Wednesday, June 28, 2017


The Republican health care bills passed by the House and proposed in the Senate will never fly

For seven years the Republicans have been obsessed not with outlawing abortions, but with outlawing Obamacare. They had me all aboard until I saw what the House-passed bill would do if it became law. It would make health care unaffordable for many seniors and would drive millions of the poor to emergency rooms for their health needs. And that would drive up hospital costs for everybody.

While I was and am still opposed to the mandatory provisions of Obamacare, I always thought – and said so – that Obama’s Affordable Care Act had some desirable provisions. Outright Repeal, which is what most Republican politicians have bee screaming for during the past seven years, is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The Republicans are determined to repeal Obamacare but really do not have a solution to the nation’s health care problems. Republican health care reform is on life support and unless the GOP comes up with a reasonable plan that doesn’t hurt seniors and the poor, they might as well pull the plug. And then, although it is in critical condition, Obamacare will live on.

Here is a logical perspective from Jake Novak:

The GOP should leave Medicaid alone for now and focus on actual insurance reform that can pass

By Jake Novak

June 27, 2017

Why is the Senate Republican leadership delaying the vote on its Obamacare replacement bill? Obviously, the easiest answer to that question is the GOP simply doesn't have the votes. But dig just a little bit deeper and we find the same problem that's been weighing this replacement effort down since this Congressional session began: fear.

As I have noted for months, the intense political fear of the number of people projected to lose health coverage has made any effort to reform Obamacare almost impossible for the Republicans to pass. I called those people the "Obamacare orphans."

When the latest CBO report came out Monday projecting that the number of Americans losing coverage under the Senate bill will be 22 million by 2026, it was obvious this measure was never going to even come up with for a vote until big changes were made first.

But the CBO report had an even more telling detail, and it proved that using the term "Obamacare orphans" wasn't very accurate. It said that almost 70 percent of that 22 million number would not come from people losing private health insurance coverage, but from the rolling back of the Medicaid expansion that went into effect under Obamacare.

In other words, 15 million people won't be losing "insurance" as we know it with premiums and deductibles to pay, but they'd be losing access to a government entitlement traditionally set aside for the poorest Americans. So the real fear is all about the blow back from "Medicaid orphans."

That, as they say, is a whole different ballgame.

Medicaid enrollment in the U.S. right now is no small issue. Thanks to the expansion, a whopping 74.5 million Americans are currently on Medicaid according to the latest government reports. That is almost double the 39 million Americans who were on Medicaid just as recently as 2007.

By contrast, the entire population of Great Britain is less than 65 million people. And again, unlike Obamacare, it's an entitlement program that requires no payments or financial commitments from its recipients. Even though it can often be very hard to find good and reliable care on Medicaid alone, it's clearly very popular considering this Medicaid expansion hasn't had any trouble finding more than 35 million new takers in under 10 years.

These massive numbers should make it clear why Medicaid is the key stumbling block in the Obamacare replacement or reform effort. It's not just because rolling back Medicaid would be responsible for the bulk of people losing coverage, it's because even a bare-bones entitlement like Medicaid is so hard to take away once the public gets it.

Now that the GOP senators know where this problem is coming from, it's time for them to throw in the towel for now on Medicaid, leave it for later, and get back to fixing the actual private insurance market.

That means getting back to so many of the insurance market reforms Republicans have said they've supported for years like allowing companies to sell insurance over state lines, allowing all kinds of bare-boned "major medical" plans to be sold everywhere, and expanding tax-free health spending accounts. These are the kinds of reforms that will truly bend the cost curve in health coverage and stop the insanity of using so many subsidies and regulations to help big insurance companies inflate prices.

The Medicaid expansion was not something President Obama or the Democrats talked a lot about when they were trying to sell Obamacare to the public in 2009 and 2010. Most of what we heard was about helping working people afford private coverage and, "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

This almost doubling of the number of people getting onto Medicaid was basically never discussed or publicly debated. Now, the Republicans are finding that rolling back this Medicaid expansion won't be possible under the same fog. It's obvious now that they shouldn't even try.

Conservatives and fiscal hawks know the Medicaid issue is not something that should be put aside for too long. That near-75 million Americans on the plan are a major cost balloon that could burst very soon. But after what's happened this week, they must also now know that it's a problem that cannot be politically addressed concurrently with private health insurance. Doing something about cutting back the Medicaid rolls and all the spending that comes with it, can wait at least until the Republicans can put together a reasonable alternative beyond White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway's advice that Medicaid recipients get a job. That will skew all the savings the CBO is projecting for the GOP bill right now, but saving money isn't the issue that's holding up the votes, it's these Medicaid orphans that are too hot to handle.

Delaying the votes on this GOP bill by a week, or even a month won't be enough to get the magic number of Republicans to vote for and pass the measure. The reason is Medicaid. So with time running out, it's time for McConnell to make like a surgeon and cut out the Medicaid part of this bill and focus on private coverage reforms only. That will perform the medical miracle of making things not only politically easier for the GOP, but actually achieving something that will do some good for the rest of the country too.


by Bob Walsh

The Democrat-Socialist party in CA rammed thru a major fuel tax increase and a substantial car registration tax increase last year. This sleaze move was made possible by Democrap super-majorities in both houses of the legislature.

The CA Republican Party has just turned in about 85,000 signatures on recall petitions to throw Senator Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, out of his seat in the 29th District. If successful this would mean the Democraps could no longer ram tax bills thru with zero Republican support. They would lose their super-majority.

The Democraps sniveled about how much the election will cost ($3 mill) and also sniveled about it's lack of "authenticity," whatever the fuck that means.

The Democraps are alleging that the signature gatherers are telling people that the vote would overturn the recently passed $52 billion tax increases.

In response the Democraps have passed a NEW bill, which Jerry just signed. This allows petition signers to rescind their signatures if done so in writing within 30 days of the original signature. This adds at least weeks and maybe even months to the time line to certify such election attempts. This would tend to ensure that all such attempts will be held in conjunction with the June primaries rather than as special elections. This move would tend to favor the party in power, which in CA is of course the Democrat-Socialist party.

The Republicans have already said they will file a legal challenge to the change in the law. They will also continue to circulate petitions to ensure a hoped-for comfortable edge in the numbers for the recall.


by Bob Walsh

Many years ago I taught a class for CCW applicants. Successful completion was accepted as evidence of competence by many of the local agencies that issue CCW permits. I team-taught it with a local criminal lawyer.

One of the things we covered in some detail was sticking your nose into other people's business. There are risks inherent in this action and, generally speaking, you should avoid the risk by avoiding the action. A case in point.

The cops attempted to pull one Terence Lee Lenox, 47, over for suspected DUI in the vicinity of Newton, GA. He fled, crashed, and fled on foot.

Marcus Pitts, 47, a private citizen who happened to see all this, began to pursue with his pickup truck. When he caught Lenox, Pitts pulled a gun and shot Lenox in the neck.

Lenox was transported to the hospital in critical condition. Pitts was arrested by the local constabulary on unspecified charges relating to the unjustified discharge of a weapon.


by Bob Walsh

Right now in the formerly great state of California the superintendent of a public school district can grant permission for civilian CCW permit holders to possess a firearm on a campus under their jurisdiction.

Unfortunately a large chunk of the Democrap super-majority in the CA legislature believes that firearms are inherently evil and therefore that the mere presence of a firearm is dangerous, evil and too horrible to contemplate.

Professional liberal asshole Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, has proposed AB424 which, if passed into law, would strip school superintendents of this seldom-utilized power. Of course assorted miscreants, terrorists and general purpose bad guys can be counted on the obey the law so it's all good, right? (What do you mean, bullshit?)


by Bob Walsh

It happens if you live in the formerly great state of California and you can get to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2006 Jose Arias (an illegal alien) filed a lawsuit against Angelo Dairy in Acampo. There were various wages and hours violations listed in the basic allegation. Rural Legal Assistance was representing Arias. Shortly before the case came to court the defendant's lawyer is alleged to have ratted Arias out to ICE to get his happy ass deported. (Apparently that actually did happen.)

In 2013 Arias filed a second lawsuit alleging retaliation under FLSA naming both the lawyer and the dairy. The Ninth Circuit has just ruled that action can go forward.

Just thought you might like to know that you need to be careful, you could end up being sued in federal court for following federal law.


Why California gun owners may be breaking the law on July 1

By Ryan Sabalow

The Sacramento Bee
June 26, 2017

Sweeping new gun laws passed last year by California voters and legislators require those with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to get rid of them by July 1.

The question is: How many of California’s 6 million-plus gun owners are actually going to comply, even though violators face potential jail time if they’re caught?

Talk to gun owners, retailers and pro-gun sheriffs across California and you’ll get something akin to an eye roll when they’re asked if gun owners are going to voluntarily part with their property because Democratic politicians and voters who favor gun control outnumber them and changed the law.

In conservative, pro-gun Redding this week, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko joked that gun owners were lining the block to hand their magazines in to the sheriff’s office (In reality, no one has turned one in). He said his deputies won’t be aggressively hunting for large-capacity magazines starting next month.

“We’re not going to be knocking on anybody’s door looking for them,” Bosenko said. “We’re essentially making law-abiding citizens into criminals with this new law.”

California banned the sale of high-capacity detachable magazines in 2000, but it remained legal to possess them, except in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Sunnyvale that enacted local bans. That changed this fall when voters and lawmakers passed overlapping gun laws that require Californians, with limited exceptions, to give up any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Sometimes incorrectly called “clips,” magazines are the part inserted into a gun that holds ammunition and can be quickly popped in and out for rapid reloading.

Gun-control advocates say getting rid of magazines that make shooters capable of firing a rapid volley of bullets in a matter of seconds will reduce threats to police and make it harder for gunmen to kill as many people in mass shootings.

“There’s just a lot of data that shows that large-capacity magazines are particularly attractive to mass shooters and to individuals committing crimes against law enforcement,” said Ari Freilich, staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, one the backers of Proposition 63, the gun-control initiative that California voters passed last fall. “They do not have legitimate self-defense value.”

In a pending lawsuit challenging the ban, Chuck Michel, a prominent gun-rights attorney in Long Beach, disagreed.

“The reason for the popularity of these magazines is straightforward: In a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death,” he wrote. “Banning magazines over ten rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles.”

Magazines sales were never tracked and owners weren’t required to register them, so it’s not clear how many remain in circulation. Gun rights advocates say there could be potentially hundreds of thousands of them in California gun owners’ homes.

Many types of handguns sold in California prior to 2000 came with detachable magazines that held more than 10 rounds. Large-capacity magazines also were widely collected and used by owners of semiautomatic rifles. These include the controversial – but hugely popular – AR-style rifles. Similar magazines also have long been popular with owners of Ruger’s 10/22, a ubiquitous .22 caliber rifle used by target shooters and small-game hunters nationwide.

The law provides no state funds to compensate owners for their magazines, and there’s no way to track whether gun owners give them up.

The law does give California gun owners several options to get rid of their magazines, including moving them out of state, turning them into law enforcement, selling them to a licensed dealer or destroying them by July 1. Some gun shops also are offering to permanently modify magazines to make them legal.

Even the staunchest pro-gun sheriffs, including Bosenko, the Shasta County sheriff, say they’ll be more than happy to tack a magazine-possession charge on to a drug dealer’s or a gang member’s rap sheet should deputies catch them with a high-capacity magazine.

“This is one more thing we can add to their charges, absolutely,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, an opponent of the law.

Voluntary compliance among otherwise law-abiding gun owners is another matter.

California cities with local ordinances haven’t had very many gun owners hand magazines in to police, though officers have removed some from circulation during the course of their investigations. The Los Angeles Police Department, for instance, seized nearly 9,000 magazines since it enacted a ban in 2015. Almost of all those magazines came from a cache police found inside a home of a gun collector who died in 2015. The department said it doesn’t track how many citizens voluntarily turned theirs in.

As of late last year, the City of Sunnyvale had six cases in which people handed in their magazines since the city enacted its ordinance in 2013, said Capt. Shawn Ahearn.

Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law who writes about Second Amendment issues, said gun owners ignore local ordinances banning magazines, a trend he expects to continue with a statewide ban.

“We see no compliance from gun owners,” he said. “As best as we can tell, no gun owners are giving up their high capacity magazines or selling them out of state.”

Gun control advocates such as Freilich said that because there’s no way to track magazines, gun owners living in cities with bans could have been getting rid of them through other means.

But Second Amendment advocates say that’s highly unlikely. They say gun owners just became more discrete.

“Why would you (get rid of them)?” said Christopher Lapinski, operations manager of Last Stand Tactical on Florin Road in Sacramento. “You have your Fourth Amendment, which is the right to due process. You can’t just take something away from somebody that they own without violating the Fourth Amendment.”

Some gun owners say they’re hanging on to their magazines in the hopes pending court challenges will block the ban. They also hope the federal government will become friendlier toward gun owners under the Trump Administration.

“We think that we will be successful in the long run,” said Sam Paredes, executor director of Gun Owners of California.

A federal judge in San Diego is expected to decide whether to issue an injunction blocking the ban before July 1. A federal judge in Sacramento recently declined to issue a temporary restraining order in a similar case.

Freilich said that even if the San Diego judge blocks the ban, he’s optimistic gun control-advocates will win on appeal, since numerous courts have sided with states and local governments that have enacted similar restrictions.

“(Courts) have consistently found (high-capacity magazines) are properly considered dangerous and unusual weapons,” Freilich said. “They are weapons of war that do not receive Second Amendment protections.”

The magazine ban isn’t the only pending law California’s gun owners face under the new gun regulations.

Starting in January, Californians who want to buy ammunition online or through catalogs will have to ship their purchases through a licensed dealer. In July 2019, ammunition buyers will have to undergo background checks at retailers. Under the existing rules, anyone age 18 or older (21 or older for handguns) can buy ammunition without a background check, and sellers need no special training or license.

Many California gun owners say they are stocking up on ammunition in advance of the restrictions, which they fear will lead to shortages, especially for rural shooters and hunters who have limited shopping options. Some had feared ammunition retailers such as Walmart would get out of the ammunition business rather than go through with the new licensing process.

But Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said Wednesday the company was in the process of updating its “systems and processes to comply with the law.”

National ammunition sales have steadied since the Trump administration took office, but it’s a different story in California, said Alan Davis, a spokesman for the, an online ammunition retailer based in Tennessee.

“If you consider the percent of our overall orders that ‘normally’ ship to California, the state is up about 50 percent relative to the country as a whole,” Davis said in an email.

Some of the state’s largest cities – including Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles – already impose restrictions on mail-order ammunition sales.

EDITOR’S NOTE: How many times do I have to tell you gunners to leave Kookfornia for Texas? When you move to Texas you will discover that you are living in a gun-friendly state. With the proper permit from the feds, you can even own a .50 caliber machine gun.

Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay, go ahead and make my day!


Trump's media enemies know that bashing him makes them big money but CNN's greediness and desperation to get him has cost them dearly

By Piers Morgan

Daily Mail
June 27, 2017

‘CNN, the most trusted name in news,’ bellows James Earl Jones morning, noon and night during the network’s 24/7 programming.

Well, not today it isn’t.

In arguably the most humiliating moment in its history, CNN just accepted resignations from three of its top journalists over a story they got horrendously wrong about President Trump and Russia.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for CNN, or involved a worse kind of story.

Its war with Trump has escalated on an almost daily basis since he won the presidency.

He furiously brands CNN ‘Fake News’.

CNN, in turn, mocks and berates him at every turn and devotes huge resources toward trying to expose him.

It’s a toxic, abusive relationship that’s got so vicious and vengeful it threatens to imperil the very cornerstone of democracy, freedom of speech.

Now, CNN’s high moral ground has crumbled beneath it in spectacular style.

And it’s collapsed because all those involved forgot the golden rule of journalism: if it seems too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true.

Last Thursday, blasted out a new ‘bombshell’ exclusive about Trump and Russia.

It was the latest in a relentless barrage of similar Russia-related scoops by award-hungry mainstream media organisations desperately trying to prove Trump and/or his campaign team colluded with Russians, possibly as high up as Vladimir Putin, to fix the 2016 US Election.

Yet to date, there remains not a shred of hard evidence to nail the swirling maelstrom of rumours and scurrilous headlines.

Hence, no doubt, CNN’s wild over-excitement at finally getting a lead on what seemed like a possible game-changing piece of information.

It reported the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating a potentially highly compromising link between Anthony Scaramucci, a prominent ally of Trump, and a $10 billion Russian investment fund.

CNN claimed Scaramucci met with the fund’s chief executive Kirill Dmitriev four days before the inauguration.

CNN further stated the investment fund was a part of Russian state bank Vnesheconombank, which is listed in a set of sanctions issued by the US government.

Democratic senators, CNN alleged, wanted to know whether Scaramucci indicated in that meeting if sanctions against Russia would be lifted.

If this story was true, it carried hugely damaging implications: here was a close ally of Trump’s caught in cahoots with Putin-backed moneymen in flagrant breach of sanctions.

But it wasn’t true.

There is no such Senate probe, there was no formal meeting and the fund is not even backed by a Russian state bank.

Within 24 hours, the story was roundly debunked and CNN removed it from its website. The network also apologised to Mr Scaramucci and has now fired the story’s author, Pulitzer Prize nominee Thomas Frank, along with Eric Lichtblau, an assistant managing editor in CNN’s Washington bureau, and Lex Harris, head of CNN’s investigations unit.

Their rapid departures show just how badly this incident has dented CNN’s reputation and just how angry it has made Jeff Zucker, its president.

I know how seriously CNN takes its journalism, because I worked there for four years and experienced its strict standards and practices policies at first hand.

When Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan in 2012, CNN’s respected meteorologist reported live on my then show Piers Morgan Live that the stock exchange had been engulfed in several feet of water.

It was a huge development that would affect global financial markets.

However, it wasn’t true.

We corrected this erroneous fact within 30 minutes, but I remember there being a massive and lengthy week-long inquest later into how it had been aired without the required double-sourcing procedures.

Everyone involved was left in no doubt that such a mistake was not acceptable at CNN with dire consequences for any repetition.

This cock-up, though, is on a completely different scale because it has single-handedly destroyed CNN’s indignant denial of Trump’s ‘Fake News!’ charge.

The Scaramucci story was fake news. End.

And it was a story designed to cause great damage to Trump as he battles the potentially presidency-ending allegation that he colluded with Russians.

So how did this fiasco happen?

I fear the answer probably lies in that lethal combination of commercial greed and laziness.

CNN has enjoyed soaring ratings with its relentless, mostly negative focus on Trump’s presidency. That, in turn, has led to soaring profits.

The equation is simple: Trump-bashing = $$$.

They are not the only ones to do this; from MSNBC to Stephen Colbert, there are myriad media entities and shows currently cashing in big time by whacking Trump.

But with that success comes complacency.

CNN reported this story because it was desperate to report this story.

It was proof, finally, that a key Trump ally was up to his neck in financial filth with the Russians.

‘Follow the money’ was the Watergate journalists’ mantra, and it finally got them their man.

CNN’s own versions of Bernstein and Woodward clearly thought they were doing the same.

But they cut corners, apparently relying on just one anonymous source.

And that source turned out to be wrong - gifting Trump a PR touchdown he won’t stop triumphantly ball-spiking for a very long time.

When he shouts ‘Fake News’ at CNN now, it will carry some factual weight.

But there’s a wider issue here, and that’s the increasingly hostile relationship between the White House and the US mainstream media.

Both sides are to blame.

The White House, for flying too economically with the truth and playing silly point-scoring games with the media.

And the media, for its unprecedented hysterical bias against Trump, and its endless self-aggrandizing ‘Gotcha!’ antics in pressers and on air – most of which is designed to command the journalists viral video adoration on social media.

The effect of this mutually assured poison is to ratchet up the already appallingly febrile political atmosphere in America between left and right.

The kind of partisan rage that leads a mentally unbalanced man to shoot a Congressman on a baseball field.

It’s got to stop.

Donald Trump is the President of the United States, a title he won in a fair, democratic election. He’s not perfect but nor is he the monster some of his critics portray him to be.

CNN remains a great news network, notwithstanding this terrible error.

Both need to treat each other with more respect and fairness.

I suggest this would be a very good time for them to start.


Gold Star Wife Brittany Jacobs Shares Her Journey With Christian, Her Little Rock

By Amber Athey

The Daily Caller
June 26, 2017

Marine Sergeant Christopher Jacobs always told his wife, Brittany, and his son, Christian, “go big or go home,” and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing since his untimely death in 2011.

On October 24, 2011, Sgt. Jacobs — then 29 years old — was killed in a training accident in Twentynine Palms, California. Christian was just eight months old at the time.

Ever since, Brittany and Christian have traveled around the country keeping Sgt. Jacobs’ memory alive.

“[Christian] has cried wanting to know why his daddy can’t come down from heaven because he needs him,” Brittany told The Daily Caller. “He talks about his dad daily. He doesn’t cry over it like he used to now. He’s doing better with that, but he asks questions about him.”

Jacobs and her son first received national attention when they visited Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 2012. Jacobs says that was the first time she had seen her late husband’s headstone.

“It hits you all over again. When I saw that it was like a smack in my face. I cried,” she said, her voice breaking. “It hurts to go back and think about it.”

Initially, Jacobs had her friend take Christian away so she could be alone at the grave for a few minutes. But when Christian saw his mother crying, he ran back to her, kissed her forehead, and gave her a big squeeze.

Photographers caught the moment on camera and the photos went viral.

“He was barely over a year old when it happened,” Jacobs recalled. “I was getting calls before I even got home from Arlington that day. And I always think, you know, it’s gotta be Chris… It’s gotta be his daddy somehow shining through.”

“He knew what mommy needed,” Jacobs explained. “That’s my little rock.”

In 2015, CNN shared a video of Christian in the uniform “reading” a letter to his father on Memorial Day. Jacobs says Christian was too young to know how to read, so the words he spoke were made up on the spot.

“I hope for you to come back soon daddy, and I love you and hope for you to be here and I know you will be here,” he said. “And I love you.”

This year, the Jacobs family visited Arlington for Memorial Day again and had the opportunity to meet President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Christian ran right up to President Trump and asked him if he wanted to meet his dad.

“You know, he’s little. He doesn’t understand how important of a person President Trump is,” Jacobs explained. “He just saw him as this special guy that he sees on TV. And he wanted to show him his daddy. Just the innocence of it was unbelievable.”

Trump and Pence agreed to go with Christian, now six years old, to see his father’s grave. Christian told them all about his dad and showed them family photos.

“I remember Trump goes, ‘He’s an aggressive little guy! I like that!’” Jacobs recalled.

The meeting with Trump led to an interview on Fox & Friends, and the interview led to an invitation to the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference.

“We got a call from the Faith & Freedom Coalition, the next week they were having an event in DC and they took us up there and Christian got to meet President Trump again,” Jacobs recalled.

President Trump spoke about the Jacobs family during his speech at the conference and led a standing ovation for Christian.

“I bawled. It was a special moment. My son doesn’t get it right now but soon he will,” Jacobs said.

Many people at Arlington remember Christian as the little boy who wears a mini Marine uniform so that he can look just like his dad. In fact, Christian now says he wants to be a Marine when he grows up.

“This is very new to him,” Jacobs explained. “At one point he was saying he didn’t want to be a marine because they get killed.”

The switch happened when Jacobs finally took Christian to Twentynine Palms to see where his father died.

Sgt. Jacobs survived combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan but was killed while training with an amphibious assault vehicle in Twentynine Palms. Christian told the Lieutenant who showed him around the area that he wants to operate the vehicles so that he can prevent other people from dying like his dad.

“His daddy always told him ‘go big or go home,’” Jacobs said. “His daddy was a leader and Christian is a leader too.”

Jacobs said Christian has been a stabilizing force for her while dealing with her husband’s death.

“People say, ‘you do so much for your son’ but they don’t understand how much he’s done for me,” she explained. “That has been my little rock.”

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


China has developed a bullet train that can attain a speed of 248 mph and will cruise at 217mph. The train is all set to serve the Beijing to Shanghai run and will reduce the current high speed rail travel tine from 5 hours to 3-1/2 hours.

The train has been named ‘fuxing’ which means ‘rejuvenation’ in Chinese. Chinese engineers developed the Fuxing by acquiring the best technologies from Japanese, German and French bullet trains.

The Chinese plan to export the Fuxing to markets in Europe and the U.S.

It would take Fuxing a little over an hour to travel between Houston and Dallas.

I suggest they change the train’s name. Americans would have a ball with that fucking Fuxing name. And if the train were to go between Houston and Dallas, them East Texas Baptists would absolutely not stand for any fuxing.


by Bob Walsh

Adam Johnson is a Sergeant with the Austin, TX police mounted unit. Larry McQuillams, 49, is an asshole who is now a dead asshole.

At about 0230 in the a.m. Johnson became aware of McQuillams who was armed with two rifles and shooting up things in beautiful Austin. That offended Johnson who fired one shot from his S&W .40 pistol at 312 feet, hitting McQuillams square in the chest. McQuillams went down like a sack of wet laundry and died shortly after, possibly from Johnson's shot and possibly from a self-inflicted wound fired after Johnson shot him.

In any case 104 yards with a service handgun in the dark is one HELL of a shot.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This occurred in November 2014 and Johnson was reported to have taken his shot while holding the reins of two horses in his other hand.


by Bob Walsh

The Supreme Court is going to hear the case of the baker in Colorado who declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding and who got torn apart by the court system in Colorado. It will be interesting to see how SCOTUS feels about requiring a baker to bake a cake that goes against their religious beliefs.


by Bob Walsh

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear the Trump travel ban in the upcoming court year. It has also ruled that much of the ban can be implemented immediately, that is until its final ruling.

The court ruled that the ban can be implemented immediately for people who are foreign nationals and do not already have some sort of relationship with the United States. The court stated that "denying entry to a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party's relationship with the foreign national."

This isn't surprising to anybody who has actually read the law in this matter. Lower court rulings were clearly political exercises and not legal ones.


Filipino president Duterte marks one year in power as it emerges 5,000 people have died and police have arrested more than 80,000 during his brutal war on drugs

By Scott Campbell

Daily Mail
June 25, 2017

Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte has marked a year in power with 5,000 people killed and 80,000 arrested in his brutal war on drugs.

The outspoken politician took power at the end of June last year vowing to halt substance abuse and lawlessness that he saw as 'symptoms of virulent social disease'.

Government officials claim that crime has dropped because of his campaign with thousands of drug dealers behind bars.

They say that a million users have also registered for treatment and future generations of Filipinos are being protected.

Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said: 'There are thousands of people who are being killed, yes. There are millions who live, see?'

n the first 11 months of Duterte's rule, police say 3,155 suspects were shot dead in anti-drug operations.

Police say they have investigated a further 2,000 drug-related killings, and have yet to identify a motive in at least another 7,000 murders and homicides.

But a growing chorus of critics including human rights activists, lawyers and the country's influential Catholic Church dispute the authorities' claims of success.

They say police have summarily executed drug suspects with impunity, terrorising poorer communities and exacerbating the lawlessnesss.

In the Navotas fishing district there were nine killings in a single night earlier this month.

Local resident Mary Joy Royo said a dozen gunmen arrived on motorbikes and abducted her mother and stepfather.

Their corpses were found later with execution-style gunshots to the head and torso.

She said: 'They should be targeting the drug lords. The victims of the drug war are the poor people.'

Filipino priest Amado Picardal said: 'This president behaves as if he is above the law - that he is the law. He has ignored the rule of law and human rights.'

Critics say the death toll is far above the 5,000 that police have identified as either drug-related killings or suspects shot dead during police operations.

Most victims are small-time users and dealers while the masterminds behind the lucrative drug trade are largely unknown and at large, it is claimed.

In October, the Hague-based International Criminal Court said it could investigate the killings if they were 'committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.'

Police operations were halted for much of February after it emerged that anti-drug police abducted and killed a South Korean businessman last year, but the outcry over the rising body count has rarely slowed the killing or led to prosecutions.

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights is investigating 680 drug-war killings.

Chito Gascon, the commission's chairman, said: 'In this country the basic problem is impunity. No one is ever held to account for the worst violations. Ever.'

Police chief Albayalde says that the force's Internal Affairs Service (IAS) investigates all allegations of abuse by his officers.

He added: 'We do not tolerate senseless killings. We do not just kill anybody.'

Indeed, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's own data suggests crystal meth has become even cheaper in Manila.

In July 2016, a gram of the substance cost 1,200-11,000 pesos (£19-£172), according to official figures - while last month a gram cost 1,000-15,000 pesos (£16-£234).

Gloria Lai of the International Drug Policy Consortium said: 'If prices have fallen, it's an indication that enforcement actions have not been effective.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Compare Duterte’s war on drugs with our war on drugs. Duterte comes down as hard on the users as on the dealers. The idea is to reduce, if not eliminate, the market for illegal drugs by getting the users off the street. Much of that war is fought in the poor communities.

In the U.S., we weep and wail about ruining the future of users if they are arrested. And if we concentrate our fight in those communities where illegal drugs are most prevalent, we are accused of racial discrimination against blacks. President Obama released drug offenders, mostly dealers, from federal prisons by commuting their sentences. The DEA is not going after the growers and suppliers of marijuana in those states where pot is legal. Instead of getting the users off the streets, we go after the dealers, thereby leaving a market to serve the insatiable hunger Americans have for illegal drugs. But when the drug kingpins get taken down, whether here or in Mexico, they are quickly replaced by underlings.

The Filipinos are fighting a take-no-prisoners war on drugs and winning decisively. While we too are winning the war on drugs, there is no end in sight because of the way we are fighting it.


Girl, 17, died when she bungee jumped off a bridge in Spain without being tied to the ledge after an instructor with 'very bad English' said 'no jump' and she thought he said 'now jump'

By Gareth Davies

Daily Mail
June 26, 2017

A 17-year-old girl who died when she bungee jumped off a bridge in Spain without being tied to the ledge plunged to her death in a mix-up over an instructor's English.

Vera Mol had a rope attached to her, but it wasn't tied to anything else when she took part in the popular adrenaline-fuelled activity on the bridge of Cabezon de la Sal in Cantabria back in 2015.

Her instructor told her, 'no jump', but his pronunciation was so bad the teenager thought he had said 'now jump' so she leapt to her untimely death.

The instructor, who has not been named, has appeared in court accused of causing the Dutch girl's death.

Judges in the court of Cantabria, northern Spain, say the instructor should have checked for ID to make sure Vera was 18 years old, adding that his English was 'macarronico', which translates to 'very bad'.

The court heard how tragic Vera Mol died after the misunderstanding during the jumping process, which could have been avoided had the instructor used the phrase 'don't jump' as opposed to 'no jump' as was reportedly the correct protocol.

It is also alleged the bridge was not supposed to be used for bungee jumping under Spanish regulations.

Flowtrack, who run the bungee jumping company which employed the man, claim it was an accident, but Martijn Klom from the company admitted the girl's death was caused by a misunderstanding when she was receiving instructions for the jump.

He confirmed the girl jumped when she was tied by the rope, but without being secured to the bridge.


Biker in Mongols gang is arrested in fatal shooting of rival Hells Angels member in Riverside

By Veronica Rocha

Los Angeles Times
June 23, 2017

A Mongols motorcycle gang member is accused of fatally shooting a member of the Hells Angels biker gang last month in Riverside as part of an ongoing rivalry, authorities said.

Joshua Ryan Herbert, a 27-year-old Corona resident, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, according to the Riverside County district attorney’s office. Prosecutors allege the offenses were committed for the benefit of the Mongols gang.

Authorities say Herbert opened fire on five Hells Angels members on May 21, including 21-year-old James Duty, who died at the scene.

The group had stopped just before 10:30 p.m. to fuel up at a Shell gas station in the 3500 block of Adams Street, Riverside police Lt. Charles Payne said at a news conference this week. Clad in Hells Angels attire, the group stood in the parking lot and chatted.

As the group was talking, he said, someone exited a vehicle and began spraying gunfire.

When officers arrived, they found the bikers next to a set of fuel pumps.

Duty had been shot multiple times. Gunfire also struck the helmet of a second Hells Angels member, but he was not injured.

“This shooting was the result of an ongoing rival feud between the Hells Angels and Mongols outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Deputy Chief Larry Gonzalez said at a news conference.

Detectives, with the assistance of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, launched an investigation into the gangs’ activities.

Detectives gathered surveillance camera footage and talked to witnesses who helped identify Herbert as the shooter, Payne said.

Authorities searched seven locations throughout Orange and Riverside counties associated with the Mongols gang. Investigators also seized illegal weapons as well as Mongols gang paraphernalia at Herbert’s home, authorities said.

The motorcycle gangs have a “long history of animosity toward one another, which includes committing crimes against each other, including murder,” Payne said.

Members are looking to expand their territory and increase their gang’s presence, he added.

The Mongols gang formed in Southern California in the 1970s. Hells Angels was established in 1948 in Fontana.

For decades, federal and local authorities have arrested and charged dozens of members from both gangs on racketeering, murder, drug sales and other charges.

The ongoing turf battle between the rival motorcycle gangs hit a boiling point in 2002, when a shootout erupted at Harrah's Casino & Hotel in Nevada during the Laughlin River Run, the annual biker rally.

During the melee, three people were killed and at least 16 people were injured.

In the last six to eight months, the rivalry between the Mongols and the Hells Angels has intensified in Orange and Los Angeles counties, resulting in attempted murders and shootings, Det. Jim Simons said.

“We believe it’s retaliation,” he said.

Authorities hope Herbert’s arrest doesn’t lead to more bloodshed.

“We hope that this will be the end of it but we always fear ongoing retaliation and feuds between both of these gangs,” Simons said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shit, that was a pussy affair compared to the shootout between the Bandidos and Cossacks that left 9 dead, 18 wounded and 170 arrested at the Twin Peaks in Waco two years ago.

Monday, June 26, 2017



Off-duty black police officer mistakenly shot by white on-duty officer from the same department in St. Louis who apparently mistook him for a fleeing suspect

BY Associated Press and Regina F. Graham

Daily Mail
June 25, 2017

An off-duty black police officer in St. Louis was mistakenly shot by a white on-duty officer from the same department who apparently mistook him for a fleeing suspect, authorities said.

The 38-year-old black officer was off-duty when he heard a commotion near his home and ran toward it with his service weapon to try to help his fellow officers on Wednesday night, police said.

St. Louis' interim police chief, Lawrence O'Toole, said the incident began when officers with an anti-crime task force followed a stolen car and were twice fired upon by its occupants.

One suspect was shot in an ankle and was arrested, along with another teenager who tried to run from police, O'Toole said. A third suspect is being sought as the others are being held on $500,000 cash bond.

When the off-duty officer who lived nearby heard the commotion and arrived at the scene Wednesday night to help, two on-duty officers ordered him to the ground but then recognized him and told him to stand up and walk toward them.

As he was doing so, another officer arrived and shot the off-duty officer 'apparently not recognizing' him, police said.

The police department as of Saturday hadn't disclosed the names of the officers, who have been placed on routine administrative leave as the matter is investigated.

Police described the black officer as an 11-year department veteran and said he was treated at a hospital and released. The officer who shot him is 36 and has been with the department more than eight years.

The black officer's lawyer, Rufus J. Tate Jr., discussed the shooting with St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI, but the officer isn't named in that report.

Tate told the station that his client identified himself to the on-duty officers at the scene and complied with their commands.

The lawyer questioned the white officer's account to police that he shot the off-duty officer because he feared for his safety.

'In the police report you have so far, there is no description of a threat he received. So we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared,' Tate said.

Tate did not reply to several phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment Saturday.

It was in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where a white officer shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, three years ago, setting off months of protests, some of which were violent.

The officer, who later left the force, wasn't charged, which further strained relations between the area's black community and the police.

But there have been several notable instances over the years in which an officer mistakenly shot a colleague.

In 2009, 25-year-old New York City police Officer Omar J. Edwards, who was black, was shot and killed by a white officer on a Harlem street while in street clothes. He had just finished his shift, and had his service weapon out, chasing a man who had broken into his car, police said.

Three plainclothes officers on routine patrol arrived at the scene and yelled for the two to stop, police said.

One officer, Andrew Dunton, opened fire and hit Edwards three times as he turned toward them with his service weapon.

It wasn't until medical workers were on scene that it was determined he was a police officer. A grand jury voted not to indict Dunton.

A year earlier in the suburb of White Plains, New York, a black off-duty Mount Vernon police officer was killed by a Westchester County policeman while holding an assault suspect at gunpoint.

And in Providence, Rhode Island, an off-duty black police sergeant, Cornel Young Jr., was accidentally killed by two uniformed white colleagues in 2000 while he was trying to break up a fight on a parking lot. Young was the son of the department's highest-ranking black officer at the time.

A jury later rejected a $20 million federal lawsuit by Young's mother against the city and its police force, who she claimed didn't properly train officers about how to identify their off-duty and plainclothes counterparts.

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show such accidental police-on-police shootings occur at a low rate given the tense, confusing circumstances officers routinely face.

In 2013, according to online FBI figures, only two officers were killed when mistakenly shot as a result of crossfire, mistaken for a subject, or involved in other firearm mishaps. The FBI statistics don't specify the race of the officers killed.


by Bob Walsh

An oil tanker rolled over on a highway in Pakistan yesterday. Many of the locals rushed to the scene of the wreck with containers, attempting to scrounge whatever of the contents of the tanker (kerosene or fuel oil maybe) that they could. Something happened, or somebody did something stupid and the tanker went BOOM. They think about 150 people died in the fireball.

It must truly suck to be that poor. I just can't imagine it.


REPORTS: Trump Furious With Palestinians, May Pull Out of Peace Process

Israel Today
June 25, 2017

The international mainstream media painted last week's meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as "productive."

Apparently, that description wasn't entirely accurate.

The London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat instead called the meeting "tense," and said it ended with a serious rift between the Americans and the Palestinians.

According to Palestinian officials who spoke to the newspaper, Trump is now considering pulling out of the Mideast peace process altogether.

The Jerusalem Post quoted an American administration official as saying that was "nonsense," though he did not refute other details of the al-Hayat report.

Abbas is said to have been outraged when Kushner entered the room and conveyed Israel's demand that he stop using international financial aid to pay salaries to terrorists sitting in Israeli jails.

Kushner also reportedly insisted that Palestinian officials halt all incitement against Israel, and expressed disappointment that Abbas had failed to condemn last week's deadly terrorist stabbing in Jerusalem, which took the life of a young female Border Police officer.

Al-Hayat wrote that Abbas fired back by accusing Kushner of "taking Israel's side," and was adamant that paying salaries to convicted terrorists was part of his "social responsibility."


Disgusted diner finds a DEAD FROG in her salad at a California pizza restaurant and is only offered a $50 gift card in compensation

By Matthew Wright

Daily Mail
June 25, 2017

A woman was left disgusted after she found a dead frog in her salad at a California pizza restaurant.

Shawna C posted a scathing Yelp review on June 14 describing the sickening dining experience she had at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse in West Covina.

She wrote: 'I was about 4 bites into it and I noticed it tasted a little different.'

'I thought maybe the ranch dressing was a little bitter and after mixing the salad around some more I found a dead baby frog.

'Yes I said FROG! I've never experienced anything in my life like that.'

The restaurant manager offered to compensate her meal when Shawna told him what happened.

But she declined, and said they wouldn't be eating there any more.

'He explained that there [sic] produce comes from a vendor but don't they wash there vegs before serving?

'I told him this frog could contain salmonella and who knows how long it's been sitting in a produce bag and he still made us pay for our drinks which consisting of three beers total!

Shawna was irate at having to pay for her drinks in addition to having to find a new place for her party to have a meal.

She spoke with corporate, who offered her a $50 gift card to which she thought was a 'joke'.

Krysteen Romero, General Manager of BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, saw the post and responded on June 22 apologizing for failing to handle the situation in a timely manner.

'We take situations like this very seriously and have launched an internal investigation including discussions with our suppliers and distributors,' she said.


Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin went camping in the Mojave Desert. After they got their tent all set up, both women fell sound asleep.

Some hours later, Huma wakes Hillary and says, 'Honey, look up, what do you see? '

Hillary replies, 'I see millions of stars.'

‘What does that tell you?' asked Huma.

Hillary ponders for a minute then says, 'Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.’

‘What's it tell you, Huma?'

‘Hillie, you may be as sharp as the spines on a a cactus, but it tells me someone stole the fucking tent.’

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Limpopo man to be forced to ‘marry’ the donkey he raped

Capricorn Voice
June 22, 2017

LIMPOPO, SOUTH AFRICA -- After the recent incident at Roadhouse village, the owner of the donkey insists the man must make the donkey his wife, by marrying the animal.

The matter came to the attention of locals after the owner reported the matter to the local headman that a local resident was “found raping a donkey”. It is believed that it was not the first time the man had been involved in such an incident.

The owner of the donkey said he wants the man to take the donkey as his wife.

“When I went to him he said he was sorry about it but I’m not satisfied as it was not for the first time that he committed the same act,” said the owner.

The alleged perpetrator was summoned by the community structures but he refused to appear.

Acting Headman Daniel Ngobeni confirmed the incident.

“Because of the man’s absence we have transferred the matter to the Shigalo Tribal Authority Council,” he added.

The Secretary of the Shigalo Tribal Authority Council, Thompson Ntlamu, also confirmed the matter. “We summoned the man and he will appear to answer to charges against him,” he said.


by Bob Walsh

Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane are under investigation by the FBI for bank fraud.

Saunders was trying to get $10 mill for Burlington College back in 2010. He was president of this fine institution of higher learning at the time. It has since been closed down.

Mrs Sanders is alleged to have fudged the numbers on donor information. Bernie is alleged to have used his political position to pressure the bank into approving the loan.

Bernie claims he is being targeted by Trump fanatics. He didn't claim the basic assertions were false. I somehow have a sneaking hunch the FBI would not be investigating if there was not at least some minimal evidence to support an investigation.

Both Bernie and Jane have lawyered up. That's what guilty people do.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Whoa there, Bob, not so fast! Does that mean Trump is guilty of obstructing justice in that Russian thing he's been denying? He's hired a top notch criminal attorney to represent him.


Feds explain sweet deal for billionaire sex offender Epstein

by Jane Musgrave

Palm Beach Post
June 23, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. -- Federal prosecutors went on the offensive this month, denying allegations that they bowed to pressure from billionaire Palm Beach resident Jeffrey Epstein and his high-priced lawyers at the expense of dozens of teenage girls he sexually abused.

In their first public comment since 2007 — when they negotiated a deal that allowed Epstein to escape federal charges — prosecutors filed hundreds of pages of documents in U.S. District Court, explaining what led to the now infamous non-prosecution agreement that has been decried as “a sweetheart deal.”

Contrary to claims by attorneys representing two of Epstein’s victims in a lawsuit against the federal government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said she and her superiors were trying to help the traumatized young women when they agreed to let Epstein plead guilty to state prostitution charges.

The now-64-year-old money manager, who spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands, served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was allowed to leave each day to go to work.

Hoping to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to throw out the lawsuit that accuses the government of violating the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, Villafana said she tried to keep Epstein’s victims informed about the investigation and the eventual plea deal. But, she said, negotiations were sensitive and neither Epstein, his victims nor their attorneys made it easy.

For instance, she said, most of the young women were extremely reluctant — or simply refused — to testify against Epstein, who had paid them to give him sexually-charged massages at his mansion.

One of the women who is now suing the government insisted Epstein never abused her, Villafana wrote in a sworn affidavit.

“I hope Jeffrey, nothing happens to Jeffrey because he’s an awesome man and it would really be a shame,” the woman, identified only as Jane Doe 2, told FBI agents in 2007.

While Villafana said she didn’t believe her, she also understood the young woman’s suffering. Further, she knew she couldn’t force her or Epstein’s more than two dozen other victims to testify against him.

Jane Doe 1, who is also suing the government, agreed to testify. But Villafana said one victim wouldn’t have been enough to convict Epstein.

Rather than let Epstein use his considerable influence to evade prosecution, she and top officials at the U.S. Justice Department crafted the plea deal.

In exchange for pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and soliciting minors to engage in prostitution in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Epstein was not charged with any federal counts. As part of the agreement, Epstein had to register as a sex offender and agree to settle civil lawsuits that his roughly 30 victims filed against him.

Getting Epstein to agree to pay restitution to his victims and register as a sex offender were key, Villafana wrote. Prosecutors wanted to assure his victims that they would be compensated and that “other minors throughout the country” would be protected, she wrote.

But shortly after Epstein signed the agreement on Sept. 24, 2007, he began fighting it, she said. He and his legal team, including former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, contacted high-level justice department officials. They challenged the terms of the non-prosecution agreement.

Fearing it was falling apart, Villafana said her office and the FBI resumed the investigation and informed the victims of that by letter in January 2008.

In their lawsuit, the victims’ attorneys, Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell, say the letter is evidence of their claim that prosecutors lied to the victims. They also claim that prosecutors never told Epstein’s victims about the plea deal.

Villafana said she didn’t tell the young women about the terms of the agreement, fearing Epstein’s attorneys would use it to crush them if federal charges were filed and the case went to trial. Savvy attorneys would argue that the women were testifying against Epstein because federal prosecutors told them they would get paid restitution if they did, she said.

When she learned Epstein planned to plead guilty to the two charges in circuit court on June 30, 2008, Villafana said she immediately notified Edwards. She said she told him to alert his clients so they could attend the hearing. None did.

Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah, shrugged off the government’s new claims, calling them “meritless.” A written response will be filed at the end of July, he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Flight logs show that Clinton flew at least 26 times together with Epstein on his private jet, the “Lolita Express”, and that Trump had been a frequent flier too. The plane – also dubbed the “Mile High Club” – was outfitted with a bed on which Epstein and his buddies would have group sex with underage girls.

Both Clintons, Bill and Hillary, have been Epstein’s guests at his estate on Little St. James, his private 72-acre island – also dubbed “Orgy Island” - in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Dallas officer charged with assault in the shooting death of pregnant woman whose family was 'hoping for a murder charge'

By Associated Press and Jessica Finn

Daily Mail
June 23, 2017

A grand jury has recommended an aggravated assault charge against a Dallas police officer who shot and killed a pregnant woman in a January confrontation involving a stolen car.

The Dallas County district attorney announced Friday that Dallas Police Officer Christopher Hess was indicted on the charge of aggravated assault in the shooting death of a pregnant 21-year-old Genevive Dawes.

Hess shot and killed a pregnant Dawes in a January confrontation involving a stolen car. It is the first time in 43 years that a Dallas Police officer has been indicted for an officer-involved shooting that resulted in death.

Daryl Washington, a civil rights attorney representing Dawes' family, said they were hoping for a murder charge to be brought against the officer. Washington also said the family was hoping a second charge would be brought because of the passenger, Virgilio Rosales, Dawes' boyfriend, who was also shot at during the incident.

He said Dawes was five months pregnant when she died after being struck by at least four bullets.

Hess and another officer, Senior Corporal Jason Kimpel, who the grand jury did not recommend charges against, had responded to a suspicious persons call, according to police accounts.

Dawes and Rosales allegedly ignored commands to get out of the car, reversed the car into a police cruiser, rammed a wooden fence and were reversing away from the fence when police fired, killing Dawes and injuring Rosales.

Washington said that account is flawed. He said the couple was sleeping about 5 a.m. in the car when police arrived. He said from the evidence he has seen, Dawes never drove the car toward the officers or tried to hit them. He also said Dawes did not know the car was stolen.

Washington said the officers fired 14 times into the car, and that he believed Hess had fired 13 of the shots.

'There were a total of 14 shots at a vehicle that was going five miles per hour,' Washington said. 'I can 100 per cent stand behind the fact that no officers were in danger. No officer at the time that those shots were fired, were behind that vehicle. And I feel comfortable saying that the statements given by the Dallas police officers were inaccurate.'

Authorities say Hess, a 10-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, will be placed on administrative leave pending a review by Internal Affairs investigators.

If convicted, Hess faces between 5 and 99 years in prison. It was unclear from court documents if Hess had an attorney.

The Dallas County district attorney's office was scheduled to hold a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss the charges.

Dawes' family members, who gathered to make a statement about the indictment Friday, said she was a goofy and loving woman who would make everyone laugh, once adopted a stray duck and was devoted to her two daughters, Krystinah Rosales, 2, and Cerenity Rosales, 1.

'I feel like they tried to make my sister look like a criminal, to sweep it under the table to not even try to get justice for her,' said Alisha Garcia, Dawes' 26-year-old sister. 'She was my only sister. They took her life.'


'Cannibal killer' frat boy accused of murdering and eating two random Florida homeowners said he just wants to be a 'normal kid again' in tearful phone calls home to his parents as police release their conversations

By Mary Kekatos

Daily Mail
June 24, 2017

Hundreds of phone calls made from jail between so-called 'Cannibal Killer' Austin Harrouff and his family have been released, in which he says he just wants to 'be a normal kid again'.

More than 10 hours of recordings were made public by the State Attorney's Office in Martin Country where the 20-year-old former Florida State University student details his boredom, his want for mental help, and how he misses home.

Harrouff is accused of stabbing John Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53, to death at their home on Southeast Kokomo Lane on August 15. He was found biting Stevens' face, making accusers think he was on drugs such as bath salts or flakka.

The teenager has been at the sports bar Duffy's West with his father when he complained that the food was taking too long and left.

Harrouff apparently walked to his mother's house nearby, where she said she found him about to drink cooking oil. She said she told him to stop but said she soon found him eating a bowl of cooking oil mixed with cheese before taking her son back to the restaurant.

He left again and apparently walked the four miles to the victims' home, which was near his father's house.

It is unknown how the encounter began, but Stevens and Mishcon were known to sit in their garage with the door open, watching television and chatting with passers-by.

Harrouff told deputies that he had no drugs in his system that night, though court documents show he told paramedics that he smoked marijuana and drank alcohol.

Toxicology reports showed he had neither common drugs nor designer drugs in his system.

Harrouff's attorney have argued that their client is 'struggling with severe mental illness and the judicial process will bear all of this out in due time'.

Calls from the Martin County Jail, where he was brought on October 3, show a dramatic change in Harrouff from when he first arrived.

In early recordings, he cries constantly, complains about how bored he is and says that he wants to be home.

'It just sucks. I just want to be a normal kid again,' Harrouff is heard saying.

He asks for books, magazines and things to write and draw with. He also cries to his parents, saying he needed a therapist

In later recordings, he speaks in a monotone voice, answers with one word or repeats a word over and over. He laughs briefly and at awkward points in conversations.

He's also heard making strange, unintelligible sounds more than once.

It's unclear if Harrouff is on any medication at this time, but at the beginning of his stay, he told his parents the jail gave him anti-depressants and something to help him sleep.

His next court hearing is scheduled on July 25.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hmmm, so he’s bored. To overcome his boredom, I suggest he be moved in with an experienced group of jailbirds. That might make his stay in jail exciting.

I’d also recommend that he have a supply of Vaseline on hand to keep from getting the red ass.


Drug kingpins are behind bars but violence and corruption go unchecked. Cartel violence in Tamaulipas state has claimed 254 lives in the first three months of this year, but has largely gone unreported in the press

By Jo Tuckman

Borderland Beat from The Guardian
June 23, 2017

MEXICO CITY -- When Carlos Ulivarri heard that a body had been dumped by the side of a road just outside his hometown of Rio Bravo, a few miles south of McAllen, Texas, he knew he had to act fast.

But he did not even consider contacting the authorities.

Hours earlier, Ulivarri’s son, Luís Carlos, 23, had been shot in a bar, and then dragged into the night after an altercation with a group of men presumed to be members of a local drug cartel.

At first, Ulivarri held out hope his son might be alive. But at 10am the next morning, a friend called to say that a corpse had been spotted on a road outside town which marks the frontline between two warring cartel factions.

Ulivarri, the president of the Rio Bravo chamber of commerce, knew that the body might disappear for good if he did not move quickly, but he did not want to risk a confrontation with either gang, who are both known to monitor the road.

So instead of calling the police and waiting for an escort, he drove alone to the site, bundled his son’s body into his car, and brought him home for the last time.

“We are on our own,” Ulivarri said in a phone interview from his office in Rio Bravo, just six miles from the Donna international bridge into Texas.

“Everybody is frightened here, there is lots of danger and you can’t trust anybody. Lots of people are sending their children away to the United States but that is not the solution.”

Rio Bravo sits on the northern edge of Tamaulipas, a state which is currently gripped by a patchwork of conflicts between rival factions of the Gulf cartel.

It is a war which according to official figures has claimed 254 lives in the first three months of this year, but has largely gone unreported in the Mexican and international press.

Earlier this month, the US state department warned against all but essential travel to Tamaulipas. “Violent conflicts between rival criminal elements and/or the Mexican military can occur in all parts of the region and at all times of the day,” it said.

And if the public circumstances of Luís Carlos Ulivarra’s murder illustrate the brazen quality of cartel violence, his father’s reaction reflects the pervasive distrust many locals feel towards the official response.

Locals describe a regime of constant terror, and widespread exasperation with a government security strategy which concentrates on the pursuit of cartel kingpins but has failed to establish a semblance of law and order in the state.

“The bullet-for-bullet strategy is failing. It gets rid of one cartel and another comes and everything remains the same,” Ulivarri said. “I am not a soldier and I don’t know what the strategy should be, but it is important to send the message that we are not the enemy.”

Years of government abandon allowed the Gulf cartel – and their notoriously bloodthirsty enforces, the Zetas – to consolidate their hold on Tamaulipas in the early, mid and late 2000s with a mixture of intimidation, exploitation and the infiltration of local authorities.

This changed when the Zetas turned on their former masters in 2010, unleashing a period of intense conflict and prompting the government to flood Tamaulipas with soldiers and marines. The strategy brought a temporary respite to the most dramatic violence, but did little to dismantle the subtler holds the cartels retained over communities and local politics.

The government’s “kingpin” strategy resulted in the death or capture of a string of bosses, leaving both the Zetas and the Gulf cartel much weaker – but splinter groups continued to terrorize the civilian populations.

And when rivalries between these second-generation cartels erupted into fresh violence last year, the government once again responded with new deployments of federal forces, and more detentions of local leaders.

National security commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido admitted last month that Tamaulipas remains one of Mexico’s most conflict-riven states, but argued that the strategy was working. “The small groups left do not have anything like the capacity of the old organizations had before their leaders were captured or neutralized,” he told Radio Formula.

But many in Tamaulipas question the official claims that the federal offensive has reined in the violence.

A spokesman for the office of President Enrique Peña Nieto said that the government is also working to improve security by strengthening local police forces and the judicial system.

“We still face important challenges and each episode of violence is an offence to society that we cannot allow to happen,” the spokesman said in a written answer. He said that in 2014 there were 38% fewer homicides in Tamaulipas than in 2012. “The government will not give up on this effort.”

But the official figures for the first quarter of 2015 show a 20% increase in homicides from the same period in 2014, and many locals say that murders are consistently under-reported.

Nancy Hernández, who heads a group of citizens seeking to help victims of violence, said the situation has been exacerbated by the cartels’ deep penetration of local authorities.

“In Tamaulipas the authorities became so closely allied with the narcos they lost control,” Hernández told La Jornada newspaper. “If you let the bandits into your house, there comes a time when they take over.”

Hernández said that despite the high-profile arrests, a daily litany of kidnappings, disappearances and extortion continues.

Little of this is reported in the local press which – as in other drug war zones – is subject to constant pressure and intimidation.

For years local reporters tended to ignore the violence completely, but today’s patchwork of territorial control has brought with it more complicated rules transmitted to reporters and editors via cartel press attachés.

“I have given up trying to understand why you are allowed to publish some things and some not,” said Enrique Juárez, who until February was the director of the newspaper El Mañana in the city of Matamoros. “But the controls are always there.”

Torres fled Matamoros, just over the border from Brownsville, Texas, after being abducted and beaten on the day his paper published a minimalist account of three days of open gun-battles in the city.

He now feels relatively safe in a different city controlled by a different criminal faction, but he knows that could change if the balance of power shifts.

Juárez takes little comfort in the government’s protection programme for journalists under threat. Officials who had travelled to Matamoros to interview him about his case, abandoned the mission when they heard they would have to drive along a cartel-controlled road to interview him.

“What kind of protection do I have if the Mexican authorities themselves can’t come to where I am?” Juárez said, with a laugh.

The limitations on the media lead many to rely on Facebook, blogs and Twitter for real-time citizen reports of blockades, shootouts and cartel checkpoints.

The most active contributors always use anonymous addresses. Even so, several have ended up dead, with cartel warnings left by their corpses.

A man with the Twitter handle @MrCruzStar is one of the founders of the much-used #ReynosaFollow hashtag. He has never told his family of his online activities, in order both to protect them and reduce the risk they might unwittingly reveal his identity to a cartel informer. But he said he could not imagine giving up.

“When something happens I know there are people depending on me to let them know,” he said.

@MrCruzStar sees his responsibilities as including vigorously retweeting information he judges to be genuine, as well as downplaying posts he suspects are cartel propaganda, or efforts to manipulate public opinion from military intelligence.

“This war is taking place on social media as well,” he said.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Only a Third of Gun Owners Think Gun Violence Is a Serious Issue

By Jennifer Mascia

The Trace
June 22, 2017

A sweeping study of gun ownership by the Pew Research Center reveals a stark divide in opinion about the role of guns in society, the extent to which gun violence is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and whether firearms should be more strictly regulated.

The Pew survey found that attitudes around gun policy and ownership break down largely along partisan lines, but overall, the majority of Americans favor universal background checks and gun prohibitions for terror suspects and the mentally ill.

Nearly a third of Americans own guns, the study found, and a disproportionate amount of gun owners are white, male, Republican, middle-aged, and living in rural areas. The number of gun owners who say they own a firearm for protection is nearly twice the number of those who have one for hunting.

Nearly half of the survey’s respondents said they knew someone who has been shot, and 3 percent reported having been shot themselves.

The findings on gun ownership largely jibe with a 2016 study conducted by Harvard and Northeastern universities, which revealed a cultural shift in American gun ownership patterns since the last comprehensive study had been conducted two decades earlier.

Two-thirds of gun owners have more than one gun, and of those, 29 percent report owning five or more. For gun owners who possess a single firearm, that gun is most likely a pistol. For more than a third of gun owners, a firearm is often close at hand: 38 percent said they keep a firearm loaded and easily accessible in their homes, while a quarter of handgun owners say they often carry a firearm outside their home.

Non-gun owners are more likely than gun owners to say that safe gun storage and gun safety courses and training are essential. And not all the gun owners who believe safe storage is important are practicing it themselves: While 63 percent say keeping guns secured is “essential,” that same percentage report at least one unlocked gun in their home.

More than half of all respondents said gun laws should be stricter. The survey found some areas of policy agreement among gun owners and non-gun-owners: Majorities of both groups favor background checks for private sales and at gun shows, as well as limiting access to guns for people with mental illnesses and those on no-fly or terror-watch lists. But while more than three-quarters of people without guns favor the creation of a federal database to track gun sales, only about half of gun owners do.

Owning a gun appears to affect how Americans view the scope of gun violence in the United States. Half of all adults say American gun violence is a “very big problem” — but only 33 percent of gun owners do. An overwhelming majority of both gun owners and non-gun-owners believe that the ease with which people can access illegal guns contributes to gun violence, but far more non-owners also blame access to legal guns, 67 percent, compared to 44 percent of gun owners.

More than 100,000 people are struck by a bullet each year in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This pervasiveness turns up among the Pew poll’s respondents. Forty-four percent of adults said they know someone who’s been shot, while blacks are more likely than whites to be acquainted with a gunshot victim (57 percent vs. 43 percent), and the odds of knowing someone who’s been shot appear to decrease with the level of education attained (49 percent of those with high school degrees vs. 37 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees) and increase depending on gun ownership (51 percent of gun owners vs. 40 percent of non-owners). Three times as many gun owners (6 percent) than non-owners (2 percent) say they’ve been shot themselves.

Pew derived the data from a telephone poll of 3,930 respondents conducted over two weeks in March and April.


Trump Energy Dept. appointee called Obama a 'Kenyan creampuff,' mocked Megyn Kelly as 'MegOBgyn' and dismissed Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg as a 'self-hating Jew'

By David Martosko

Daily Mail
June 23, 2017

An appointee to a key position in the Department of Energy apologized on Thursday for a history of incendiary remarks on Twitter – including calling former president Barack Obama a 'Kenyan creampuff.'

William 'Brute' Bradford runs the DOE's Office of Indian Energy, but his social media past is coming back to haunt him.

Bradford's other targets included Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, whom he called a 'self-hating Jew,' and NBC host Megyn Kelly – whom he referred to as '“MegOBgyn Kelly' as a slam on her feminist advocacy.

The Washington Post exposed the sensational messages, posted to his since-deleted Twitter account.

Bradford's controversial tweets all came before he joined the Trump administration, but they will still give the White House a new headache at a time when it is slowly filling hundreds of key administration vacancies.

'As a minority and member of the Jewish faith, I sincerely apologize for my disrespectful and offensive comments,' he told the Post.

'These comments are inexcusable and I do not stand by them. Now, as a public servant, I hold myself to a higher standard, and I will work every day to better the lives of all Americans.'

Bradford's comment about Obama came in December, and included an accusation that the former president 'was given his mission in Tehran [a] long time ago, and it suits him just fine.'

'How else can a Kenyan creampuff get ahead?' he asked.

Bradford also tweeted the suggestion that Americans might have to stagte a coup to remove Obama from office if he refused to vacate the White House at the end of his term.

'If Obama won't leave office in January 2017, what will we do? Is a military coup the only answer? Need to think NOW,' he wrote.

That tweet linked to an essay Bradford had written in November 2015 titled: 'Remove Obama: ISIS and the President’s dereliction of duty.'

Bradford wrote that '[i]t is not hyperbolic to suggest that Obama is the single most important figure in the rise of radical Islam and the spread of the Caliphate since the Prophet Muhammad himself.'

He argued that Obama should be impeached, saying that the then-presidnet would likely not lift a finger if 'one million Americans were immolated in a suitcase nuclear attack on New York City.'

Bradford's digital body-slam of Zuckerberg was no less incendiary, following the Facebook guru's plea for Americans to vote against Donald Trump.

'Who is this little arrogant self-hating Jew to tell anyone for whom to vote?' he tweeted.

He offended Japanese-Americans, too, in a February 2015 tweet celebrating the anniversary of the creation of internment camps for that group's citizens during World War II.

'It was necessary,' Bradford tweeted.

He also referred to Kelly, then of Fox News, as 'MegOBgyn,' claiming that he coined the moniker.

And Bradford also weighed in on the trend toward allowing women to serve in U.S. military combat roles, conflating it with the larger issue of women serving in the armed forces.

'Women have no business in combat. Period,' he tweeted.

'Republicans [are] pandering on this issue. Disgusting. I'll shoot anyone who comes for my daughters.'

Bradford is a former faculty member at the U.S. Military Academy, the National Defense University, the Coast Guard Academy and the United Arab Emirates National Defense College.

He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University, law degrees from the University of Miami and Harvard University, and an M.B.A. from the University of Florida.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A Ph.D., two law degrees, and an M.B.A.? Just another uber-educated idiot.


The great Muslim civil war — and us

By Charles Krauthammer

The Washington Post
June 22, 2017

The U.S. shoots down a Syrian fighter-bomber. Iran launches missiles into eastern Syria. Russia threatens to attack coalition aircraft west of the Euphrates. What is going on?

It might appear a mindless mess, but the outlines are clear. The great Muslim civil war, centered in Syria, is approaching its post-Islamic State phase. It’s the end of the beginning. The parties are maneuvering to shape what comes next.

It’s Europe, 1945, when the war was still raging against Nazi Germany, but everyone already knew the outcome. The maneuvering was largely between the approaching victors — the Soviet Union and the Western democracies — to determine postwar boundaries and spheres of influence.

So it is today in Syria. Everyone knows that the Islamic State is finished. Not that it will disappear as an ideology, insurgency and source of continuing terrorism both in the region and the West. But it will disappear as an independent, organized, territorial entity in the heart of the Middle East.

It is being squeezed out of existence. Its hold on Mosul, its last major redoubt in Iraq, is nearly gone. Raqqa, its stronghold in Syria and de facto capital, is next. When it falls — it is already surrounded on three sides — the caliphate dies.

Much of the fighting today is about who inherits. Take the Syrian jet the U.S. shot down. It had been attacking a pro-Western Kurdish and Arab force (the Syrian Democratic Forces) not far from Islamic State territory.

Why? Because the Bashar Assad regime, backed by Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, having gained the upper hand on the non-jihadist rebels in the Syrian heartland (most notably in Aleppo), feels secure enough to set its sights on eastern Syria. If it hopes to restore its authority over the whole country, it will need to control Raqqa and surrounding Islamic State areas. But the forces near Raqqa are pro-Western and anti-regime. Hence the Syrian fighter-bomber attack.

Hence the U.S. shoot-down. We are protecting our friends. Hence the Russian threats to now target U.S. planes. The Russians are protecting their friends.

On the same day as the shoot-down, Iran launched six surface-to-surface missiles into Syrian territory controlled by the Islamic State. Why? Ostensibly to punish the jihadists for terrorist attacks two weeks ago inside Iran.

Perhaps. But one obvious objective was to demonstrate to Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Arabs the considerable reach of both Iran’s arms and territorial ambitions.

For Iran, Syria is the key, the central theater of a Shiite-Sunni war for regional hegemony. Iran (which is non-Arab) leads the Shiite side, attended by its Arab auxiliaries — Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Shiite militias in Iraq and the highly penetrated government of Iraq, and Assad’s Alawite regime. (Alawites being a non-Sunni sect, often associated with Shiism.)

Taken together, they comprise a vast arc — the Shiite Crescent — stretching from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean. If consolidated, it gives the Persians a Mediterranean reach they have not had in 2,300 years.

This alliance operates under the patronage and protection of Russia, which supplies the Iranian-allied side with cash, weapons and, since 2015, air cover from its new bases in Syria.

Arrayed on the other side of the great Muslim civil war are the Sunnis, moderate and Western-allied, led by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan — with their Great Power patron, the United States, now (post-Obama) back in action.

At stake is consolidation of the Shiite Crescent. It’s already under way. As the Islamic State is driven out of Mosul, Iranian-controlled militias are taking over crucial roads and other strategic assets in western Iraq. Next target: eastern Syria (Raqqa and environs).

Imagine the scenario: a unified Syria under Assad, the ever more pliant client of Iran and Russia; Hezbollah, tip of the Iranian spear, dominant in Lebanon; Iran, the regional arbiter; and Russia, with its Syrian bases, the outside hegemon.

Our preferred outcome is radically different: a loosely federated Syria, partitioned and cantonized, in which Assad might be left in charge of an Alawite rump.

The Iranian-Russian strategy is a nightmare for the entire Sunni Middle East. And for us too. The Pentagon seems bent on preventing it. Hence the Tomahawk attack for crossing the chemical red line. Hence the recent fighter-bomber shoot-down.

A reasonable U.S. strategy, given the alternatives. But not without risk. Which is why we need a national debate before we commit too deeply. Perhaps we might squeeze one in amid the national obsession with every James Comey memo-to-self?

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m beginning to see WW3 on the horizon.


Team Trump should commit to providing inmates an education

By Jim Farrin

The Wall Street Journal
June 21, 2017

Amy Lopez isn’t the highest-profile official to be fired by the Trump administration, but she
deserves some attention. The Obama administration had tapped Ms. Lopez after last November’s
election to build a semiautonomous school district within the Bureau of Prisons. Her program
was to offer literacy training, high-school diplomas, postsecondary classes, and more options for
prisoners with learning disabilities.

Last month Attorney General Jeff Sessions terminated her, suggesting the Justice Department is
poised to abandon correctional education reform. It’s a mistake. This type of prison reform
benefits not only prisoners but public finances and public safety.

Every dollar spent on correctional education yields $4 to $5 in eventual savings, according to a
2013 Rand Corp. report, “How Effective is Correctional Education?” The study also found that
prisoner education reduces recidivism by as much as 43%.

That’s why I made a later-in-life transition from marketing for multinational corporations to
founding the nonprofit Petey Greene Program, which trains college students to enter correctional
facilities and tutor inmates preparing to take the high-school equivalency exam.

But as powerful as education is, often it’s outmatched by discrimination against people with
criminal records. Very few people leaving correctional custody find employment on their first try.

The Urban Institute found that only half of formerly incarcerated people were employed eight
months after release. It can take more than a year for a returning citizen to find a job—which
means that something in addition to knowledge distinguishes a successful person, postprison:

That tenacity comes from correctional education. More than two-thirds of prisoners lack a high-
school diploma. When they earn one, it’s one of the first accomplishments they can remember.

They learn that while success is never easy and may be delayed, it is still attainable if you work
hard enough.

It’s easy to underestimate how powerful this message is to people who have been conditioned to
think that they’re failures. Their pride in succeeding, and their self-confidence—feelings that
have eluded them for so long—carry them through the considerable challenges every returning
citizen faces in getting a job.

The federal prison system accounts for only about 10% of incarcerated people in the U.S., so
there’s plenty of room for innovation at the state level. But it’s a shame to lose Washington’s

Prominent conservatives like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the American
Conservative Union’s Pat Nolan have reminded us of our moral obligation to rehabilitate
incarcerated people. This shouldn’t be an issue that divides left from right.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The state of Texas has a school district – the Windham School District – that was established in 1969 and now operates in 89 prison sites. According to WSD, he typical Windham student functions at the sixth grade level. WSD provides a variety of academic classes and Career and Technical Education (CTE) to offenders incarcerated in the TDCJ, along with behavioral change programs.

Windham is also in charge of an Associate Degree program with instructors from nearly 20 community colleges. Four-year degree courses are also available. Inmates are supposed to repay the state for the courses they took once they have been released from prison, but almost all of them have failed to do so.

Some Republican lawmakers want to shut the college program down because law abiding citizens do not get a free education. They also want to cut the budget for the Windham School District.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Early experience with traffic crashes in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause

Yes, legalization of marijuana does have its rewards.

1. A bonanza of tax funds for the state and local jurisdictions.
2. A bonanza for the drug cartels through sales to those who do not want to pay those taxes.
3. More traffic accidents, including fatal crashes.
4. Higher auto insurance rates for everyone because of the increase in traffic crashes.

Here is a CBS report on the increase in marijuana related traffic crashes.


By Ed Leefeldt

CBS Money Watch
June 22, 2017

Does driving while high have any impact on auto accident rates? Legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Oregon and Washington correlates to about a 3 percent increase in auto collision claim frequencies compared to states without such legislation, according to a new Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study. It's the first one the group has conducted since the drug went on sale legally.

"More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes," the study said.

The HLDI is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research organization that usually focuses on figuring out which cars are safest. The group is funded by auto insurance companies, which have a vested interest in not having to pay claims and -- of course -- hold a bias against impaired driving of any kind.

According to the HLDI, past researchers haven't been able to "definitively connect marijuana use with real-world crashes," and even a federal study failed to find such a link. "Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use have also been inconclusive," said the HLDI.

Instead, the group focused on three states -- Colorado, where legal marijuana retail sales started in 2014, as well as Oregon and Washington, where sales began in 2015 -- and compared them to the collision claims in neighboring states such as Nevada and Utah, parts of which now allow only medical marijuana. It also factored in statistics regarding the three states where recreational use is now legal from before it became available to the general public.

Colorado saw the largest estimated increase in claim frequency -- 14 percent more than its bordering states, while Washington state was 6 percent greater and Oregon had a 4 percent increase. Allowing for the total control group, "the combined effect for the three states was a smaller, but still significant at 3 percent," said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore.

The group used collision claims because they are the most frequent kind insurers receive. Drivers file these claims for damage to their vehicle in a crash with an object or with another vehicle, generally when the driver is at fault, the HLDI said.

The HLDI said it's preparing for more of these studies and has already begun a "large-scale case-control study" in Oregon to find out if usage could be causing automotive injuries.

But the auto insurance industry's position on legalized marijuana is already crystal clear. "Worries that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates aren't misplaced," said David Zuby, chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "The HLDI's findings on the early experience in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause."