Friday, November 30, 2018


GM has announced it plans to shut down plants in Detroit, Warren, Ohio, White Marsh, Maryland, Warren, Michigan and Oshawa, Canada

by Howie Katz

Big Jolly Times
November 29, 2018

In December 2008, when GM was about to go belly up, President Bush gave the giant automaker about $50 billion as bailout money. The government’s investment was converted to a 61 percent equity stake in GM plus preferred shares and a loan. In December 2013 the government lost $11.2 billion on its bailout when it sold its stake in GM.

GM has just announced it plans to shut down plants in Detroit, Warren, Ohio, White Marsh, Maryland, Warren, Michigan and Oshawa, Canada. About 3,800 American GM production workers will lose their jobs due to the plant closures. An additional undetermined number of workers will lose their jobs at plants that supply parts to the GM plants that will be shut down. GM also plans to cut its salaried staff by 8,000.

With 2,500 Canadians at the Oshawa plant, a total of about 14,000 workers will lose their jobs. And that’s not counting the jobs that will be lost at parts manufacturers.

GM said it was shutting the plants down because Americans are no longer buying sedans, preferring SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks instead. It will stop making the Chevrolet Volt, Impala and Cruze, the Buick LaCrosse, and the Cadillac CT6 and XTS.

President Trump is furious, calling for GM to reimburse the government the $11.2 billion it lost when it divested itself of its stake in the automaker.

Is GM obligated to keep the four American plants operating because U.S. taxpayers bailed it out when it was about to go belly up? No, GM has the right to stop operations that are losing money. But Trump is spot on in calling for the return of the $11.2 billion the government lost on the GM bailout.

Of course, there is a bigger question as to whether GM is obligated to keep its plants open, and that is: Should the government have bailed out the automakers, and the banks that were too big to fail before them, in the first place?


by Bob Walsh

A few days ago I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic of Freddie Mercury. My sister recommended it, said the music was great and thought I would like it. My sister has decent taste in movies, so I thought I would give it a go. I walked out half way thru. I discovered that, while I really like the music of Queen and thought that Freddie Mercury was a true genius, I did not give a rat's ass about him personally, his background or his history. Too much movie, not enough music.

Does that make me a bad person?


by Bob Walsh

Ramsay County, Minn. is creating a new health care division for their four county jails and is getting rid of contract operations, due in large part to continuity of care issues.

The initial increased cost will be about $1.8 million, significantly more than the $1 million they were paying for contract employees to do the same work. They will be adding five full-time nurses, three psych workers, four clericals, one part-time MD and one part-time shirnk in addition to their existing civil service medical staff. They will also hire a nurse clinician to manage the 20 nurses soon to be working fulltime in the system. They will get a pay bump compared to other county public health nurses in hopes it will stabilize the work force in the jails.

The county has on a normal day about 700 clients, including juveniles, within their system. Currently a public health nurse working for the county makes $61,000 to $93,000. The nurses working in the jail system will make between $69,000 and $105,000 per year.


by Bob Walsh

The End Of Life Option Act was written up by my local Assemblywoman, Susan Eggman, two years back. It allowed (but did not require) doctors to assist in ending the life of terminally ill patients. It was promptly appealed and put on hold.

An appeals court has just overturned that ruling. The court found that The life Legal Defense Foundation did not have legal standing as they could not show that they were harmed by the act. In addition the appeal was in part based on the fact that the bill was passed during a special session that was supposed to address "improving the medical system and health of Californians." It may be a stretch, but the idea is at least in the ballpark of "medical system."

IN 2017 a total of 374 terminally ill patients took this way out. Interestingly, 575 people received the drugs but 201 chose NOT to use them.

Five other states allow assisted suicide.

The court did not rule on the merits of the case, merely the procedural bullshit. That means further successful appeals could be filed if they can come up with standing.


by Bob Walsh

On Thursday the mainstream media announced that the ChiCom government had cracked down on the "researcher' who claims to have used CRISPR to gene-edit Chinese girl twins to make them resistant to HIV. Maybe they just want to put all their effort into fiddling with the gene map to make people incapable of thinking for themselves. Kind of like Democrats.


CNN commentator calls for elimination of Israel, endorses violent Palestinian ‘resistance’

by Philip Klein

Washington Examiner
November 28, 2018

CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, in a Wednesday speech to the United Nations, called for violent resistance against Israel and advocated expanding Palestine “from the river to the sea,” a phrase used by those who believe that Israel should be eliminated.

Hill, who has a long history of anti-Semitism, made the remarks at a U.N. event commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He said the international community should boycott Israel and allow Palestinians more space to engage in violence against the Jewish state, arguing that violence was also employed in the struggles of African Americans. Hill said:

“Contrary to western mythology, black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Ghandi and nonviolence. Rather, slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom. If we are to operate in true solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility. If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it. We must advocate and promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing."

He urged grassroots, local, and international action to "Give us what justice requires -- and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea."

The phrase “from the river to the sea” has been a rallying cry for Hamas and other terrorist groups seeking the elimination of Israel, as a Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea would mean that Israel would be wiped off the map.

Hill’s remarks are the latest example of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements.

Last year, Hill tweeted that it was “offensive” for President Trump to call on Palestinians to “reject hatred and terrorism.” Hill also defended a terrorist who killed two Jewish students and praised anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan.

In a follow up tweet Wednesday, Hill wrote, “I believe in a single secular democratic state for everyone. This is the only way that historic Palestine will be free.” Such an idea would reject the existence of Israel as a Jewish homeland with the ability to defend itself, and cede control over to terrorist groups that have been seeking Jewish extermination. The reference to the “historic Palestine” also makes no sense, since no such place ever existed with defined borders.

Hill, a Temple University professor, is named as a CNN commentator on the channel’s website, which describes him as “one of the leading intellectual voices in the country.”

The video of Hill's speech begins at around the 1 hour and 36 minute mark, with the comments quoted hear occurring roughly after the 1:51 mark.

UPDATE: “ Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,” a CNN spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The five biggest myths in Marc Lamont Hill's anti-Israel speech

by Tom Rogan

Washington Examiner
November 29, 2018

On Wednesday, CNN contributor and Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill spoke at the United Nations to offer his support to the Palestinian people. Regrettably, Lamont Hill's argument was built on a river or even a sea of falsehoods.

Of course, Lamont Hill disagrees, believing that most of his critics are focusing on false narratives.

Here's my critique of the five biggest fallacies in his argument. Note that these are not Lamont Hill's only misleading points – most of Lamont Hill's speech is delusional – but simply the ones I decided to focus on.

1) The Nabka mythology: By "Nabka," the Palestinian people refer to the supposed forced expulsion of Palestinians from Israel in 1948. Lamont Hill adopts the same view, presenting the Nabka as the moral rationale for Palestinian fury towards Israel.

History suggests a far more skeptical eye towards the Nabka theory. Because it's a myth. Yes, some Palestinian and Arab families were forcibly expelled from their homes by Israeli militias, but this omits the context that Arab militias also pursued the same objective against Jewish settlers. And many Palestinians also left their homes of their own volition, often after selling their land.

Still more Palestinians left Israel as a consequence of the defeat of the Arab armies that invaded Israel in 1948 with the aim of annihilating the Jewish nation. To adopt the Nabka myth whole hog is to accept a clear historical delusion.

2) Israel uses random violence against Palestinian civilians: Lamont Hill claimed that "Palestinians continue to live under the threat of random violence by the Israeli military and police. Disproportionate violence within the West Bank and Gaza, unprompted violence in the face of peaceful protest, and misdirected violence by an Israeli state that systematically fails to distinguish between civilians and combatants."

Each of these claims is false. Israeli security forces go to great lengths to protect civilians, and do so in a tactical environment defined by Hamas' use of civilian human shields. But the most obvious proof of Israeli regard for Palestinian civilian protection is that Israel allows Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to exist, when it could instead pursue a military campaign that would risk many Palestinian civilian casualties. And Israel's extensive intelligence effort in the Palestinian territories is about accurately identifying threats in separation from civilians.

3) Israel's criminal justice system is profoundly unjust: Lamont Hill says that Israeli justice is "a term I can only use with irony." Sorry, Marc, but the only irony here is your veil of absolute confidence over authoritative ignorance.

There is a staggering distinction between Israeli and Palestinian systems of justice. Where Israel holds its security forces to judicial account for killing civilians, Palestinian authorities give their forces decorations for killing Israeli civilians. Where Israel brings accused Palestinian terrorists or criminals to trial, Palestinian security forces throw accused criminals into gulags, or off the top of buildings. Where Israel's government is subject to the power of an independent judiciary, Palestinian government is subject only to its leaders' authoritarian impulses and the capacity of Palestinian leaders to steal or waste as much money as feasibly possible.

4) Palestinian violence against Israel is compatible with the cause of peace: Lamont Hill asserts that "we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself." The necessary implication here is support for Palestinian groups which use violence against Israel. And the vast majority of those groups are violent Islamic extremist organizations such as Hamas. As such, even if this is not his actual intent, Lamont Hill's narrative offers a de facto defense of Hamas' strategic intent. Which is to say the annihilation of the Jewish people in Israel and the usurpation of their democratic authority under a green flag of exclusionary Sunni supremacism. That takes us to the next point.

5) A just peace requires a Palestine that reaches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: The professor concludes with a call to arms: "What Justice requires, and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea." But while he's now denying it on Twitter, that slogan is not a rallying cry for the Palestinian compromise bloc led by Fatah. It is the rallying cry of Hamas and other groups which seek a literal purge of both of Israeli and Jewish existence from the Levant.

If put into practice by those who purvey it, Lamont Hill's war cry would mean a second Holocaust.

There's a great sustaining tragedy to Lamont Hill's understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He seriously seems to believe that his favored solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Palestinian-preferenced one-state solution, is moral. The pursuit of that state, he says, is one that comes from a movement dedicated to defeating "hatred, imperialism, and white supremacy, and patriarchy and homophobia ... " But comparing the respective governance in Israel with that in Gaza and the West Bank, it is clear that Israel's government is manifestly the more moral one on each of Lamont Hill's stated concerns.

That's not to say that anyone should be reflexively pro-Israeli on every issue. There are very serious grounds for opposing most Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli intelligence operations targeting the United States, and President Trump's relocating of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. But Israel is rightly an exceptionally close American ally for two simple reasons. Far more often than not it acts in furtherance of shared U.S. interests, and it does so in a democratic tradition that is unique to the Middle East.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 'From the river to the sea' is not only a vow made by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, but it is also a vow Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has made many times.

Polls show that 25 percent of blacks harbor ill will toward Jews. As for Hill, he is in good company with Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Weight, etc. Farrakhan says Jews control the banks, the FBI and Mexico, and claims there is a ‘Pot Plot’ in which Jews promote homosexuality among black men through the distribution of a special form of marijuana.


A third of Europeans say Jews too politically influential and 18 percent blame anti-Semitism on Jewish behavior, poll finds

By Jeremy Sharon

The Jerusalem Post
November 27, 2018

A new poll by CNN has demonstrated a worryingly high prevalence of antisemitic attitudes around Europe, with significant percentages of people believing that Jews are too influential in politics and media.

In addition, high numbers of Europeans blame antisemitism on Jews, saying it is a reaction to how they behave, while a disturbingly high number of young Europeans have not heard of the Holocaust.

Numerous Jewish leaders around the world expressed deep concern over the findings, with Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog insisting that the results of the poll underline the importance of Holocaust education and government action to combat antisemitism.

The results emerged from a comprehensive poll conducted by CNN/ComRes, which sampled 7,000 Europeans from Austria, France, Germany, the UK, Hungary, Poland and Sweden.

According to the poll, only 10% said they had an unfavorable attitude toward Jews, although that figure rose to 15% in Poland and 19% in Hungary.

Despite this, traditionally antisemitic opinions remain widespread.

According to the poll, approximately 33% of those surveyed said Jews were too influential in political affairs around the world, and more than 25% of Poles and Hungarians said they had too much influence in the media.

A third of Austrians said Jews have too much influence over financial matters, as well as 25% of all French and Germans who agreed.

Additionally, 20% of all Europeans believe Jews have too much influence over media, while 25% said they had too much influence over wars and conflicts.

At the same time, almost a fifth of Europeans, some 18%, blame antisemitism in their respective countries on Jewish behavior, while 33% said they believe that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals.

A third of those surveyed said that Israel uses the Holocaust to justify its actions, with 50% of Polish respondents agreeing, and only 20% disagreeing.

And a third of Europeans said supporters of Israel use accusations of antisemitism to shut down criticism of Israel, while only 10% said that was not true.

In addition, 20% of European youths and young adults, 18-34, have never heard of the Holocaust, while in total one in 20 Europeans have never heard of it at all.

Nevertheless, 66% of Europeans said that commemorating the Holocaust helps ensure that such atrocities will never happen again, and half said it helps combat antisemitism.

Although antisemitic opinions appear to be widespread on the continent, the poll found that even higher numbers of Europeans have xenophobic and racist feelings toward other minorities as well.

While 10% of Europeans said they had unfavorable views of Jews, 39% said they had unfavorable views of Romani people, 37% had negative views of Muslims, 36% said they had unfavorable views of immigrants, and 16% said they had negative views of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Herzog said in response to the survey that governments need to do more to combat antisemitism, in particular by including Holocaust studies as part of school curricula across Europe.

“Antisemitism is one of the oldest diseases – racism being another such disease – for which there is no vaccine,” Herzog said.

“This disease must be fought before it spreads, and becomes a pandemic. History teaches that if antisemitism isn’t dealt with at an early stage, it will threaten people’s lives, as we saw in Pittsburgh. I call upon the enlightened leaders of the world to take the gloves off, and work immediately and strongly against the worrying signs of antisemitism that can be seen in various countries.”

World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said that it was “insufferable” that 75 years after the Holocaust, antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes persist.

“We have long been alarmed by the resurgence of antisemitism, and this recent poll underscores our ongoing concern,” he said.

“There can be no confusion in the fact that accusing Israel of exploiting the brutal murder of six million Jews for its own gains is nothing short of blood libel and the worst forms of xenophobia.”


Putin says Ukrainian president provoked Russia into ship seizure as part of a 'dirty game'

by Holly Ellyatt

November 28, 2018

Ukraine is responsible for provoking a dispute with Russia in which the federation seized several Ukrainian ships on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

"This is a dirty game within the country (Ukraine)," Putin said, addressing an audience of business people and investors at VTB Bank's 'Russia Calling' investment forum in Moscow.

"It is a provocation initiated by the current authorities, and I think by the (Ukrainian) president, in light of the upcoming elections to be held next year... The incident in the Black Sea happened, it is a border incident, no more," he said. Ukraine had used the incident as a pretext to introduce martial law, he said.

Putin's comments come after Russia ramped up its dispute with Ukraine on Sunday when it seized three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crew members in the Kerch Strait, a channel of water that links the Sea of Azov and Black Sea and one that's crucial for both nations' economies.

Ukraine said the incident was an "act of aggression," while Russia said the ships had entered its territorial waters illegally, an allegation Putin repeated. Both sides accuse the other of violating the conditions of a 2003 treaty that enshrines free access to the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov.

Putin said Wednesday that Ukraine's action was "undoubtedly a provocation" designed to boost Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's popularity ratings ahead of a presidential election in March 2019.

Russia is still laboring under international sanctions for its 2014 annexation of Crimea and role (which it denies) in a pro-Russian uprising in the east of Ukraine the same year. Those sanctions, which target Russian individuals, entities and sectors separately, could be extended beyond the current expiry dates in 2019.

On Tuesday, Poroshenko warned that Russia would face serious consequences if it attacks Ukraine, telling NBC News that Moscow would pay a "huge price" if it did so.


Business card led to arrest of Catholic store attack suspect

Associated Press
November 29, 2018

ST. LOUIS -- A discarded business card led police to the man accused of killing a woman and sexually assaulting two others inside a religious supplies store near St. Louis.

Details provided by the surviving victims also helped lead investigators to Thomas Bruce, St. Louis County Police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a story published Thursday.

Bruce, a 53-year-old married former pastor from Imperial, was arrested two days after the terrifying Nov. 19 attack at a Catholic Supply store in Ballwin, another St. Louis suburb about 20 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of Imperial. He is jailed without bond on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, sodomy and kidnapping. Calls from The Associated Press to his lawyer, Brice Donnelly, rang unanswered on Thursday.

According to prosecutors, Bruce entered the store posing as a customer before leaving briefly and returning with a handgun, which he used to usher the three women inside into a back room. He ordered them to strip and to perform sexual acts on him. Prosecutors say a 53-year-old customer and mother of three, Jamie Schmidt, refused, so he shot her in the head. Bruce fled after sexually assaulting the other two women and managed to blend in along the busy street outside.

McGuire told Post-Dispatch that surveillance cameras were of no help and that 24 hours after the crime, with concern growing about a killer on the loose, police had no credible leads. Investigators were helped by details provided by the two surviving victims, which were released to the public.

"They were key in this," McGuire said. "They paid attention to a lot of the intricate details of him."

Detectives were interviewing people at the other businesses at the strip mall the day after the attack when a woman told them she had interacted with a man who fit a more detailed description of the attacker that had recently been released and that he had given her his business card, McGuire said.

The woman had tossed the card in the trash, but the trash hadn't been collected yet and detectives were able to find the card. McGuire said he didn't know specifically what was written on the card, but it led police to Bruce.

At around 5 a.m. on Nov. 21, detectives went to the trailer park where Bruce lived with his wife. It's not clear what they found, but soon, dozens of officers swarmed in and were carrying away boxes and checking beneath the home. Within hours, Bruce was arrested in the store attack.

Bruce's motive remains unclear, authorities said. He apparently didn't know the victims and he had no criminal history. Investigators are trying to see if he's connected to any unsolved cases.


Married Vermont colonel 'was forced to resign in 2015 after flying an F-16 to DC to meet a woman who was working at the Pentagon'

by Valerie Edwards

Daily Mail
November 29, 2018

A Vermont colonel was reportedly forced to resign in 2015 after he allegedly flew an F-16 to Washington, DC, for a rendezvous with a woman.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Colonel Thomas Jackman, 55, the former commander of the Vermont Air National Guard, swapped flirtatious emails while on the job between December 2014 and January 2015, according to

The woman, who was an Army colonel working at the Pentagon at the time, reportedly sent a series of photos of herself to Jackman.

His replies included, 'you look beautiful' and 'can’t help but notice every part of you'.

But it was on January 27, 2015, that Jackman, who was married at the time, allegedly made the flight in the fighter jet to DC to meet with the woman.

And despite a snow storm bearing down on Vermont, Jackman, who commanded the 158th Fighter Wing, flew the F-16 nearly 500 miles from Burlington.

It's unclear whether or not Jackman landed at the Andrews Air Force Base outside of DC or the Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.

Jackman reportedly set up the meeting with the woman under the guise of a work trip.

According to, Jackman booked a room at The Morrison House in Alexandria, Virginia, for January 27 and also reserved a hotel room at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC for January 29.

Once officials from the Air National Guard got whiff of the rendezvous, Jackman was flown back to Vermont on a commercial flight. Another pilot retrieved the jet.

According to, he was then pressed to step down and allowed to retire with full benefits. He was also allowed to keep his security clearance.

At the time, Vermont's adjutant general, Maj Gen Steven Cray did not specify why Jackman resigned.

Cray did say that he had lost confidence in Jackman as the leader of the Vermont Air National Guard.

The news site didn't identify the woman involved in the incident, but she had been working at the Pentagon for two months before their arranged meeting.

Jackman, whose 32-year military career included two tours each in Iraq and Afghanistan, has claimed that he was not involved with the woman.

1st Lt Mikel R. Arcovitch, the Guard’s press representative, told the news site that it is 'not common practice' for pilots to fly fighter jets to work conferences.

'When it has occurred, pilots conduct training and complete annual requirements to and from the conference location,' he said.

The hourly operating cost of the F-16 is about $8,000, according to the Department of Defense.

It's unclear if Jackman was required to reimburse the Air National Guard for flying the plane.

Jackman now works as a postmaster for the US Postal Service in Vermont.


West Virginia governor orders probe into traffic stop beating of 16-year-old by 2 state troopers

by John Raby

Associated Press
November 29, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's governor has ordered an investigation into a traffic stop in which he said a 16-year-old male suspect was seen on a state police dashcam video being beaten by two troopers.

"All this does is cast a dark shadow" on law enforcement, Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday.

Justice said in a news release he's instructed State Police superintendent Col. Jan. Cahill to immediately investigate the case in Martinsburg "and to pursue criminal charges if warranted to prevent behavior like this from ever happening again."

State Police spokesman Maj. Reginald Patterson said the two troopers have been suspended without pay amid an ongoing criminal and internal investigation.

Patterson said in a statement that the white teen was involved in a crash with a sheriff's department cruiser on Nov. 19 before a pursuit ensued, his vehicle crashing again before he was apprehended. The spokesman said the troopers' actions during the incident "came into question and led to the suspensions."

He said the teen was treated at a hospital and released. The statement did not provide details of the traffic stop, the teen's injuries and whether they were related to the arrest or the crashes. The names or races of the troopers and the teen's name weren't disclosed.

It wasn't immediately known if the teen faces charges or whether he has an attorney.

Patterson says further statements won't be issued until once the investigation is complete.

Justice said he learned of the matter Wednesday night.

"While I proudly support the brave efforts of our law enforcement agencies every day it must be perfectly clear that I will NOT tolerate this kind of behavior in any way, shape, form, or fashion," the governor said.

American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia spokesman Tim Ward said police have a constitutional responsibility to avoid excessive force, no matter the circumstance.

"We are committed to getting to the bottom of this incident to determine if any of the teenager's civil liberties were violated," Ward said in a statement.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course officers need to avoid excessive force, no matter the circumstance. But it’s easy to say that sitting in an arm chair far removed from the scene in question.

I’ve been involved in several multi-agency car chases where officers from other departments beat the shit out of a driver who had just endangered dozens of lives … and deep inside I cheered them on!

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Dallas Police Bring Back Vice Unit In Fight Against Street-Level Prostitution, Human Trafficking And Gambling In Illegal Game Rooms

By Cassandra Jaramillo

The Dallas Morning News
November 28, 2018

DALLAS -- City Council members on Monday learned one thing for sure: The Dallas Police Department’s beleaguered vice unit will soon be back in action after a year off the streets.

But the rest of the details were a little murky to some members of the council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee.

“I don’t totally understand where we were and where we are now,” said Adam McGough, the committee’s chairman.

McGough’s confusion was echoed by other committee members, who wanted to know how the department’s new approach differed from the unit’s previous iteration — and why the vice unit was disbanded in the first place.

Assistant Chief Paul Stokes said the new version of the unit initially will focus on street-level prostitution, human trafficking and gambling in illegal game rooms. Stokes said the vice unit will have a “victims-centric approach,” which means it will offer services to those engaged in prostitution and human trafficking survivors.

Several council members said their districts had problems that the vice unit will need to address. Jennifer Staubach Gates, who represents parts of northern Dallas, said she has seen more prostitutes on Harry Hines Boulevard.

Police have reported 137 prostitution offenses through Oct. 31 this year compared with 46 cases during the same period last year.

Vice crimes in the past year have been the responsibility of narcotics and patrol officers. Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall in November 2017 disbanded the vice unit amid what she called “serious issues.” Since then, she has given few specific details about what those issues were.

Stokes on Monday said an investigation of the unit revealed policy violations, accounting discrepancies, inadequate processing of evidence and a general lack of accountability. But Stokes stopped short of naming any officers accused of violations. He also said the investigation so far has not resulted in criminal charges of officers.

The officers who were once assigned to vice will not be returning to the unit, officials said at the meeting. The new vice unit’s operations will start on Wednesday with at least 21 officers.

Stokes added the vice unit won’t actually be back on the streets on Wednesday; the squad’s new members will have to first undergo training.

Dallas Police Association president Mike Mata said the department lost a lot of vice experience when Hall reassigned the officers. Mata said he’s concerned about getting the new officers up to speed.

“I know the new detectives who are filling these roles are going to do their best,” Mata said. “I hope the department will give them the tools to succeed.”

Stokes said the previous vice unit “lacked direction.” Diversion programs aren’t new to the department, but police officials said they’d improve their efforts to use more resources than handcuffs on prostitutes.

Hall said too often, a prostitute often returns to work after they get out of jail.

“If arresting a prostitute was going to change their behavior, we would have changed it already,” Hall said.

The department’s plan is to work with local nonprofits and implement diversion opportunities, although officials said arrests might still be made in certain cases.

“At the end of the day, if that investigation leads to a criminal offense there will be an arrest,” Stokes said.

Stokes said police have found through experience that law enforcement and nonprofits have to deal with victims multiple times “before a person wants to take that first step to break that cycle.”

“We believe that’s going to be the approach to sustain change here in Dallas,” Stokes said.

Stokes also said the new unit will have new accountability measures similar to the narcotics division with compliance supervisors.

“This will give us a great deal of accountability that we did not have,” Stokes said.

But council members said police officials were still too vague in their descriptions of both the problems and the solutions. Some wanted to know what key metrics could be used to determine the success of the new unit.

“I’m curious how this new system is so much better than the old,” said council member Philip Kingston. “Increased oversight doesn’t really mean a lot to me.”

And Gates, the northern Dallas council member, said she still wanted to know more about the problems that caused the overhaul in the first place.

“The philosophy sounds good, but ... I don’t think we’re hearing what happened in the past to the vice unit, and why it wasn’t effective,” Gates said.


Former Florida Police Chief Gets Three Years in Prison

By Jay Weaver and David Ovalle

Miami Herald
November 28, 2018

BISCAYNE PARK, FLorida -- Raimundo Atesiano, the former Biscayne Park police chief who directed his officers to frame innocent black men for a series of unsolved burglaries, admitted he wanted to appease community leaders and polish the village’s property crimes record.

Even in a small village of about 3,000 residents, the pressure was just too much, he said.

“When I took the job, I was not prepared,” Atesiano told a federal judge on Tuesday. “I made some very, very bad decisions.”

His apologies did not sway U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore, who on Tuesday sentenced the 53-year-old former cop to three years in prison. He allowed Atesiano to remain free for two weeks before surrendering so he can care for his mother, who is dying of leukemia.

In September, Atesiano pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge of depriving the three suspects of their civil rights because he and the officers charged them without a legal basis. Atesiano’s conspiracy conviction carried up to 10 years in prison.

Atesiano resigned from the Biscayne Park force in 2014 and previously worked as an officer for Sunny Isles Beach, Hialeah and Miami-Dade County Corrections.

Atesiano’s sentencing ended an ugly chapter in Biscayne Park’s recent history, where allegations of racism — the three men falsely charged are black — tainted the police department’s culture of law enforcement in the mostly white community.

Village leaders, including Police Chief Luis Cabrera, a former veteran officer in Miami, say they have reformed the department.

Over the summer, three former Biscayne Park police officers who had worked under Atesiano while he was the chief in 2013 and 2014 pleaded guilty to civil rights violations stemming from the false arrests of the three suspects. All three ex-cops cooperated with the FBI and prosecutors Harry Wallace, Donald Tunnage and Trent Reichling in the hope of reducing their prison time.

In August, Officers Charlie Dayoub, 38, and Raul Fernandez, 62, pleaded guilty to falsifying the arrest affidavits for a 16-year-old black suspect for four unsolved break-ins in June 2013. That was just a month before then-police chief Atesiano touted the town’s 100 percent burglary clearance record at a village commission meeting. In October, Judge Moore sent each to prison for a maximum one-year term.

The charges against the teen were eventually dropped after the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office noticed the four arrest affidavits all used similar vague language — that the “investigation revealed” T.D. employed the same “M.O.” and the homes had a “rear door pried open.”

A third Biscayne Park police officer admitted falsifying arrest warrants for two men at the direction of Atesiano during 2013 and 2014. Those men were in their 30s at the time. Guillermo Ravelo pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge that he violated the rights of the two falsely accused black men. and used excessive force on a Hispanic man during a traffic stop. A different federal judge, Cecilia Altonaga, sentenced Ravelo, 37, to two years and three months in prison.

In January 2013, Atesiano ordered Ravelo and Dayoub to arrest Clarence Desrouleaux on charges of breaking into a pair of homes in Biscayne Park, according to a factual statement filed with the ex-chief’s plea agreement. Atesiano told the officers to take Desrouleaux into custody because “there was reliable information that [he] had forged and cashed a check stolen during the course of” a third home burglary, according to the statement.

Desrouleaux, 35, pleaded guilty and ended up getting sentenced to five years in prison. He was deported to Haiti. In light of new evidence about his false arrest, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office threw out his wrongful conviction.

Also, in February 2014, Atesiano told Ravelo that he wanted him to arrest Erasmus Banmah, 31, for five unsolved vehicle burglaries, despite knowing there was “no evidence” that he had committed the crimes, prosecutors said in court records. A couple of days later, Ravelo filled out five arrest forms falsely accusing Banmah of the vehicle burglaries at five different street locations in Biscayne Park.

The admissions of the three Biscayne Park officers to the false police arrests magnified the evidence against Atesiano, exposing not only his leading role in the civil-rights conspiracy but also his lies to the town’s leaders. The police department reported clearing 29 of 30 burglary cases during Atesiano’s tenure as chief, but at least 11 of those cases were based on false arrest reports, according to federal authorities.

In the aftermath of Atesiano’s indictment in June, the Miami Herald obtained internal public records suggesting that during his tenure as chief, the command staff pressured some Biscayne Park officers into targeting random black people to clear cases.

“If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,” one cop said in an internal probe ordered in 2014. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.”

In a report from that probe, four officers — a third of the small force — told an outside investigator they were under marching orders to file the bogus charges to improve the department’s crime stats. While only one officer specifically mentioned targeting blacks, former Biscayne Park village manager Heidi Shafran, who ordered the investigation after receiving a string of letters from disgruntled officers, said the message seemed clear for cops on the street.

In the continuing fallout from the scandal, Miami-Dade prosecutors are reviewing old criminal arrests in Biscayne Park during Atesiano’s tenure in 2013-2014. The Miami-Dade Public Defender’s office has been examining scores of cases going back to 2010, when Atesiano was a patrol cop there, hoping to clear records of anyone who was wrongfully arrested.

“He fabricated evidence. He damaged lives. Even before he was chief, Atesiano issued 2,200 traffic tickets himself in one year, fabricated cases, and wrongfully arrested innocent individuals,” Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez said. “He created a culture of corruption that has further eroded public trust in the criminal justice system. Just as appalling is the damage Atesiano has done to law-abiding, hardworking, police officers and chiefs.”

Atesiano was not charged with violating anyone’s civil rights because of their race. His lawyers called into question “any notion that random people were targeted for arrests or that race played any factor in the arrests of any individuals.”

“Quite the contrary,” Atesiano’s defense attorney Richard Docobo wrote in court papers seeking a two-year prison sentence. He said the three men falsely arrested in 2013 and 2014 had a history of criminal activity in the suburban town north of Miami.

“They were no saints,” Dacobo told the judge on Tuesday.

The judge still gave Atesiano 36 months in prison — three more than what the government had asked for.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Instead of framing blacks, the jerk should have classified the burglaries as trespassing like NYPD and other police departments have done.


US Alleges Honduras President’s Brother is Major Drug Trafficker

by Parker Asmann

InSight Crime
November 26, 2018

Prosecutors in the United States allege that the brother of the president of Honduras is a major drug trafficker in Central America, providing further evidence that the country’s political elites play an active role in the drug trade.

Federal authorities in Miami arrested former Honduran congressman Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández November 23 on drug and weapons charges. Antonio Hernández is the brother of current Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Prosecutors say Antonio Hernández is a “large-scale drug trafficker” who worked in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico. A criminal indictment obtained by InSight Crime says that he imported “multi-ton loads of cocaine” into the United States for more than a decade.

The arrest comes less than a year after Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga — a former leader of the once powerful “Cachiros” criminal group — testified that he paid Antonio Hernández $50,000 in bribes. The exchange ensured that the government paid a debt to a company that the Cachiros used to launder drug proceeds, according to the indictment.

Just months before that, US authorities in Miami considered Antonio Hernández a “person of interest” in a high-profile drug trafficking investigation linked to Wilter Blanco, the suspected leader of the Atlantic Cartel.

Reacting to his brother’s arrest, President Hernández said that “nobody is above the law.” He added that he hopes the justice system will clarify whether these accusations are true.

President Hernández is not the only Honduran head of state from the ruling National Party to have family members with alleged ties to the Cachiros’ drug trafficking operations. In September 2017, US authorities sentenced Fabio Lobo, the son of former President Porfirio Lobo, to 24 years in jail for conspiring with the criminal group to traffic cocaine into the United States.

InSight Crime Analysis

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this indictment is that it comes as no surprise.

The Cachiros wove Honduras’ political elites tightly into their criminal modus operandi, and the case of President Hernández’s brother is no exception.

Juan Antonio Hernández wasn’t a small-time drug trafficker. He was allegedly involved in every step of the cocaine trade: processing, receiving, transporting and distributing. The former congressman had such a prominent role that his initials, “TH,” were allegedly stamped on some of the cocaine shipments he handled. Drug loads were protected by members of the national police, which he called upon to act as heavily armed security, according to the indictment.

He also afforded other drug traffickers protection through his political connections. Not only did he pay enforcement officials for information critical to protecting drug shipments, but he also served as a conduit for large bribes paid by major drug traffickers to high-ranking Honduran politicians, according to the indictment.

It’s unclear what Antonio Hernández’s arrest means for US-Honduras relations. President Hernández is the United States’ main ally in Central America. The North American nation backed Hernández even after his bitterly contested reelection victory was marred by allegations of electoral fraud.

At home, President Hernández is already in the crosshairs of anti-corruption prosecutors in the Attorney General’s Office and the internationally-backed Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Misión de Apoyo contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras – MACCIH) regarding his alleged role in diverting millions of dollars of public money for political purposes.

The United States is one of the major funders of the MACCIH, but it remains to be seen if the arrest of the president’s brother and the ongoing investigation into Hernández’s alleged criminal activity will alter the relationship of the two nations.


Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. He was allowed to go to his downtown West Palm Beach office for work release, up to 12 hours a day, six days a week. And his victims were kept in the dark

By Julie K. Brown

Miami Herald
November 28, 2018

Palm Beach County Courthouse

June 30, 2008

Jeffrey Edward Epstein appeared at his sentencing dressed comfortably in a blue blazer, blue shirt, jeans and gray sneakers. His attorney, Jack Goldberger, was at his side.

At the end of the 68-minute hearing, the 55-year-old silver-haired financier — accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls — was fingerprinted and handcuffed, just like any other criminal sentenced in Florida.

But inmate No. W35755 would not be treated like other convicted sex offenders in the state of Florida, which has some of the strictest sex offender laws in the nation.

Ten years before the #MeToo movement raised awareness about the kid-glove handling of powerful men accused of sexual abuse, Epstein’s lenient sentence and his extraordinary treatment while in custody are still the source of consternation for the victims he was accused of molesting when they were minors.

Beginning as far back as 2001, Epstein lured a steady stream of underage girls to his Palm Beach mansion to engage in nude massages, masturbation, oral sex and intercourse, court and police records show. The girls — mostly from disadvantaged, troubled families — were recruited from middle and high schools around Palm Beach County. Epstein would pay the girls for massages and offer them further money to bring him new girls every time he was at his home in Palm Beach, according to police reports.

The girls, now in their late 20s and early 30s, allege in a series of federal civil lawsuits filed over the past decade that Epstein sexually abused hundreds of girls, not only in Palm Beach, but at his homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and in the Caribbean.

In 2007, the FBI had prepared a 53-page federal indictment charging Epstein with sex crimes that could have put him in federal prison for life. But then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta signed off on a non-prosecution agreement, which was negotiated, signed and sealed so that no one would know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes. The indictment was shelved, never to be seen again.

Epstein instead pleaded guilty to lesser charges in state court, and was required to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to 18 months incarceration.

But Epstein — who had a long list of powerful, politically connected friends — didn’t go to state prison like most sex offenders in Florida. Instead, the multimillionaire was assigned to a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, where he was able to hire his own security detail. Even then, he didn’t spend much time in a cell. He was allowed to go to his downtown West Palm Beach office for work release, up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, records show.

He was permitted to hire his own private psychologist for his required sex-offender counseling, and after his release from jail, his subsequent year of probation under house arrest was filled with trips on his corporate jet to Manhattan and to his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands — all approved by the courts with no objections from the state.

On the morning of his sentencing in 2008, none of Epstein’s victims were in the courtroom to protest his soft jail term or the unusual provisions of his incarceration and probation — and that was by design.

Emails and letters contained in court filings reveal the cozy, behind-the-scenes dealings between federal prosecutors and Epstein’s indomitable legal team during the run-up to his federal plea deal, as they discussed ways to minimize his criminal charges and avoid informing the girls about the details of the deal until after the case was resolved.

That arrangement benefited Epstein in a number of ways. Unlike other high-profile sex crime cases, federal prosecutors agreed to keep his sentencing quiet, thereby limiting media coverage. His underage victims — identified in FBI documents — weren’t told about the plea deal so they weren’t in court, where they could voice their objections and possibly sway the judge to give Epstein a harsher sentence or reject the agreement altogether.

Most important, Epstein’s crimes would be reduced to felony prostitution charges, giving him the ability to argue that the girls weren’t victims at all — they were prostitutes.

Four accomplices named in Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement — Nadia Marcinkova, Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross and Lesley Groff — were also given immunity from federal prosecution. Marcinkova was a young girl when Epstein brought her from Yugoslavia to live with him. Several victims told police that she was involved in orgies with Epstein and underage girls. Ross, Groff and Kellen, now known by her married name Vickers, were schedulers who arranged his underage sex sessions, according to the FBI and police.

Marcinkova and Kellen, through their attorneys, declined to comment for this story. The Herald was unsuccessful in reaching Ross and Groff.

Acosta, who is now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, told lawmakers last year at his confirmation hearing that he did not know that Epstein would receive such liberal treatment while incarcerated. But court records show that federal prosecutors under his authority acquiesced to many of Epstein’s demands, including that he not go to federal or state prison.

“I can’t remember how I found out that he had taken a plea,’’ said Courtney Wild, identified by the FBI as one of more than three dozen underage girls — some of them as young as 13 — who had been molested by Epstein at his waterfront estate between 2001 and 2005.

“We were purposefully misled into believing that his sentencing [in state court] had nothing to do with the federal crimes he committed against me or the other girls.’’

Epstein, now 65, was released in 2009 after serving 13 months.

Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein, is suing the federal government, alleging that prosecutors kept her and other victims in the dark as part of a conspiracy to give Epstein — described in the lawsuit as “a powerful, politically connected multimillionaire” — one of the most lenient deals for a serial child sex offender in history.

Now 31, Wild is Jane Doe No. 1 in “Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 vs. the United States,” which seeks to overturn Epstein’s plea agreement on the grounds that it was executed in violation of the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act. The measure affords crime victims a series of rights, including to confer with prosecutors and to be notified about plea negotiations and sentencing.

That lawsuit — and an unrelated state court case scheduled for trial on Dec. 4 — could expose more about Epstein’s crimes, as well as who else was involved and whether there was any undue influence that tainted the federal case.

Some of Epstein’s victims will finally have an opportunity to testify for the first time as part of the Dec. 4 case in state court in Palm Beach County. It pits Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradley Edwards against Epstein, who had accused Edwards of malfeasance in his representation of several victims.

Jack Scarola, the attorney representing Edwards, said Epstein should be held accountable for his unrelenting attacks against Edwards — as well as others who were involved in his case.

“We are going to demonstrate through this case that no one — no matter how much money they have — can abuse children and then attempt to bully those who come to the defense of children,’’ said Scarola, a former state prosecutor.

Florida and beyond

Few people had as much insight into Epstein’s lifestyle — and its international reach — as Virginia Roberts. By age 16, Roberts had lived a life that was beyond that of most high school girls.

At 11, she says, she was sexually molested by a family friend. At 12, she was smoking pot and skipping school. At 13, she was in and out of foster homes, and at 14, she was on the street.

In Miami, the runaway became a captive of a 65-year-old sex trafficker, Ron Eppinger. For months, she says, she was sexually abused, kept in an apartment and pimped out to pedophiles. After his indictment in 2000 on trafficking charges, Roberts returned to West Palm Beach and tried to heal.

That summer, when Roberts was 16, she said her father helped her get a job as a locker room attendant at the spa at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, records show. Her father worked at the resort as a maintenance man.

There she said she met Ghislaine Maxwell, an Epstein friend and socialite daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell. She offered Roberts an opportunity to become a massage therapist, working for Epstein.

In a sworn court affidavit and in a recent interview with the Herald, Roberts described how Epstein and Maxwell began grooming her — not just to perform massages, but to sexually pleasure them and others.

“It started with one and it trickled into two and so on,’’ Roberts told the Herald. “And before you know it, I’m being lent out to politicians and academics and royalty.’’

Roberts, too, was ordered to find Epstein girls — the younger, the better — by trolling areas where teenagers congregated, such as shopping malls, to lure girls to whatever residence Epstein was staying in at the time, she told the Herald.

She began to travel with Epstein and Maxwell to Epstein’s other homes, in New York, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and her trips are documented in flight logs that frequently list her name or her initials as a passenger, court records show.

“His appetite was insatiable. He wanted new girls, fresh, young faces every single day — that was just the sickness that he had,’’ Roberts said.

Neither Epstein, nor his lead attorney, Goldberger, responded to requests for comment.

Roberts alleges that Epstein had cameras throughout his homes and said he liked her to tell him about the sexual peccadilloes of various important men she had sex with.

“Epstein and Maxwell also got girls for Epstein’s friends and acquaintances. Epstein specifically told me that the reason for him doing this was so that they would ‘owe him,’ they would ‘be in his pocket,’ and he would ‘have something on them,’ ” Roberts said in a court affidavit. “I understood him to mean that when someone was in his pocket, they owed him favors.’’

Roberts elaborated in her interview with the Herald, saying that Epstein had access to girls through a modeling agency that recruited them from overseas.

Epstein, who was close to Les Wexner, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, often talked about his connections to people in the modeling, fashion and acting industries, Roberts told the Herald.

“He would tell the girls, ‘Hey, I will give you a modeling contract if you go have sex with this man,’ ’’ she said.

Roberts’ story about the modeling agency is supported, to a degree, by the sworn statement of a Miami woman named Maritza Vasquez, who was later interviewed in New York by an FBI agent from Miami. Vasquez worked as a bookkeeper for Mc2, owned by Epstein associate Jean-Luc Brunel. He employed scouts in South America, Europe and the former Soviet Union to find him models to bring to the United States, Vasquez said in a 2010 sworn court deposition obtained by the Herald.

Vasquez stated in the deposition that from 2003 to 2006 she handled all the finances and payroll for the agency, including a bank transaction involving Epstein. She said Epstein invested $1 million in Mc2.

The models were often very young — 13, 14 and 15 — and some of them were housed in apartments at 301 E. 66th St. in New York, a building that she said was owned by Epstein, the deposition said.

Epstein didn’t charge the girls rent, Vasquez said, but Brunel charged them $1,000 a month, with four of them at a time sharing one apartment. The girls who were the youngest and most beautiful stayed at the 66th Street apartments, which were more luxurious than the other apartments that were used to house models who were not as young and desirable, she said.

Vasquez once let one of the models, who was 14, stay overnight with her after the girl ran into trouble with police for trying to get into a Manhattan nightclub. Vasquez also testified that she helped a lawyer obtain visas for the foreign models, and assisted with their transportation to and from modeling assignments and parties..

Vasquez said that even though the agency employed 200 to 300 models, the company didn’t make any money and Brunel was always broke. Brunel would later sue Epstein, alleging that the financier’s sex scandal had caused his business to fail, but the suit was eventually dropped.

Vasquez testified it wasn’t unusual for the agency to send girls to an assignment with a wealthy client for $100,000 or more, but the girl wouldn’t be paid the full amount — or anything at all — if she refused to be “molested.’’

Vasquez considered herself a mother figure and often coached the youngest girls to stick to the 9-to-5 modeling assignments because she didn’t think it was appropriate for them to be having sex.

She said she met Epstein only once, but she often helped arrange for girls — many of them underage — to be sent to his homes in New York, Palm Beach and his island in the Caribbean for parties. She heard salacious rumors about Epstein’s parties, but testified she had no firsthand knowledge about whether they involved sex.

Vasquez said that she was questioned by the FBI and she tried to tell them where to look for evidence.

Vasquez was eventually let go from the agency after she was accused of stealing money — money she claims was given to her by Brunel. Vasquez said she was placed on probation for the theft. She never heard from the FBI about Epstein again.

The Herald was unsuccessful in reaching Brunel through his former attorney.

In a written statement released in 2015, Brunel denied any involvement in trafficking underage models.

“I strongly deny having participated, neither directly nor indirectly, in the actions Mr. Jeffrey Epstein is being accused of,” he said. “I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work as a scouter or model agencies manager.”

Too old at 19

In 2003, when Roberts turned 19, it was clear that Epstein had lost interest because she was too old for him, she said. She convinced him to pay for her to get training to become a real professional masseuse so that she could move on.

In an interview, she explained that Epstein arranged for her to take a class in Thailand, but it came with a hitch: She said she was instructed to pick up a Thai girl he had arranged to come to the States.

Roberts, who showed the Herald the written instructions for the rendezvous, never picked up the girl because Roberts met a man on the trip who would become her husband. The couple married and moved to Australia, where they currently live.

In 2007 — at the same time the FBI was investigating Epstein — Roberts, pregnant with her second child, said she unexpectedly received phone calls from Maxwell and Epstein. She said they were worried that she had told police about them. She assured them she had not spoken to anyone, she said.

Shortly afterward, Roberts said, she was contacted by someone who claimed to be with the FBI. But she was afraid to tell that person details, fearing it was really an Epstein associate posing as an FBI agent.

That agent, identified in court papers as Timothy Slater, confirmed that he and the other agent on the case, Nesbitt Kuyrkendall, called Roberts in January or February 2007. In a sworn statement, Slater said he informed Roberts that they suspected she was a victim of Epstein’s.

The agent said Roberts answered basic questions, but became uncomfortable and “asked that I not bother her again.’’

Roberts said the agent didn’t try too hard to convince her to talk, and she was surprised when he hung up after asking her a few graphic questions about her sex life. She said she was suspicious, but would have cooperated had the FBI talked to her in person and explained why they were asking about Epstein.

“I was still scared to death,’’ Roberts said. “Jeffrey used to tell me that he owned the entire Palm Beach Police Department. I just didn’t want my family harmed.’’

She nevertheless was listed by federal prosecutors as one of Epstein’s Palm Beach victims.

As the years went by and Roberts had a daughter, she would be haunted by a fear that Epstein was still taking advantage of young girls. In 2011, she went public in a paid interview with a British tabloid, the Daily Mail, asserting that she had had sex with Prince Andrew, one of Epstein’s friends, several times when she was a teen.

In her 2015 affidavit, she discussed in detail some of her alleged sex encounters with the prince and Epstein’s other friends, including lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Edwards included the affidavit in the court file as part of the Jane Does’ Crime Victims’ Rights Act case, at which time it became public.

In the affidavit, Roberts claimed that Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with Andrew and Dershowitz and others. She had sex with Andrew three times, she alleged — once in London, when she was 17, again in New York, when she was 17, and a third time, as part of an orgy on Epstein’s island, when she was 18. By law, at 17, she would have been above the age of consent in New York and England, but not in Florida, where the age of consent is 18.

As part of the affidavit, Roberts furnished a photograph of her with the prince and Maxwell, which she said was taken in London.

Dershowitz, who was part of Epstein’s criminal defense team, was often a guest at Epstein’s homes, she said.

“I had sexual intercourse with Dershowitz at least six times,’’ Roberts wrote in the 2015 court affidavit. “The first time was when I was about 16, early on in my servitude to Epstein and it continued until I was 19.’’ She detailed some of those trysts, which she said happened at Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach, New Mexico and on Epstein’s island.

One of Epstein’s housemen, Juan Alessi, testified in a 2009 sworn deposition that Dershowitz visited Epstein’s Palm Beach home four or five times a year. He said that Roberts was a frequent visitor as well, but he never placed Dershowitz and Roberts at the house at the same time.

Alessi, who testified he worked for Epstein from 1999 to 2002, said there were often young girls who gave massages at the house, even in the middle of the night. But he said he never checked their ages, and only knew one girl for certain who was underage, because he had picked her up from high school. That girl, who is now an actress, was not one of Epstein’s masseuses, Alessi said.

He also said he was Maxwell’s driver, and he recalls waiting outside of Mar-a-Lago the day Maxwell met Roberts. He testified he saw Maxwell talking to Roberts and recalls Roberts coming to Epstein’s mansion later that day. One of Alessi’s jobs was to drive Maxwell to various spas in Palm Beach where she left business cards in order to “recruit’’ more masseuses, he said in the sworn deposition.

Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and Maxwell have long denied Roberts’ allegations.

In an interview with the Herald, Dershowitz reiterated that he had never met Roberts, and never saw Epstein with any underage girls.

“The story was 100 percent flatly categorically made-up,’’ he said, adding that Roberts and her attorneys fabricated the assertion in order to get money from other powerful, wealthy people she alleges she had sex with.

“The only possible reason to accuse me in public and [them] in private is so she could get money,’’ Dershowitz said.

Edwards and his co-counsel in the Crime Victims’ lawsuit, University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell, sued Dershowitz for defamation and Dershowitz countersued in 2015. The case was settled out of court, with Dershowitz saying he had been vindicated.

Dershowitz said he received a massage at Epstein’s Palm Beach home only once — but that it was just a regular, therapeutic massage by a masseuse — not by Roberts or anyone underage. Dershowitz’s wife was there at Epstein’s house at the time, Dershowitz said in the deposition taken for the case in 2015.

“I never had any knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein having any contact with any underage women — ever,’’ Dershowitz told the Herald.

Edwards and Cassell admitted making a “tactical mistake” in filing the accusations against Dershowitz as part of a lawsuit not involving him. But they emphasized that the settlement had no bearing on the veracity of Roberts’ allegations.

The judge for the Crime Victims’ Rights Act lawsuit agreed that the affidavit was misplaced in that case, and it was dropped.

Prince Andrew’s spokesman at Buckingham Palace did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Roberts, now 35, said it has taken her a long time to stand up to Epstein. She and 20 other victims received settlements from Epstein, ranging from $50,000 to more than $1 million. The exact amounts have been kept confidential.

“It takes so long until you are able to speak about it. It took me having a daughter and looking at this young beautiful innocent baby to say I want to speak out about it now. I’m hoping that this will bring out more girls so that they say, Me Too.’’

The state court hearing

The judge at Epstein’s sentencing hearing at the Palm Beach County Courthouse knew very little about Epstein’s crimes. The sentencing paperwork was restricted to Epstein’s specific charges: one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution.

“Are there more than one victim?’’ Circuit Court Judge Deborah Dale Pucillo asked the prosecutor at Epstein’s sentencing on June 30, 2008.

“There’s several,’’ replied assistant state prosecutor Lanna Belohlavek.

“Are all the victims in both of these cases in agreement with the terms of this plea?’‘ Pucillo later asked.

“Yes,’‘ Belohlavek replied, telling the judge that she had spoken to “several” of Epstein’s victims.

Emails show that federal prosecutors didn’t want the judge to know how many victims and accomplices there were.

Federal prosecutor A. Marie Villafaña — in a September 2007 email to Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz — said: “I will mention co-conspirators but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all the other crimes and all the other persons that we could charge.’’

Attorney Spencer Kuvin happened to be in court that day because he’d heard Epstein was to appear, but Kuvin didn’t know why. He figured he’d use it as an opportunity to serve Epstein with civil court papers involving one of several victims he represented. Instead, he listened to what was happening and couldn’t believe that no one had contacted him or his clients.

“I was shocked to learn that the proceeding involved my client’s case and there was nothing I could do except watch as they disposed of her case without ever telling her,’’ Kuvin said.

At the hearing, Belohlavek and Epstein’s attorney, Goldberger, were in sync, the court transcript shows. Epstein would be required to register as a sex offender, but his probation would not be served under the strict requirements of sex offender probation.

The judge didn’t question those provisions, but she did ask why Epstein was going to serve his sentence in the Palm Beach County stockade instead of in a Florida state prison, like most sex offenders.

“We just decided that was the best way to accomplish what needed to be done here and the parties agreed that that sentence satisfied everyone’s requirements,’’ Goldberger replied.

Said Judge Pucillo: “The taxpayers of Palm Beach County are going to pay 18 months to house this guy instead of DOC [the Department of Corrections]?”

Belohlavek: “Right.’’

Pucillo did not respond to a request for comment on the case.

Villafaña, the lead federal prosecutor in Epstein’s case, was in the courtroom, but there’s no indication she objected to Epstein’s cozier jail accommodations.

When he entered jail in July 2008, Epstein was arguably the most well-known inmate at the Palm Beach County jail. Records also show that Epstein hired Palm Beach sheriff’s deputies for his security details, paying them for the hours they spent monitoring him on work release at his West Palm Beach office, where he often stayed until 10 p.m., jail logs show.

The Herald reviewed their time sheets, showing that the deputies logged visitors coming and going to and from his office throughout the day. A record log of his visitors was kept in a safe, but the log no longer exists, according to a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

One deputy who often worked Epstein’s detail said that his assignment was to stay in a front reception room of Epstein’s office. Epstein was in a separate office — with the door closed — most of the day as he accepted visitors, both male and female, the deputies’ logs show.

“It was not our job to monitor what he was doing in that office,’’ the deputy, now retired, told the Herald.

In their early reports in July 2008, the deputies referred to Epstein as “inmate’’ but within a few weeks the language had changed and he was called a “client.” He was occasionally allowed to take a break for lunch by sitting outside in a park, the records show, and they also gave him permission to scout for a new office. While on work release, he was required to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his whereabouts.

The work release was approved by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, said spokeswoman Therese Barbera.

“Jeffrey Epstein while in custody, met the criteria for the Work Release Program,’’ Barbera wrote in an email. “There was no factual basis to deny Mr. Epstein the same availability of this program that is offered to other inmates under similar circumstances. Mr. Epstein was closely monitored and there were no problems encountered during his time in the program.”

But the sheriff’s own work release policy — a copy of which Barbera provided to the Herald — specifically notes that sex offenders aren’t eligible for work release.

At first, Barbera questioned whether Epstein was a sex offender at all, noting that he didn’t have to register officially until after his release from the jail in 2009. But his court papers clearly listed him as a sex offender. In fact, the papers Epstein signed — obtained by the Herald — included all the laws governing registered sex offenders in Florida.

Barbera refused to explain why Epstein was seemingly allowed to deviate from the agency’s policies. She also would not respond to requests for an accounting of the amount of money that Epstein paid the sheriff’s office for his private details.

Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who has been in office since 2004 — and is widely considered to be one of the most powerful people in the county — did not respond to requests for comment.

Epstein’s registration requirements are somewhat confusing, even to those who are responsible for keeping his registration. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which keeps the online registry, and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, where Epstein has to register in person twice a year, gave conflicting explanations over the past six months about who is responsible for ensuring that he is complying with the law.

On Nov. 14, the Herald asked the sheriff’s office for a full accounting of Epstein’s check-ins for 2018. The record the office supplied two days later showed he registered in January and in July — as required. But PBSO also inexplicably had him registering on Nov. 14 — the very same day that the Herald asked for the records from the sheriff’s office.

When asked about this sudden registration, Barbera replied, “The information we provided you was a snapshot from the FDLE website. Perhaps, someone from FDLE can provide a reason for you.’’

Said FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger in an email: “The screenshot is not on the public registry. This is information inputted by the local agency when the offender comes into the local sheriff’s office to register.’’

Plessinger said Epstein is not covered by the state’s new three-day rule, which requires sex offenders to re-register when they come to stay in Florida for three days or more. His Palm Beach home is already on file, as a temporary residence, she said.

So it’s not clear why he would have suddenly registered a third time on Nov. 14.

State Sen. Lauren Book, a child sex abuse survivor and vocal advocate for tough sex offender monitoring, called the case an appalling example of how those in the justice system allow wealthy people to skirt the law and bend the rules.

“These prosecutors, and judges and sheriffs who are making these decisions and allowing things to fly — we have to hold these people accountable. They are supposed to uphold the law — regardless of who a person is and how much money they have in the bank or who they had on their airplane.’’

Piece by piece

Over the years, Courtney Wild, Virginia Roberts and more than a dozen other women who say they were victims of Epstein have been quietly challenging the traditional legal norms that have failed to punish Epstein and other men in positions of power for sexual abuse.

Epstein has paid millions of dollars in civil compensation that, for the most part, has kept the details about his operation out of the public eye. As a result, much — but not all — of the testimony and evidence collected as part of the vast litigation has been sealed or redacted from public court records.

Taking a page from Epstein’s legal team, lawyers representing Epstein’s victims hired private investigators and former police detectives to dig into Epstein’s life. Over the past decade, they’ve tracked down hundreds of people, including dozens of other potential victims; they’ve interviewed Epstein’s recruiters, bookkeepers, housekeepers, butlers, pilots and drivers. They’ve traveled around the country and the world, taking statements and sworn depositions, coaxing people to talk who had previously been too reticent to come forward.

In short, they did what criminal prosecutors didn’t do.

Some of the information they’d learned was given to federal authorities in New York. Edwards said those authorities have shown no interest in opening a new investigation focused on crimes he is alleged to have committed in that state, where he is listed as a level 3 sex offender, the most dangerous category, considered at risk to re-offend, records show. In New York, he has to register every 90 days.

Holding abusers accountable

In 2015, Roberts sued Maxwell for defamation in New York after Maxwell called her a liar in a news interview. The civil lawsuit was an effort by Roberts not just to clear her name, but an attempt to prove that Epstein and Maxwell operated an international underage sex trafficking operation. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2017 and nearly all the evidence presented in the case has been sealed.

Roberts’ attorney, Sigrid McCawley, claims that Roberts received a sizable settlement, although the amount is confidential.

“She wanted to hold her abusers accountable and we were able to do that by bringing this case … which we ultimately settled very successfully for her,’’ said McCawley, an associate of noted Bush-Gore recount lawyer David Boies, who has also pursued cases against Epstein in federal court in New York.

Maxwell’s lawyer, Laura Menninger, declined to comment, referring the Herald to the court history.

“[Roberts] fabricated a story of abuse at the hands of Ms. Maxwell in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars from British tabloids with a motive for selling papers and advertisements and without regard for truth, veracity or substantiation,’’ Menninger noted in a 2016 response filed in the case.

In February, the Miami Herald filed a federal court motion in the Southern District of New York, seeking access to documents that were sealed in the Maxwell case. The motion, which was not opposed by Roberts, could have cast light on the full scope of Epstein’s possible sex trafficking operation, who was involved and whether it was covered up. Maxwell has opposed the Herald’s motion, which was denied in August.

The Herald is appealing.

Today, Epstein has a new private jet, which takes him around the world. Flight records show that he spends most of his time on his private island, Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which he now lists as his permanent residence. He is registered in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a sex offender. New Mexico, where he owns a sprawling ranch, does not list him as a convicted sex offender.

As part of its investigation, the Herald learned that in 2013, the federal government conceded that it had given Epstein what it called “valuable consideration” for information he provided to the FBI as part of his plea deal. The documents do not elaborate, but Epstein — a hedge fund manager who once worked for the investment firm Bear Stearns — was listed as a key investor who lost money in the financial crash of 2008.

Francey Hakes, a former federal child sex crimes prosecutor, said any consideration the government gave to Epstein should be made public.

“The public has a right to know why he got a slap on the wrist, and what was the interest that was so great that allowed him to not get prosecuted?”

In recent years, Epstein has been traveling the world in his new Gulfstream V jet. He has been active in various charitable causes and scientific research projects. The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has helped fund NeuroTV, an online network that features interviews with academics and scientists.

Then and now

Both Nadia Marcinkova and Sarah Kellen changed their names after the scandal.

Marcinkova, 32, briefly became Marcinko. She visited Epstein more than 70 times when he was in Palm Beach custody. She went on to a career in real estate. And she is now an FAA-certified commercial pilot and flight instructor who goes by the name “Global Girl’’ on social media. (

Sarah Kellen, who used the name Kensington for a while, is now married to NASCAR driver Brian Vickers. The couple divides their time between homes in North Carolina, New York and Miami Beach.

Maxwell, 56, transformed herself into an internationally known environmentalist. In 2012, she founded the TerraMar Project, a nonprofit environmental group that works to protect the world’s oceans. In 2013, she gave a TED Talk on ocean conservation, discussing her diving expeditions around the world.

Dershowitz, 80, continues to lecture around the country. A professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, Dershowitz has been a frequent commenter on cable TV programs, often defending President Trump.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, 58, remained friends with Epstein, and in 2010, a photograph was taken of the two of them strolling in Manhattan. It was later revealed that Epstein had loaned the prince’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, $24,000 to pay off some debts. Ferguson later called the loan a “gigantic error of judgment.”

Plain human beings

Crime victims’ rights advocates have used the Epstein case to strengthen the federal law in recent years, adding more precise language mandating that prosecutors notify victims about plea bargains and allow victims to be heard at sentencing.

Because some statute-of-limitation laws set deadlines for filing civil and criminal sex crime cases, it’s difficult to bring them years later, said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor who is working to ease those restrictions across the country.

But she points out that there has been no statute of limitations for federal sex crimes involving children since 2002.

Children who are sexually abused often take decades to reveal what happened to them, in part because their brains aren’t wired at a young age to understand the trauma they’ve experienced, said Kenneth V. Lanning, a retired FBI agent who investigated and studied child sex crimes for 40 years.

“We want to hold children to some superhuman standard because they behave this way. In reality, police, prosecutors and judges have to understand that children are not all angels from heaven. They are just plain human beings who are emotionally immature so we have to protect them from their own decisions.’’

Wild, who continues to fight her federal case on behalf of all of Epstein’s victims, said she hopes that the federal judge hearing the Crime Victims’ Rights case will make a ruling soon, one that will send a message to prosecutors who fail to consider the rights of crime victims.

“Really if you think about this too hard, it’s scary because this is our government that is supposed to protect us but has done everything to protect a pedophile,’’ she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Epstein was close friends with Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Flight logs show that from 2001 to 2003, Bill Clinton flew 26 times on Epstein’s private plane, dubbed “The Lolita Express” by the press for the sex orgies held in flight. Trump was a frequent dinner guest at Epstein’s home, which was often full of barely dressed models. In 2003, Trump said of Epstein: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


by Bob Walsh

As I write this it looks like the Republicans will be able to add Mississippi to a win on the senate side, bringing the balance to 53-47.

It isn't official yet (Tuesday, 7 p.m. Pacific time) but when the cowards in the Democrat headquarters turned off the news feeds because the news was too fucking depressing, it was pretty obvious they were toast.


by Bob Walsh

One of the vehicles that GM is going to kill off next year is the Chevrolet Impala, due to under-performing sales numbers. I guess that means every cop in the country will be driving a SUV now.

Maybe I am just a traditionalist, but I will miss the damn thing.

Actually I was more of a Dodge Polara police car fan, but that's another story too.


by Bob Walsh

The Camp Fire in Butte County is now fully contained. There are 88 known dead and somewhat over 200 still unaccounted for. There are right around 14,000 structures destroyed, mostly single family homes and small businesses.

There is virtually zero available housing and FEMA is getting ready to start moving trailers into the area once all the toxics are cleaned up and utilities are restored.

This fire could lead to the bankruptcy of PG&E. The lawyers are circling already...


Isn’t it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you.


4 LEOs Killed On Duty Over Thanksgiving Weekend

LAPPL News Watch
November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving weekend was a deadly one for law enforcement with four officers killed in the line of duty across four different states.

Officer Leann Simpson of the Philadelphia Police Department in Mississippi was killed Saturday in a car collision. Simpson was en route to assist with a traffic stop when her patrol car hit a light pole and rolled.

Officer Hunter Edwards of the Winchester Police Department in Virginia was killed Saturday in a car crash while responding to a call.

Officer David Romrell of the South Salt Lake Police Department in Utah was killed Saturday when he was struck by a vehicle driven by suspects fleeing the scene of a burglary.

Deputy Antonio Hinostroza of the Stanisalus County Sheriff’s Department in California was killed Sunday in a car crash during a vehicle pursuit when his car struck a utility pole.


Police Exploring Background Of Seattle Man Arrested In Vehicle Attack Outside L.A. Synagogue

LAPPL News Watcn
November 27, 2018

Authorities are trying to determine the motivations and background of a 32-year-old Seattle man who allegedly tried to run down two men outside of a synagogue in Hancock Park last week in an attack that police have described as a hate crime.

Mohamed Mohamed Abdi was arrested outside of Congregation Bais Yehuda in the 300 block of La Brea Avenue Friday night and held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he yelled a number of anti-Semitic insults and barreled his car toward the two men around 9 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Horace Frank said.

Abdi was driving a rental car past the synagogue when he began yelling profanity at a group of worshipers near La Brea and Oakwood Avenues, Frank said.


HPD announces 164 offenders arrested in 2-week parole violator operation

By Brittany Taylor and Jacob Rascon

November 27, 2018

HOUSTON - On Tuesday afternoon, Houston police Chief Art Acevedo and local law enforcement officials announced that 164 parolee offenders were arrested on charges including theft, home invasion and murder in a two-week parole violators operation.

"We're happy to announce that 164 parole offenders, 164 offenders, have been taken off the streets," Acevedo said.

At the news briefing, officials released mug shots of some of the suspects taken into custody.

Acevedo said his goal for the operation began after Jose Gilberto Rodriguez cut off his ankle monitor last summer and gunned down three people.

“That’s what gave rise to the regional approach, and as a result of the commitment of all these agencies here, I think we’re much safer, I don’t think, I know we are," Acevedo said.

Sixteen agencies met in September to plan the new initiative, and nine departments took part in this first operation. Acevedo said all 16 will eventually participate, and carry out one operation every quarter.

The agencies involved include sheriff's departments from Harris, Montgomery, Galveston, and Waller Counties, HPD, Texas City PD, Galveston PD and Harris County Constables Precinct's three, six and eight.

“Team effort is what matters, making the community safer, and really you get right down to it it’s a quality of life issue, taking these bad guys of the neighborhoods, it’s a better place for our families,” said Chief Kirk Bonsal, of Precinct 4 Constable Office.


Woman who drove onto RR tracks: The GPS told me to do it

By Natalie Musumeci

New York Post
November 26, 2018

A driver trusted her GPS — and ended up on the fast track to possible disaster.

The woman, from the Allegheny County borough of Sewickley, drove her car onto train tracks in Pennsylvania last week all because her device told her to, police said.

Officers with the Duquesne Police Department were dispatched to a vehicle on the railroad tracks at Grant Avenue and State Route 837, the department said.

The cops then learned that the woman took the dangerous route because her “GPS advised her to go this way.”

“The female was 100% sober and had no medical conditions affecting her decision-making,” the Duquesne Police Department wrote in a post on Facebook.

Her car was then towed from the scene and she was cited for careless driving, cops said.


Feds: 'El Chapo's' lawyers helped alleged drug lord have cellphone contact with wife

by Kevin McCoy

USA Today
November 27, 2018

NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors are seeking legal sanctions against Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's defense team for allegedly violating security rules by helping the wife of the accused Mexican drug lord contact him with a forbidden cellphone.

The alleged incident violated the security restrictions surrounding Guzmán's criminal trial in Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors said in a Tuesday letter to U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan.

Guzmán is accused of heading the Sinaloa Cartel, a violent criminal organization prosecutors say shipped tons of narcotics to the United States. He is charged with 17 criminal counts including drug trafficking, conspiring to murder rivals and money laundering.

The security restrictions are based on a Department of Justice determination "that communications and contacts between the defendant and other persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to others," U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue's office wrote in a heavily redacted letter.

The measures "specifically" restrict Guzmán from having telephone contact with his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, prosecutors wrote.

Cogan, who is presiding over the trial, barred Guzmán's request for a brief hug with his wife immediately before the trial began this month.

Despite the security measures, prosecutors wrote, someone whose identity was redacted from the letter appears to have "used cellular telephones in concert with an attorney visit to the defendant following two trial days last week to facilitate unauthorized and ... impermissible contact" between Guzmán and his wife.

Coronel has attended the trial. Guzmán has waved to his wife at least twice when entering Cogan's courtroom.

In most cases, U.S. Marshals Services rules bar nonattorneys from bringing cellphones into the Brooklyn courthouse. But Cogan on Monday notified prosecution and defense lawyers that security staffers had seen Coronel using a cellphone inside the courthouse, the letter said.

Images from the courthouse video surveillance system "confirmed that Coronel did possess a cellular telephone on Nov. 19," prosecutors wrote.

Images documenting the violation were redacted from the letter. A review of similar video footage for Nov. 20, the day that courthouse security personnel reported seeing Coronel with a cellphone, did not turn up confirming images, prosecutors wrote.

Coronel was required to go through a metal detector just outside the courtroom just before the testimony Monday of Miguel Ángel Martínez, an alleged former top lieutenant to Guzmán. He is testifying against Guzmán as a government witness.

To guard against the possibility that Guzmán loyalists might target Martinez, Cogan barred courtroom sketch artists from depicting the witness' face or hairstyle in their drawings.

Cogan is expected to discuss the motion for sanctions against the defense team during Tuesday's trial session, which is scheduled to feature more testimony by Martinez.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


The NASA report on Global Warming and Climate Change predicts dire consequences if Greenhouse Gases are not drastically reduced

By Howie Katz

Big Jolly Times
November 26, 2018

Conspiracy theorists have long held that global warming (aka climate change) is a hoax perpetrated on us by far-left scientists. They cite as proof every time there is an extreme winter storm like the one just experienced by the Midwest and Northeast.

On Friday NASA released a report on Global Warming and Climate Change. The report was based on the findings of top scientists from 13 institutions. It says, “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.”

The gloom-and-doom report predicts dire consequences to the health and well-being of the American people. The scientists warn that we will experience increasing extreme weather, poorer air quality, the spread of new diseases by insects and pests and shortages of food and water. If carbon emissions continue unabated, dangerously high temperatures, rising seas, deadly wildfires, torrential rainfalls and devastating hurricanes will get worse than they are already.

Environmentalists quickly shouted ‘we told you so’ while the all-knowing conspiracy theorist Donald Trump pooh-poohed the report. He now admits there is warming but insists it will cool down.

I’ve always maintained that global warming and global cooling are cyclical, and that man plays a minor role in producing climate change. But in the clash between some of our top scientists and Trump, I’m no longer going to doubt the scientists. I just don’t see them being part of a vast left-wing conspiracy out to destroy our economy. They are not Obama scientists, nor are they Hillary Clinton or Al Gore scientists. I believe they have provided us with credible evidence to prove that Global Warming is for real and to expect dire consequences if Greenhouse Gases are not drastically reduced.

Let’s face it, we and the rest of the civilized world have become dependent on fossil fuels … petroleum, natural gas and coal. When we’re talking about carbon emissions we’re talking largely about cars. We’ve done a lot to reduce air pollution.

I remember a time when coming down from the high desert on I10 near Indio you could see off in the far distance a menacing rust-colored cloudy sky. That was the smog engulfing Los Angeles and other nearby cities. With pollution controls you don’t see that cloud anymore. But let’s not kid ourselves, cars continue to be major contributors to carbon emissions.

The problem is even worse in China, India and the developing counties in Asia. The coal burning factories and smoke belching motor vehicles make high noon look like dusk at sunset time. I’ve been to Beijing and Shanghai when the air pollution was so thick, I thought it was a heavy fog. It was the same in Katmandu, Nepal where you would think the rarified air would be pollution-free. But Katmandu’s motor vehicles go about belching out thick smoke.

When I was in Mexico City, the pollution was so bad you could hardly see the nose on your face. However, my sister just spent several days in Mexico City and says the air there was no longer polluted.

China and India are probably the worst of all polluters. Although China has made some strides in reducing carbon emissions, the smoke stacks of their coal-fueled factories continue to belch out tons of thick smoke. I do not believe India has done much to reduce carbon emissions. Adding to carbon emissions is the fact that many of the 2-3/4 billion Chinese and Indians, especially those in rural areas, cook their meals on small charcoal burning grills.

While the United States and Europe have done much to reduce carbon emissions, much more needs to be done, and done sooner than later. Rolling back Obama’s coal controls may appeal to coal miners but it won’t do anything to reduce greenhouse gases.

What are we going to do about the thousands of aircraft, both civilian and military that are up in the air every day in the U.S. alone? And what about our military forces? Those tanks and self-propelled artillery pieces and rocket launchers belch out gobs of diesel burning smoke. It’s not just our tanks, but it’s also the tanks of NATO, Russia, Israel, Egypt, China, North and South Korea, etc.

Environmentalist say we should depend on our electricity needs solely on solar and wind power. I have some serious doubts about that.

Are people willing to pay the price for the changes the new NASA report calls for? I don’t think so. Just look at what happened in France Saturday. When French President Emmanuel Macron raised fuel taxes as a means of getting people to drive their cars less, there was rioting in the streets of Paris.

The problem is that people want to believe the climate change deniers like Trump and the conspiracy theorists who insist global warming is a hoax.

NOTE: NASA lists the following groups whose scientists contributed to its report:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Medical Association
American Meteorological Societ
American Physical Society
The Geological Society of America
U.S. National Academy of Sciences
U.S. Global Change Research Program
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Plus resources from worldwide scientific organizations