Monday, December 31, 2018


The House Democrats are determined to scalp Trump and will investigate everything about him including how many times a day he takes a crap and how much toilet paper he uses

President Trump has rightfully complained that he has been constantly harassed since day one. But he ain’t seen nothing yet because 2019 will be far worse.

The Democrats, who will be in charge of the House, are determined to scalp Trump and will investigate everything about him including how many times a day he takes a crap and how much toilet paper he uses.

Well, they’re not going to look at Trump’s bowel movements but they are going to look into his alleged wrongdoing as president and at any collusion with the Russians by Donald Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner. But those hellbent House Democrats are not about to stop there … they are also going to subpoena his tax returns so they can investigate the Trump empire and charities as well.

Then there is the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which may wind up shortly. While Mueller may find that Trump was not personally involved in collusion with the Russians, the same might not apply to Donald Jr. and Kushner. And Mueller is still looking into obstruction of justice against Trump and Michael Cohen’s claim he was ordered by Trump to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels, a campaign finance felony.

You can expect Mueller to get Donald Jr. and Kushner indicted. There is even the possibility he will get Trump indicted over the Stormy affair.

If Donald Jr. and Kushner are indicted, there is a good possibility that Trump will cut a deal with Mueller that would call for his resignation from office in return for the dropping of all charges against his family. In announcing his resignation, Trump would say that as President he’s done the best he could for the country, but he would no longer put his family through the ordeal of this witch hunt.


The Idea That Made America’s Cities Safe

By William McGurn

The Wall Street Journal
December 29, 2018

HANOVER, N.H. -- When it comes to crime, America has undergone a political sea change. Last week President Trump signed the First Step Act, which passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and aims to relieve the problem of “overincarceration.” Many states—including right-leaning Georgia, Texas, South Dakota and Utah—have enacted criminal-justice reforms with the same goal.

What a difference 30 years makes. In 1988 George H.W. Bush, seeking the presidency against Gov. Michael Dukakis, made an issue of Massachusetts’ lenient prison-furlough program. Four years later Gov. Bill Clinton was so anxious to prove himself tough on crime that he left the campaign trial and returned to Arkansas to sign the death warrant for a murderer who had damaged his own brain in a pretrial suicide attempt.

Crime has since declined dramatically. The number of homicides nationwide peaked in 1991, at 24,703, and declined some 42% by 2014, to 14,249, even as the U.S. population increased by one-fourth.

Substantial credit for the decline goes to criminologist George L. Kelling, who along with the late political scientist James Q. Wilson came up with the idea of “broken windows.” It began in 1982 as a metaphor. A decade later, it became the operating philosophy of the New York City Police Department, where it helped transform America’s biggest city into one of its safest.

In an article for the Atlantic, Mr. Kelling and Wilson made the case for a form of community policing that emphasizes maintaining order in public spaces. “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired,” they wrote, “all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” Broken windows are “a signal that no one cares”—an emboldening message for those who would commit serious crimes.

“What Jim and I wanted to do was to empower residents to control their own public spaces,” Mr. Kelling tells me in his quiet living room. He and his wife—Catherine Coles, a lawyer, anthropologist and sometime professional collaborator—moved here years ago when she was teaching at Dartmouth, and liked it so much they stayed.

Mr. Kelling is 83, and Wilson died in 2012. Broken-windows policing is sure to outlive them both, but it remains controversial—even in New York, where its success made it famous.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in office since 2014, has sent mixed signals. On the one hand, he hired William Bratton as police commissioner. Mr. Bratton had implemented a broken-windows strategy during earlier stints as chief of the city’s Transit Police (1990-92) and the NYPD (1994-96). On the other hand, Mr. de Blasio’s New York has been gradually scaling back enforcement of quality-of-life offenses such as public drinking and urination, sleeping in the streets, and subway-fare evasion.

“I think it’s a high risk,” says Mr. Kelling, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “I can see why you might want to pull back on a few things. But to do so in such a public way, the danger is that people who see others behaving badly will copy it. That’s how the disorder spreads. You don’t know where the tipping point is.”

Mr. Kelling says one problem is that his critics often don’t understand what broken-windows policing is. Some complain that it makes criminals of young African-American men over minor infractions. Others conflate it with tactical approaches such as “zero tolerance” or “stop and frisk.”

“Broken Windows isn’t one-size-fits all, and it isn’t about increasing arrests,” Mr. Kelling says. “It’s about maintaining order and giving police more discretion.” It entails adapting to local conditions: What works in the South Bronx may not work in East Los Angeles—or even in East New York, a Brooklyn neighborhood. To figure out what works, beat cops constantly listen to citizens in the communities they police. “You can have a plan that is perfect in theory, mathematically sound and scientifically valid,” Mr. Kelling says, “yet it fails in practice because of one variable.”

The confusion of broken windows with excessive arrests especially rankles Mr. Kelling, who says avoiding an arrest is sometimes more effective. He offers this example: Officers come across two men fighting. The traditional response would be to haul them to the station and charge them. But a better alternative might be for the cops to break it up and tell the men to move on. The police need that kind of discretion, Mr. Kelling says, and neighborhoods need cops who have the local knowledge and professional training and judgment to exercise it.

The example illustrates another point: The ways in which police measure results don’t always make sense. The officers responding to the fight in the traditional way would get credit for two arrests. If they break it up informally, there’s nothing to count.

For men who transformed modern policing, neither Wilson nor Mr. Kelling came to the issue as a wannabe cop. Wilson was an established scholar. Mr. Kelling had worked as a probation officer and an administrator for residential programs for aggressive and disturbed youths, but he started in a Lutheran seminary. “I wasn’t a good seminarian,” he says with a smile, “but I still wanted to do good.”

Broken-windows theory began with work Mr. Kelling and Wilson had done, separately but on parallel tracks. In the early 1970s Mr. Kelling was part of a study in Kansas City, Mo., which found that patrolling neighborhoods in police cars wasn’t preventing crimes or making residents feel safer. In 1981, Mr. Kelling followed this up with a study of Newark, N.J., this time finding residents reporting greater satisfaction when officers patrolled on foot.

Meanwhile, Wilson in 1975 published “Thinking About Crime,” a book challenging the prevailing idea that dealing with “root causes,” such as poverty and racial bias, was a necessary prerequisite for reducing crime.

“This is a period,” Mr. Kelling notes, “when nothing seemed to work, and almost everyone had given up on the idea police could really do anything about crime.” Policing tended to be reactive: Officers would wait for a crime to happen, then try to catch the perpetrator. Broken-windows policing focused on preventing crime by maintaining public order, giving cops (and other authority figures) more discretion about how to go about it.

Mr. Kelling and Wilson based their ideas on conversations with residents of troubled neighborhoods. Somewhat to their surprise, they found the residents seldom listed violence as their worst problem. What they complained about most was everyday assaults on the civilized order: men urinating on their front porches, prostitutes soliciting on street corners, open-air drug dealing, vagrants sleeping in parks and transit stations, aggressive panhandling and so on.

Mr. Kelling found that law-abiding residents of troubled neighborhoods were anxious for a robust police presence and aggrieved at the incivility and indignity they had to endure. And why shouldn’t they be? If the idea of focusing on minor infractions to reduce serious crimes seems radical, consider that it’s what police in low-crime suburbs do more or less by default. When I mention my New Jersey hometown, Mr. Kelling dryly notes: “You don’t worry about people peeing on your front steps in Madison.”

In the 1980s and early ’90s, most of the police establishment wasn’t interested in what Mr. Kelling and Wilson were finding. But Bill Bratton was. The revolution in New York’s policing started with Mr. Bratton when he headed the Transit Police, then a separate force. New York’s subways were infamous for danger and chaos, with cars covered in graffiti and riders vulnerable to criminals. In 1974’s “Death Wish,” Charles Bronson portrayed a subway rider who shoots two men when they try to mug him. Ten years later, life imitated art when “subway vigilante” Bernhard Goetz shot and seriously wounded four teenage boys he believed were trying to rob him.

Mr. Bratton became chief in 1990 and hired Mr. Kelling as a consultant. Then as now, activists fought the police efforts—with cynicism and cruelty, as Mr. Kelling tells it. Homeless people, many of whom were mentally ill, were sleeping inside tunnels. Some died of hypothermia, burned to death while huddling near a hot plate for warmth, or were electrocuted by the third rail. Mr. Kelling and police tried to coax them onto buses, where they would be fed and taken to a shelter. Activists “were encouraging them not to come out,” Mr. Kelling says.

Soon Mr. Bratton’s policies paid off. Subway crime declined, riders felt safer, and the morale of the Transit Police improved. After a stint as Boston’s police commissioner, Mr. Bratton returned to New York to head the NYPD when Rudy Giuliani became mayor in 1994. That allowed him to take broken windows to a much larger stage—again including the subways when the Transit Police merged into the NYPD in 1995.

Mr. Bratton, again with Mr. Kelling as a consultant, introduced several innovations. One was Compstat, a computerized system to track crime that had begun with the Transit Police. The idea was to make policing smarter by deploying resources where the crimes were occurring—and hold local commanders responsible for their areas. Gradually Mr. Bratton reclaimed bus and train stations, parks and other above-ground public spaces that had succumbed to disorder. Violent crime declined even more steeply in New York than in the nation as a whole.

The trend continued under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, both of whom served from 2002-13. But by 2014, when Mr. Bratton returned to New York under the progressive Mr. de Blasio, the political winds had shifted and the police were on the defensive—in part because of highly publicized accusations of police brutality, and in part because crime seems less menacing when it is so much less prevalent. “I’m not for just locking them up,” Mr. Kelling says. “But you can’t look at the 1990s through the lens of 2018.”

History can, however, give us some perspective on the present. “I measure success by whether women feel safe walking a neighborhood’s streets, children are free to play in the park, and harmony has been restored to a neighborhood,” Mr. Kelling says. “And I see New York policing as being a singular paradigm shift, a once-in-a-generation event that, despite all the criticism, remains a powerful primary crime-prevention method.”

What about the First Step Act, which will mean shorter sentences and more job training for federal prisoners? “It has no relation to broken windows,” Mr. Kelling says. “No one is going to federal prison for a broken-windows misdemeanor.”


Triple-homicide suspect killed by officers ID'd as former Santa Barbara County deputy

By Jeremy Childs

Ventura County Star
December 30, 2018

A former Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy who until recently lived in Oxnard was fatally shot by officers after apparently stabbing and beating to death his mother, his sister and another resident of the Orcutt home he lived in.

David Gerald McNabb, 43, was shot Friday night at the home where he is believed to have killed his sister Nicole McNabb, 34; his mother, Melanie McNabb, 64; and Carlos Echavarria, 63. All four lived there, according to authorities.

Authorities were contacted at 8:05 p.m. on Friday by a resident of the home in the 5900 block of Oakhill Drive in south Orcutt, a community of about 65,000 people just south of Santa Maria.

She reported entering the home and finding a victim covered in blood in the bathtub. She fled in distress and contacted sheriff’s deputies.

Deputies arrived and determined the suspect was still inside. An alert was issued to neighbors advising them to stay in their homes, authorities said.

Deputies entered the residence, made contact with David McNabb and found he was armed with a rifle, according to deputies.

In an attempt to rescue the victims, additional deputies entered the residence and confronted the suspect. He was shot with less-lethal munitions, including a 40 mm impact weapon and a beanbag shotgun round, before deputies used deadly force, authorities said. He was then taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A full search of the residence revealed the three victims, all of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.

They had been stabbed and beaten to death, authorities said.

Investigations into the homicides and the shooting of the suspect are ongoing.

McNabb worked as a custody deputy for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office from July 2001 to March 2012, when he voluntarily resigned, authorities said. According to housing records, McNabb lived in Oxnard from January 2007 until the beginning of 2018.

In September 2012, McNabb was arrested by Oxnard police and booked into Ventura County jail on allegations of domestic violence. He was subsequently convicted of felony domestic violence and sentenced to jail in May 2014. He was later released from custody on probation in October 2016, according to court records.


British tourist, 35, filmed snorting cocaine off infamous drug baron Pablo Escobar’s GRAVE says the stunt has cost him his family and landed him with death threats

By Bryony Jewell

Daily Mail
December 30, 2018

A British tourist who was recorded snorting cocaine off Pablo Escobar's grave says the stunt's cost him his family and he's even received death threats.

Steven Semmens, 35, was filmed kneeling by and spilling white powder on the spot where the notorious cartel boss was buried in Itagui, Colombia, earlier this year.

The father, from Swansea, Wales, said he meant it as a 'mark of respect' but has now been kicked out of Colombia - where his girlfriend and twins live - for five years.

Mr Semmens told the Mirror: 'People sent me death threats on Facebook. They said if they found me they would skin me alive. I can’t see my children and that hurts.'

n the video, which went viral in April, Mr Semmens is seen smiling at the camera before tipping the contents of a bag of white powder on to the grave stone and rolling up a bank note.

He bends down to snort the substance and then looks up grinning to say 'I'm Gordon Ramsay mate' in an apparent reference to the chef's 2017 documentary about cocaine.

Now eight months on from the incident Mr Semmens has said he 'regrets what I did so much' and wants 'to apologise to the people of Colombia.'

He added: 'It was funny at the time but I'm ashamed. Everybody said I was a disgrace and I was making the country look bad.'

Mr Semmens, who plans to become a drugs counsellor, claims the video was filmed by a hitman for Escobar’s Medellin Cartel after they met in a bar.

He also said that after the video went viral he went into hiding and even shaved to change his appearance before police found him and gave him the five-year ban.

Drug baron Escobar was shot dead by police at the age of 44 in 1993, bringing an end to his ruthless control of the Medellin Cartel.

At one point he controlled more than 80 per cent of the cocaine shipped to the U.S.

This earned him the rank of one of Forbes Magazine's ten wealthiest people in the world with an estimated £18 billion fortune.

In recent years, there have been reports of guided cocaine tours in the area taking in the notorious criminal's grave.


Was Erdogan’s sole aim in calling to talk Mr. Trump into withdrawing US troops from Syria?

By Mike Evans

The Jerusalem Post
December 30, 2018

On December 19, President Donald Trump announced the decision to withdraw the 2,000 US troops still stationed in Syria. The world reacted with shock and awe! The president clarified that the battle against Islamic State is not over, but refused to elucidate on just what prompted the decision. The order came, presumably, after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to clean up pockets of ISIS elements in Syria.

Was Erdogan’s sole aim in calling to talk Mr. Trump into withdrawing US troops from Syria? Why should he be believed? The Turkish leader hates Israel and Saudi Arabia, supports the Muslim Brotherhood, and loves Iran.
A major concern for Israel has been the pockets of ISIS operatives spotted near the Syrian-Israel border. Israelis are deeply concerned that Erdogan, whose hatred of Israel is well-documented, cannot be trusted to defend Israel against an attack. This is the same leader who, while accusing Israel of war crimes, has been guilty of condoning the slaughter of women and children in Kurdish villages in Iraq and Turkey.

Some have speculated that US objectives with Erdogan have changed, and that Mr. Trump is rethinking his options in the region regarding Turkish intervention. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been avoiding direct criticism of Erdogan while trying to reveal to President Trump just how blatantly antisemitic the Turkish president really is.

Is Erdogan so removed from reality that he doesn’t understand ISIS has morphed from a localized terrorist threat into a global menace? Does he think that just by a bit of saber-rattling ISIS will retreat in sheer panic? Conversely, forestalling further Iranian incursion into Syria will not be prevented by 2,000 troops.

Erdogan has, of course, assured Trump that his troops would be able to clear any members of ISIS remaining in Syria as it did in 2016-2017. President Trump approved of the strategy, but the Turk’s scheme may go far beyond the terrorist group to the Kurdish militia, operating under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He has long-sought the decimation of any Kurdish forces, long-time US allies.

Following the phone call between the two leaders, Erdogan indicated that Turkey will postpone any attack against Kurds in Syria. Gloomy details have already surfaced following the phone call. Sources have reported a build-up of Erdogan’s troops along the border near Manbij, a town currently under the control of the Kurdish and American forces. Witnesses have stated that Turkish military equipment and troops have begun to cross into the area. The reason for the build-up is not at first obvious, except for Turkey’s angry accusations that the US has failed to fulfill its obligations to Erdogan.

Organizations such as World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse are preparing for as many as 100,000 Christians and one million Kurds who might be forced to flee their homes into northern Iraq ahead of a Turkish invasion. There are also reports that Iran and Erdogan may have reached some agreement to divide Syria and use the country as a staging area to move against Israel. Any religious freedom that had been gained under the Kurds would immediately be lost.

This move has also posed a problem for strong pro-Israel Evangelicals who have supported Mr. Trump. Should Israel be threatened, the president’s chances for reelection could be compromised.

Mike Evans, the author of 89 published books, serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


Despite 2 arrests, California’s sanctuary state law prohibited authorities from turning Sureños gang member Gustavo Perez Arriaga over to ICE for deportation back to Mexico

Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 32, crossed into Arizona from Mexico illegally a couple of years ago and became a member of the violent Sureños street gang in California. Arriaga shot dead a town of Newman police officer Wednesday morning during an attempted DUI traffic stop.

Despite 2 prior DUI arrests, authorities were prohibited by California’s sanctuary state law from turning Arriaga over to ICE for deportation back to Mexico. Had the thug been turned over to ICE, officer Ronil "Ron" Singh, who leaves behind his wife and 5-month-old son, would still be alive today.

How sad that a sanctuary state protected a cop killer. In addition to California’s sanctuary state, cities throughout the country have passed sanctuary ordinances. Are they also protecting cop killers? For sure, they are protecting illegal immigrant criminals.

We have a serious immigration problem because poverty-stricken people in other countries believe American streets are paved with gold.

The border wall President Trump wants is not in place. But the biggest immigration problem of all is not the absence of a wall or the lack of border security … it’s those sanctuary laws. They not only encourage illegal immigration, but they also prevent the criminal element among illegal immigrants from being deported back to the country they migrated from.


by Bob Walsh

This mess occurred in Columbia County, Florida just after Christmas. Three boys were in the house, an 11-year old and a 13-year old who lived there, and a 14-year old who was visiting. For reasons not quite clear the 11-year old retrieved a semi-automatic pistol from somewhere in the house, removed the magazine but not the round in the chamber, pointed it at the 14-year old and pulled the trigger. The pistol discharged. The 14-year old died.

The boys at first claimed the dead kid threatened them with a knife. They got a knife and placed it by the body in what they later admit was an attempt to avoid blame. It didn't work.

The 11-year old is now a guest of the county. The cops found two other handguns in the house. In Florida it is illegal to leave unsecured firearms where a child can access them. The parents may be charged. The 11-year old has not yet been charged.

This is a tragedy all around. Lock up your damn guns!


Four members of extremist Jewish sect are charged with kidnapping siblings, 12 and 14, in New York and taking them to Mexico

Associated Press
December 29, 2018

Four alleged leaders of an extremist Jewish sect have been arrested on charges of kidnapping two children in New York and the children have been found safe in Mexico, authorities said Friday.

The three plus a fourth man who was arrested earlier have been charged with abducting the victims - 14-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year-old brother Chaim Teller - on December 8 from their home in upstate New York and taking them out of the country.

'As alleged in the complaint, the defendants engaged in a terrifying kidnapping of two children in the middle of the night, taking the children across the border to Mexico,' U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.

'Thankfully, the kidnappers were no match for the perseverance of the FBI, the New York State Police and Mexican authorities, and the children were recovered this morning after a nearly three-week search,' Berman said.

Defendant Aron Rosner was arrested in New York City on Dec. 23, and Nachman Helbrans, Mayer Rosner and Jacob Rosner were arrested Thursday after they were deported from Mexico to New York. Their attorney did not return an email seeking comment.

Authorities say the men are leaders of Lev Tahor, an extremist Jewish sect based in Guatemala.

The FBI said in the court filings that the children's mother had been a 'voluntary member' of Lev Tahor but fled the group in recent weeks after its leadership became increasingly extreme. Her father, Shlomo Helbrans, founded the sect and, in 1994, was convicted of kidnapping a 13-year-old in New York. Shlomo Helbrans was later deported to Israel. He drowned in Mexico in 2017.

Defendant Nachman Helbrans is the brother of the kidnapped children's mother and had become
the new leader of the sect, the authorities said.

FBI Agent Jonathan Lane referred in the criminal complaint against the defendants to reports of Lev Tahor subjecting children to 'physical, sexual and emotional abuse.'

Berman said the kidnapping victims were found Friday morning in the Mexican town of Tenango del Aire and plans are underway to reunite them with their mother.


The country’s politicians have shown little will to make any police reforms as they benefit most from the status quo

by Parker Asmann

InSight Crime
December 27, 2018

Politicians and officials in Mexico have promised to reform the police for years, but the force continues to face the same struggles in curtailing the growing threat posed by organized crime groups.

Officers lack adequate training and support, receive dismal salaries, and must work long hours because of understaffing — all of which hampers their ability to fulfill their duties. At worst, these difficulties make officers highly susceptible to corruption and infiltration from organized crime groups.

The public has taken note. Out of all of Mexico’s security forces, citizens have the least confidence in the police. Just 6.1 percent of people have confidence in the federal police, while only 4.6 percent are confident in the municipal police, according to interviews with 1,200 citizens for an August 2018 survey conducted by the Social Studies and Public Opinion Center (Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública – CESOP) of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies.

Almost half of respondents said authorities were likely taking part in criminal activities, and over 27 percent felt that authorities were not adequately performing their duties overall.

The consequences of the ineffectiveness of Mexico’s police force are complex. In part, the country saw more homicides in 2017 than any other year on record, and 2018 is on pace to see violence reach new heights. The country’s criminal landscape has also grown increasingly fragmented — and more violent — due to the government’s controversial “kingpin strategy,” which consists of arresting or killing the leaders of criminal organizations.

Yet these high-profile arrests haven’t made the job any safer for police. One officer has been killed every day in 2018, almost half of which were municipal police, according to a study by the non-governmental organization Causa en Común.

InSight Crime Analysis

Police reform in Mexico is a monumental task that requires considerable institutional and political support, but the country’s politicians have shown little will to take action as they benefit most from the status quo.

“The police have often been and in some cases continue to be an arm of the ruling elite,” Eric Olson, a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, told InSight Crime. “This is particularly true at the state and municipal levels where the police are often still directed primarily by politicians and governors.”

Politicians, and in particular state governors, in Mexico have a long history of corruption and having links to organized crime groups in some of the country’s most embattled states, such as Veracruz along the Gulf coast and Tamaulipas along the US-Mexico border. These are also the places where police reform is needed most.

These links can “[in part] militate against any kind of police reform,” said Yanilda González, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago who has conducted research on policing across the United States and Latin America.

“Police reform in some ways makes politicians lose their ability to direct the police and police resources in a way that serves their own interests,” González said. “Politicians are unlikely to disturb this relationship by enacting reforms that would alienate the police.”

Olson agreed, saying that “politicians and policymakers often don’t want to reform or professionalize the police force, and therefore weaken it and keep it under their control.”

As a result, Mexico’s police officers have lost much of their legitimacy, especially in municipalities hit hard by the presence and activities of organized crime groups. Citizens often view their safety and destiny as being in the hands of violent criminals or well-armed self-defense groups that have formed to defend their communities, such as in the state of Michoacán. These self-defense groups, however, come with their own problems.

“When the state is absent or fails to exercise its legitimate authority, secondary impacts occur, such as criminal organizations replacing or substituting the state,” Olson said. “In these cases, it’s extraordinarily difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.”

From what we’ve seen so far from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration’s security policy, police reform in Mexico will have to wait.

López Obrador has, among other things, pledged to create a “new” national guard under military control and allocate more resources to the army and less to other security services. This will likely put off the reforms that Mexico’s police so desperately need while potentially preventing authorities from achieving any long-term reductions to crime and violence.


I told my new partner, “You listen to me, you worm. You wouldn't make a pimple on a police officer's ass.”

By Trey Rusk

Running Code 3
December 27, 2018

Many years ago I worked vice related crimes in Harris County. The shift was from 7pm to 3am. The dress was slacks, sports coat and a tie. The only alternative to the dress code was undercover assignments.

You reported to the office at 6:45pm and attended a briefing. Complaint cards were handed out for various offenses and you hit the street with your partner.

I heard him before I saw him. He was loud and annoying. He didn't dress well and had a know it all attitude. I heard that he had been a discipline transfer to the Houston District. After the briefing, the Sergeant called me into his office. He suggested that the new guy should be partnered with me so I could show him the ropes. I immediately made my feelings known. My Sergeant was an understanding man but it wasn't a democracy in our office.

I exited the office and shook the clammy hand of my new partner. I showed him the complaints and we went to the parking garage where he insisted on driving. We all drove dark blue Dodges but his was special. The floorboard was filled with trash and the interior smelled of spoiled milk.

Once rolling he started sucking snot and chewing on it until he would finally spit it out the window. The war stories of heroic deeds spilled from him as he tried to impress me. He wanted me to know that he was important. The truth was, he was a moron and we both knew it.

One of the first rules of business with partners is to always let your partner know what you're doing and to remain in sight of each other.

Our first stop was a black club with an outstanding complaint for selling to drunks. I didn't find any drunks. The juke box was loud and I asked the bartender/owner to turn it down or I would unplug it. She turned it down, but not before I thought I heard my partner address a patron as "Midnight" while telling him to get out of his way. Things went downhill from there.

My new partner then left my sight and went into the kitchen area and began searching everything while telling the 88 year old woman owner to stay back while he did his job.

Our agency could search almost anywhere on a licensed premises. One of our functions was to look for contraband in the form of unauthorized liquor on the premises. The possession of liquor by the licensee would be contraband on a beer only permit. If you found a match box of weed in a drawer then the search would be found inadmissible because a 1/2 pint of illicit liquor would not fit in a match box.

BINGO! My new partner found what he believed to be cocaine in a one inch square plastic bag along with a small amount of weed. He was jumping with joy and grabbed the old woman and put her in handcuffs and told her she was going to the penitentiary. He felt like superman! I interviewed her and found that she had a heart problem. I told him to cut her loose and file the charges with the DA's office through intake. My partner balked at turning an 88 year old criminal loose because we might never find her. I explained that the only thing this woman had was a shotgun shack Juke Joint and Café in 5th Ward, Texas. She had lived here all her life. The dope case was weak because of the number people who had access to the kitchen. Then I told him not to list me as a complaining witness because I don't file chicken shit cases!

We were outnumbered 20 to 1 and the jail would not accept her with a bum ticker. I took the handcuffs off of her and told him to gather his evidence so we could leave.

Near the end of the shift, I showed him how to process the evidence and to place it in a locker.

The next morning I received a call from the Lieutenant who wanted to know why a paper sack with drugs was left on his desk with my name on it.

I ran the entire clusterfuck down to the LT and went back to sleep.

That night I stepped off the elevator into the bull pen and my new partner hollered, "There's the guy that's afraid to arrest an old lady!" I pushed him away from me and told him, "You listen to me, you worm. You wouldn't make a pimple on a police officer's ass. There's not a person in this room that wants to work with you." The Sergeant stepped out of his office and looked around the room then walked back in his office.

That night I got my old partner back and I never saw that idiot again. I heard it was sort of a third strike for him. He was out!

Remember, Treat people the way you would want to be treated. This includes criminals and idiots.

That's the way I see it.

Saturday, December 29, 2018


More US Police Officers Die On Duty This Year Than Before

LAPPL News Watch
December 28, 2018

More police officers have died in the line of duty this year in the United States than in 2017, according to data released Thursday.

The most common cause of death was gunfire, and vehicular accidents claimed nearly as many officers' lives.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said in a report that 144 federal, state and local officers have died so far in 2018. That figure represents roughly a 12 percent increase from the 129 who died in 2017.

The majority of the officers who died were either shot — 52 this year, up from 46 in 2017 — or fatally injured in car or motorcycle crashes, which accounted for 50 deaths.

Other fatalities involved heart attacks, strokes, drownings and cancer and other illnesses among those who responded to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.


by Bob Walsh

The California Supreme Court has overruled three more of Governor Brown's acts of executive clemency. Of the ten acts by Brown, nine of those overruled were for murderers.

Adding to the previous list are Jameel Coles, 40, doing life for the last 20 years for murdering a man who gave him a ride. He has been working as a chaplain's clerk (big whoop) for the last six years. He has also picked up two AA degrees along the way. Coles became a guest of the state at age 19. Brown tried to pardon him without success.

The other two were commutations of sentence. One was Thomas Marston, 58, who has 34 years in on a life beef for two murders and Elaine Wong, 68, who is 38 years in on a life sentence for two murders.

Life is hard. It's harder if you are a vicious, dangerous criminal.


by Bob Walsh

Lauren McCluskey was a student at the University of Utah. Among other things the senior ran track. She briefly dated a man who turned out to be a paroled sex offender. She ditched him when she found out about that. He didn't like that. She reported her problems with him to the local cops. Repeatedly.

On October 22 she was shot to death by the man, Melvin Rowland, a 37-year old who had done ten years as a guest of the state. He lied about both his real name and real age when he met McCluskey. She dumped him on October 9 and almost immediately started receiving harassing text messages, some threatening blackmail.

She reported this to both the University Police and Salt Lake City P.D. The parole division did not know the University Police were concerned about him and they did not know that he was on parole. The University P D people were so lame they did not know how to check for criminal history or parole status.


by Bob Walsh

Singer Chris Brown got an unwelcome (by him) visit from the CA Fish and Wildlife division recently and a summons to appear in court on February 6 to answer charges of unregistered possession of a Capuchin Monkey. They are controlled in California, as are a great many things and you need a special permit to own and keep one. Right now I have no idea whether Brown knew this and just didn't care or honestly didn't know. Nor do I care. Not my monkey, not my circus.


by Bob Walsh

There is open speculation in the retail sector today (Friday as I write this) that Sears could be dead and getting ripe by close of business tomorrow. The chairman, Eddie Lmapert, tried to put together a $4.6 billion to buy the company thru a hedge fund but did not manage to pull it off.

I would personally hate to see the 132 year old American institution go away, but nothing lasts forever. Such is life.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert and his ESL Investments submitted a last-minute takeover bid of $4.4B for the ailing company but there is no certainty that the creditors will accept the offer.

Why would any sane investors try to bail out a company on life support? Putting $4.4B into Sears is like putting a band aid on a flesh-eating bacteria wound.


by Bob Walsh

Newman is a small town in the central valley just a short drive from where I live. Ronil Singh was a corporal on the P. D. in that small town of about 11,000 residents and 13 cops. Corporal Singh was a young man, 33-years old, married and a new father. He always wanted to be a cop and immigrated LEGALLY from Fiji to come here and follow his dream.

He was murdered on December 26 by a known illegal alien. They know who he is, but have not released his name to the public, though they have released a good quality photo. They believe the may still be in the general area. Half the cops in NorCal are looking for the guy. He is thought to be armed and dangerous. With luck he will resist arrest, unsuccessfully, and save the state the cost of a trial.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gustavo Perez Arriaga was captured Friday morning 200 miles away in Kern County. He had been attempting to flee to Mexico.

The suspect's brother and a co-worker were also arrested on "accessory after the fact" charges for attempting to protect Arriaga. Authorities say both men are also in the country illegally. Another brother of Arriaga and Arriaga's girlfriend were arrested on Friday for aiding Arriaga in evading authorities. Three additional people were also arrested in the South Valley for aiding and abetting Arriaga.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said Arriaga had several run-ins with police but couldn’t be reported to ICE on account of California’s sanctuary law.


Inglewood mayor defends destruction of more than 100 police shooting records as routine; activists don’t buy it

By Howard Blume

Los Angeles Times
December 23, 2018

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. on Sunday defended his city’s decision this month to allow the destruction of years of investigative records involving police shootings.

Many of those records would have become public for the first time under a new state law set to take effect Jan. 1, providing a window into a police department that for years was beset by allegations of excessive force, poor officer training and lack of transparency.

Butts, a former Santa Monica police chief, told The Times on Sunday that there is no connection between the new law and Inglewood’s action. The Times broke the story a day earlier on the council’s decision.

“This premise that there was an intent to beat the clock is ridiculous,” he said.

City officials, he added, would have nothing to fear from these records in terms of liability or embarrassment. A staff report indicates that the records go back as far as 1991.

“How would they be embarrassing to me?” said Butts, who became part of city government when he was elected mayor in 2011. “I wasn’t even here for those records. The records are what they are.”

The city’s decision attracted more than routine notice because of its timing and because it represented a change in city policy. Until this month, Inglewood required the Police Department to retain records on shootings involving officers for 25 years after the close of an investigation. Records of other internal investigations were to be kept six years.

Although these records were retained, they were not necessarily available to the public. That changes next week, because of Senate Bill 1421. The new law opens to the public internal investigations of shootings by officers and other major uses of force, along with confirmed cases of sexual assault by officers and lying while on duty.

Still, Butts maintained the city did nothing wrong.

“It’s actually quite routine for us to do records destruction,” he told ABC 7’s Eyewitness News. “The Finance Department, the Police Department and other entities — whenever they want to destroy records that exceed a time limit — they submit a staff report to the City Council and the City Council approves or disapproves the records destruction.”

But longtime community activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson and a group of local civil rights leaders are skeptical. In light of the new state law, he said, Inglewood’s action “continues a pattern of lack of accountability.”

For years, Hutchinson worked with the families of those killed in encounters with Inglewood police. He said a full disclosure under the new law could reveal new avenues of legal redress and also could provide families with important details about what happened to their loved ones. The documents also would allow the public to review how well the department handled internal investigations and how seriously the department has embraced reforms.

“This action sends a terrible message that lack of transparency is still the policy in Inglewood,” he said. Hutchinson called on city leaders to delay the destruction of documents.

The city staff report and the City Council’s resolution from its Dec. 11 meeting make no mention of the new police transparency law. The resolution says that the affected records are “obsolete, occupy valuable space, and are of no further use to the Police Department.”

Butts told The Times Sunday said that the city’s old retention policy dated from 2010 and, before then, there was no policy regarding records of closed cases.

A series of Inglewood police shootings around 2008 attracted heightened scrutiny from activists, media and federal investigators. The city’s policy on retaining records was adopted as city officials and the Police Department were trying to improve their practices and rebuild public confidence.

However, the 2010 policy eventually became an administrative burden, Butts said, because it applied to any discharge of a weapon, including cases when a dog charged an officer or when officers fired a weapon and no one was hit. The more serious cases no longer had any active threads, he said, because the related civil lawsuits had been settled and criminal investigations concluded.

But Marcus Benigno, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, called Inglewood’s actions an attempt to thwart “the will of Californians.”

In the past, California police have shredded records to avoid scrutiny. In the 1970s, the Los Angeles Police Department famously destroyed more than 4 tons of personnel records after defense attorneys began requesting them. The move resulted in the dismissal of more than a hundred criminal complaints.

In response, the Legislature demanded that records be preserved but then took other measures, supported by police unions, to ensure the public had little access to them. The new legislation begins to unwind those restrictions.

Butts called the current incarnation of his city’s police department a model agency, despite a 2016 incident in which Inglewood police opened fire on a couple found sleeping in a car, killing both. Butts noted that five officers involved in that shooting no longer work for the department and that a review of the officers’ actions, which could lead to prosecution, is ongoing.

State law requires holding onto police records for at least five years and Butts said it makes sense for Inglewood to align with that standard.

Butts said he does not know whether documents already have been destroyed. The Police Department could have acted anytime after the City Council’s decision earlier this month, he said.

He is not inclined to reconsider.

“Then how long do you keep these records?” he said. “Do you keep these records forever? You’re not going to do that.”


Family members diligently search for missing teen boys, Collin Romero, 15, and Ahmed Lateef, 14

By Megan Abundis

December 26, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Collin Romero and Ahmed Lateef went missing on December 16th and family members continue to search for the two teen boys all Christmas Day.

"It's just not right to celebrate Christmas with them out here," said Amanda Kimbrel, Collin's mother. "Christmas doesn't matter to me right now it's not on my priority list."

Police said that the two boys were involved in a drug deal that may have gone bad in northeast Albuquerque.

But their families are working to search every inch for them this Christmas holiday.

"I had so many plans for this Christmas,” Kimbrel said. "This was the first Christmas I could really afford to do a lot. I had the Christmas tree up and lights, my son always wanted me to do stuff like that but, money was always an issue. This is the first time it wasn't and he doesn't get to see any of it."

Police said the boys were last seen in a Snapchat video, bloodied and beaten on the West Mesa. Kimbrel hasn't seen it but has heard about the video.

"They were being beaten very, very brutally, pistol-whipped," she said. "Snapchat has this information and they are refusing to hand it over."

She said police have served a warrant to the social media company and is asking for young teens to give police information anonymously.

"We're really asking for the younger community to take this seriously," Kimbrel said. "We're concerned with their whereabouts, not who did this or why."

Kimbrel said she's not giving up hope that they are still alive.

"I just can't stop, I won't be able to live with myself," Kimbrel said. "I have to bring them home I have to have my son with me I want to return Ahmed to his mother Yazmin. If there are arroyos near your house or wash out things like that please just check."

As of Monday, police said there's no update. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward.


In de Blasio’s City Hall, no bad deed goes unrewarded

By Post Editorial Board

New York Post
December 26, 2018

It’s another case of failing upward at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s City Hall: A former top Correction Department official caught up in that agency’s scandal over the misuse of city cars just got himself a big promotion.

No doubt, it didn’t hurt that he’s also a donor to the mayor’s political campaigns.

As The Post’s Nolan Hicks reported Monday, Jeff Thamkittikasem was quietly — that is, without any public announcement — appointed head of the mayor’s Office of Operations, which oversees the city’s 311 system.

Thamkittikasem originally was chief of staff to Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte, who was forced to retire in disgrace in May 2017 after logging 18,500 miles on his city vehicle for trips to Maine.

Ponte was one of several top agency execs who misused their city vehicles — including Thamkittikasem, who admitted making 14 personal trips (including jaunts to Virginia and Washington) and was penalized $8,800 in fines and reimbursement.

Yet he was shifted to the mayor’s office as a “special assistant” and senior adviser to the first deputy mayor. And just weeks later, he got a $15,000 raise, on top of his $221,150 salary, plus the promotion.

City Hall defends the hiring, saying Thamkittikasem “has a proven track record fighting for social justice.” Then again, he also has a proven track record of opening his wallet for the mayor’s campaign, having donated a sweet $10,000 since 2013.

And as New York has come to learn so often, there’s no better way to earn Bill de Blasio’s undying loyalty, no matter how badly you mess up.

Also recall that Thamkittikasem isn’t the first Team de Blasio bad apple to be parachuted into a cushy new city job. Execs who were booted from the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and Department of Homeless Services were similarly soft-landed into comfy new city positions; the New York City Housing Authority’s general manager wound up as COO at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Failure, it seems, is no barrier to winning de Blasio’s love. Especially if you also steer money in his direction.


Trump wrong on size and timing of military pay increases

By Samantha Putterman

December 27, 2018

During a holiday visit to troops stationed in Iraq, President Donald Trump bragged that he had secured them not only their first pay raise in over a decade, but "one of the biggest" ever.

This is inaccurate and not the first time Trump has made false claims about annual military raises.

His full remarks:

" just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received ... You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.

"They had plenty of people that came up. They said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent. We could make it 4 percent.’ I said, ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.’ Because it’s been a long time. It’s been more than 10 years. It’s been more than 10 years."

We fact-checked a similar claim from Trump in May, when he told military mothers and spouses at a White House event that he signed a bill to give service members a raise for the "first time in 10 years." We rated it Pants on Fire.

In reality, service members have received pay raises every year for more than three decades. The 2019 military pay increase of 2.6 percent is the largest in nine years, but it is not the "more than 10 percent" that Trump mentioned.

The 2.6 percent increase military members will receive in 2019 is the biggest since 2010, but there have been increases every year since then, ranging from 1 percent to 2.4 percent.

We previously reported that the last time service members didn’t receive an annual pay increase was in 1983, but that was the year Congress began starting pay raises on Jan. 1 of the new year, rather than the first day of the government’s fiscal year in October. So service members received their pay at the start of the fiscal year a few months earlier, just not during the calendar year.

Beyond that, you have to go back to 1961 to find a calendar year without a military pay increase.

Trump’s remarks imply that the raise was more than "10 percent," but that's not right, either.

Military pay increases are determined by a statutory formula mandated by federal law – the raises must be equal to increases in the Employment Cost Index, or ECI.

According to an April 2017 report by the Congressional Research Service, "the president can specify an alternative pay adjustment that supersedes the automatic adjustment," and "Congress can pass legislation to specify the annual pay raise, which would supersede the automatic adjustment and/or any presidential adjustment if it were enacted."

In fact, while the 2.4 percent increase for 2018 was the largest in eight years, Trump actually requested 2.1 percent, "an amount below the automatic adjustment (of 2.4 percent) for 2018." Congress ultimately overrode the administration’s proposal.

For 2019, the CRS reported that Trump requested 2.6 percent, which is a raise equal to the ECI, and one that the president’s 2019 budget called "modest."

Our ruling

On his first trip to a war zone as president, Trump told service members that he got them "one of the largest" pay increases ever and said they hadn’t received a raise in over 10 years.

That’s wrong. Service members have received pay increases every year, as mandated by federal law, for over three decades and the 2019 increase is set at 2.6 percent.

Even if Trump meant that members hadn’t received that large of a raise in over a decade, that would also be false. The increase is exceeded by raises in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Talk about fake news. Where in the hell does Trump get the false information he spews out time after time? You can bet the next time he is questioned on this, he’ll insist he never said the troops would get a 10 percent raise.


DEA Warns of Deadly Cocaine Laced with Fentanyl Ahead of New Year’s Eve Celebration

By Myles Miller

NY 1
December 27, 2018

NEW YORK CITY -- It's the deadliest drug in America, shipped here from Mexico and China: Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

Ray Donovan is the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Office.

"Two milligrams is considered potentially lethal," Donovan says.

This year, his office seized a record 540 million one milligram dosage units, enough to kill the entire city.

Roughly $500 million worth of drugs stopped from hitting city streets.

"Which essentially means thousands and thousands of lives have been saved," Donovan says.

With tourists expected to flood the city for New Year’s Eve, the DEA fears many unsuspecting people may be at risk of coming in contact with the deadly drug.

"You have a lot of out of town people coming here to celebrate,” Donovan says. “It's an opportunity for a drug trafficker or a distributor to pass drugs along to these potential users. And they might think they're getting one particular drug, but in fact they're getting fentanyl."

Between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased about 113 percent per year, according to the CDC.

New York is a hub for fentanyl sales cross the northeast.

"We often see large shipments of heroin and fentanyl coming into the city and getting dispersed throughout the northeast as far up as Maine as far down as DC and West Virginia," Donovan says.

There have been several high profile deaths associated with the synthetic opioid—originally created to treat end-stage terminal cancer patients.

In 2016, Prince died after ingesting a fatal amount of fentanyl.

Recently, the toxic mixture of cocaine and fentanyl led to the death of popular rapper Mac Miller.

Most drug users think they are buying pure cocaine or pure heroin, but it couldn't be farther from the truth.

So why would drug dealers, whose number one goal is to make money want to sell a deadly cocktail that could kill their clients?

"It's about market competition,” Donovan says. “To make their narcotics stronger and to make is so that the user wants to come back. They get hooked faster."

And it shows: the most recent stats released by the state put opioid-related deaths up 60 percent from 2015 to 2017.

Nationally, nearly 60 percent of all overdoses were opioid-related.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the DEA is not bullshitting us by claiming to have seized enough fentanyl to kill the entire city of New York, then what are the opponents of the War on Drugs complaining about?

Friday, December 28, 2018


by Bob Walsh

Terry Yetman, 38, of Bossier City, was apparently a well respected police officer, until he was arrested by the State Police for participating in acts of bestiality and filming himself while doing so. He is facing 20 charges of performing sexual acts with an animal (I didn't even know that was illegal in Louisiana) and 20 counts of sexual abuse with an animal by filming the sexual acts.

Bail was seet at $350,000. The investigation has been ongoing since August and more charges may result.

Based on a tip, the state police Special Victims Unit got a device to search the officer's electronics.

Yetman has been with the Bossier City P D for four years and is currently on paid administrative leave pending conclusion of the investigation.

He should have moved to CA if he ever got the chance. Fucking animals is not illegal here. Really.

EDITOR'S NOTE: What is the legal age for fucking animals in California?


by Bob Walsh

Mark Icker, 29, of Dickson City, PA is in very deep trouble. He is being held pending a $1 MILLION bail for allegedly coercing two women into giving him blow jobs to avoid traffic citations.

At the time of his arrest he worked for the Ashley P.D. but had apparently worked for two different PDs previously.

The two crimes both occurred early in December, about one week apart.

Icker's lawyer is asserting the bail is excessive. He might be right, but the judge was apparently REALLY angry. Can't say as I blame him.


They're YOUR people! Trump insists Schumer and Pelosi MUST fund his wall to end partial shutdown because most out-of-work government employees are Democrats

Daily Mail
December 27, 2018

Donald Trump fired a new shot across Democrats' bow on Thursday, claiming that they should feel motivated to end a six-day-old partial government shutdown because most of the out-of-work federal employees are part of their political base.

'Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?' the president tweeted.

It's unclear what percentage of furloughed federal workers are registered Democrats. But a late 2016 analysis of political donations among self-identified federal government employees, conducted by The Hill, showed that about 95 per cent of their presidential capaign contributions went to Hillary Clinton.


The Trumps arrive back in Washington after making a SECOND stop to visit U.S. troops in Germany on way back from a surprise trip to Iraq where Trump told cheering soldiers: 'We're no longer the world's suckers'

Daily Mail
December 27, 2018

President Trump and Melania made their second unannounced visit to U.S. troops abroad around 8pm ET as they visited troops on the German base of Ramstein. The First Couple were on their way back from an army base in Iraq when they stopped to refuel and meet service members carrying MAGA hats who had waited up until 4am local time.

It came hours after Trump 's first visit to a war zone with his three-hour trip to the Al Asad airbase, west of Baghdad. The president delivered a speech to the rank and file, took selfies with the troops and met with military leaders. He did not meet with the country's Prime Minister but spoke to him over the phone.

Speaking to troops, he defended his decision to withdraw from Syria: 'We've knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly,' he said. 'We're no longer the suckers, folks,' the president said of the decision to start packing up. 'We're respected again as a nation.'

President Trump said he does not plan to withdraw troops from Iraq, however, and could use the site as the home base for future operations in the region. 'The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world,' he added. 'It’s not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States.'

After arriving back at the White House, top left, the President tweeted: ‘Just returned from visiting our troops in Iraq and Germany. One thing is certain, we have incredible people representing our Country - people that know how to win!’


The alarming lesson behind that video of vagrants attacking a cop

By Post Editorial Board

New York Post
December 26, 2018

New Yorkers just got a valuable lesson on why their streets and subways have become so chaotic — and may grow worse.

Asked why Manhattan DA Cy Vance initially declined to prosecute five drunken vagrants who attacked a cop, a spokesman gave two troubling excuses:

__ The DA hadn’t seen an online video of the attack and didn’t know about it.

__The men were arrested only for sleeping in the subway, and the city no longer enforces its ban on that.

Where to start? Officer Syed Ali was responding to complaints that the group had been menacing subway riders. He asked them to stop, but the video shows the group coming at him — and he swings a baton to hold them at bay.

Miraculously, Ali held his own and did so without seriously harming any of them. Kudos to him for his stellar handling of the situation.

But surely the men’s behavior needs to be prosecuted. As City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Donovan Richards (D-Queens) said, “These [suspects] should have been arrested and charged with something higher” than sleeping in the subway.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Patrick Lynch was even more blunt: “Had it gone the other way, we might have had a seriously injured or dead police officer.”

Vance flack Danny Frost told The Post that prosecutors didn’t know the men “were suspected of anything other than sleeping on the subway” when they appeared in court Monday. His office is now seeking charges against them. Two were arrested Wednesday.

Yet Vance already made it clear he’s going easy on “low-level” crimes, like fare-beating. And charges against the vagrants come only after a firestorm of criticism for their earlier release.

Then there’s the second excuse — that the city no longer enforces its ban on sleeping in the subway. Fact is, it’s been flashing green lights to homeless folks who take up residence not just in the subway, but throughout the city, for most of Mayor de Blasio’s time in office.

After the video went viral, former police commissioner (and transit police top cop) Bill Bratton tweeted a useful warning: The “situation is a reminder to New Yorkers & their political leaders that NYC’s decline in the 70s & 80s began in the subways. The quality-of-life declines & warning signs are all there for it to happen once again.”

No, cops don’t need a zero-tolerance policy for low-level crime. But de Blasio, Vance and others are letting the pendulum swing too far.

New Yorkers can hope Bratton has it wrong, but his own sterling record on fighting crime suggests otherwise.


'That bomb was a work of art': Pablo Escobar's top hitman tells how he blew up an airliner killing 110 people after duping young man into detonating bomb on board

By Chris Dyer

Daily Mail
December 27, 2018

A hitman for Pablo Escobar has told how he was part of a plot to assassinate a Colombian presidential candidate by blowing up a plane and killing 110 people in 1989.

Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, nicknamed 'Popeye' due to his time in the navy, previously confessed to murdering 300 people and ordering hits on another 3,000 targets during his time as the drug lord's top enforced in the 1980s.

After serving 22 years in prison he was released in 2014 and then re-arrested this year as part of an investigation into extortion.

During the 56-year-old's time as Escobar's top sicario, or hitman, Velasquez was part of the operation to assassinate presidential candidate, Cesar Gaviria, over his support for extraditing Colombian cartel members to the U.S. to face prosecution.

In November of 1989, the cartel blew up an Avianca airlines plane in mid-air travelling from Bogota to Cali, killing all 107 people on board and three more victims on the ground by falling debris.

Gaviria was supposed to be on the flight but after his chief of security raised concerns about him travelling, the politician was stopped from boarding.

As president Gaviria became a thorn in the cartel's side, allowing the U.S to extradite drug traffickers and clamping down on Escobar's operation.

For decades low-ranking sicario, Dandenys Munoz Mosquera, known as 'The Fat Girl', was sentenced to multiple life sentences for the bombing, until Velasquez's testimony to the Colombian District Attorney led to Mosquera being exonerated.

Velasquez has now told how the cartel's plan to smuggle the device in a briefcase using an unsuspecting young man who thought he was merely recording some DEA agent's conversations on board.

As he opened the briefcase the bomb detonated, which Velasquez described as a 'work of art'.

Cartel member Carlos Urquijo, lnown as 'El Arete' or The Earring, worked with Carlos Castano Gil and the bomb was set by their explosives expert, Cuco Zabala, according to Velasquez.

He told the Daily Beast from inside prison: 'That briefcase was a work of art. Castano deceived a young man and told him that he should open his briefcase in the air when the plane took off and began to climb.

'He told him that the briefcase held a tape recorder and that when he opened it the device would be activated to grab the conversations of certain passengers.

'That there were some Americans aboard, and the mafia needed to know about an extradition case they were carrying out.

'The dupe had already held a briefcase with a complex recorder in his hands and saw how it worked.

'Castano had already given him several examples, to deceive him more easily. When the briefcase opened in the air, the bomb was activated.

Velasquez also described how the cartel used bomb-making experts from Britain, Israel and Spain as well as paramilitaries to instruct their hitmen.

He told the Daily Beast: 'Cuco, an electronics engineer, had learned that trick from an explosives designer of the [Basque separatists] ETA.

'Carlos knew I’d bought the ticket for the duped young man and got him just the right seat.

'We were all aware that if the bomb exploded in the wrong place it wouldn’t ignite the plane’s fuel tanks, and the captain could save the plane.

'So we created a domino effect with the fuel stored in the wings of the plane, the dynamite in the briefcase and the pressurisation of the aircraft - a lethal composition

'The plane was totally destroyed, but the candidate lived. Maybe his guardian angel saved him that night.'

Colombian police re-arrested Velasquez as part of an investigation into extortion in July.

The chief prosecutor's office said Velasquez was arrested in Medellin after he was paroled in 2014 after spending 22 years in jail for plotting the assassination of the former Colombian presidential candidate.

While working for the Medellin Cartel, Velazquez, by his own confession, killed over 300 people with his own hands, and helped to plan the murders of some 3,000 more, including the woman he loved who was also seeing Escobar.

While he has since said he regrets killing so many people, he has always stayed very loyal to Escobar, the drug kingpin who died in 1993.

As he was getting out of prison he told El Tiempo that 'If Pablo Escobar were to be reborn I'd go with him without thinking.'

Since his release from prison, Popeye has gained notoriety as a YouTube star who espouses conservative political views and hate-filled diatribes against leftist rebels and Venezuela's socialist government.

He has criticised Colombia's leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, warning that his 'rifle will speak for me.'

In his channel description he writes: 'I started this channel in order to tell the day to day process of reintegration into society.

'I have had the opportunity to be born again after 23 years and three months of the worst punishment a human being can afford.'

Velasquez previously told the New York Times that he wasn't cashing in on his notoriety and said: 'It’s not about monetizing my life story but about telling the stories, the things that happened

'I’ve been famous for 30 years. I only want to have an opinion because I am an activist.

'I am against the Venezuelan and Colombian government. I am against Donald Trump because of his hatred of Latinos. I just want my opinion heard.'

Velasquez was given his 30-year sentence in a maximum security jail in Bogota for plotting the murder of a former presidential candidate.

The slaying of the cartel-fighting politician Luis Carlos Galan during the 1990 presidential campaign he was heavily favoured to win marked the apex of drug violence that engulfed Colombia two decades ago.

In a bid to fight extradition to the United States, Escobar ordered scores of assassinations - of judges, cabinet ministers and journalists.

The cartel waged a bombing campaign across Bogota, Medellin and Cali, with many of the explosive devices planted by Velasquez.

Escobar downed the Avianca commercial jetliner in 1989 because he believed Galan's political heir, then President Cesar Gaviria, was aboard as part of this escalation of violence.


ANALYSIS: New Situation in Syria is Bad for Israel

By Yochanan Visser

Israel Today
December 27, 2018

A week after US President Donald Trump dropped a bombshell by announcing he would pull out all American troops from Syria it is slowly becoming clear that he endangered Israel by making this decision.

At the beginning of this week, media reported the Russian army had begun to build a base near Al-Tanf the only American base in eastern Syria.

US Special Forces are in Al-Tanf to prevent Iran from completing its land bridge from the Iraqi border in the Nineveh province in northeast Iraq and to train local Arab militias who were supposed to confront Iranian-backed Shiite militias in both Syria and Iraq.

Russia earlier made Israeli actions against the Iranian axis in Syria more difficult by stationing Russian troops on bases controlled by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and by allowing Hezbollah to fly Russian flags on its bases in the embattled country.

The Israeli air force, nevertheless, struck Iran-related targets in Syria again on Tuesday evening by using Lebanese airspace to bomb weapon depots belonging to Hezbollah in the vicinity of Damascus while Newsweek claimed a high-level Hezbollah delegation was the target.

The Iranian outlet Mehr News later published a video showing that Israel’s actions in Syria have indeed become more difficult since the pro-Assad coalition changed the rules of the game at the beginning of December.

The video showed how Syrian surface to air missiles targeted the incoming Israeli projectiles while the video also recorded a direct hit and a huge explosion on the ground.

The new weapons bound for Hezbollah were delivered by two Iranian civilian cargo planes belonging to Mahan, a company controlled by officers of the IRGC, and Fars Air Qeshm.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later announced it had been forced to activate its air defenses to shoot down an incoming Syrian missile while the Israeli military later decided to close the airspace above the Golan Heights.

On Wednesday the Russian ministry of defense criticized Israel for “directly endangering” the two Iranian planes and claimed Syrian air defenses had destroyed between 14 and 16 Israeli missiles which were launched by six IAF F-16 warplanes.

Relations between Israel and Russia have been strained after the Russians blamed the3 IAF for the downing of a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance airplane which was shot down by the Syrian military at the end of September.

Another problem with Trump’s decision is that he effectively encouraged Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stage another invasion in Syria and by doing so he strengthened the anti-Israel axis in the Middle East.

Erdogan says that Turkey will take over America’s role in the battle against ISIS which Trump incorrectly said has been “defeated”.

In reality, however, the Turkish leader will use the opportunity to achieve two old goals.

First, he will try to destroy the Kurdish autonomy drive in Syria where the Kurds have established Rojava, the two autonomic cantons which straddle the 500 kilometer-long border with Turkey.

Erdogan’s second goal is to embolden the Sunni Islamists in Syria which were on the verge of defeat and have been cornered in the Idlib province in northern Syria.

The hotheaded Turkish leader has turned Turkey into a Muslim Brotherhood bastion and dreams of the resurrection of the Ottoman Empire which included until the beginning of the last century the territory of what is now Israel.

For this reason, Erdogan is also meddling in internal Israeli affairs and is increasingly succeeding in influencing Israeli and Palestinian Arabs.

In East Jerusalem, for example, Erdogan is financing projects which aim to radicalize the Arab population and turn the Arab neighborhoods into Islamist hotbeds from where the Jewish quarters will be attacked.

Although Israel and Turkey have restored diplomatic relations after the botched IDF raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which in May 2010 violently attempted to break the legal Israeli sea blockade of Hamas in Gaza, Erdogan behaves like an arch enemy of the Jewish state.

Just last weekend, de Turkish dictator reaffirmed his support for the Palestinian Arabs and claimed“Jews in Israel kick men, but also women and children when they’re on the ground” while he also promised a renewed Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu immediately shot back and fired off a Tweet stating: Erdogan—the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey—should not preach to Israel.”

During a meeting with Christian IDF soldiers on Sunday Netanyahu was even blunter when he called Erdogan an “anti-Semitic dictator” who is trolling him every day.

While stating that the Turkish leader is “obsessed with Israel” he accused Erdogan of massacring the Kurds in the Middle East but also signaled an improvement in the behavior of the Turkish dictator.

“There has been an improvement. Erdogan used to attack me every two hours and now it is every six hours," Netanyahu cynically said.

Under Erdogan Turkey has also become a member of the pro-Iranian axis which is increasingly becoming an existential threat to Israel.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey each have their own agenda in Syria but the fact that they have become allies and now don’t have to take in account the presence of the US army anymore is bad news for the Jewish state.

Trump Says Israel Can Take Care of Itself

Israel Today
December 27, 2018

Brushing off criticism that his sudden withdrawal of American forces from Syria had further endangered Israel, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that the Jewish state was perfectly capable of defending itself.

"We give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they’re doing very well defending themselves, if you take a look," Trump said during a surprise visit to Iraq, where he intends to keep US troops deployed for the foreseeable future.

Similar remarks from previous US presidents might've been greater cause for concern. American leaders have often touted both Israel's right and ability to defend itself, while in practice they harshly criticized Jerusalem almost every time it used strong military force to do just that.

By now, most Israelis are aware that Trump is different in this regard, and very unlikely to react negatively to Israeli military action against the nation's enemies.

Even so, the removal of American forces from Syria does indeed provide hostile Iranian and Turkish forces with an opportunity to establish stronger footholds in the war-torn country. And, while Israel might be capable of countering these threats militarily without any objection from Washington, the rest of the international community won't be so understanding.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Ankle monitors and monthly office visits cannot be used as substitutes for the actual supervision of parolees

By Howie Katz

Big Jolly Times
December 26, 2018

On December 18, Click2Houston did a story on five parolees in Houston who committed murders after cutting off their ankle monitors. The story quite simply shows how badly the Texas parole system is broken.

When parole authorities depend on ankle monitors and monthly office visits for the supervision of parolees, in effect the parolees are not being supervised at all. The only thing an office visit will tell a parole officer is that his parolee is still around. And the only thing an ankle monitor will reveal is the parolee’s location. He could be burglarizing, robbing and murdering people while wearing his ankle monitor and the parole authorities wouldn’t know what he was up to.

Obviously, when a parolee tampers with his ankle monitor the authorities can surmise he’s up to no good. But what is he doing and catching him is something else.

The five murdering parolees so angered Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo that he publicly vowed that his police officers would go after parole violators. But that should be the job of parole officers.

Parole officers were obviously asleep on the job in the Brandon Ledford case. Ledford, 20, who was doing time in prison for a parole violation, was released on October 9 to another parole. He should never have been released in the first place because there was a Galveston murder warrant outstanding for him. Ledford was wanted for shooting an unarmed security guard at the San Luis Resort in April 2017. The parole authorities should have called the cops immediately when he appeared at their office upon his release as required by his parole. Instead, this murderer floated around on unsupervised parole for about 10 weeks before he was caught by Rosenberg cops on December 13 when he showed up at the parole office for his monthly visit.

The Texas parole system requires a complete overhaul.

First and foremost, the primary responsibility of parole officers is to protect society from parolees like the five murderers who cut off their ankle monitors. They are also responsible for helping parolees to successfully complete their parole.

There was a time not all that long ago when the sheriffs of rural Texas counties also served officially as parole officers. But parole officers must at times wear the hat of a social worker and those sheriffs were not prepared or willing to do that. A parole system requires the services of parole officers who can perform both social work and law enforcement duties while supervising inmates that have been released from prison.

It must be noted that parolees are not offenders on probation. Parolees are convicted felons who have been released from prison to serve the remainder of their sentence in the free world.

Parole officers must be classified as peace officers so they can arrest parolees on the spot. Being a parole officer is no job for sissy social workers. It takes tough men and women who are not afraid to contact their parolees in high crime neighborhoods and bust them if that becomes necessary for the protection of society.

The Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm system must be changed, requiring parole officers to work late evenings and early nights, and on weekends. Parolees do not restrict their activities to the daylight hours on weekdays.

Except for special circumstances, parole officers can spend only one day a week in the office. That’s when they can do the required paper work and see the parolees they have ordered in for an office visit or those parolees who come in voluntarily. Field visits must take the place of those worthless mandatory office visits.

Only one day of the week should be devoted to daytime field visits. That’s when the parole officer can call on the parolee’s employer and see the parolee on the job. The rest of the work week should be during the evenings when the parole officer can see the parolee at home or at his hangouts if he can find out where they are. Weekend duty can be scheduled for every other weekend unless the parole officer wants to work every weekend.

Field visits must be conducted on a surprise basis. No more of this “Joe, I’ll see you at your house on Wednesday at 2 pm” shit. Scheduled visits allow the parolee who is using drugs or committing other crimes to clean up his act. And peeing in a drug test container must also be done on a surprise basis, and it must be eyeballed by the parole officer to prevent any urine substitution.

Parolees should be seen in the field at least once every six weeks or more often if necessary. That requires manageable caseloads of no more than 60 parolees. Too many parolees? Not for a competent and conscientious parole officer.

There are some exceptional prison inmates who can be released on parole without any supervision, provided they will keep the parole office informed of any residence changes. However, the vast majority of parolees will require strict supervision in order to prevent or detect any criminal activities.

It is important to note that there is much more to parole and to being a parole officer than what has been covered here.

The way an effective parole system must be administered requires much more funding than the legislature is appropriating now. But then, what is the protection of society worth?


by Bob Walsh

Yes, for the first time in forever, the Dow Jones Industrial Averages went up 1,000 points in one day yesterday.

Of course it would have been nice if it hadn't gone down a few thousand in the two weeks before. There is, however, a difference between Trading and Investing.

The sky is not falling. The ride is bumpy right now, but the end of the world is not here. So far.


Turkey masses tanks on the Syrian border as Erdogan 'prepares to move against the Kurds' after the US leaves

By Chris Pleasance

Daily Mail
December 26, 2018

Turkey has begun massing tanks and troop carriers on its southern border with Syria as it prepares to move into the country once American soldiers have left.

Erdogan's forces were pictured arriving in border cities of Kilis and al-Rai after the country's foreign minister said they will push into Syria as soon as possible.

It comes after Donald Trump announced that all 2,000 American troops will withdraw from the country and that Turkey will take over the fight against ISIS.

But Turkey is also likely to direct its attacks against Kurdish forces stationed in northern Syria which helped US troops in the battle against ISIS.

Turkey has carried out limited attacks against Kurdish positions in Afrin province, and has vowed to expand its operations to cover its entire southern border.

But plans stalled amid push-back from Washington that saw US relations with its NATO ally set in the deep freeze.

However, Trump has since tweeted that Turkey and America are planning to increase trade and strengthen ties as US troops begin a 'low and highly coordinated' withdrawal from Syria.

As part of the agreement, America will take back weapons it gave to the Kurdish forces during the fight with ISIS.

In return, Erdogan vowed to delay a military campaign against the Kurds, but on Tuesday foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu indicated it would go ahead as soon as practically possible.

According to the Guardian, he insisted that 'if Turkey says it will enter [Syria], it will.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shame on Trump for taking back the weapons we gave to the Kurdish forces during the fight with ISIS. That will leave the Kurds practically defenseless against the military might of Erdogan’s army.

No wonder Erdogan has now invited his buddy Trump to visit him in Turkey.


Analysis: Israeli airstrike in Damascus an embarrassment for Syrian regime at crucial time

By Seth J. Frantzman

The Jerusalem Post
December 26, 2018

Syrian air defense confronted a complex threat over Damascus Tuesday night. It comes after several months of relative quiet for Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime, which is grappling with a crisis in eastern Syria as the US withdraws.

The airstrikes took place as Syrian state media was seeking to highlight Christmas in the country. Syria was witnessing a “victory over terrorism,” SANA said. However, the airstrikes were the most serious since September when an Israeli airstrike targeted Latakia and resulted in Syrian air defense shooting down a Russian IL-20 aircraft. That incident caused Moscow to give Syria the S-300 system and warn Israeli “hotheads” against further incidents.

For months, it has been relatively quiet. An incident on November 29 and December 9 worked up Damascus as air defenses were activated. But both incidents seemed minor; one was apparently a false alarm. However, December 25 was a major escalation.

US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal on December 19 and since then, there have been discussions about what comes next. Turkey wants to launch a major operation into eastern Syria to strike at the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara says are terrorists linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The YPG were partners of the US-led coalition’s anti-ISIS campaign.

Syrian rebel groups aligned with Turkey have volunteered to help fight the YPG. One group already announced it would attack Manbij in northern Syria.

For the Syrian regime this is a problem, because there are Syrian troops in eastern Syria’s Qamishli and Hasakeh. The Syrian regime has amicable relations with the YPG but the regime must rely on Russia and Iran to help negotiate with Turkey in eastern Syria. As Damascus focuses on that, it also wanted a quiet Christmas to highlight stability after seven years of civil war. The airstrikes burst that quiet and will make Damascus wonder if worse is to come.

ISRAEL HAS said that it struck 200 targets in the last two years throughout Syria. Many of these were near Damascus, according to local reports. But Syria thinks that the S-300 and Russia’s support will reduce the airstrikes.

Instead it appears that Syria has not been successful at preventing an airstrike around Damascus. Even though its state media claims it intercepted all of the missiles fired at targets near Damascus on December 25, that assertion is unlikely.

The Syrian government must now ask itself if Russia is serious about training it to use the S-300 and if the S-300 is effective.

These two issues relate to how Damascus will concentrate the challenges it still faces. Israel has said that as the US withdraws, Jerusalem will continue to challenge Iran in Syria. In addition, there are reports that Russia could offer to help reduce Iranian influence or presence in Syria in return for something.

Syria’s regime looks at the region and realizes that decisions about what happens in Syria always seem to be outsourced to Russia, Iran and Turkey. For instance the foreign ministers of those three countries met in Geneva on December 18 to discuss a constitutional committee for Syria.

Russian defense officials visited Tehran on December 25 and Iran discussed expanding cooperation with Russia. Russia also speaks directly with Israel and reports indicate that this includes discussions about Syria.

Syria is trying to rebuild its reputation in the region. The Sudanese leader Omar Bashir went to Damascus on December 16 and Syria’s powerful intelligence chief Ali Mamluk went to Cairo on December 23. Normally, that would look like Syria is coming in from the cold in the region, welcoming foreign leaders and working with Arab regimes after years of being treated like a pariah by much of the Arab League.

But Syria’s regime also wants to secure Damascus and wants to negotiate what happens in Idlib and in eastern Syria. Yet it has to rely on Russia for much of these details. It also has to rely on Russia for improving its air defenses around Damascus. The explosions and wild-firing of missiles on Tuesday illustrates that Damascus has a long way to go to confront airstrikes around its capital.

Suspected Israeli Airstrike Rocks Damascus Airport, Hits Hezbollah Leaders

Israel Today
December 26, 2018

A series of explosions rocked Damascus on Tuesday night as Israel allegedly targeted Hezbollah and Iranian targets.

A US Defense Department official told American media that top Israeli military brass had told him that a number of senior Hezbollah leaders were targeted as they boarded a plane for Iran.

Also reportedly targeted were strategic Iranian supplies to Hezbollah, including advanced GPS components for use in the many, many missiles that the Lebanese terror group has aimed at Israel.

Syrian media reported that its air defenses had opened fire on enemy targets launching a strike from Lebanese airspace. The Syrians said they had downed a number of targets, but there were no reports of any Israeli planes being hit.

One Syrian air defense missile entered Israeli airspace, triggering Israel's air defenses. The IDF reported that the threat had been neutralized, but did not provide any specifics. It was also unclear if the Syrian missile merely went astray, or was purposely fired toward Israel as a warning.

If Israel was indeed behind the airstrike, it was a clear message to Syria, Iran and Russia that the Jewish state would continue to take decisive action against threats to its northern border despite the recent installation of advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems in the war-torn country.


Did a podiatrist who rented his office from Trump's father help the president avoid the Vietnam draft? Daughters of doctor who died 10-years-ago claim he provided infamous bone spurs diagnosis as a 'favor'

Daily Mail
December 26, 2018

The daughters of a now-dead podiatrist have claimed that he provided the diagnosis of bone spurs that exempted Donald Trump from the Vietnam War draft, suggesting it was in exchange for commercial rent concessions from Trump's father Fred Trump.

Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, and Sharon Kessel, 53, made the sensational claim to the New York Times, claiming their father Dr. Larry Braunstein diagnosed Donald Trump in 1968.

Dr. Larry Braunstein died in 2007, and the Times was unable find any documentary evidence to back up the daughters' claims, which surfaced when the newspaper contacted the family based on an anonymous tip.

'I know it was a favor,' Elysa Braunstein told the Times, adding that her father had implied that Trump did not have the foot ailment that disqualified him from military service. 'But did he examine him? I don't know,' she said.

Larry Braunstein rented his office in the Queens neighborhood of Jamaica from Trump's father. The doctor's daughters said that he was able to remain there for years without a rent increase.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt that story one bit, not because I dislike Trump, but because the ‘bone spurs’ which prevented him from serving in the military did not prevent him from teeing off on the golf course.


Gov. Brown Orders New DNA Tests In 1983 Kevin Cooper Murder Case

LAPPL News Watch
December 26, 2018

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday ordered new DNA tests that a condemned inmate says could clear him in a San Bernardino County 35-year-old quadruple murder case, which has drawn national attention.

Brown ordered tests of four pieces of evidence that Kevin Cooper and his attorneys say will show he was framed for the 1983 Chino Hills hatchet and knife killings of four people. The items that will be tested are a tan T-shirt and orange towel found near the scene and the hatchet handle and sheath.

Cooper was convicted in 1985 of killing Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Christopher Hughes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


by Bob Walsh

Robert Spencer is by most reasonable definitions an asshole. That being said under most circumstances you can not arrest people for assholeish behavior.

In July of 2017 Robert Spencer, 30, was arrested by two Garfield Heights (Ohio) police officers and charged with resisting arrest and threatening officers, and battery on one. The whole incident was, of course, recorded on cell phone video by the asshole's GF. He was indulging in insulting and disrespectful verbal behavior towards the officers, but nothing that could reasonably be called threatening or menacing, or even interfering with. .

He got $80,000 for his trouble from the city. The city is also training officers in First Amendment issues. Probably a good idea.


Trump rings in the New Year in the worst possible way as one week sums up a failing presidency

By Michael R. Bloomberg

Bloomberg Opinion
December 23, 2018

There are many reasons to be optimistic about 2019. The increasingly isolated man in the Oval Office is not one of them.

With the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency drawing to a close, the past week all too perfectly exemplified its destructive effect on competent government in Washington — and it should give all Americans, in all parties, cause for concern.

On Thursday, one of the last remaining seasoned and respected professionals at the top of the administration announced his resignation, for reasons he explained in a letter that was as courteous as it was devastating. On Saturday, government services were (yet again) shut down because of the quarrel between Congress and the White House over the president’s obsession with a border wall that won’t work but will waste billions of taxpayer money. And in between, the stock market dove to its worst week since 2011, as investors concerned about Trump’s taste for trade wars delivered a vote of no-confidence.

Each of these mistakes has a common denominator: Trump’s recklessly emotional and senselessly chaotic approach to the job.

At the halfway mark of this terrible presidency, one has to wonder how much more the country can take.

The president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, which jeopardized military success in a crucial battle and betrayed an ally as well, led James Mattis to quit in protest. He is the first defense secretary to do so since the position was created in 1947. His resignation letter is meticulously calm and respectful — and all the more brutal as a result. Every American should read it.

He wrote: “While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.” He added: “I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.”

Mattis understands that the two principles — which have served America well since World War II — must not be separated. And that gives what comes next such force: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

In short: One of the few people protecting Trump from Trump is leaving. And unfortunately, few Republicans in Congress have shown any appetite for that job, preferring instead to appease his worst instincts — as the debate over a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border continues to show.

Even if a wall were a good idea — and it is not — a government shutdown would be a dumb way to pursue it. The Democrats have just won control of the House of Representatives. The country has given them a full share of responsibility for making decisions about public spending. Does the president expect to override this reality by maneuvering to shut down the government? His penchant for ignoring reality — evident in so many other areas, including climate change — apparently extends to elections.

This weekend, he imposed needless costs on government workers and on the country at large — not to accomplish anything, or to defend any principle, but to pander to the extreme wing of his party and rage at being thwarted. Republicans in Congress have gone along with this for too long. November should have been a wake-up call.

Some Republicans, at least, seem to be slowly realizing what a disaster Trump’s trade policies have been. His trade war with China has won few concessions but has cost American workers, consumers, farmers and businesses a great deal. With other countries pleading for sanity and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization warning of severe consequences if trade sanctions get out of hand, talk of a looming recession is growing. Yet the president seems determined to make matters worse — and to hell with the economic consequences.

Unless something changes — unless, in particular, Republicans in Congress start showing some spine — two more years might be enough to test whether we can sustain Trump’s model of bad government. This past week, we got a glimpse of what the beginning of the collapse may look like — and what it may ultimately cost us.