, would limit candidates in judicial election to such things as "attorney at law" or "assistant district attorney" It would accomplish this by limited the judges to three words to describe their professional history. Judicial races in CA are typically low-budget affairs and there are already laws that restrict what judicial candidates can say, so this just might fly.


Cuban armed robber who turned his life around after being mistakenly paroled 90 years early is pardoned by Colorado governor to stop him being deported, but that may not prevent his deportation

By Hannah Parry and Associated Press

Daily Mail
May 20, 2017

A Cuban immigrant who turned his life around after being mistakenly paroled eight years into a 98 year sentence for armed robbery, has been pardoned by the governor of Colorado to stop him being deported.

Rene Lima-Marin, who came to the US as a toddler, was sentenced to almost a century in jail, in 2010, after he and an accomplice held up two video stores.

But just eight years later, the 38-year-old was mistakenly granted parole and released from Colorado state prison.

Lima-Marin went on to get married, had a child and got a steady job installing glass before state authorities realized their mistake in 2014 and sent him back for the remainder of his 98-year prison sentence.

Earlier this week, a Colorado judge ordered Lima-Marin released from state prison, saying it would be 'draconian' to keep him incarcerated.

But before he could return to his family, immigration authorities picked him up, citing a still-active deportation order from 2000, when his American residency was rescinded in light of his conviction.

His lawyers said a pardon was his only chance to stave off deportation.

Now Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has granted Lima-Marin a pardon, saying it was 'a question of justice.'

'This was a pretty clear example of someone who's done all the work necessary to earn a second chance.'

It's unclear whether the governor's action will be enough to stop Lima-Marin's deportation.

'I'm not a lawyer,' Hickenlooper said when asked whether the pardon would be enough.

Lima-Marin's case has become a bipartisan cause celebre in Colorado, as 98 members of the state Assembly, Democrats and Republicans, called on Hickenlooper to grant him clemency.

Though the legal roots of Lima-Marin's deportation order stretch back to actions of the Obama administrations, his detention comes as the Trump administration has moved aggressively to speed up deportations, sometimes sparking clashes with local officials.

District Attorney George Brauchler, whose office prosecuted Lima-Marin, said Hickenlooper did not give prosecutors time to review the pardon application as required by state law.

'The hasty decision to ignore state law was made seemingly to skirt federal law, and that is not an appropriate use of the governor's pardon power,' said Brauchler, who is running for governor.

Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for ICE, indicated that Hickenlooper's pardon would not be enough to stop the deportation.

'Rene Michael Lima Marin currently has final orders of removal from a federal immigration judge,' he said in a statement.

Hans Meyer, Lima-Marin's lawyer, said he'd file motions to vacate that order.

'We're incredibly grateful to the governor for a just and fair solution,' he said. 'This is a tremendous first step.'

But Jason Kasperek, the assistant manager at a Blockbuster video store that Lima-Marin and an accomplice robbed in 1998, said Lima-Marin should be back in prison.

'I just think that it's scandalous how he used the system,' Kasperek said of Lima-Marin, recalling how the robbers held a rifle to his head as they forced him to open the store safe. 'I think it's completely ridiculous.

'It's unjust for all victims who have been involved in it.'

The Blockbuster was one of two video stores that Lima-Marin and his accomplice Michael Clifton robbed. They were convicted on multiple robbery, kidnapping and burglary counts. Clifton is still in prison, serving his 98-year sentence.

This is not Lima-Marin's first time in immigration detention. Though Trump has ordered immigration authorities to step up their enforcement of deportation orders, Lima-Marin's legal jeopardy actually stems from changes made by Obama.

After his 2008 parole, immigration authorities held Lima-Marin for 180 days. But at the time, Cuba would not accept any additional people who had arrived on the Mariel boat lift as deportees. As a result, Lima-Marin was released. He continued to check in with immigration authorities regularly, said his wife, Jasmine.

But when Obama in January ended the 'wet foot-dry foot' policy that had protected Cuban immigrants who arrived from the island, it opened the door to additional Cubans from the Mariel boat lift to be deported.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rene took advantage of a clerical error like any other prison inmate would have done. Since his mistaken release, he has supported his family with a steady job and appears to have become a productive citizen. I say, let Rene Lima-Marin stay in the U.S.!


By Harry Dunne

Last week my lovely bride of 41 years accompanied me to Lake Tahoe for our anniversary. I had contacted my Harrah's Casino Host and negotiated comps versus gambling. Let me state that I enjoy Harrah's Casinos because the old crew is still alive and well at their locations. Harrah's had a junket going to Reno, but it was full so I called my host who paid our airfare and comped our suite at Lake Tahoe. We travel to Lake Tahoe every year and have built up relationships with several of the staff members. I know hosts, craps dealers, slot techs, bartenders and restaurant managers. Everyone is friendly unless you want trouble. Let me explain that. Nobody wants trouble but sometimes behavior invites it.

I earlier referred to the "Old Crew". I can spot them immediately. The bent nose, unusual facial scars and slicked down died black hair usually around fifty to sixty years old. They always wear a black suit, white shirt and usually a dark tie. They wear good quality leather tied shoes and never loafers. They are gentlemen who's job is to make paying guests feel comfortable and deal with trouble. The uniformed security can usually handle a drunk or couples disagreement but if a person is dumb enough to cheat or make money spending patrons feel uncomfortable then a member of the crew will visit them. Members of the crew don't visit with guests. They will assist you with directions or get your host, but they aren't going to have a long conversation with you.

One evening, two drunken trashy women settled down to play a slot machine together. Their total bet on each spin was thirty cents. If they lost, they loudly mother-fucked the slot machine. If they won, they yelled, "Fuck Yeah!" They yelled for the waitress to bring two more "Buttery Nipples". My wife didn't care for their behavior and several other money spending over the age of sixty patrons felt the same way. Then their two prison tattooed boyfriends wearing wife beater shirts and smelling of weed and Old Milwaukee beer arrived. They thought they were bad and pointedly tried to stare people down. I told my wife they would all be gone soon. It was as if they had disappeared by magic. There was no fighting or even loud talking. The crew arrived spoke softly and they were last seen boarding the down escalator to the basement floor. The only thing left was a smoldering cigarette in the ash tray. A housekeeping lady arrived cleaned the slot machine and smiled.

We reserved a car rental for our third day to see the sights. I arrived at the car rental counter to pick up the car and no one was there. I asked the concierge about it and he texted the rental agent who hadn't shown up for work that day. I had reserved a Toyota Corolla because they are affordable and dependable. The agent still didn't show. The concierge came up to me and handed me a set of keys and said, "Take the Tahoe". It was waiting for us in the valet lane. It wasn't free, but we got for the Toyota price and it was nice.

People don't appreciate good service anymore. I seek it out. I gamble. I give the house a shot at my money and Harrah's appreciates it. We still do things the old way. Before we leave we buy thank you cards filled with tips for the host, driver and any housekeeping. Even though Harrah's falls under the umbrella of a much larger corporation, they still keep their name and they continue treat their customers like old friends.

I also noticed that every day at lunch time, state and local cops were eating in the café. As they approached the cashier they were waived off. They thanked the cashier and always left a gratuity.

I assume these would be the same cops that may have to take a missing person's report on a casino patron who disappeared and was never seen or heard from again.


By Cliff Pinckard
May 16, 2017

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio -- A police offer who suffered an accidental overdose last weekend after coming into contact with fentanyl during an arrest is recovering, reports say.

East Liverpool patrolman Chris Green nearly died from contact with the drug, requiring four doses of Narcan, WCPO Channel 9 reports.

According to Channel 9, Green pulled over a car on Friday and arrested two men, Justin Buckle, 25, and Cortez Collins, 24. Green noticed put on gloves and a mask after noticing white powder in the car.

However, once he returned to the police station another officer pointed out that Green had powder on his shirt. Green instinctively brushed at the powder while not wearing gloves.

An hour later, Green passed out at the station after contact with the powder.

"One of the officers had to catch him. He started collapsing," Police Chief John Lane tells CBS Pittsburgh.

Emergency workers gave Green a dose of Narcan at the station and three more doses at the hospital.

"This stuff is very dangerous. It takes just the slightest amount. Just like a little granule. Or it gets airborne, you inhale it. It could kill multiple people if it's in the air," Lane tells CBS Pittsburgh.

Green is now recovering at home and will return to work when he feels better, reports. The two suspects have been charged with tampering with evidence, but more charges are expected, Lane tells

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Richard Rojas, a U.S. Navy veteran, smoked pot, heard voices and with his car, mowed down 23 pedestrians on Times Square

At noontime Thursday, the usual number of New Yorkers and tourists were walking along the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue in the Times Square area when suddenly they were confronted by a speeding car driving down the sidewalk straight at them. An 18 year-old girl was killed and 22 others were injured. The carnage started at 42nd Street and did not end until Richard Rojas wrecked his car at Broadway and 45th Street.

Rojas,26, served in the U.S. Navy from 2011 until he was kicked out in 2014.

Rojas tested negative for alcohol but told the police he had been smoking marijuana. He also told the cops he was hearing voices.

At first the authorities feared this was an act of terrorism similar to motor vehicle attacks that took place recently in England, France and Germany. It has been determined this was not an act of terrorism, but that it was a nutcase driving under the influence of marijuana.

This incident comes on the heels of a terrible accident near Sacramento on May 10 when a driver high on pot drifted out of his highway lane and killed a father of four.

Then there is the report released last month by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility which shows that more drivers are being killed under the influence of drugs in highway crashes than under the influence of alcohol, with marijuana involved in more than 1/3rd of the drug-related fatal crashes.

There are some reports that Richard Rojas told the cops the marijuana he smoked was laced with PCP. But the bottom line is that he was high on pot when he mowed down those 23 pedestrians on Times Square.

The pot advocates keep inundating us with hogshit about the marvels of marijuana. When are people going to wake up and accept the fact that marijuana is a very dangerous drug and accordingly, pot should never be legalized!


‘I think my dad sells drugs’: Boy, 11, calls 911 after finding $8,500 worth of 'heroin and fentanyl' in his father's suitcase

By Ann Schmidt

Daily Mail
May 19, 2017

An 11-year-old boy called 911 and told dispatchers, 'I think my dad sells drugs' after the boy found more than 200 grams of drugs worth $8,500 in his father's suitcase.

The boy's father, Yamil Mercado, 40, turned himself into police Thursday and was charged with drug trafficking and child endangerment.

Mercado's 11-year-old son and his 13-year-old cousin were in Mercado's bedroom in Lawrence, Massachusetts, looking through his things when they found what they thought were drugs in Mercado's suitcase.

That's when the boy called police and said: 'I think my dad sells drugs.'

Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said the 11-year-old also saw his father selling drugs earlier in the day, according to WCVB.

The boy had also called the Department of Children and Families about a year ago to report his father for dealing drugs, according to the Boston Globe.

Police were allowed into the apartment by the boy's grandmother on Wednesday night. Mercado and his son had just moved into the boy's maternal grandmother's home, according to the Boston Globe.

In Mercado's bedroom they found 212 grams of suspected heroin and fentanyl in plastic bags, estimated to be valued at $8,500, according to the Boston Herald.

Neighbors have been living in fear with drug exchanges happening on their street, according to Boston 25 News.

On Friday, Mercado was arraigned in Lawrence District Court. He plead not guilty and is being held without bail.

Mercado is the father of three boys, the oldest of which is 16, according to the Boston Herald.

His son is being kept in a secure location, investigators say according to Boston 25 News, and the Department of Children and Families is investigating.

Fitzpatrick said: 'I commend this young man for being brave enough to come forward and report that these dangerous substances were in his home.'


Boy, 14, leads police on a 100mph chase in a stolen car - and he already had TEN warrants out for his arrest

Daily Mail
May 19, 2017

A 14-year-old boy from Northern California led police on a high speed chase through the streets of Santa Rosa early on Friday morning.

The hot tail pursuit which lasted for 16 minutes saw the teenager reaching speeds of up to 100mph in a stolen car, travelling for more than 14 miles.

Police first noticed the suspects car just before 2am driving in downtown Cotati, with its headlights off.

After a sergeant attempted to stop the car, the driver sped off, police said.

Incredibly, despite the high speeds the teenager managed to avoid injuring anyone, although he sideswiped a car that was pulling over to get out of the way of the chase.

When the driver attempted to drive over the center median at Highway 101, two of the car’s ties blew out, bringing the pursuit to a stop.

The driver's two passengers, aged 14 and 15, were arrested.

When police tracked the car’s registration, they discovered it had been stolen just hours earlier.

The driver was found to have ten warrants out for his arrest, although it is unclear for what crimes.

The driver was booked on suspicion of felony evading, felony possession of a stolen vehicle and the outstanding warrants that had been previously issued.


Every day unaccompanied children take a dangerous ride atop ‘La Bestia’, a freight train, from Mexico’s southern border to the U.S. border

My former police comrade, Jerry Doyle, sent me this excerpt from one of the many books he reads.

From “Tell Me How It Ends”
By Valeria Luiselli

Unaccompanied children from Central America are continually entering the U.S. to escape poverty and violence in their home countries. From April 2014 to August of 2015 it reached crisis proportions when over 100,000 unaccompanied children entered, most fleeing gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The journey is fraught with danger -- 80 percent of females who make it are raped, and since 2006 over 120,000 of these migrants have disappeared. If they make it, these children know to immediately seek the U.S. Border Patrol, and soon after they do, a screening process begins:

"The process by which a child is asked questions during the intake interview is called screening. ... A few spaces down [on the intake form], right before the first formal interview question, a line floats across the page like an uncomfortable silence:

“Where is the child's mother? Father?”

"The interviewer has to write down whatever infor¬mation the child can or will give to fill in those blanks¬ -- those two empty spaces that look a bit like badly stitched wounds. Too often, the spaces remain blank: all the chil¬dren come without their fathers and mothers. And many of them do not even know where their parents are. ...

“Why did you come to the United States?” ...

"Their answers vary, but they often point to a single pull factor: reunification with a parent or another close relative who migrated to the U.S. years earlier. Other times, the answers point to push factors -- the unthink¬able circumstances the children are fleeing: extreme vio¬lence, persecution and coercion by gangs, mental and physical abuse, forced labor, neglect, abandonment. It is not even the American Dream that they pursue, but rather the more modest aspiration to wake up from the nightmare into which they were born.

"Then comes question number two in the intake ques¬tionnaire: 'When did you enter the United States?' Most children don't know the exact date. They smile and say 'last year' or 'a few months ago' or simply 'I don't know.' ...

"The third and fourth questions on the intake ques¬tionnaire are ... : 'With whom did you travel to this country?' and 'Did you travel with anyone you knew?' All children travel with a paid coyote. Some of them travel also with siblings, cousins, and friends.

"The fifth and sixth questions are: 'What countries did you pass through?' and 'How did you travel here?' To the first one, almost everyone immediately answers 'Mexico,' and some also list Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. To the question about how they traveled here, with a blend of pride and horror, most say, 'I came on La Bestia,' which literally means 'the beast,' and refers to the freight trains that cross Mexico, on top of which as many as half a million Central American migrants ride annually. There are no passenger services along the routes, so migrants have to ride atop the rail¬cars or in the recesses between them.

"Thousands have died or been gravely injured aboard La Bestia, either because of the frequent derail-ments of the old freight trains or because people fall off during the night. The most minor oversight can be fatal. Some compare La Bestia to a demon, others to a kind of vacuum that sucks distracted riders down into its metal entrails. And when the train itself is not the threat, it's the smugglers, thieves, policemen, or soldiers who frequently threaten, blackmail, or attack the people on board. There is a saying about La Bestia: Go in alive, come out a mummy.

"But, despite the dangers, people continue to take the risk. Children certainly take the risk. Children do what their stomachs tell them to do. They don't think twice when they have to chase a moving train. They run along with it, reach for any metal bar at hand, and fling themselves toward whichever half-stable surface they may land on. Children chase after life, even if that chase might end up killing them. Children run and flee. They have an instinct for survival, perhaps, that allows them to endure almost anything just to make it to the other side of horror, whatever may be waiting there for them."