Former teacher accused of kidnapping ‘troubled’ teenager captured at a remote California cabin

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/20/a-former-teacher-accused-of-kidnapping-a-troubled-teenager-has-been-arrested-in-california/?utm_term=.02ba413b9030

 

During the nearly six weeks that Tad Cummins and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas were missing, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received more than 1,500 tips.

Late Wednesday night, the tip they were desperately hoping for finally arrived.

It came from a caller who told investigators that the 50-year-old Cummins and the teenager he is accused of abducting might be living in a remote cabin near Cecilville, Calif., a onetime mining town about 100 miles from the Oregon border.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said investigators quickly coordinated with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, which was able to locate a silver Nissan Rogue belonging to Cummins and keep the vehicle under surveillance for several hours.

“The area where the pair was reported to be is a very remote, isolated area with no or limited cellphone services,” DeVine said. “As daylight broke this morning, they were able to take Tad Cummins into custody and safely recover Elizabeth without incident.”

Authorities said Elizabeth was physically unharmed, but they declined to comment on her emotional well-being or where the pair has been since they vanished last month.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said Elizabeth will be flown back to Tennessee in a TBI aircraft to be reunited with her family. At the same time, he noted, investigators from TBI, the FBI and the Maury County Sheriff’s Office are on their way to Northern California to continue their investigation.

NEW: Here’s the mug shot of Tad Cummins from California. He’s now facing state and federal charges.

Gwyn said Cummins — who is being held by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department without bond — faces charges that “could keep him behind bars for many years.”

“What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end,” he added. “We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”

Once Cummins is extradited to Tennessee, he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, authorities said.

Acting U.S. attorney Jack Smith said his office had also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for criminal sexual intercourse — a charge that carries a minimum 10 year sentence.

Anthony Thomas, Elizabeth’s father, told NBC affiliate WSMV-TV that he wasn’t surprised that they were in the northwest and said he’d heard the pair were in a commune.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “She’s probably going to be hungry.”

“We’re going to have to figure out what kind of state of mind she’s in, of course, and probably get her some help,” he said. “Maybe a long road, but at least we’ve got her back.”

Maury County Public Schools also issued statement Thursday, calling Elizabeth’s return “wonderful news for our community.”

“Thanks go to all who have kept the message of finding Elizabeth Thomas and working on her safe return as top-of-mind throughout the nation,” it said.

The teen and Cummins — a 50-year-old from Middle Tennessee — had been missing since March 13, when an Amber Alert was issued. Cummins was Elizabeth’s high school teacher at Culleoka Unit School.

“Investigative efforts have revealed a troubling pattern of behavior by Tad Cummins, suggesting the 50-year-old may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her,” the agency said in a statewide Amber Alert.

“Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her, frankly, anywhere,” the agency said last month.

On March 13, video surveillance at a Columbia gas station showed Cummins filling up his silver Nissan Rogue. A short time later, investigators say, he drove to a Shoney’s restaurant, where Elizabeth had been dropped off by a friend and was waiting. Investigators said they think he manipulated her into leaving with him, but he wasn’t authorized to take a minor, and she wasn’t old enough to consent. That afternoon, investigators say, they determined Elizabeth was 80 miles away in Decatur, Ala.

 

Then, nothing. After their disappearance, investigators said they had received hundreds of tips from 24 states, but not enough information to tighten the dragnet despite a multi-state manhunt and Cummins’s addition to Tennessee’s most-wanted list.

In a news release, the TBI said Cummins might be keeping Elizabeth out of sight of authorities, possibly sleeping in his car or in a rural community.

Last month, the agency released new images of Cummins in an effort to keep the case in the spotlight. The pictures were from a week before Cummins and Elizabeth disappeared, and they showed him wearing a camouflage cap and pushing a shopping cart at a store.

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One California Democrat Is Already Calling for Trump’s Impeachment and the Rest of the Country Could Be Soon to Follow

Over the weekend tens of thousands of Americans once more took to the streets to protest Donald Trump. In major cities and small towns across the country, citizens demanded that their president do what every president for the past 40 years has done: Release his tax returns. Trump’s response was to petulantly tweet that he did the impossible for a Republican by winning the Electoral College (the opposite is true; just ask George W. Bush) and suggesting that someone “look into” who paid the protesters because “the election is over.”

Evidently he thought that winning the election meant everyone would march in lockstep singing “We love you, President Trump!” like they do in North Korea. He’d better get used to protests because they aren’t going to stop. (The March for Science next weekend should really make him mad.)

The anti-Trump resistance is very much a grassroots effort, but there are leaders emerging. One of the most vocal is Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles. Appearing at the Washington Tax Day march on Saturday, Waters put it bluntly: “I don’t respect this president. I don’t trust this president. He’s not working in the best interests of the American people. I will fight every day until he is impeached!” Then she led the crowd in a chant of “Impeach 45!” It doesn’t get any more resistant than that.

Waters has always been a tough and forceful politician, unafraid to take a position and speak her mind. She first came to national attention after the Rodney King riots when she went on TV and explained to America through gritted teeth that the African-American community in L.A. hadn’t just exploded out of nowhere. It was a message a lot of people didn’t want to hear, but she made sure they got it anyway. She’s been a thorn in the side of conservatives ever since then, once inspiring Ann Coulter to venomously spew that without affirmative action Waters “wouldn’t have a job that didn’t involve wearing a paper hat.” Right-wingers often lose their composure when confronted with such a strong, unapologetic African-American woman who is unafraid of getting right up in their faces.

Waters has been appearing on TV again lately, and she has plenty to say about all the various Trump scandals. Her message is very simple: Trump must be impeached. Obviously Republicans are outraged (as usual) insisting that such talk is downright seditious. Very few Democrats are ready to join her at this point either. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi believes such talk is premature at best; she has said that Trump is “incoherent,” “incompetent” and “reckless,” but insists those aren’t grounds for impeachment. According to Clare Malone at 538, Waters understands that Pelosi has an obligation to stay above the fray but says, “I don’t have the same responsibility.” She sees herself in a completely different role.

It may seem that Waters just has a pugilistic personality and is out front because it’s her political style to mix it up. But there is a strategy at work in this. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that a president was impeached for only the second time in history and it was over a “crime” that seems laughably insubstantial compared to the possibilities Donald Trump could face. Just for starters, Trump’s presidential campaign is being investigated in a counter-intelligence probe, and his conflicts of interest are so wide and so deep that almost anything could implicate him in a corruption scandal. Impeachment is really not a far-fetched proposition.

Back in the 1990s, President Bill Clinton’s administration was under siege from almost the moment he took office. There was one small-bore, semi-fictitious scandal after another, from Filegate to Travelgate to Haircutgate to Vince Foster’s suicide and of course the ancient Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater, from years before Clinton ran for president. The media lapped them up, reporting each new development with breathless excitement, piling them on top of each other until it seemed as though there wasn’t anything else happening in the world.

Some of the motivation for all this was simple partisan payback. Richard Nixon was a crook who’d been run out of Washington and Republicans were yearning to return the favor. Beating Jimmy Carter in 1980 was nice but it wasn’t enough. They wanted to rub the Democrats’ smug, self-righteous faces in the dirt and the Southern Gothic fever swamp that accompanied Clinton to Washington offered an excellent opportunity. But in spite of the Republicans’ deep desire to get Clinton, their primary game plan was merely to force his resignation (as had happened with Nixon). There was very little discussion of impeachment through all those years of endless scandal-mongering.

Only one man, Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., kept bringing it up despite strong pushback from House Speaker Newt Gingrich and every other member of the GOP leadership. Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said at the time, “I don’t think we have the kind of evidentiary basis to be talking about impeachment at this time. I don’t really think you should, when it’s such an important matter and it’s frankly still in the abstract.”

Barr kept at it. Before anyone had heard the name Monica Lewinsky or had read the salacious report ultimately produced by independent counsel Ken Starr, Barr had introduced H.R 304, directing the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether grounds existed to impeach the president. When the Lewinsky scandal broke, unanticipated by anyone (including Barr), the groundwork had been laid.

Waters is following the Barr model. Impeachment is the nuclear option of nuclear options, when it comes to Congress confronting the president. It’s the only means by which a president can be removed from office for cause and it isn’t easy to do, especially when the president’s party holds the majority. (Only two presidents have ever been impeached by the House — Clinton and Andrew Johnson — and neither was convicted in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required.) But if one of Trump’s many scandals should end up implicating him in a crime, it’s important that the Democrats and the American people be ready for it. Waters is getting the I-word out there into the atmosphere and priming Trump’s political opposition. It’s a job that takes guts and foresight and she’s good at it.

If the Democrats can pull off a wave election in 2018 and take back the House, they will be ready to follow an impeachment investigation wherever it leads. That will largely be thanks to Maxine Waters.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

California Office of White Replacement

http://www.renegadetribune.com/california-office-white-replacement/

 

It is important to understand the forces arrayed against us, working tirelessly for White genocide. Nowhere does this evil do its work more openly than in jewish-ruled, jewish-fooled Kabbalafornia. The Magic Dirt theory, that human flotsam washing up on our shores is miraculously transformed into ‘Meri-Cans by being within some arbitrary and unenforced borders, is disproved time and again by a “state” that is now overrun by Third World colonists. Predictably, the mud peoples transform formerly safe and prosperous White homelands into the violent, filthy, corrupt wastelands that are the natural outcomes of their genetically programmed dysfunction. The anti-White agenda is on full display at the Office of Immigration Assistance, a division of the California Dept. of Justice that represents the “interests” of sullen, grasping, ungrateful invaders from the most backward regions of the globe.

California is home to more immigrants than any other state. The vast majority come from Latin America and Asia.”

How shocking!  You mean the proponents of the (((Hart-Cellar))) Immigration Act of 1965 weren’t entirely honest with us?  Here was Good Goy and drunk driving enthusiast Ted Kennedy: “The ethnic mix of this country will not be upset…Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the (((Hart-Cellar))) Act] will not inundate America with immigrants from any other country or area, or the most populated and economically deprived nations of Africa and Asia.” I guess he didn’t specifically mention Latin America among the deprived nations so, by twisted talmudic logic, he was being completely forthright.

Protecting California’s immigrant communities through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws, consumer protections, pro-bono services for vulnerable, undocumented youth, and other programs, is a major priority for [the Attorney General]… Housed within the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section, the Office also directs complaints to appropriate law enforcement agencies and helps immigrants use the legal system to seek redress.”

Translation: Protecting the colonists who are replacing Whites through selective enforcement, ex post facto laws, “free” full-time litigators for illegal aliens (at taxpayer expense), and other programs in furtherance of White genocide is a major priority for the Attorney General… Housed within the Department of Justice’s “White’s Not Welcome” Section, the Office uses all available law enforcement agencies to prosecute White disenfranchisement and helps foreign invaders sue the native population.  Don’t get any funny ideas Whitey: the state can’t technically commit treason against you, only you can commit it against the state.

The number of children fleeing violence in their home countries and arriving unaccompanied in the United States is on the rise, creating a humanitarian crisis.”

This is a jewmanitarian crisis, so Whites from South Africa, Rhodesia or Ukraine need not apply. To ensure we have the most anti-American invaders possible, first we bomb their countries, then we import the survivors into our homeland. Children, of course, means fully grown men in their twenties. We want the sewage people from the most violent and alien cultures possible: Somalia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Aztexico. A pack of ISIS Syrians is probably already on the fast track for “naturalization” so we can have those elusive homegrown terrorists we’re supposed to be worried about, but who never seem to do much of anything. Remember, if you have a problem with this, the California failed-state has a whole division of attorneys ready to litigate you into debt-servitude.

Attorney General Harris issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies detailing new responsibilities under state law to assist immigrant crime victims in applying for U visas, a form of immigration relief specifically for victims of crime who lack authorized immigration status. The new law also requires certifying entities to complete the certification within 90 days of the request, except in cases where the applicant is in immigration removal proceedings, in which case the certification must be completed within 14 days of the request.”

The U visa is one of the most appalling scams to dispossess and replace White America.  All an invader has to do is be a victim of crime and “be helpful” to law enforcement, which means filing a police report is usually enough. Honesty is optional; just file that report with some helpful crocodile tears, instead of the usual sullen, angry stare. If rival Aztexican gangs snitch on each other enough, the entire illegal alien gang population could be eligible for U visas in no time flat! The “victim” invaders get to bring in their families of course, and they’re all eligible for green cards in three years. The closer invaders are to being deported (by expensive and inefficient courtroom proceedings), the faster the corrupt Californistan authorities conspire to keep them here.

Most grounds for being inadmissible to the US don’t apply to U visa invaders; criminals, terrorists, and communists are all welcome. Just be a victim, be “helpful.”  The only people that can’t get one are Nazis, torturers, and people engaged in genocide. And no, White genocide doesn’t count.


Quotations from this Article: https://oag.ca.gov/immigrant

Why the cost of cigarettes just went up in California

As if smokers in California don’t get enough grief, come Saturday they’ll be ponying up an extra $2 for a pack of cigarettes, bringing some brands closer to $10 a pack.

That represents as much as a 40 percent hike for a single pack. Cartons under the new tax would go up an additional $20. And, the tax applies to e-cigarettes.

Smokers can thank California voters, who on Nov. 8, voted yes on Proposition 56 — the biggest tax on cigarettes since the state began taxing them in 1959. The money will be used to administer the tax, augment Medi-Cal and fund more doctors, prevention programs and research into tobacco-related diseases, according to the legislation.

Expected revenue is $1 billion to $1.4 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal year, although that may decrease over time, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Yes on Prop. 56 garnered about 64 percent of the vote, or 9 million votes, versus 5 million no votes.

The extra two bucks comes on top of an existing 87-cent-per-pack state tax on cigarettes and an existing $1.01 federal tax that was approved in 2009 under the Obama administration.

But will the new tax hurt cigarette sales for retailers? Retailers say yes — but with a caveat.

“Of course we’re going to lose sales, but maybe only for a while,” said Doris Cruz, who manages a Circle K store in Placentia.

“People who smoke will always smoke. They will try their best to cut down,” she said, but eventually, they’ll absorb the extra cost.

Cigarette sales could drop 30 to 40 percent for the first couple of months, said Medhat Abdelmessih, a cashier at Sam’s Smoke & Vape in Anaheim, but he believes they’ll bounce back, as smokers work through a number of phases, not unlike denial or grief.

“People will complain the first month,” he said. By the second month, “They’ll say, ‘oh, I’ve got to quit.’ ” But then they’ll realize the price has climbed consistently for years, and they never ended up quitting. So why quit now?

“So I feel it doesn’t matter. For my store here, it may decrease my sales a little bit, but eventually, it will be the same,” Abdelmessih said.

Emad Nakla, owner of S & E Food Store & Liquor Store in Ontario, agrees.

“My expectation for the customer, in the beginning, for sure he will decrease the dose,” Nakla said. “Let’s say a customer smokes one pack of cigarettes a day. Then maybe once you surprise him with $2 more, he will cut it down a little bit, but he’s not going to quit completely.”

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While other store managers measure the hiatuses in months, Nakla said he expects to see customers return in a matter of weeks. Credit reality.

“Once (the smoker) gets under stress or gets mad, the first thing he will think about will be to smoke,” Nakla said.

As Nakla was speaking, Wardell Moore, 47, of Rancho Cucamonga was buying a pack of Kools just days before the planned price hike. On cue, he went through the phases of cigarette taxation reaction.

“That’s when I’m going to stop smoking,” Moore said of April 1. “Ain’t no way in the world I’m paying (nearly) $10 a pack.”

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group, claims that every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices could lead to as much as a 5 percent decline in cigarette smoking.

But Robert Kaestner, a professor of public policy and economics at UC Riverside, said research he’s done doesn’t bear that out.

At a 40 percent price hike, “The quantitative effect is very small,” Kaestner said. “This $2 price hike is not really going to reduce the number of smokers that much. Our evidence suggested that a 100 percent increase in the tax would reduce smoking by at most 3 or 5 percent. It is a very small effect.”

Kaestner said while much of the revenue will go to help support Medi-Cal, it will be on the backs of smokers, many of whom are in the low-income economic bracket.

“It’s going to save lives, but not as many as they claim, and it will be a regressive tax on low-income people transferred to Medicaid providers,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of upside there.”

Business expert Jay Prag, a professor of economics and finance at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, also was skeptical about the effectiveness of the tax — especially when consumers have options.

“There obviously will be a certain amount of people who will stop buying legal cigarettes, the ones with the tax on them,” Prag said. “That’s not to say they will all quit smoking. They’ll find some place else to buy cigarettes out of state, or in the underground market and various other things.

“What that will ultimately do is defeat two purposes of the bill. They won’t get as much revenue from it, and they won’t necessarily decrease the number of people smoking. People will simply find someplace else to buy them.”

Switching to e-cigarettes won’t help, because they’re also subject to the tax, which has Robert Sanchez, owner of Vape Warehouse in San Bernardino, irked.

“If the laws continue like this, it will be detrimental to our industry,” Sanchez said. “We’re trying to help people get off traditional analog cigarettes and if our industry is taken down by big tobacco, it will lead everybody back to smoking traditional analog cigarettes. (It’s a concern) from a business standpoint, but also to the public’s health.”

Smoker Luis Sanchez, 32, is one who won’t quit. The Yorba Linda resident was at the Cigarette King store in Placentia on Monday, and said he doesn’t plan on quitting yet.

And he’s OK with the tax.

“I have kids too. I don’t want them to smoke, and I try to not smoke around them,” Sanchez said. “Whatever there is to offer out there for other kids or young adults that do want to smoke, if there are prevention programs to help them, I don’t mind that my money goes toward that. It’s an annoyance but if the money is going to a good place then I don’t mind.”

California chief justice to ICE: Stop ‘stalking’ immigrants at courthouses

California’s top judge criticized federal immigration agents for using courthouses as “bait” — a place for “stalking” immigrants who “pose no risk to public safety.”

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly amid reports of federal agents going to courthouses and scouting for immigrants who are not in the country legally.

Such incidents have been reported in California, Texas, OregonColorado and Arizona.

In the letter, Cantil-Sakauye requested that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stop arresting immigrants at courthouses.

“I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests,” she wrote. “… Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.”

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said immigration officers make arrests at courthouses only after exhausting other options.

“It’s important to note that many of the arrest targets ICE has sought out at or near courthouses are foreign nationals who have prior criminal convictions in the U.S.,” Kice said in a statement. “In years past, most of these individuals would have been turned over to ICE by local authorities upon their release from jail based on ICE detainers. … In such instances where deportation officers seek to conduct an arrest at a courthouse, every effort is made to take the person into custody in a secure area, out of public view, but this is not always possible.”

Kice said making an arrest at a courthouse eliminates the safety risks of detaining someone on the street.

“These individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat,” she said. “When ICE Fugitive Operations officers have to go out into the community to proactively locate these criminal aliens, regardless of the precautions they take, it needlessly puts our personnel and potentially innocent bystanders in harm’s way. … Because courthouse visitors are typically screened upon entry to search for weapons and other contraband, the safety risks for the arresting officers and for the arrestee are substantially diminished.”

Tracking down fugitives, Kice said, requires significant resources because many of them use aliases and don’t have viable addresses or places of employment.

“A courthouse may afford the most likely opportunity to locate a target and take him or her into custody,” Kice said.

A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment, beyond noting that the agency will review the letter.

Cantil-Sakauye’s letter echoes concerns raised across the country by some local and state officials who fear that ICE’s increased presence at courthouses may deter immigrants from coming to court for legal matters, such as testifying or seeking protective orders from alleged abusers.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon called the approach “very shortsighted” and said it has a “chilling impact” on the community, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In El Paso, county officials said federal agents made false or misleading claims when they arrested a transgender woman who had just obtained a protective order against her live-in partner, local media reported. Federal officials said in an affidavit that they detained Irvin Gonzalez on the street, but surveillance videos showed men in casual clothing detaining Gonzalez just outside the courtroom.

“I knew what the truth was when every witness — the lawyers and the judge — said that ICE was there,” El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar said last month, the El Paso Times reported. “Then the video left absolutely no room for doubt. You see his hand on her arm. She was not free to go. She was in his custody.”

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal said Gonzalez’s detention was alarming and could wind up keeping other domestic violence victims from coming forward.

“Our clients come to us at the lowest point of their lives,” Bernal said, according to the El Paso newspaper. “Many of them are so frightened of coming to us because of possible immigration concerns.”

After the incident in Texas, officials in Oregon’s Multnomah County asked for the public’s help in reporting ICE raids at courthouses.

“The possible increase in these incidents across the country is concerning,” county officials said in a statement last month. “Abusers often use threats of deportation to prevent their victims from seeking help. Courthouses should be safe locations for people to access justice, particularly people who are fleeing violent relationships.”

In Denver, ICE agents in plain clothes were seen outside a courtroom waiting to pick up a Mexican national who was in court for a sentencing hearing for stealing tools in 2015, according to NBC affiliate KUSA.

In Portland, Ore., three ICE agents, also in plain clothes, watched a Mexican national inside the Multnomah County courthouse for several minutes before one of the man’s attorneys told the agents he would cooperate. Ivan Rodriguez Resendiz told the Oregonian that he went to court because he’d violated his probation by driving under the influence.

Rodriguez Resendiz was not arrested that day, but the agents followed him and his attorney to the lawyer’s office, the Oregonian reported.

“It was disturbing to say the least,” Rodriguez Resendiz’s attorney, Jennifer List, told the Oregonian. “They didn’t go up and say, ‘We’re ICE. And by the way, we’re interested in talking to your client.’ They don’t say anything. They aren’t upfront. They aren’t wearing a badge.”

In her letter, Cantil-Sakauye, the first Filipino American and the second woman to lead the California Supreme Court, said the majority of undocumented immigrants who show up in court “pose no risk to public safety.” Stalking courthouses to arrest them, she wrote, is “neither safe nor fair.”

“They not only compromise our core values of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice,” she wrote.

Here’s Cantil-Sakauye’s full letter:

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly:

As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.

Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.

Our courts are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives. Crime victims, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, witnesses to crimes who are aiding law enforcement, limited-English speakers, unrepresented litigants, and children and families all come to our courts seeking justice and due process of law. As finders of fact, trial courts strive to mitigate fear to ensure fairness and protect legal rights. Our work is critical for ensuring public safety and the efficient administration of justice.

Most Americans have more daily contact with their state and local governments than with the federal government, and I am concerned about the impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be.

Each layer of government — federal, state, and local — provides a portion of the fabric of our society that preserves law and order and protects the rights and freedoms of the people. The separation of powers and checks and balances at the various levels and branches of government ensure the harmonious existence of the rule of law.

The federal and state governments share power in countless ways, and our roles and responsibilities are balanced for the public good. As officers of the court, we judges uphold the constitutions of both the United States and California, and the executive branch does the same by ensuring that our laws are fairly and safely enforced. But enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice. I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement in California’s courthouses.

California veterinarian now offering sex change operations for transgender dogs and cats

Image: California veterinarian now offering sex change operations for transgender dogs and cats

Dr. Carlos Walter, a veterinarian from Contra Costa County in Northern California, is the first DVM in the country to perform sexual reassignment surgery for dogs and cats. As Dr. Walter notes, “Spaying and neutering of pets is already a universally accepted method of animal population control, so I’m just taking it a step further.”

Dr. Walter was a traditional vet until just a few months ago, when he adoped a niche marketing strategy by focusing exclusively on transgender animals. He rebranded himself as “The Sex-Change Vet” and freethinking pet owners soon began lining up in droves. “Our waiting list is about 6 months long,” reports Bruno, his openly heterosexual receptionist.

Awakened by the growing acceptance of human transgenderism, many pet owners are becoming much more sensitive to the true sexual identity of their pets. “I always knew my boy cat self-identified as a girl, so I’ve called him Zsa-Zsa ever since he was a kitten,” explains Joann Brandenburg, a full-time eBayer from Pomona, California. “I’m really looking forward to having Dr. Walter cut Zsa-Zsa’s penis off.”

Lucy, a female dog who identifies as a male cat, is one of the 912 pets currently on Dr. Walter’s waiting list. Lucy’s owner, an opera queen named Bobby Buffington, is thrilled about his dog’s imminent sex change, but wishes there was some way to change Lucy’s species as well. “I know Lucy will be happier with a penis instead of a disgusting vagina,” Mr. Buffington said. “But until she can live freely as a cat, she will never be truly whole.”

But Dr. Walter is hesitant to perform a species change operation. “I’ve never even experimented with that,” he confessed. “I’m pretty artistic though, so I could probably make Lucy resemble something akin to a cat — but she, I mean he, would actually still be a dog.”

Not surprisingly, poodles are the most common breed on Dr. Walter’s waiting list. As The Sex-Change Vet explains: “Poodles used to look like normal dogs, but a couple of centuries ago they became the favorite pet of high society women, who began shaving the poodle’s nether regions for unspoken reasons, giving that breed the distinctive transgender look it has had ever since.”

California Department of Public Health Hid This Warning on Cell Phone Radiation for Years

http://www.renegadetribune.com/california-department-public-health-hid-warning-cell-phone-radiation-years/

 

By Daniel Lang of The Daily Sheeple

At this point, the idea that cell phone radiation can be harmful to your health is kind of an open secret. It’s a secret in the sense that the media and the cell phone companies don’t talk about it very much. It’s also never been scientifically proven that cell phone signals can hurt you. At the same time however, most cell phone user manuals warn you not to keep these devices too close to your body. Clearly the cell phone companies think that their devices may be dangerous.

But the cell phone companies aren’t alone. The government also refuses to talk about the dangers of cell phones while quietly admitted that there may be a problem. In fact, it was recently found that the California Department of Public Health had hidden a document drafted years ago, that contained concerns about cellphone radiation from health officials.

It was released this week after Joel Moskowitz, who is the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley, sued the state in order to have the document published. Though the document is dated April 2014, Moskowitz says that it was actually created seven years ago and periodically updated from time to time. The document has “Draft and Not for Public Release” stamped across the pages.

The document says that cell phone use may increase brain cancer risks, and that “cellphone EMFs can affect nearby cells and tissues.” It also recommends keeping the cell phone away from your body by using headsets and texting, and turning the phone off when it’s in your pocket. The document warns that cell phone radiation “can pass deeper into a child’s brain than an adult’s,” and recommends that parents limit their children’s use of cell phones. Why the Department of Public Health has hidden this document is a mystery.


This article originally appeared on The Daily Sheeple.

Every 200 years California suffers a storm of biblical proportions — this year’s rains are just a precursor

Photo by Brian Baer/ California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images

A series of storms have inundated California over the past few weeks, and the latest deluge is currently swelling rivers and reservoirs that are already spilling over. Vast swathes of California continue to be at risk for flooding as the storm runoff makes its way through river systems, the National Weather Service warns. Across California, residents were evacuatedwhen local rivers flooded, including a small Northern California town that experienced a levee breach Monday night.

The severe flooding may feel like a whiplash development in a state that’s been locked in drought for five years — and in an “exceptional drought” for three of them. Still, California has seen worse: massive floods have swept through the state about every 200 years for the past 2,000 years or more, climate scientists Michael Dettinger and Lynn Ingram recount in a 2013 article.

The most recent was a series of storms that lasted for a near-biblical 43 days between 1861 and 1862, creating a vast lake where California’s Central Valley had been. Floodwaters drowned thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of cattle, and forced the state’s government to move from Sacramento to San Francisco.

More than 150 years have passed since California’s last, great flood — and a team of researchers with the US Geological Survey have predicted what kind of damage a similar flood would cause today. Their simulation, called the ARkStorm, anticipates that a stretch of the Central Valley 300 miles long by 20 miles wide would be underwater. Cities up and down the coast of California would flood. Winds would howl 60 to 125 miles per hour, and landslides would make roads impassable.

Yes, that’s a waterfall behind the house. Anderson dam spillway in full force now. @CBSSF

Although the simulation didn’t include a body count, Dettinger and Ingram predicted that thousands of people would probably die. And it could happen again any time: it’s been 150 years since the 1861–1862 floods, they wrote. “So it appears that California may be due for another episode soon.”

This winter’s heavy precipitation has already caused a slew of problems; California’s governor Jerry Brown called a state of emergency after December and January’s storms to ensure that 50 counties would be able to get funds to repair the damage. Last week, the Oroville Dam’s crumbling emergency spillway triggered the emergency evacuation of more than 180,000 people.

Now, the state’s Department of Water Resources is turning its attention to the Don Pedro Dam in Tuolumne County, California — about two hours due west of Yosemite National Park. The dam operators opened the spillway Monday afternoon, which will mean higher water levels in the river system for a while, says Jon Ericson with the California Department of Water Resources. People who live along the Tuolumne River are being encouraged to move to higher ground, the LA Times reported on Monday.

“We’re really going to be very vigilant,” Ericson told The Verge on Monday. “We always are, but especially the next 24 to 48 hours there’s going to be quite a bit of water that’s going to be coming through the system.”

Don Pedro Controlled Spillway Gate has been opened.

Though the impact has been extensive, Marty Ralph, the director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the University of California, San Diego, doesn’t think that this latest storm is this century’s equivalent to the 1861–1862 floods. “They are the same type,” Ralph says. “But I don’t think that they’re the magnitude that that ARkStorm predicted.”

Both storms, Ralph says, are the result of an atmospheric river, first identified in 1998. An atmospheric river is a massive ribbon of water vapor that flows off the Pacific Ocean and combines with strong, low-altitude winds. They stretch about 250 to 375 miles across, but can reach from 1,000 to more than 2,000 miles in length. “It’s about the equivalent of 20 Mississippi Rivers’ worth of water, but it’s in the form of water vapor rather than liquid,” Ralph says. When it hits the coastal mountains, the stream of warm, wet air is forced upward, where it cools and condenses into massive rain clouds.

“It’s definitely a very unusually very wet year for us,” Ralph says, but he doesn’t think that it’s an ARkStorm type year. “Now that’s not to say that couldn’t happen, which would be highly tragic.”

Atmospheric river infographic by NOAAInfographic by NOAA

In a typical year, around nine atmospheric rivers shower California with precipitation. They’re a critical source of about a third to half of the annual water in a state where the summers are usually bone-dry. But they also frequently go hand in hand with devastating wind storms, which can cause billions of dollars of damage, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Geosciences.

“When we get a sequence of them, or we get too many and the soils are real moist and the rivers are high and the reservoirs are full, then they can go from being largely beneficial — because we need water in the West — to hazards,” Ralph says.

That’s the situation we’re in now, Ralph says, with about 30 atmospheric rivers since October 1st — and it’s something we can expect to see more of. As global temperatures continue to climb, the air can hold more water vapor — which means calmer winds, but warmer and wetter atmospheric rivers, more often. And that means more flooding.

“This situation that we’re seeing with the pronounced drought punctuated by wet conditions that are producing a lot of runoff — that is exactly what we are seeing intensify in the historical record,” says Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. “And it’s exactly what climate models project for the future.”

Climate change could exacerbate the dynamic as we struggle with an aging and already failing infrastructure. We can probably expect more, and worse catastrophes than Oroville’s crumbling spillway. That’s why Newsha Ajami, Stanford’s director of Urban Water Policy, says, “Coming up with new more innovative management and operational rules that reflect the 21st century climatic realities — I think that is really an important issue.”

The good news is that the weather seems to be calming down — for now. Over the past 48 hours, two to three inches of rain washed over the Sacramento valley and between five and eight inches fell in the Sierra Nevadas, Eric Kurth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told The Verge. At least a foot of snow fell at higher mountain elevations, and more is expected. The winds have calmed down today, but yesterday they howled at 199mph through California’s mountain peaks. Thursday should bring a brief dry spell, but more typical, cold winter weather will follow.

“The good part, though, is that the more precipitation that we get in the form of snow, the less is running off into streams and rivers and creeks, so it’s definitely much less of a flood issue,” Kurth says. Still, he adds, there could be some ongoing flooding in California’s Central Valley. “The ground is saturated, and creeks and rivers are high, so adding anything additional could always cause some problems.”

California and President Trump are going to war with each other

President Trump had harsh words for one of his most fervent opponents during the pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that aired Sunday. Not President Vladimir Putin, mind you, whose alleged unpleasant habit of murdering journalists met with a shrug from the president. No, Trump lashed out at the nation’s largest state, California.

“I just spent the week in California,” O’Reilly said. “As you know, they are now voting on whether they should become a sanctuary state. So California and the U.S.A. are on a collision course. How do you see it?”

“Well, I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump replied. “Sanctuary cities, as you know I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities. They breed crime, there’s a lot of problems. We have to well defund, we give tremendous amounts of money to California . . . California in many ways is out of control, as you know. Obviously the voters agree or otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for me.”

“So defunding is your weapon of choice?” O’Reilly asked.

“A weapon. I don’t want to defund the state,” Trump said. “I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon.”

What is a ‘sanctuary city’?

Sanctuary laws received national attention in July 2015 after an illegal immigrant with prior deportations and a criminal history pleaded not guilty to murdering a woman at a San Francisco pier. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities. Here’s what they are. (Jayne W. Orenstein and Osman Malik/The Washington Post)

We’ll note first of all that sanctuary cities do not “breed crime.” Analysis of FBI data shows that crime in sanctuary cities is generally lower than in non-sanctuary cities. But that’s beside the point.

More importantly, Trump says two things. First, that California is “out of control.” Second, that he doesn’t want to yank federal funding from the state, but he will if he has to.

California is one of the few states where federal funding isn’t that great a point of leverage. In 2015, California generated $405 billion in tax revenue, more than $100 billion more than the next-closest state. It consumes a lot of federal funding, too, mind you. But data from Pew Research for 2014 compared to 2014 IRS data shows that California gives the federal government more than it takes.

Eight states give more, on net, to the federal government than California. Most states take more than they generate in taxes.

What’s more, data from the Tax Foundation indicates that federal funding makes up far less of California’s total state revenue than most other states’. It’s 43rd in that regard, with about 26 percent of revenue coming from D.C. That’s still a substantial portion, but California’s in a much stronger position to negotiate than most places.

It’s not clear why Trump says that California is “out of control.” If he’s talking about the state’s finances, California is in a much stronger position than it was five years ago. After massive deficits in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the state has consistently operated in the black. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) recently warned that the state might operate at a deficit in 2017-2018, but relative to past deficits, the projection is fairly small. If, however, Trump is saying California is out of control in regards to his go-to metric, crime, the state is very much in control.

We need to step back from this, though, and recognize the broader context.

Trump is mad about California because voters there overwhelmingly rejected Trump in November. Trump supporters have repeatedly tried to affix an “except California” asterisk to the popular vote result since, were it not for California, Trump would have prevailed on that metric. Saying “except California” has the tricky flaw of equaling “except for 12 percent of the American population,” but, hey, it’s politics.

Trump hasn’t said “except California,” except to suggest repeatedly that perhaps the 4 million-plus margin by which he lost the state includes perhaps millions of fraudulent votes. There’s no evidence of this whatsoever. He’s also claimed that he intentionally didn’t campaign in California because only the electoral vote mattered. Hillary Clinton didn’t campaign there, either, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt her much.

The University of California at Berkeley canceled a talk by inflammatory Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos and put the campus on lockdown after intense protests broke out on Feb. 1. (Video: The Washington Post / Photo: AP)

Last week, Trump’s war with California took the form of attacking its public college system. After violent protests erupted on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, Trump suggested that he would pull funding from the school, which a) punishes the wrong party, since it wasn’t as though the school asked people to riot and b) can’t be done by executive order anyway.

For its part, there’s a movement in California to secede from the United States. Supporters of the idea are collecting petitions to get it on the ballot in the state in 2018, which, if passed, would have the effect of doing basically nothing. (We’ve been through this attempt-to-secede thing before; it ended poorly.) When Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, there was a briefly a similar effort by the biggest red state, Texas. It didn’t get anywhere, either.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that the most visible manifestation of the California economy — the tech industry — had broadly united to file a joint amicus brief in opposition to Trump’s executive order on immigration. The tech industry employs a lot of immigrants to the United States, so there’s clearly a business motivation to take such a stand.

So this is the Cold Civil War that’s erupted. Trump threatens California’s funding; California threatens to pack up and go. Neither is likely to happen. But still — if you predicted that a president’s relationship with the Golden State would be rockier than his relationship with Russia, I’d like to ask your help with some lottery numbers.

Massive Child Sex Ring Busted in CA — 474 Arrested, 28 Children Saved

http://www.renegadetribune.com/massive-child-sex-ring-busted-ca-474-arrested-28-children-saved/

 

By Matt Agorist of The Free Thought Project

In a massive statewide operation targeting human traffickers, hundreds of people were arrested and dozens of sexually-exploited children were saved.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

These are the men & women to thank for rescuing 27 Adult & 28 juvenile females, and attesting 36 suspected traffickers & 142 “Johns” @LASDHQ

The bust was part of a statewide operation to combat human trafficking, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday.

According to KTLA, more than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces, as well as the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, participated in the third annual “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” enforcement operation, according to a sheriff’s news release.

The operation resulted in 474 arrests including 142 males on solicitation charges, and 36 males for pimping.

It is important to note that some of these arrests included people trying to simply pay another willing adult to have sex with them.

In the Land of the Free, it is against the law to get paid to have sex, unless that sex is filmed, distributed on DVD, and taxed. One of the least talked about systems of oppression in the US is that of persecuting prostitutes.

When referencing prostitution, it is critical to point out that we are talking about the mutually beneficial exchange of sexual favors for money by two or more consenting adults; not forced human trafficking.


Renegade Editor’s Note: we should be working toward a better world, where no one would resort to becoming or using a prostitute.


That being said, however, during the operation, officers rescued 28 children who were being sexually exploited and offered services to 27 adults they said were victims of sex trafficking. These victims were not part of a voluntary process and instead were bought and sold as commodities to sick individuals without their consent.

As corporate media writes off talk of ‘pizzagate’ as if it’s some tinfoil conspiracy theory that couldn’t possibly happen, this scenario shatters their claims. In fact, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell says the arrests represent a “very sad commentary on the condition we’re dealing with.”

“Pretending this issue doesn’t exist only makes us more complicit in it,” newly elected San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott said.

While it is currently unknown if any of these charges involve high-level government officials or law enforcement, the fact that it existed should not be ignored. Throughout the first and second weeks of December, since the mainstream media first reported that Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., fired a shot inside the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria in Washington, DC, the mainstream media has been declaring the so-called child-sex “Pizzagate” child-sex ring, a false conspiracy theory based on lies.

Welch was reportedly searching for child-sex slaves inside Comet Ping Pong based on stories he’d read online involving pedophilia and the Washington elite. Ironically, and without any real investigative, Chris Hanson style journalism being conducted, the mainstream media and its pundits have declared all the claims found in the conspiracy theory to be false, lies constructed by “fake news.”

In fact, The Washington Post simply declared, “None of them were true.” That may, indeed, be the case. But if it can happen in California on such a large scale, it can certainly happen anywhere else in the United States, and all such claims must be investigated thoroughly by properly trained police officers with the tools necessary to uncover such deviant sex crimes involving children. We applaud the California authorities for their investigations of child-sex rings. May justice be swift to the sickos involved in exploiting children.

 


This article originally appeared on The Free Thought Project