Sunday, September 30, 2018


by Bob Walsh

Much to my surprise Governor Moonbeam VETOED a bill that got to his desk that would have shut down gun shows at the Cow Palace, a state-owned venue in Daily City just south of the People's Republic of San Francisco. Jerry HATES guns and HATES people who like guns. However, like any good Democrap he LOVES money and wants to suck as much of it from the public as possible.

It seems that the gun shows at the Cow Palace are DIRECTLY responsible for about $1.3 million per year into the state's coffers in the way of rent, parking and sales taxes.

Principles are principles but money is MONEY.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Or as the saying goes, "Money talks, bullshit walks."


by Bob Walsh

Yes, it is true. The People's Republic of California is about to be made safe from the scourge of teenage gunmen (and women I guess) as Governor Moonbeam has just signed legislation that, effective January 1, will make it unlawful to sell a firearm of any kind (legally at least) to any person under the age of 21.

Shit, I feel safer already.


Several members of the BART board of directors are suggesting the fare evader enforcement program be eliminated as it is catching too many blacks and not enough whites

by Bob Walsh

Yes, it is sad but true. There is a paucity of white criminals plying their trade within the jurisdiction of the Bay Area Rapid Transit police. It is a serious problem for them.

The trouble is fare evaders. The fare gates at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) are a joke. A crippled octogenarian in a wheel chair can get over the gates. BART loses a shitpile of money every year to fare evaders and rebuilding the fare gates would cost also a shitload of money. So they put some money into catching fare evaders. That, however, may have to stop as their board of directors is bothered that they are not getting enough white fare evaders.

The BART ridership is about 12% black. However fare evades are about 47% black. Several members of the BART board of directors are suggesting the fare evader enforcement program be eliminated as it is catching too many blacks and not enough whites.

If you are white, go ahead and put in your application. They would love to hear from you.


Plane crashes into Chuuk lagoon in the Pacific Ocean northwest of Papua, New Guinea

By Jasmine Stole Weiss

Pacific Daily News
September 28, 2018

Four people were seriously injured after a flight from Pohnpei crashed into a lagoon while attempting to land at the airport in Weno, Chuuk, Friday morning, according to officials and witnesses.

The Federated States of Micronesia government issued a flyer Friday, reporting a missing man, but it is unclear if that person was a passenger on the flight.

Airport officials saw the Air Niugini plane ended up in the lagoon around 9:30 a.m., said Jimmy Emilio, Chuuk airport manager.

Passengers and crew were at the hospital undergoing checkups, Emilio said Friday morning. No deaths or serious injuries were immediately reported, Emilio said.

Eight people were hospitalized as of 4 p.m., according to Chuuk State Hospital Chief Nurse Irene Nero. Nero said all the patients are males and four of them will need to be evacuated because of head injuries, spinal cord injuries and hip fractures.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, there were no fatalities, Nero said.

Witness Matthew Colson, a missionary living in Chuuk who also runs a radio station, said people were being treated for injuries, some serious. There were reports of people with broken legs and at least one person with a broken arm Colson said after visiting the local hospital.

Plane sinks after all safe on shore

It was unclear what had caused the crash, Emilio said.

"Somebody has to look into that and let us know," Emilio said. "So far, we don't know why they went down."

Within an hour of the crash, the plane sank in the lagoon, but not before all aboard were safely on shore, Colson and other witnesses said.

Colson spoke to a passenger, Bill Jaynes, shortly after the crash.

Jaynes, managing editor of The Kaselehlie Press, a Pohnpei-based newspaper that covers the Federated States of Micronesia, was on the flight and told Colson he suffered minor injuries.

Some passengers suffered more severe injuries, he said on a video recorded by Colson.

'We came in low,' passenger says

Jaynes said he believed that the plane hit a retaining wall and bounced back, landing in the lagoon.

"It's just surreal. I thought we landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in, and I thought, well, this is not like the way it's supposed to happen," he said.

"We came in low, we came in very low. Unfortunately, the flight attendants panicked, and started yelling, and I was trying to be calm and help as best as I could," Jaynes said.

Jaynes said he was told the plane hit the end of the runway.

"That's the only scenario I can imagine. But we ended up back away from the end of the retaining wall," he said.

The plane was attempting to land on runway 4, the airport manager said. Instead, it crashed in the lagoon and ended up about 160 yards from the runway, Emilio said.

Colson said it was raining at the time of the crash.

“We’ll have to wait for the investigation to be completed, but they probably didn’t stop fast enough and landed over the edge and in the water,” Colson said.

Air Niugini released a statement on the crash and said the weather was poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of the incident. The incident happened at 10:10 a.m., according to the airline.

Victor Harold Wasson, a passenger on the flight, described the moments before the plane landed as chaos.

The flight attendants were panicking too, he said. “Instead of calmly telling passengers to (get into) a single file, their yelling made a lot of people panic, who started climbing over seats to get to the exit blocking some others in the process," Wasson said.

Wasson said he asked the flight attendants more than five times for a life jacket because he couldn’t find one under his seat or other seats in his aisle. “But they just ignored (me) as they were panicking themselves,” he said. “They screamed out, ‘Brace for impact,’ but we hit something before they could even complete their sentence properly.”

Wasson said he intends to file a claim with the airline for the items he lost on the sunken plane and give feedback to management about what he witnessed during the incident.

Wasson was heading to Fiji, transiting through Chuuk and Port Moresby, he said.

Wasson also said he plans on heading out on the flight that will be leaving Chuuk on Saturday.

Locals spring into action

The water was waist-deep inside the aircraft but passengers were able to get out, Jaynes said. Then, people in boats came to the rescue.

"I was really impressed with the locals who immediately started coming out in boats. One would think that they might be afraid to approach a plane that's just crashed," Jaynes said. "I was really impressed with the whole response. It's obvious the FAA training really paid off here."

Colson said many locals were gathered at a market near the airport. As soon as the plane hit the water, people sprung into action to help.

“They’re people that come here to go to work or go to the store or bring fish to the market to sell, and they just jumped in their boats and started helping,” Colson said.

Locals rushed out on fishing boats to shuttle people from the plane to shore, he said.

U.S. Navy Seabees in Chuuk for a construction project also helped transport people to shore, Colson added.

The U.S. Navy said sailors helped shuttle passengers and crew using an inflatable boat.

Local authorities then closed off the road as passengers got transported to the hospital, Colson said.

Colson, a Chuuk resident since 1997, and he doesn't know of any other instances in which a plane went off the the Weno runway and sunk.

'Plenty of boats' helped

Melba Aisek, general manager of the Truk Stop Hotel and lifelong Chuuk resident, said she didn’t see the crash itself, but saw the plane in the lagoon.

“We can see the plane from our dock. So, from the dock, I could see there were plenty of boats heading that way," Aisek said in an email. "We ourselves, Truk Stop, sent out our dive boat to assist, but returned as there was already a good crowd of people already helping transport folks to the (runway),” Aisek said.

“Very lucky that this happened during the day and (they) got good help from passersby.”

The Boeing 737 aircraft had been expected to land at 9:26 a.m., according to Jeff Pamittan, accountant for the Air Niuguini office in Chuuk.

The airline's flight schedule online states a Boeing 737 flight from Pohnpei was scheduled to arrive in Chuuk at 8:55 a.m., and was scheduled to leave Chuuk at 9:45 a.m. for Papua New Guinea.

"Air Niugini is now positioning assistance to Chuuk for our passengers and crew. We are also in touch with the embassies, passenger representatives, stakeholders and families of the crew. We thank everyone in Chuuk for the assistance provided today," the airline said in their statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the passengers, crew and their families at this time."

The airline scheduled a special flight to take airline management to Chuuk Saturday morning, according to a statement. A company doctor will be on that flight to assist with treatment of injured passengers.

Air Niugini is also arranging for hotel accommodations for 27 passengers and crew members and take passengers who wish to complete their trip to Port Moresby.

Conflicting passenger counts

Officials provided conflicting information on the number of people aboard the plane. Emilio, the Chuuk airport manager, said 36 passengers and 11 crew members were aboard.

Pamittan said the plane was carrying 35 passengers and 12 crew members.

The airline also said there were 35 passengers and 12 crew members.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, citing preliminary reports, said 46 people were onboard Air Nuigini Flight 37, including 11 crew members.

The airline started twice weekly air services between Port Moresby and the FSM in December 2016, according to its website.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Later reports say the missing man was a passenger.


Hero of the quaking control tower: How air traffic controller died while staying to guide packed jet off cracking tarmac as earthquake demolished terminal

By Miranda Aldersley

Daily Mail
September 29, 2018

A young air traffic controller who remained behind during an earthquake to make sure a plane carrying hundreds of passengers took off safely has been hailed a hero.

Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, was working at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport in Palu on the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday night, when a 6.1 magnitude tremor hit, followed by a 7.5-magnitude quake.

His actions unquestionably saved the lives of dozens, but at least 384 people have been killed in a resulting tsunami and another 500 injured after waves up to 18ft tall swept over Indonesia - with fears the death toll could rise into the thousands.

The tremors left deep fissures in the runway just as Batik Air flight 6321 was preparing to take off with hundreds of people on-board.

His colleagues ran for their lives when the control tower began to sway as the ground underneath it split.

Agung alone remained behind in the crumbling tower until he was certain he had done enough guide the pilots of the plane safely into the air.

His bravery could potentially have saved the lives of all the passengers and crew on board the plane, as the city was later devastated later by a tsunami caused by the earthquake.

The building began to shake soon after the plane departed and, fearing he would be trapped beneath the debris if the tower collapsed around him, Agung jumped from a fourth floor window.

He was rushed to hospital having suffered internal injuries and a broken leg.

A helicopter was called to take him to a different hospital for specialist care, and he was due to be picked up again from the airport on Saturday morning.

However, he died before the helicopter arrived.

AirNav Indonesia spokesman Yohannes Sirait said Agung's decision cost him his life, but he may have saved hundreds of others.

He was given a hero's send-off amid hundreds of tributes on Saturday as soldiers carried his body to be transported to the burial. He was just one month away from his 22nd birthday.

AirNav bosses also increased his rank by two levels in recognition of the sacrifice he made.


Texas executes man in the torture, drowning of ex-roommate

By Juan A. Lozano and Michael Graczyk

Associated Press
September 27, 2018

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas inmate who taunted a jury to sentence him to death was executed Wednesday evening for torturing and drowning an East Texas woman in his bathtub and then stuffing her body into a barrel.

Troy Clark was condemned for the May 1998 slaying of a former roommate, Christina Muse of Tyler. Authorities said that Clark, a drug dealer, had worried that Muse would snitch on him.

Clark chuckled as he addressed several friends watching through a window a few feet from him, telling them a number of times that he loved them and “it’s all good.”

“I’m not the one who killed Christina,” he said. “But, hey, whatever makes you happy.”

As the lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital was administered, Clark was laughing and remarked that the drug “burned going in.”

“I feel it,” he said. Then he grunted, gasped and began to snore. Seconds later, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 21 minutes later at 6:36 p.m.

Margaret Bouman, Muse’s aunt, said witnessing the execution was a tough experience but “kind of bittersweet.”

“I’m a Christian and the death penalty and accepting it was very, very difficult for me,” Bouman said. “But I also believe the law of the land is important.”

She also said that Clark’s attitude during the procedure was troubling.

The 51-year-old Clark became the 17th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the ninth given a lethal injection in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state. Clark is the first of two executions this week in Texas. Daniel Acker was scheduled to be executed Thursday for fatally running over his girlfriend.

At least eight other Texas inmates have planned execution dates in the coming months.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to recommend a commutation of Clark’s sentence.

After his conviction, Clark had argued his trial attorneys failed to present evidence of his childhood, marked by physical and emotional abuse, which might have convinced jurors to spare his life.

Appeals courts had previously ruled that because of the overwhelming case against Clark, it’s likely he still would have been sentenced to death even if the jury had heard evidence of his troubled childhood.

Prosecutors said Clark subdued Muse, 20, with a stun gun, bound her with duct tape and left her in a closet for several hours while he played video games and sold drugs to a customer.

Clark later moved Muse to a bathroom where he hit her with a board and threatened his girlfriend, Tory Bush, into helping him drown Muse in the tub. Muse’s body was then stuffed into a barrel with cement mix and lime before being dumped in a ravine.

Against the advice of his attorneys, Clark testified during his trial’s punishment phase, saying, “I really ain’t got no story to tell. It’s just I want the death penalty.”

Prosecutors also presented evidence Clark had committed two other murders, including one that occurred after Muse’s death but prior to his arrest. The Smith County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Clark, declined to comment.

Bobby Mims, one of Clark’s trial attorneys, said Clark denied killing Muse.

“But there was pretty strong evidence that he was guilty. Tory Bush was pretty damning,” Mims said. Bush, who testified against Clark, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Mims said he and his co-counsel were ineffective during the punishment phase in presenting evidence of Clark’s troubled childhood, which included having a mother who was incarcerated for most of his life and who introduced him to drugs.

Mims said when Clark’s case was tried in 2000, most defense attorneys didn’t focus on presenting mitigating evidence of a defendant’s problematic life as part of their efforts to prevent a death sentence.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had previously denied Clark’s appeals on this issue, saying in 2012 that Clark refused to let his trial attorneys contact family as well as others to testify on his behalf.

“At the punishment hearing, the prosecutors actually had one or two of (Clark’s) own relatives show up and they had indicated they wanted him to get the death penalty. It was crazy,” Mims said.

Mims said he doesn’t know if evidence of Clark’s troubled life would have made a difference with the jury.

“I hope he’s made peace with his maker,” Mims said.


When a jaywalker attacked a police officer with a knife, instead of referring to the attack, the news headline read that the cop shot a jaywalker

By Trey Rusk

Running Code 3
September 28, 2018

Newspaper editors used to have a saying, "If it bleeds it leads." Eye catching headlines sell news. I can't deny that fact.

Do deceiving headlines harm people? Yes. Let's take a police shooting headline for example. POLICE SHOOT AND KILL JAYWALKER . My goodness! This headline proclaims that a police officer shot and killed a citizen for simply crossing against the light. While the headline is semi-legitimate, it does not describe the incident accurately.

As we continue to read the story it turns out that while detaining a person for jaywalking, the detainee pulled a knife on the police officer and refused the officers' commands to drop the weapon.

Often times police detain people for citation offenses and during the stop the person winds up being wanted, on drugs, drunk or mentally ill. So instead of accepting the ticket, the detainee becomes violent and attempts to harm the officer.

Instead of the headline stating that the officer used deadly force for a legitimate reason, such as attempted capital murder, only the original misdemeanor crime is stated.

This is wrong. The editor of the news outlet knows it's wrong. They would rather slander a police officer's name for the sake of selling news than accurately depict in the headline what actually happened.

This is unfair to the reader and certainly maligns the officer who was in reality protecting himself or others.

My advice to police officers after a critical incident. Don't talk to the press. Period. The media cannot be trusted.

Print news in dying. Sensationalized headlines is just one of the reasons.

That's the way I see it.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


by Bob Walsh

The end of this month is the deadline for the governor to sign or not sign or veto legislation which landed on his desk. That leads at times to an interesting frenzy of something conflicting results.

Moonbeam AGAIN vetoed a bill that would have expanded the number of people who can go to a judge and say "I THINK THIS GUY IS CRAZY, TAKE HIS GUNS AWAY" and the judge must do so, pending a hearing. You lose the guns first, then you get the hearing. The proposed new list would have included practically anybody you were ever in the same room with, including pissed-off exes, the janitor at your work place and your dog groomer.

He approved a bill that outlaws "bump stocks." Now personally I don't give a rat's ass about bump stocks, but I am concerned about the slippery slope. California already outlaws scary looking guns, and guns of specific types that have never ever been used in a crime in California (.50 caliber rifles). Moonbeam also approved a standardization bill for CCW training. Right now there is no standardization and you can get a CCW in some counties with zero evidence that you are competent with the weapon and zero evidence that you have even minimal familiarity with the law on self-defense in the state. Now you need at least eight hours of training and some minimal practical qualification. The Second Amendment doesn't say jack about that, but I can live with it.

Brown also vetoed a bill by Bell Gardens psyco-Democrap Ricardo Lara that would have prohibited the civil arrest of a person inside a courthouse who had other legal business before the court. The bill was a bald-faced (and legally unworkable) attempt to prevent ICE from arresting illegal aliens in court houses. State legislation can NOT restrict federal law enforcement and if Lara had the IQ of a fresh dog turd he would know that. Or possibly he knows and is just grandstanding so he doesn't give a shit.


The release o Ford’s scarlet letter to the media had to have been done by Feinstein or one of her staff members

Dianne Feinstein vehemently denies that she or one of her staff members released Christine Ford’s scarlet letter to the media.

Feinstein kept Ford’s letter secret for two months before it popped up in the media just in time to fuck up Kavanaugh’s nomination process at the very last minute.

It has been suggested that one of Ford’s friends with whom she shared her story of being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, sent a copy of the letter to the media. At no time has Ford said she shared the letter with any of her friends or that she gave them a copy. She did say she gave the letter to California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo who passed it on to Feinstein.

Since the letter remained in Feinstein’s office for two months before it became public, it seems highly unlikely that it was released by Eshoo or one of her staff members.

So, it seems logical that the letter was released by either Feinstein herself or one of her staff members, with or without her permission. That makes Feinstein a bloody liar.

UPDATE: Ryan Grim of The Intercept was the reporter who broke the story of Ford’s letter. Grim said late Thursday that the letter was not leaked to him by Feinstein or anyone in her office.

OK, so Feinstein may not be a bloody liar, but she sure is a bloody saboteur. By keeping the scarlet letter secret until the last minute, she caused Kavanaugh to be barbequed by the Democrats at the circus of a hearing, thereby torpedoing his immediate confirmation.

There will now be an FBI investigation into the accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. The FBI has only one week to complete its investigation. The bureau has set up a special task force for the investigation. It will be a Herculean task to interview all the accusers and witnesses, and where that may lead them to, in such a short time span. It is possible that the FBI investigation may yet result in Kavenaugh’s nomination going down the tubes.


Two men tell Senate that they, not Kavanaugh, assaulted Ford

By Joe Tacopino

New York Post
September 27, 2018

Two men have come forward to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to claim that they are the ones who actually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford during a house party in 1982 — and not Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Republicans on the committee released a timeline of events late Wednesday, which included details about their interactions with the two men who admitted to the attacks.

On Monday, the timeline recounts GOP staff members interviewing “a man who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982.”

The “encounter” refers to an episode in which Ford claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in a bedroom at a Maryland house party.

They had a follow-up interview with that man, and he provided more detail about the assault.

Then on Wednesday, the committee staff said they spoke with a second man who said he assaulted Ford in 1982.

The committee did not release any more details about the men, or why both were coming forward with the claims.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Are these guys for real or are they just the usual kooks who, from time to time, crawl out of the woodworks to confess to a sensational crime?


Houston’s photo-op seeking Congresswoman was seen passing an envelope to Ford’s attorney

Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democratic congresswoman that many Houstonians are ashamed of, never misses a photo-op.

At the beginning of the TV broadcast of the Ford-Kavenaugh hearing, there was Sheila behind the chairs for the Senate Judiciary Committee members mingling with and shaking the hands of the Democratic members. I do not know why she was there other than because she knew her presence would be caught by the cameras.

I did not see it, but the cameras caught her slipping an envelope to Ford’s attorney Michael Bromwich which he placed inside his suit jacket.

When asked what was in the envelope, her office released the following statement: “Simply, what was passed were unopened stationery notes to counsel for Dr. Ford from women who wanted to enter the hearing room but were not allowed to enter the hearing room.”

Will someone please tell me which side – Ford or Kavanaugh – motormouth Sheila is on.


The day DC should have died of shame as it watched two broken souls be publicly tortured over their pasts in a viciously partisan bear-pit

By Piers Morgan

Daily Mail
September 27, 2018

These are the words I originally wrote after Christine Blasey Ford finished testifying to the US Senate today:

‘I believe her. It’s as simple as that. For four hours, I watched Christine Blasey Ford testify to the US Senate and I found her to be an extraordinarily powerful, compelling and credible witness with regard to the sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

I was not alone. Twitter blew up with people from all sides of the political and social spectrum saying THEY believed her too. TV news anchors from CNN to Fox queued up to say they found Ford extremely convincing. And thus I imagine the vast majority of the tens of millions of Americans watching agog from their homes believed her as well.

Because the bottom line is that she was cool, calm, collected, and utterly believable. Her tears, when they came, felt real. Her testimony felt real.

SHE felt real.

I stopped writing when Brett Kavanaugh walked in to begin his testimony, but this, I felt certain, would be the theme of this column.

There was nothing Kavanaugh could surely say or do that could possibly alter this impression?

I was wrong.

Kavanaugh’s performance was one of the most stunning, raw, breath-taking displays of raw, raging fury that I have ever seen on live television.

He was surging with passion and indignant anger, and emotion; SO much emotion.

He cried, he sighed, he sniffed, he snorted.

And he ranted.

This was a man right on the edge, exploding before our very eyes at what he perceived to be the horrific injustice of what has befallen him.

Kavanaugh’s not just any man.

He’s one of America’s most experienced, respected judges; so a man who until two weeks ago, was considered to be someone of total integrity, someone beyond reproach.

And by the time he’d finished, I believed him too.

His tears, when they came, felt real. His testimony felt real. HE felt real.

But they can’t both be telling the truth, can they?

The bottom line is I don’t now know whom to believe, and I defy anyone else to either.

Ford and Kavanaugh were both equally convincing.

They both came over as decent, civilised, eloquent people.

They both were inherently believable.

The facts of this case remain unsubstantiated, disputed and debatable.

It comes down to whom you believe most, and I just don’t know the answer to that question.

Who can say, honestly and with any certainty, where the truth lies?

I can’t, can you?

What I can say though is that this was one of the most disgusting, disgraceful things I have ever witnessed.

For these two previously unknown people to be dragged through such a revolting public court of gladiatorial barbarism for the delectation of a mass TV audience was painful, so painful I could barely watch at times.

Yet it was an absolutely inevitable consequence of the way Washington has spiralled in recent years into a vile cesspit of extreme partisan bullsh*t – fuelled by rampant, vicious social media.

Today was a dark, tragic day for America.

It was a day when the whole country, and indeed much of the rest of the world, tuned in to see two people tortured and humiliated.

I get that Supreme Court nominees have to be vigorously vetted, and have to be held to a different standard of behaviour to the rest of us.

Brett Kavanaugh could be sitting on that court for 30-40 years, making the most important decisions in American law that could have far-reaching effects on the lives of 320 million people.

He HAS to be a man of unimpeachable character.

So yes, he has to be investigated.

And it’s perfectly right and proper that if a woman like Christine Blasey Ford believes she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when she was just 15 years old, then her allegations should be thoroughly examined.

As should any other serious allegations.

But what we watched today was nothing short of a circus - a long, disturbing, wretched circus; a circus watched by a baying global mob, most of whom decided long before the hearings began whom they believed.

Kavanaugh looked unhinged today – perhaps too unhinged to ever sit on the Supreme Court - but if I’d been falsely accused of the stuff he’s been accused of in the past fortnight, I’d probably be pretty damn unhinged too.

He was fighting not just for a place on the Supreme Court, but for his reputation, his dignity, his family.

To see his loyal wife silently weeping throughout his testimony was agonising.

She knows that everything her husband has worked for in his entire life is now imperilled. Every security she took for granted about their family life is now threatened.

If Kavanaugh is guilty, then he deserves to be duly punished.

But what if he’s innocent?

What if Ms Ford, who was just a young teenage kid at the time, has got the wrong guy?

I don’t think she’s a liar, but maybe she made an honest mistake.

How do we know for sure?

How will we EVER know?

Where are the cold hard FACTS?

There aren’t any, there can’t possibly be any after 35 years.

What we’re left with is a stinking, horrible mess.

Many feel America has never felt so bitterly divided, and this ugly farce today will just pour fuel onto that blazing partisan fire.

I saw people on Twitter gleefully tearing both Ford and Kavanaugh to pieces all day long, all doing so from a politically partisan perspective.

If the situation was reversed, and Kavanaugh was a Democrat nominee, then all those screaming blue murder against him would be screaming in support of him, and all those currently supporting Ford would turn on her like two-faced rattlesnakes.

It’s not about any attempt at fair justice. It’s about politics.

The Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, timed this bombshell to cause maximum damage to the nomination process, and to exploit the inevitable scandalous headlines to influence the vital midterm elections in just 40 days time.

Feinstein knew about Ford’s allegation two months ago. The right thing to do would have been to publicly demand an immediate investigation – including, if necessary, by the FBI.

Instead, she held it back, waiting to strike when the potential political gain was at its most timely.

In doing so, she behaved in exactly the same reprehensibly partisan self-serving manner that Republicans have behaved over previous Democrat Supreme Court nominations.

But that makes her just as bad as them. Shame on Senator Feinstein, shame on the Democrats.

That such an important moment in American history should be reduced to this horrific bear-pit is as absurd as it’s unacceptable.

Every American who genuinely cares about their country should share my outrage about what they watched today.

At one stage, Kavanaugh was actually grilled about flatulence - in the United States Senate by a serving United States senator.

Think about that for a moment.

The whole thing was a complete and utter disgrace.

Or as Senator Lindsey Graham put it today: ‘The most despicable thing I have ever seen in politics.’


In UN speech, Abbas thanks 'martyrs, whom Israel calls terrorists'

By Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Israel Hayom
September 28, 2018

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel.

"I pay tribute to all peace-loving countries and peoples and our martyrs that Israel considers criminals ... and say to all Palestinians that we are soon approaching our day of freedom and independence and that the darkness of occupation will soon vanish," Abbas said in Arabic.

In his address, Abbas lashed out against Israel's recently approved nation-state law, which constitutionally defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

"Last July, Israel adopted a racist law that crossed every red line," Abbas said. "This law severs the link between the Palestinian people and their historic homeland, and dismisses their right to self-determination, their history and their heritage, as well as violating the U.N. resolutions relevant to the Palestine question and the agreements concluded with Israel."

"This law will inevitably lead to one racist state, an apartheid state, and nullify the two-state solution," he said.

Abbas went on to attack U.S. President Donald Trump for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, 2017, saying this clearly pro-Israel move underscores the United States' inability to function as an honest broker of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

He asked that Trump reverse the recent cuts to Palestinian aid, saying these moves had undermined any possible progress toward a two-state solution to the conflict.

"The U.S. cannot be a mediator on its own," Abbas said. "Any country can join the Quartet whether it is in Europe, the U.S., the Americas, Africa, even the Arab countries. Anyone can join the Quartet to act as mediators between us and the Israelis. But the U.S. on its own? No, because they are too biased in favor of Israel."

He also said that Israel was in violation of the bilateral agreements it has signed with Palestinians since the early 1990s. "There are agreements with Israel starting with the Oslo Accords … all of which have been abrogated by Israel and we call upon Israel to re-engage in these agreements. "

He warned that "either Israel abides by these agreements, or else we will renege on them and Israel will bear the responsibility and consequences of this."

In conclusion, he asked Palestinians "to stay patient and steadfast, and continue to sacrifice until we achieve independence and self-determination and establish a state with Jerusalem as its capital."

Abbas' speech drew condemnation from Hamas, the Palestinian faction that is the chief rival of Abbas' Fatah movement, with one Hamas official saying that he had "conceded that his policies have failed and he admits to have torpedoed the efforts to calm the situation in the Gaza Strip."

The official further added that "the Palestinian people are suffering because of his [Abbas'] mistakes."

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, also criticized Abbas' speech, saying: "Instead of accepting Israel's and the U.S.'s outstretched hand, the only thing that interests [him] is to settle scores and drive the region toward confrontation."

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ll bet that Abbas really misses the most anti-Israel president … Barack Obama


New California pot law aims to help people the War on Drugs hurt most

By Andrew Sheeler

The Sacramento Bee
September 27, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Thursday a bill hailed by supporters as a way to begin addressing the disproportionate effect the War on Drugs had on minority communities.

Senate Bill 1294, sponsored by Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, allows local jurisdictions in the state to apply to the Bureau of Cannabis Control for a grant to help minority cannabis entrepreneurs in various ways, such as waiving permitting or license fees and providing technical assistance.

The bill also allocates $10 million to provide that assistance.

The signing was hailed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council and the American Civil Liberties Union of California.

“When voters approved Proposition 64 (legalizing commercial cannabis sales), they wanted the new industry to be open and inclusive, accessible and representative,” UFCW Executive Director James Araby said in a statement.

Araby said the bill will provide aid to “individuals disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis.”

In a supporting statement, the ACLU of California said, “Ultimately, (this law) will reduce barriers to entry and ensure that all Californians have a fair chance at becoming successful in the rapidly growing cannabis marketplace.”

Friday, September 28, 2018


Both Kavanaugh and Ford sounded credible

After watching every minute of the Senate Judiciary Committee circus, I’ve come away with several observations.

To begin with, it was obvious to me that the Democrats were there to destroy Kavanaugh and the Republicans tried to defend him. Both Kavanaugh and Ford sounded credible in their opening statements. Ford said she was 100 percent certain that it was Kavanaugh who tried to rape her. Kavanaugh said he was not at the party Ford described and that he never assaulted her or anyone else. So it still comes down to she said he said … and who does each committee member want to believe.

Republican prosecutor Rachel Mitchell pitched softballs in her questioning of Ford. She elicited some minor contradictions, the most notable of which was Ford’s claim that she was reluctant to come to Washington because she feared flying. Ford admitted that in spite of her fear of flying, she had flown to many professional conferences, to visit her parents in Maryland once a year and to far-away vacation destinations.

Kavanaugh started off like a ball of fire, defiantly accusing the Democrats of waiting till the last minute to “destroy” his good name with “vicious and false additional accusations.” He said the Democrats have “replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.” He referred to the hearing as a “national disgrace” and a “circus.”

Kavenaugh’s opening statement was about 45 minutes long, a bit too long I thought. About two-thirds of the way through, he began to start hesitating between sentences, which in my opinion weakened his otherwise strong presentation.

Ford answered every question while Kavanaugh was often evasive in responding to the hostile questions thrown at him by the biased Democrats. Mitchell’s softball approach and Ford's defenders on the Democratic side made Ford look bright throughout. At times Kavanaugh looked like a deer staring at the headlights of a car.

Something that got my dander up was that twice Ford’s attorney Michael Bromwich interrupted Rachel Mitchell’s questioning of Ford by invoking the attorney-client privilege. Neither Mitchell nor committee chairman Senator Charles Grassley called him down on that. They and Bromwich must have slept though Law 101. The attorney-client privilege is incumbent only on the lawyer, not the client.

Asked about his drinking, Kavanaugh said “I liked beer. I still like beer. We drank beer.” You can bet that had he mentioned a brand, that would have been a TV commercial by the next day.

To me the highlight of the hearing came when Senator Lindsey Graham blasted the Democrats on the committee. Graham, who has often criticized President Trump and usually gets along well with the Democrats, called the hearing a sham. Here are some excerpts:

“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You said that. Not me. I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy, This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t do what you’ve done to this guy.”

“I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t do what you’ve done to this guy.”

Graham also warned Republican fence sitters that by voting against Kavanaugh, they would be “legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”

If Senator Jeff Flake agrees with Graham, the committee vote will be 11-10 to confirm the nomination. Now all the the Republican leadership will have to do is to persuade Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to join them in voting to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination when the full senate votes on it.


Will It Be Enough ?

by Bob Walsh

Judge Kavanaugh defended himself with vigor and with feelings. It was truly beautiful to behold, though in a way it was also disgusting, because it should not have been necessary. The real "audience" for this little kabuki theatre is a small number of weak sister Republican senators on the committee and in the senate in general.

Kavanaugh could survive a neutral or maybe even a negative vote from the committee as long as they do not lose more than one Republican senator when the floor vote takes place. We will see very soon just how many gutless puke bastards there are in the Republican party in the U.S. Senate.

EDITOR'S NOTE: And Lindsey Graham hit a ninth-inning, bases-loaded, grand slam home run!


by Bob Walsh

The legislature of the formerly great state of California actually passed a bill to the governor's desk that would have permitted non-citizens, including illegal aliens, to serve on various boards and commissions within the state.

Moonbeam actually vetoed the bill I guess he remembered to take his Lithium this morning.

Do you think that former Governor Gavin Newsom would have done that? Answer: HELL NO.


How routine calls can quickly turn dangerous for police

By Molly Sullivan

The Sacramento Bee
September 25, 2018

Deputy Mark Stasyuk, 27, died last week responding to a seemingly routine call at a Rancho Cordova auto parts store that quickly escalated to an “extensive firefight,” authorities said.

Officers in Rancho Cordova respond to an average of 115 calls for service per day, and they can turn dangerous in a moment’s notice – which means officers must remain vigilant, said Sgt. Shaun Hampton, spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

“It is a challenge to balance the friendly officer posture that you would like to give people with the fact that you have to pay attention all the time,” said Jim Bueerman, president of the Police Foundation, a national organization focused on police policies and research. “(Officers) have to pay attention all the time because you never know what’s going to happen, or if someone is going to attack you.”

Stasyuk and his partner, Julie Robertson, 28, were dispatched to a customer disturbance call at a Pep Boys store. It was the kind of call that former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness described as the “epitome of routine.”

However, within 10 seconds of walking in the door, the two deputies faced a gunfight with suspect Anton Lemon Moore, 38, that left Stasyuk fatally wounded and Robertson shot in the arm. Stasyuk barely had time to react as Moore rounded the checkout counter and opened fire. Hampton said the Sheriff’s Department had to review more video from the incident to know if Stasyuk had time to pull his weapon in response.

“There are times when we respond to those calls, a seemingly innocuous call, and … in seconds you can be fighting for your life,” Hampton said.

In a 2015 study of officer line-of-duty deaths, 18 percent of officers died responding to disturbance calls, which are typically deemed “non-violent, nuisance crimes,” the study said. Deaths while responding to disturbance calls are second only to domestic dispute calls, which account for 22 percent of officer deaths.

“You learn there is no such thing as a routine call,” said Tim Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association.

“You can train, and you can train, and you can train, and you can gain experience, but there’s nothing that is predictable in our line of work,” said Sgt. Vance Chandler, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.

To mitigate safety risks to officers, they are trained to not respond to a call alone because that puts them at greater risk if something goes wrong. The 2015 study found that “the large percentage of officers who were on scene of a disturbance call were alone when killed.” They were either dispatched to the scene alone, or didn’t wait for backup to arrive.

Another risk to officers, the study and law enforcement experts say, is that the information reported by 911 callers frequently gives an incomplete picture, or can be flat-out wrong, leading officers to think they’re responding to a non-urgent call for service that is in fact a highly dangerous situation.

“Depending on nature of call, sometimes they’ll go with their holster unsnapped, or their hand on the gun,” Bueerman said. “This is all part of officer safety, and you try not to offend people by doing it.”

Following the death of Stasyuk, whose funeral is scheduled Saturday, Sheriff’s Department authorities tell deputies to be vigilant for their own safety, Hampton said.

“Just be safe. That’s all you can tell them. Be safe. Be alert. You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings at all times, not that either of those officers weren’t. Their guard wasn’t down. They were being vigilant in their approach. They approached that building like they were taught. They did everything by the book. You can do things by the book and things can go bad really fast because we never know what that other person is thinking.”


How a Brooklyn Gang May Have Gotten Crazy Rich Dealing for El Chapo

by Francisco Alvarado

September 25, 2018

On March 15, 2016, Maurice Brown, an alleged member of the Brooklyn-based Bushwick Crew, posted a photo of himself on his Instagram account holding stacks of cash inside a strip club. He added a hashtag that read, “CHAPODABOSS,” apparently referring to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, the longtime leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel whose high-profile trial is set to begin this November in the very same borough Brown's crew was said (by police) to be based.

Brown's post was among 40 pages of exhibits federal prosecutors included in a superceding racketeering indictment against him and four other alleged members of Bushwick Crew earlier this month. The feds described the group as a violent street gang that flooded New York City with heroin and fentanyl and even executed rivals in cold blood during a roughly seven-year period ending in 2017.

While prosecutors and law enforcement have declined so far to identify Bushwick Crew's drug source, organized crime experts told VICE the gang appeared to have ties to Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel, which they said continued to operate a highly efficient drug network from Los Angeles to New York City despite their leader's incarceration. The case against the gang pointed to the power of internationally notorious drug cartels to ensnare relatively young people in brutality across the world even after key leaders were incarcerated.

“Based on US maps produced by the US Drug Enforcement Administration showing where Mexican cartels operate and the timeframe the Bushwick Crew was distributing heroin, it is most likely Sinaloa that supplied them,” Nathan Jones, a security studies and criminal justice professor at Sam Houston State University in Texas, told me. “If you look at the maps, these guys were based in New York and moved heroin from Los Angeles and Chicago. That is primetime Sinaloa Cartel territory.”

Earlier this month, the five alleged Bushwick Crew members were arrested and held without bond. They "engaged in a large-scale heroin distribution conspiracy with international Mexican cartel connections that trafficked hundreds of kilograms of heroin into New York City,” according to a detention memo by US Attorney Richard Donoghue. They joined several other alleged gang members who were arrested and federally charged last summer as part of a two-year investigation.

The memo claimed the five recently-indicted alleged Bushwick Crew members—Brown, Jaquan Cooper, Lance Goodwin, Tyquan Griem and Norman Marrero—effectively served as enforcers who escorted drug traffickers, forcibly collected drug debts, and committed acts of violence against anyone who interfered with their operations or offended them. Among their gruesome alleged crimes: The 2013 torture and murder of Gary Lopez and Rudy Superville, two men cops said tried to rob one of the Bushwick Crew’s main heroin distributors. (Griem was not implicated in those murders, but was accused of murdering another man named Kelvin Johnson.)

According to court documents, Brown, Cooper, and Griem pleaded not guilty. Goodwin and Marrero were arrested in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively, and ordered to be extradited back to Brooklyn. As of publication, they had not been arraigned nor entered formal pleas. Meanwhile, Steven Brounstein and Gary Cutler, attorneys for Brown and Cooper, declined comment. Griem's lawyer Samuel Gregory did not return a phone message and two emails seeking comment. Goodwin and Marrero were still waiting to have public defenders appointed to represent them in Brooklyn federal court.

Robert J. Bunker, an instructor with the University of Southern California’s Safe Communities Institute, specializes in transnational criminal organizations and global terrorist groups. He echoed Jones in his assessment of the Cartel most likely involved here. "The Los Angeles and Chicago distribution points are indeed linked to Sinaloa," he said in response to written questions. “Second, the crew distributed multi-kilo loads of heroin (and fentanyl) from January 2010—July 2017, which requires continuity of operations. Competing cartels to Sinaloa—such as the Beltran Leyva Organization and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel—have risen and fallen during that time span.”

Bunker argued Brown’s social media postings also offered anecdotal proof of the Bushwick-Sinaloa link. “Doing 'shout outs' to Chapo while working as a distributor for a competing cartel would both be ludicrous and a sign of disrespect that can easily get you killed in the drug-trafficking business,” he told me.

Sinaloa remained one of the most dominant drug-trafficking groups in the Western hemisphere in spite of infighting between factions and the arrest of other major leaders aside from El Chapo, according to a February Mexican cartel report by the global consulting firm Stratfor. “At the beginning of 2017, things did not look good for the Sinaloa cartel,” the report stated. “El Chapo's arrest and extradition left a vacuum in the Sinaloa cartel, which close associate Damaso Lopez Nunez (aka El Licenciado) tried to exploit to take control of the organization.”

However, the report went on to note that Lopez Nunez’s “insurrection (and organization) has been crushed and that it no longer poses a threat to the factions of the Sinaloa cartel headed by Ismael Zambada Garcia (aka El Mayo) and Guzman's sons, Alfredo Guzman Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Salazar.”

Jones said the Bushwick Crew reminded him of the US drug distribution network run by Pedro and Margarito Flores, who became star witnesses against El Chapo and other Sinaloa Cartel leaders in a major drug-trafficking case out of Chicago. Their cooperation helped lead to the arrest of more than 50 people, of whom approximately 40 had been convicted by March 2015, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"This Bushwick Crew is in the mold of the Flores group," Jones said. "They had engrained connections to the cartel and to local gang members, whom they used as enforcers. The only difference is the Flores were more low profile. This group seems a lot more flashy.”

According to the detention memo, Bushwick Crew members Luis Lopez and Peter Vasquez—who were charged last July—had direct contacts with a Mexican cartel and would routinely receive shipments of dozens of kilograms of heroin worth millions of dollars from other states. “The Crew’s stash houses contained as much as 40 kilograms of heroin during the first wave of arrests in July 2017,” the memo states. “The significant quantities of heroin would frequently require the transportation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, which lower-level members of the drug conspiracy were charged with carrying.”

The feds went on to claim law enforcement had seized nearly a million dollars of the crew’s drug proceeds, over ten kilograms of heroin, multiple kilograms of fentanyl, and an impressive fleet of exotic cars, including a Lamborghini Hurácan, Rolls Royce Ghost and a Mercedes CLS63.

Bunker suggested the Bushwick Crew compromised their operations by posting their lavish lifestyle on social media, increasingly drawing attention to themselves. “They essentially started to go Scarface with the bling, opulence, and parties, and thought they were untouchable,” he told me. “This is the last thing the Sinaloa Cartel would want in a major US plaza heroin distributor, as it is ultimately bad for business.”

Not that Sinaloa is in any kind of trouble here. In fact, Bunker theorized the Cartel had already found a new group to replace the Bushwick Crew supply chain, leaving local misery in the wake of their deadly profit-seeking machine.

"New distribution agreements with a more discrete and smarter criminal organization would have quickly been made,” he argued. “Lots of local gangs exist in that part of New York that would immediately jump at the opportunity of becoming Sinaloa’s new heroin distributors.”

Joseph L. Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant who is an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said Mexican cartels, especially Sinaloa, have made inroads into the Big Apple for decades. "The cartels like to compartmentalize," he told me. "They make deals with these street gangs all over. In Texas and Arizona, the cartels have even gotten involved with white supremacist groups."

Giacalone pointed to the bust of Francisco Quiroz-Zamora, a 41-year-old alleged trafficker who cops said stored more than 20 kilos of fentanyl in two hotels in the Bronx and Manhattan; enough to kill millions. The DEA seized the deadly opiates during a pair of raids in June and August 2017.

In a press statement at the time, New York's DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said the investigation into Quiroz-Zamora "provides the American public with an inside view of a day in the life of a Sinaloa Cartel drug trafficker."

"You don't have to go out on a limb to say the Sinaloa Cartel has its tentacles here in New York City," Giacalone told me.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


by Bob Walsh

The Mexican Marine Corps (possibly the only honest functional police force in Mexico) surrounded the police department building in Acapulco and arrested the ENTIRE police force of this once glamorous vacation city. Two police commanders were arrested specifically for murder.

State police, Federales and military police are taking over policing the city until other arrangements can be made.

Welcome to Mexico. INCOMING.


Mexico disarms entire Acapulco police force over link to drug gangs

Associated Press
September 26, 2018

MEXICO CITY — Authorities in southern Mexico disarmed and placed under investigation the entire police force in the once-glittering resort of Acapulco on Tuesday, claiming the local cops were infiltrated by drug gangs.

Officials in Guerrero state issued arrest warrants for two top Acapulco police commanders, accusing them of homicide. It was the latest fall from grace for Acapulco, which was a favorite haunt of movie stars in the 1960s but has since fallen victim to warring drug gangs.

The state government said it took the step “because of suspicion that the force had probably been infiltrated by criminal groups” and “the complete inaction of the municipal police in fighting the crime wave.”

The rest of the police officers were stripped of their guns, radios and bullet-proof vests and taken for background checks. Law enforcement duties in the seaside city of 800,000 will be taken over by soldiers, marines and state police.

The U.S. government repeated its travel alert advising U.S. citizens not to travel in Guerrero state due to the armed groups that are active in the region.

Last year, Acapulco had a homicide rate of 103 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in Mexico and the world.

Local police in several parts of Mexico have been disbanded because they were corrupted by drug cartels. In Guerrero alone, local police have been disarmed in more than a dozen towns and cities since 2014, though none as large as Acapulco.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, one of the hardest hit by drug violence, almost all local police forces state-wide have been disbanded since 2011.

With low pay and little training, local police in Mexico are easy prey for drug cartels, which offer them money if they agree to obey gang leaders, or threaten to kill them if they don’t.

In some cities in Guerrero and Veracruz, local police were under cartel control to such an extent they would kidnap people and turn them over to drug gang hit men for interrogation and death


by Bob Walsh

As I type this on Wednesday night DiFi has renewed her demand that the hearings into Judge Kavanaugh be postponed. Grassley is refusing (so far). I would be willing to make a modest bet that Professor Ford will be a no-show. If that in facts happens it moves the possibility that Kavanaugh will move from the committee with a positive endorsement from less-than 50% to more than 50%, IMHO.

By noon Pacific Time we will probably have a pretty good idea of what the hell is going on.


Regarding the sexual abuse of children by priests, Pope Francis says the Catholic Church should not be judged by modern standards

Pope Francis, returning from a 4-day trip to the Baltics, told reporters on his plane that the Church should not be judged by modern standards because attitudes towards sexual abuse have changed dramatically over the years. That clearly implies it used to be OK for priests to sexually abuse children.

Francis also said:

“In olden times, these things were covered up, they were even covered up in homes, when an uncle raped a niece, when a father raped his children. It was covered up because it was an enormous shame. That was the mentality in the last century. In more recent times the number went down because the Church realized that it had to fight in a different way, Look at the proportions (in Pennsylvania) and you will see that when the Church started becoming aware of this, it spared no effort. Priests are supposed to take children to God, not to destroy them. If just one priest abuses a child, it's monstrous.”

Monstrous indeed, but only today, not yesteryear.

The Pope’s Baltic tour came in the wake of a new report released in Germany on Tuesday showing that almost 3,700 German children, mostly boys, were sexually assaulted by Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014.

It has become crystal clear that countless children have been sexually abused by priests in every country where the Catholic church is present.

It seems to me that a new church policy of letting priests marry is way overdue. That would significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the sexual abuse of children by the priests. And when the Church receives a sexual abuse complaint, it must report the offense immediately to the police. That’s by any standard, not just today’s.

And if the Pope wants the Catholic Church to be judged kindly, he should start off by firing and excommunicating all the bishops who helped cover up these atrocious crimes. The cover up is almost always worse than the crime … and in sexual abuse cases it is!


Paxton takes a stand for Cy-Fair ISD in case of student who sat for Pledge of Allegiance

By Gabrielle Banks

Houston Chronicle
September 26, 2018

The state of Texas is taking a very public stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in a case involving a Katy student expelled after she sat during the daily ritual at her school.

The notice of intervention by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton comes on the brink of midterm elections amid heightened tensions over patriotism and civil rights.

“School children cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the pledge,” Paxton said in a news release. “The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents have a fundamental interest in guiding the education and upbringing of their children, which is a critical aspect of liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.”

He said the choice about individual students reciting the pledge falls to their parents or guardians.

Attorney Randall L.Kallinen, who represents the expelled student and her mother, said it’s rare for Paxton to weigh in on a civil rights case, and questioned Paxton’s rationale since the girl’s mother supports her decision to sit for the pledge.

“The reason he’s challenging this case is that it’s election time,” Kallinen said. “It’s an attempt to rally the troops.”

A lawyer for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD has declined to comment about the case while the litigation is pending.

The civil rights lawsuit is built around one of earliest civil rights rulings, the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which says that public school students have no obligation to salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the recent case, the family of India Landry, an African-American senior forced to leave Windfern High School, sued Cypress-Fairbanks ISD last fall over allegations that her expulsion was racially motivated and violated her constitutional rights.

Landry told reporters in July that her opposition to the pledge was political, inspired by NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to draw attention to a surge of police violence against African-Americans.

The lawsuit accuses the principal, vice principal, secretary and two teachers of violating Landry’s rights to free speech, equal protection and due process and of singling her out because she was black.

Teachers sent Landry to the office several times for sitting during the pledge. When Principal Martha Strother saw Landry sitting, she told her to stand. When Landry did not, Strother expelled her and ordered her to leave the premises or said she would summon police.

In July, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison held that Landry’s family had a legitimate claim that her equal protection rights were breached.

The attorney general’s filing praises the “time-honored tradition” of rising to honor the flag, citing a Supreme Court finding that government has a legitimate interest in preserving “the national flag as an unalloyed symbol of our country.”

“The United States flag represents the values of liberty and justice that form the foundation of this country and are defended by our armed forces,” according to Paxton’s court filing. “It is thus deserving of the highest levels of reverence and respect, which is expressed through every recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.”

The filing references a Texas law allowing parents to submit a letter stating that they do not want their child to stand for the pledge. Standing is not optional, however, for students whose parents have not filed the letter, according to the court papers.

Paxton’s brief says 26 other states have statutes enshrining the Pledge of Allegiance as a part of each school day and 16 other states allot time for students who wish to say the pledge.

Advocates for the rights of African-Americans say Paxton’s stance reinforces his lack of understanding of marginalized communities.

“His decision, as usual, is rooted in racism and a need to maintain some control of a person’s personal autonomy,” said Ashton Woods, lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Houston.

Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, said the right that allows students to stand for the pledge allows others to decline in protest.

“Once again, it appears that Ken Paxton is using his authority to foster division within our state through political posturing,” Segura said. “Schools are meant to be a marketplace of ideas where students do not shed their First Amendment rights.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course, India Landry has a right under the First Amendment to demonstrate her deplorable act, but the Cypress-Fairbanks school district also has a right to kick her black ass out of school. This should teach all students that free speech can have serious consequences.


Top official warns Iran 'there will be hell to pay' for defying US

Israel Hayom
September 26, 2018

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton delivered a harsh warning to Iran Tuesday, saying that the defiant regime in Iran must change its ways as the United States is "watching and we will come after you," adding that there will be "hell to pay" if Iran's aggression continues.

Bolton's saber-rattling remarks before the United Against Nuclear Iran annual summit came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the U.N. General Assembly and urged "all nations to isolate Iran's regime as long as its aggression continues."

Taking aim at the belligerent rhetoric used by Irans leaders, Bolton said, "According to the mullahs in Tehran, we are the 'Great Satan,' lord of the underworld, master of the raging inferno, so, I might imagine they would take me seriously when I assure them today: If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat, and deceive – yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.

"The United States is not naive. We will not be duped, cheated, or intimidated. The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over. The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today be clear: We are watching, and we will come after you," he stated.

Touching on the 2015 nuclear accord, from which Trump pulled out on May 8, Bolton said, "The Iran deal was the worst diplomatic debacle in American history. It did nothing to address the regime’s destabilizing activities or its ballistic missile development and proliferation. Worst of all, the deal failed in its fundamental objective: permanently denying Iran all paths to a nuclear bomb."

The statement echoed Trump's U.N. address, in which he stated that the U.S. "cannot allow the world's leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet's most dangerous weapons."

Bolton noted that "the ayatollahs have a choice to make. We have laid out a path toward a bright and prosperous future for all of Iran, one that is worthy of the Iranian people, who have long suffered under the regime’s tyrannical rule."

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Iran's oil industry and more severe U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic's banking and energy sectors are slated to go into effect in the first week of November.

"We expect purchasers of Iranian oil to reduce to their imports to zero by Nov. 4, or face the risk of sanctions," Bolton said. "After Nov. 5, President Trump intends to pursue additional sanctions "beyond those that existed prior to the Iranian nuclear deal," Bolton added, as he vowed a "maximum pressure" campaign against those who defy these sanctions.

He further dismissed an EU plan for a special payments plan to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iranian oil sales and pressed the SWIFT global payments messaging system to rethink dealing with Tehran.

"The European Union is strong on rhetoric and weak on the follow-through. We will be watching the development of this structure that doesn't exist yet and has no target date to be created. We do not intend to allow our sanctions to be evaded by Europe or anybody else."

The United States would be "aggressive and unwavering" in enforcing economic sanctions on Iran and it would not allow the European Union or anyone else to undermine them," Bolton said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke at the UANI and criticized world nations for "enabling" Iranian-sponsored terrorism by working with Iran to bypass U.S. sanctions.

"Just a few months ago, authorities across Europe arrested several Iranian operatives … as part of a plot to plant a bomb at a political rally in France," Pompeo said, before praising France for taking retaliatory economic action against Iran.

"Unfortunately, just last night, I was disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed to hear remaining parties in the [nuclear] deal announce they are setting up a special payment system to bypass U.S. sanctions," Pompeo said, according to Fox News.

"This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security."


Israel, and Trump's Vision for a Better World

By Tsvi Sadan

Israel Today
September 26, 2018

"I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship."

Trump is not my president. This is an important observation considering the gazillion non-Americans who think they have an obligation to hate him. That Trump is not my president frees me from feelings that do nothing but distort things. From the narrow Israeli viewpoint, we should be thankful for Trump's pro-Israel policy, and many indeed are thankful. More encouraging, Trump's UN speech last night shows that his pro-Israel policy isn't the result of early morning convulsions. His vision for a better world is the vision of his administration, the vision of those who voted him in, and it is this vision, not Trump's personality, that so angers his political rivals.

To Israeli ears, The New Yorker's scornful reporting of "the audible ripple of gasps and giggles" supposedly heard in the UN General Assembly during Trump's speech sounds too vindictive and harsh. The terms "patriotism," "homeland," "people," "sovereign and independent nations" guided by "ancient wisdom" do not sound at all offensive to most Israelis who, I suppose, would not mind seeing Israel restored to the kind of Liberal Conservatism that Trump is talking about.

America under Trump wants to restore the sovereignty of nations and pride in national culture and heritage. Instead of the uni-cultural world coerced upon us in the name of multiculturalism, America now encourages countries like Israel to freely pursue our own destiny. "The whole world is richer, humanity is better," said Trump, "because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, and each shining brightly in its part of the world."

Israel–harshly and unfairly criticized by the UN, EU and their innumerable NGO cohorts–should follow's Trump's lead, for it, too, must not surrender its "sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy." Freedom and democracy, the American leader correctly observes, should be allowed to be defended "against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination," which means, coercion of the masses into accepting ideologies that scorn and loath anything other than a multiculturalism run amok.

This vision, it is almost needless to say, suits Israel like a glove because, by definition, Israel must attribute its very existence to its uniqueness. It's no surprise, therefore, that of all nations, Israel is singled out as most problematic, which is why its very existence is continuously challenged, mostly by the same unelected powers exposed so effectively by President Trump.

Those who follow Israel closely know that its Jewish character and its sovereignty are being challenged on a daily basis. Internal and external forces do their utmost to frustrate the majority's desire to guard Israel's uniqueness. At times it seems as if our governments capitulate to these unelected, undemocratic forces seeking to turn Israel into just another "normal" country. Now, with America's backing, one could only hope that our leaders will know to seize the historical moment and further entrench both Israel's uniqueness and its sovereignty.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The UN General Assembly members who laughed at Trump are the one-worlders whose countries are suffering from the very problem our President was speaking against.


Trump says he'll reveal his Middle East peace plan 'two to three to four months' saying: 'It is a dream of mine to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term'

By Francesca Chambers

Daily Mail
September 26, 2018

President Trump says he'll release a Middle East peace plan by early next year.

Trump said Wednesday that his administration would have a deal outlining a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ready in 'two to three to four months.'

'We’re working along on that,' he said sitting across from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 'I really believe something will happen. It is a dream of mine to be able to get that done prior to the end of my first term.'

Trump's optimism that he'd be the one to end the decades-old conflict came days after the U.S. took a hardline approach to the Palestinian government, shutting down its mission in Washington until the PLO agrees to negotiate directly with the Israelis.

The State Department timed its announcement to Rosh Hashana, the official start of Jewish New Year. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the move that was designed to put pressure on the Palestinian Liberation Organization to reenter talks was 'consistent' with U.S. policy.

Palestinian officials indicated that the closure would only deter the peace process, however.

'This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people,' PLO official Saeb Erekat told the Associated Press.

Trump's relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv also inflamed tensions. The U.S. said it was necessary to follow through on the legally-mandated action that presidents have put off for years through the use of waviers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The best that Trump can hope for is a temporary two-state truce. Let’s not forget that Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have and continue to vow in Arabic that their real goal is to obliterate the Jewish state and to make the new one-state Judenrein.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


New accuser says Brett Kavanaugh was there when she was drugged and gang-raped at a high school party, and claims she saw him 'lined up' to 'take his turn' with drunk girls

Daily Mail
September 26, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh was dramatically accused Wednesday of drugging a high school girl and taking part in a gang rape.

Julie Swetnick, his new accuser, released a sworn statement through her attorney Michael Avenatti saying that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were there as she was abused by a 'train' of teenage boys. She said she was drugged 'using Quaaludes or something similar' which had been put in her drink.

Swetnick, who says she has worked for the State Department and other government agencies, accused Kavanaugh of being part of the group of boys abusing her.

“In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of those ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present,” she said in the statement. “During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me.”

The testimony is a fresh blow to Kavanaugh, already accused of two sexual assaults by named women.

Trump tore into Michael Avenatti. He mocked Avenatti as a 'total low-life!' and a 'third rate lawyer.’

‘Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,’ Trump said. ‘He is just looking for attention and doesn't want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!'

Kavanaugh denied the new bombshell charges. 'This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,' he said in a statement released by the White House. 'I don't know who this is and this never happened,' he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: True or not, this latest accusation looks like a mortal blow to the Kavanaugh nomination. Michael Avenatti is an outspoken Trump-hater, but he has a sworn statement from a woman claiming to have been gang-raped by or in the presence of Kavenough. Even if she is lying, look for some Republican senators to now vote against the confirmation.

In the beginning I said that something that may or not happened 36 years ago when Kavanaugh was a 17-year-old high school teenager should not prevent him from being seated on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, I can no longer say that.

If the accusations are true, there is a pattern of drunken behavior and sexual abuse by Kavanaugh. If the accusations are an untrue smear, they nevertheless leave a stain on Kavanaugh that brings into serious question his fitness to be a Justice of the Supreme Court.

I hope I’m wrong, but I believe the nomination will soon stop circling the drain … it will be down the drain.

UPDATE: From the Daily Mail.

Swetnick allegedly failed to pay over $100,000 in taxes and fees in Maryland and to the Internal Revenue Service since 2015.

Senate investigators questioned Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about two new claims of sexual misconduct, including one from an anonymous Colorado tipster who says Kavanaugh shoved an unnamed woman up against a wall 'aggressively and sexually' in 1998. They also asked him about a separate claim from another tipster that he and longtime friend Mark Judge sexually assaulted a woman on a boat near Newport, Rhode Island in 1985.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Both of these tips lack any sort of credibility. The first claim came in a letter anonymously written. The other claim came from an anonymous phone call.

Swetnick’s attorney Michael Avenatti has been demanding an FBI investigation. By all means let’s have one … an investigation of this bottom-feeding sleazeball of a lawyer!

It may be that the opponents of Kavanaugh have overplayed their hands and all this crap may yet play into Kavanaugh’s favor. I sure hope so.


Bill Cosby’s publicist says America’s Dad was the victim of “white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators.”

Holy shit, America’s Dad has been ordered to move out of his spacious mansion into the cramped Graybar Hotel. Bill Cosby has been sentenced to 3 to 10 years in a Pennsylvania prison. Cosby was found guilty in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand. He was also fined $25,000 plus the costs of prosecution.

Judge Steven O'Neill classified Cosby as a “sexually violent predator.” That requires lifetime registration, lifetime mandatory sex offender counseling with a treatment provider and notification to the community that a "sexually violent predator" lives in the area.

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s publicist was quick to play the race card. Wyatt told reporters outside the courthouse:

“I believe and think it is important to point out that this has been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.”

Wyatt went on to say America’s Dad was the victim of “white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators.”

Wyatt didn’t stop there. He went on to say: They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. Not saying Mr. Cosby's Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.”

So now we know it. Bill Cosby is the victim of racism. The same racism that has filled our Graybar Hotels with black men. Almost five dozen women, 58 to be exact, have accused Cosby of rape. Since almost all of these women are white, they lied in order to make money by accusing a black man of being a sexual predator. If only America’s Dad had been white!

From now on, American History teachers will have to teach their students that Cosby’s trial was the most racist and sexist in U.S. history.

What they should be teaching their students is that Bill Cosby was the most prolific celebrity rapist in U.S. history.


by Bob Walsh

Yesterday Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years as a guest of the people of Pennsylvania. He also must pay a $25k fine plus the state's costs for prosecution, which will be considerable. He was denied bail pending appeal and taken directly into custody. I doubt they will have a 81-year old blind man mopping floors or stamping out license plates, but it will still be remarkable unpleasant.

His PR guy is maintaining that the tape was altered and they have forensic evidence to prove it. He is also attacking the shrinks involved, asserting that they are all white women who make a living of accusing black men of sexual attacks on white women. He flat-out accused the judge of colluding with racists and sexists to sink Cosby.

Assuming the verdict sticks and Cosby makes it out of prison he will have to register as a sex offender and attend monthly counseling for the rest of his life.


The Republican fence sitters in the Senate are Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake. Look for at least one of them to vote against confirming the Kavanaugh nomination.

Murkowski and Collins are concerned about women’s issues. Flake, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, just plain does not like President Trump.

If Flake votes against the nomination that will mean there will be an 11-10 Judiciary Committee vote against the confirmation because it is a sure bet that all 10 Democrats will oppose Kavanaugh.

If that happens, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised Kavanaugh will nevertheless get an up-or-down vote by the Senate. But with only a razor-thin Republican majority in the Senate, Kavanaugh cannot afford to lose a single Republican vote.


Ted Cruz and his wife are hounded out of DC restaurant by angry anti-Kavanaugh mob shouting 'we believe survivors'

By Sara Malm

Daily Mail
September 25, 2018

An angry mob of protesters hounded Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi in an upscale Washington DC restaurant on Monday night, demanding to know his position on Brett Kavanagh and later threatening him: 'You are not safe'.

The group, which was made up of activists from Smash Racism DC and a handful of other left wing organizations, ambushed Cruz and his wife at Fiola, an Italian restaurant near the White House.

They proudly shared videos of their stunt on Twitter afterwards and threatened Cruz, the president and 'any the rest of the racist, sexist, transphobic, and homophobic right-wing scum' by saying ominously: 'You are not safe. We will find you.

'We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.'

At the start of two videos uploaded by Smash Racism DC on Monday after the stunt, Cruz and his wife are seen making their way to their table as the protesters chanted: 'We believe survivors! We believe survivors!'

Smash Racism DC would not answer questions about how its members knew where Cruz would be on Monday night when contacted by

A spokesman said the organization was 'gathering' media requests and would respond at a later date.

Heidi stared at them incredulously then made her way to her seat. The senator told one of the women: 'God bless you ma'am,' then took his seat next to his wife.

They were seated for only a few seconds while helpless waiters and restaurant managers tried to control the group before the couple got up to leave.

As they left, a woman in the group shouted: 'I deserve to know your position on Brett Kavanagh Senator.'

She earlier described herself as a 'constituent' and taunted the Cruz's by saying: 'I know you're good friends with Kavanaugh.'

As footage of the incident spread online, the group tweeted that they had decided to 'interrupt.'

'No—you can’t eat in peace—your politics are an attack on all of us You’re votes are a death wish. Your votes are hate crimes.

'Tonight Senator Ted Cruz arrived at Fiola, an upscale restaurant mere steps from the White House, to enjoy a hearty Italian dinner.

'He could have dined on a lavish four course meal for only $145 while millions of Americans struggle to buy groceries. He might have sampled from the top shelf wine list as migrant children languish in cages.

'He’d have laughed with his wife while women and members of the LGBTQ community collectively gasp in horror as Senator Cruz pushes forward on Bret Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination. At least he could have had activists not interrupted his evening just as he was being seated.

'Instead, activists from Smash Racism DC, Resist This, DC IWW, members of DC Democratic Socialists of America, Anarchists, women, sexual assault survivors, and members of the LGBTQ community interrupted Ted Cruz’s peaceful meal.'

They went on to say that their interruption 'does not compare in scale to the interruptions his actions as a Senator have had on millions of American lives.'

'We hope that it reminds Cruz and others like him that they are not safe from the people they have hurt.

'This is a message to Ted Cruz, Bret Kavanaugh, Donald Trump and the rest of the racist, sexist, transphobic, and homophobic right-wing scum: You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you.

'We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.

'Sincerely, Some Anti Fascist Hooligans. We demand a world free of sexual violence, and state violence. We want a world without prisons, borders, or capitalism,' they said.

They signed off by posting the phone number of right-wing activist Gavin McInnes.

Smash Racism is part of a coalition of 'anti-fascist' groups known as Shut It Down DC.

In August, they organized a counter-protest called No Unite the Right 2 to fight against the right-wing event, Unite the Right, but it was shut down by Facebook when they recognized fake profiles - similar to those operated by Russian trolls - were involved in its online promotion.

Washington's Metropolitan Police told that it received a call to Fiola on Monday night at 9.42pm. It was categorized as a disorderly person's report.

It is unclear if this was in relation to the protesters and it is not yet known if anyone was arrested.


Teacher says she was fired after refusing to abide by 'no zero' policy

By: Kelly Healey

September 25, 2018

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A South Florida teacher said she was fired after she refused to give a student a 50 percent grade on homework that was not turned in.

Port St. Lucie teacher Diane Tirado said students should not get credit for work that was never handed in, according to CNN.

Tirado said she strives to provide motivation and inspiration to her students. Tirado has been a teacher for years, but she started at West Gate K-8 School in August as an eighth-grade history teacher.

"Teaching is a calling for me," she said.

Tirado said she assigned an explorer notebook project that she gave the students two weeks to complete.

When several students did not turn in their assignments, Tirado said she found out about a “no zeros” policy, in which the lowest possible grade allowed to be given is 50 percent. She said the policy is in the student and parent handbook.

Tirado said she asked administrators, “What if they don't turn it in?”

She said the reply she received was, “We'll give them a 50.”

Tirado was terminated Sept. 14, but there’s no cause mentioned in the letter from the principal, since she was still in her probationary period.

On her last day of school, Tirado wrote a message on a whiteboard that read, “Bye, kids. Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in.”

Tirado sent a picture of the message through a class app and her students responded.

“You were right about not giving people 50s, because why would you give them half credit for doing nothing?” one student wrote.

Tirado posted the same whiteboard photo on Facebook Sept. 15.

“I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real,” she said.

Tirado hopes her actions will motivate policy change.

“A grade in Miss Tirado's class is earned," she said.

“There is no district or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in,” Kerry Padrick, West Gate chief information officer, said in a statement. “The district's uniform grading system utilizes letter grades a-f, numerical grades 100 to zero and grade point averages from four to zero.”

Tirado said she was told never to give a student a zero.

“The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous,” Tirado said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “Teaching should not be this hard. Teachers teach content, children do the assignments to the best of their ability and teachers grade that work based on a grading scale that has been around a very long time. Teachers also provide numerous attempts to get the work collected so they can give a child a grade. By nature, most teachers are loving souls who want to see students succeed. We do above and beyond actual teaching to give them the support they need. Are we perfect? NO. We make mistakes like all other human beings, but I know teachers work their butts off to help children to be the best people they can be!!!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of the reasons kids graduate from high school barely able to read or write and unable to do simple math.

A “no zero” policy is absurd. An absurd policy aside, the teacher should have received some punishment for deliberately violating that policy. But fire her? Fuck no!


5 Creative Ways Drug Traffickers Evade Authorities

By Felipe Puerta

InSight Crime
September 18, 2018

Changing dynamics in the criminal world, new government control strategies and fast technological advances are forcing organized crime groups to update their drug trafficking techniques.

Below, InSight Crime details five of the most inventive strategies adopted by Latin American criminal groups in an attempt to outwit authorities.

1. Narco-Ambulances

Criminal groups in several countries in the region have used ambulances to transport cocaine and marijuana, taking advantage of the low probability that authorities will detain emergency vehicles, even in border areas.

In Argentina, for example, the Gendarmerie stopped an ambulance in April and found 400 kilograms of marijuana in a hidden compartment in the vehicle. The suspects went so far as to have a false patient with them as well.

Months later, authorities broke up an international operation that allegedly smuggled up to four shipments of marijuana per month into Argentina from Paraguay, one of the region’s most prolific producers of the drug.

But Argentina is not alone. In Colombia’s La Guajira department bordering Venezuela, authorities recently uncovered a smuggling ring that also used ambulances. It had allegedly been charging $500 per kilogram of cocaine for its members to transport the drug, which would then be shipped from the Caribbean coast.

2. The ‘Ant Plan’ in Buses

Often used to refer to smuggling methods involving breaking shipments up into very small batches, when the so-called “ant plan” is used to transport drugs, it traditionally depends on drug “mules” traveling by air. However, tighter security at airports has increasingly forced the practice into land transportation, where controls tend to be more relaxed.

In August, a fatal bus accident near Quito, Ecuador, left 24 people dead and 22 injured. But the tragic deaths were not the only reason the event grabbed headlines. Authorities investigating the crash found more than 637 kilograms of marijuana hidden in the bus.

A few months later, a joint effort by Colombian, Peruvian and Chilean security forces dismantled a group known as the “Beetles” (Los Escarabajos) that allegedly recruited cyclists to transport marijuana out of Colombia. The trip took over 20 days, and the group compensated each cyclist with approximately $1,200.

The cyclists who were apprehended traveled through more heavily monitored areas to avoid arousing the suspicion of security forces.

The group also transported the drugs by bus.

There are clear similarities between the cases involving the Beetles and the narco-bus, such as the routes they used and how the recruiters paid their respective drug mules’ lodging, food and travel expenses. But authorities are still working to determine whether those allegedly involved belong to the same criminal structure.

3. Camouflaging in Legal Shipments

From tropical flowers and fruits like pineapples, bananas and mangosteen to Virgin Mary sculptures and World Cup replicas, criminal groups still follow the age-old method of using international trade to disguise their illegal shipments. At ports scattered across Latin America, drug traffickers hide their products inside items set to be exported in shipping containers.

As InSight Crime has reported, informality, corruption and a lack of controls in many of these ports — maritime, air and land — are attracting drug trafficking groups to use them as platforms for selling their product in lucrative international markets.

Moreover, the inability of authorities to inspect shipments — especially at sea ports, which move a lot of international trade — means that they inspect a minuscule number of containers destined for Europe or the United States.

4. Chemical Masking

Using chemical processes to change the appearance of cocaine has been one of the cartels’ most commonly used techniques for trafficking the drug since the days of Pablo Escobar. And it remains both a go-to strategy for criminal organizations and a headache for authorities.

Nearly 40 years have passed since “acid” washed jeans were exported from Colombia to the United States with cocaine dissolved into the fabric to later be separated through a chemical process.

Now, criminal groups are using professional chemists to teach them new ways to temporarily mix cocaine and other drugs with oils, plastics, metals and — more recently — pet food, in order to transport them undetected.

5. Air Transport Alternatives

For at least the last decade, organized crime groups have sought alternatives to typical planes, helicopters and light aircraft because they have become more easily detectable for authorities and less profitable.

The increased use of drones combined with lagging legislation to regulate them in the region has been a boon to organized crime groups that traffic cocaine internationally. And authorities have been hitting roadblocks in curtailing their use.

A 2014 report from an interior source at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicated that over the past few years, it had registered hundreds of cocaine-laden Mexican drones crossing the US-Mexico border. The report warned that criminal groups had gone so far as to commission custom-made drones designed to carry more drugs.

Authorities seem unprepared to heed such warnings, however, and criminal structures still use the new strategy unhindered in order to move their product.

In 2016, Colombian police reported the country’s first case of a criminal group using a drone to transport drugs into Panama.

In 2017, US authorities arrested a man who attempted to move several kilograms of methamphetamine via drone from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, California. The man testified that he had made at least five trips with the drone in recent months.

With an abundance of new and increasingly sophisticated strategies, criminal groups seem likely to go on undermining authorities’ attempts to halt their illegal activities.

Although US President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is apparently intended to curb drug trafficking and illegal immigration, organized crime groups’ use of drones and other creative strategies to transport drugs will likely continue to call the effectiveness of such controversial proposals into question. Meanwhile, authorities remain caught up in a Sisyphean race against criminal groups in the so-called war on drugs.