Detroit, MI — Everyone who’s ever watched a Hollywood mob film has seen the scenarios in which the mobsters offer “protection” to local businesses in exchange for money. The scheme is called a protection racket and is usually conducted by criminals. However, as a case in Detroit illustrates, police officers have recently gotten in on the game.
Sadek Kaid, who owns a Marathon gas station in northwest Detroit called police last month to report a crime in progress which was taking place inside his store. An irate customer, who was upset with the price of an item, lost it and began smashing up the store and throwing items off the shelves.
Kaid called 911.
Several minutes passed and Kaid never received a response, so, he hit redial and called back. Still, nothing.
The customer smashed up Kaid’s store for nearly an hour and police never showed up.
“The dispatcher said, ‘It’s because you don’t have the Green Light,’ ” Kaid said, according to Detroit News. “The customer was in here destroying the store, throwing everything off the shelves. He was here for almost an hour before he left. When the police finally came, they told us the Green Light locations get priority.”
Although police tout the ‘Project Green Light’ system as a means of preventing crime, in essence, it is merely a hi-tech version of the mafia’s protection racket with ominous police state undertones.
As the Detroit News reports, “businesses pay between $4,000 and $6,000 to join Project Green Light, a program that allows police to monitor businesses’ video surveillance feeds in real time. The cost covers installation of high-definition cameras and lighting. There also is a monthly fee of up to $150 for cloud-based video storage.”
For paying the cops the exorbitant fees to essentially let police spy on them 24/7, businesses get Priority 1 status on calls to 911. Now, the businesses who can’t afford to pay the m̶a̶f̶i̶a̶ police for protection are getting left out in the cold.
“It’s not fair,” said Abdo Nagi, owner of a 76 gas station on Grand River on Detroit’s west side that is not part of the program, according to the News. “We should all be equal. I pay high taxes already. Now I have to pay extra to get the police to come?
“Don’t get me wrong: If someone has a weapon and we call the police, they get here fast,” Nagi said. “But with other things, it takes a long time. There were kids in here beating up another kid last year, and by the time the cops got here, they were gone.”
According to Detroit News, Priority 1 runs are given precedence over other emergency calls, although Police Chief James Craig said Green Light runs don’t trump violent crimes. But per the agreement with the city, if there are simultaneous calls from two business owners reporting similar crimes, police prioritize calls from the Green Light locations.
On top of the mafia-esque tone of this program is the fact that business owners are essentially constructing their own police state—and they are paying for it.
Likely salivating over the idea of having cameras recording everything in the city, city officials are now considering making the Green Light Program mandatory. However, that won’t happen until at least next year, according to Mayor Mike Duggan.
Duggan says everyone loves the program and if you don’t like it you’re a criminal.
“The level of enthusiasm is so high,” he said. “Our resistance comes almost entirely from people who appear to have a relationship with the people up to no good in their parking lots.”
However, not all businesses can simply shell out thousands of dollars to the cops for protection and they aren’t criminals at all.
“It sounds like a great idea, but I just can’t afford it,” said Jesus Hernandez, owner of Abby’s Party Store. “If the city makes it mandatory, I’ll just have to close at 10. That won’t make a big difference during the week, but on the weekends I’ll lose money.”
Perhaps the Detroit police would do well to study the model of Dale Brown who owns and operates his own ‘private’ police force.
Dale Brown of Detroit’s “threat management center” has shown that crime can be stopped and lives can be saved by independent people using non-lethal tactics and without creating a police state.
In areas of Detroit where police don’t answer 911 calls, Dale Brown took matters into his own hands and started taking those calls himself, and because Dale was not “above the law” as police officers claim to be, he had to solve these crimes without hurting people, because he would actually be held accountable for his actions.
Yes, businesses pay for these services. However, as a side effect of providing businesses with security, Dale has also been able to provide service in poor neighborhoods for free, by financing his business through providing security for high-income areas.
The Department of Justice announced Friday that Rene Boucher, the person who attacked and seriously injured Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul 2-1/2 months ago, has been charged with a federal felony and admitted to the attack. Several press accounts are crowing that the DOJ’s announcement proves that the attack was not politically motivated. It does no such thing.
The press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office which had jurisdiction indicates that the alleged lack of political motivation is entirely based on Boucher’s word (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Josh J. Minkler, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announced today that Rene A. Boucher, 58, Bowling Green, Kentucky, has been charged with assaulting a member of congress resulting in personal injury, a felony under federal law.
“Assaulting a member of Congress is an offense we take very seriously,” said Minkler. “Those who choose to commit such an act will be held accountable.”
According to court documents, Boucher and the victim are neighbors in Bowling Green, Kentucky. On November 3, 2017, the victim was mowing his yard while wearing headphones. Boucher allegedly witnessed the victim stack brush onto a pile near the victim’s property and “had enough.” Boucher ran onto the victim’s property and tackled the victim. As a result of this assault, the victim suffered multiple fractured ribs and subsequently contracted and required medical attention for pneumonia. Boucher admitted the assault but denied it was politically motivated.
Despite the clearly communicated uncertainty, headlines at several press reports claim to be absolutely sure of Boucher’s motivation:
New York Magazine — “Neighbor’s Assault on Rand Paul Was All About Yard Maintenance”
Vox.com — “Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor will plead guilty to attack over brush pile”
New York Daily News — “Neighbor accused of breaking Rand Paul’s ribs over yard dispute will plead guilty to felony assault”
NBC News — “Prosecutors reveal why Rand Paul was attacked by neighbor”
The nation’s two primary news gatekeepers have slyly promoted the yard-maintenance meme, attributing it to Boucher’s lawyer without providing any contrary evidence:
(Boucher’s) lawyer echoed what’s long been suggested by neighbors: The attack stemmed from a dispute about yard maintenance.
A neighbor of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky intends to plead guilty to a federal felony charge after he tackled the senator in November in an assault set off by the placement of a pile of brush, the man’s lawyer said on Friday. (Though it’s really only what “the lawyer said,” the phrasing makes it appears as if the assault’s cause is an established fact. — Ed.)
Boucher would seem to have a good reason for denying a political motivation for the assault.
The U.S. Attorney’s press release indicates that “Boucher faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.” The AP report indicates that his attorney is hoping that the admitted attacker’s claimed lack of political motivation reduces his sentence:
… “This is over a matter that most people would regard as trivial,” Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, said in a phone interview Friday. “It has to do with yards and the maintenance of those.”
… “It all goes to large piles of leaves and branches and yard clutter that were placed on the property line,” Baker said.
… Paul suffered six broken ribs in the attack.
He returned to Washington less than two weeks later but developed pneumonia when he returned to Kentucky. Paul has since said he’s recovering well from the attack.
Baker said Friday the attack was “completely, 100 percent out of character” for Boucher. He said his client is looking forward to getting the case resolved.
That Paul’s attacker is a politically motivated person with strong leftist beliefs is beyond dispute — and whether the violence to which he has admitted is “100 percent out of character” is an open question.
A Facebook account that appears to be maintained by Boucher contains numerous anti-Donald Trump postings.
On May 17, Boucher posted, “May Robert Mueller fry Trump’s gonads,” a reference to the former FBI director’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
… Boucher shared one post from the Occupy Democrats account citing left-wing academic Noam Chomsky’s criticism of the Republican party. (As reported at the UK Independent and seen in a video at the link, Chomsky agreed with a questioner in April 2017 that “The Republican Party is the most “dangerous organisation in world history”)
Occupy Democrats claims to be “a merger of the goals and interests of Occupy with those of the Democratic Party.” The Occupy movement during its 2011-2012 peak was violent and had “extremist affiliations that … (were) anything but representative of the 99 percent of Americans the movement claims to stand for.” Occupy Democrats, who are obsessed over “the right–wing Tea Party … ruthlessly pursuing its extreme agenda,” certainly consider Paul a major enemy.
Early in the case, the FBI reportedly believed that the attack was politically motivated. Based on U.S. Attorney Minkler’s Friday statement, it’s quite likely that they still believe that. Given that they would only recognize Boucher’s personal denial of political motivation, no one can claim that the Bureau has ruled it out.
The problem would appear to be that Boucher created no tangible evidence that he intended to attack Paul. Therefore, prosecutors are stuck with taking Boucher at his highly suspect word that he had “had enough” over Paul’s yard maintenance habits — a meme that the press worked hard to establish without meaningful basis during the first two weeks after the attack.
If we were instead looking at a leftist Senator violently attacked by a right-winger, there is no way the establishment press would be engaging in the language games described in this post or ignoring the attacker’s extremist sympathies.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.
California passed a state law defining itself as a “sanctuary state.” This law went into effect on January 1 of this year. However, this is defiant act against U.S. Federal law governing the treatment of illegal immigrants into the United States of America, of which California is still part.
The Trump Administration is not taking this lying down.
On January 16th, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed that her department asked Federal prosecutors to see if they can criminally charge sanctuary cities for their refusal to follow federal immigration laws.
The California law acts to severely restrict the cooperation that state and local law enforcement is allowed to offer the federal government in executing immigration and deportation laws.
While the US Constitution is arranged to severely restrict the powers of the Federal government, giving the bulk of authority of law to the States or the people of the United States of America (Amendment X), the matter of immigration is a matter that even recently has been held to be in the purview of the Federal government of the United States of America.
As Justice Kennedy wrote in the 2012 decision in Arizona v. United States:
The Government of the United States has broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration and the status of aliens. … This authority rests, in part, on the National Government’s constitutional power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 4, and its inherent power as sovereign to control and conduct relations with foreign nations….
The really amusing piece of this decision is that it came down from the Supreme Court in response to the Arizona law that increased that state’s authority to prosecute illegal aliens in the state. So here, for many people that supported increased adherence to immigration and deportation statutes, this decision amounted to a disappointment for Arizonans who wanted very strict border control. The Federal government’s authority supersedes the state’s own authority, the decision says, and so the state cannot do what it wants on a matter that the Federal Government is tasked to manage.
The fact that for decades, the Feds have conveniently weakened their execution of the law is not the point. But now, that enforcement is strengthening, and a new state, California, is trying to buck the Feds the other way.
Yet this Supreme Court decision stands and it clearly gives the Federal government the upper hand in this matter.
The presence of Deep State, Obama-appointed operatives in various offices in government may be a monkeywrench thrown in these works. However, it appears that the Secretary of DHS is absolutely on the right track.
A federal judge has dismissed the most serious charge of ‘criminal sexual activity’ against a Michigan doctor charged in the first female genital mutilation (FGM) case in the US.
US District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman dropped the count – the most severe charge Dr Jumana Nagarwala was facing as it carried a sentence of up to life in prison – reducing the counts from seven to six.
The prosecution alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota last February 2017 in Livonia, Michigan. Eight people have been charged in relation to the case, one of which is Dr Fakhruddin Attar, who allegedly allowed Nagarwala to perform the procedure in his clinic.
Nagarwala’s defense attorneys argued the government was using the definition of ‘criminal sexual conduct’ under state law and ‘sexual act’ from another federal statute to characterize FGM as a ‘criminal sexual activity.’
Judge Friedman agreed with the defense that the alleged conduct does not qualify as sexual activity because the doctors did not touch the girls’ genitalia for sexual gratification or to abuse, humiliate or degrade the victims.
“We’re thrilled for our clients that the law was followed,” Attar’s lawyer Mary Chartier told Detroit News on Sunday. “This is going to be a long fight, but we’re confident they’ll be vindicated.”
The other defendants include four mothers accused of subjecting their daughters to the procedure, and Dr Attar’s wife, who is accused of holding the girls’ hands during the procedures and lying to investigators.
The group is accused of conspiracy to carry out FGM on the girls as part of a religious procedure practiced by an Indian Muslim sect, the Dawoodi Bohra. Prosecutors in the case say the girls were cut, while the defense argues the procedure performed on them was benign and not FGM.
One girl told the FBI that Nagarwala “pinched the place [where] she goes pee,” according to a court filing. Medical examinations meanwhile found the girls’ genitals did appear to have been altered, with some scar tissue and healing lacerations.
Nagarwala is suspected of using Attar’s clinic to carry out the procedure for more than a decade. The government estimates the doctor performed as many as 100 FGM procedures throughout her career and allege that she tried to cover up her crimes by telling her religious community to “deny everything.”
Both Nagarwala and Attar face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the other remaining charges.
In the episode titled “Islands” that aired on January 15, Dr. Jared Kalu (Chuku Modu), a biracial surgical resident, desperately wants his job back. He was terminated after a physical confrontation with another doctor. Kalu punched the other guy and the hospital fired him. Reasonable enough, right?
The only way for Dr. Kalu to get his job back at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, though, is to file suit against the hospital for wrongful termination using racism as the reason. The irony should not be lost on anyone that ABC’s The Good Doctor brings back Dr. Kalu based on a phony racism charge on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
When the lawsuit is filed, the hospital’s lawyer, Jessica Preston (Beau Garrett) confronts Chairman Allegra Aoki (Tamlyn Tamita) about two other cases involving two white doctors who inappropriately used their hands instead of their words in the past. Both of them only received censures, not termination.
Allegra justifies this by saying they were both “star” doctors and able to bring in large donations which keeps the hospital very competitive on the west coast. When Allegra, who is Asian American, refuses to acknowledge that she “favored white people,” Jessica asks her to think about how it would play out in court. Allegra agrees and instructs Jessica to settle the case.
Jessica: The chief oncologist. This is before I came here in December of ’14. Dr. Marshall shoved a scrub nurse during a post-op discussion of some sort. Do you remember that?
Allegra: I do.
Jessica: Your response was to settle with the nurse while Dr. Marshall was let off with a warning. There’s another almost identical instance earlier in that year. In both cases, the doctors in question were white. They were censured. Dr. Kalu was fired.
Allegra: You think this was a racial matter? Do you think I’m racist? That I favor white people?
Jessica: Then why the leniency then and not now?
Allegra: They’re stars… That happened to be white. Doctors like Marshall allow St. Bonaventure to compete with other West Coast institutions.
Jessica: So, that’s our defense? “We’re not racist. We just allow our doctors to assault people as long as they bring in enough donors.”
Allegra: They were reprimanded. And there were no further incidents.
Jessica: And how do you think all of this is gonna play out in court?
Just when I think this is just another show using race as a baton to weld over white viewers, in comes Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper). Andrews, also African American, shown in the screenshot above, is none too pleased that Dr. Kalu uses the race card to get his job back and lets him know in no uncertain terms that “when you misrepresent racism for something it’s not, it sets us two steps back.”
Dr. Kalu: Dr. Andrews. Evening. I, uh, checked out the twins’ file. It’s an amazing case.
Dr. Andrews: To be clear, Jared, I don’t want you here.
Dr. Kalu: What we presented to Miss Preston was the truth.
Dr. Andrews: I understand that. And those problem doctors and the ways we police ourselves will be dealt with, should have been dealt with a long time ago, but you stepped over a line.
Dr. Kalu: I fought for my job.
Dr. Andrews: You compromised your integrity. The incident with that jerk Coyle had nothing to do with black or white, but that’s what you and your lawyer sold for leverage. And when you misrepresent racism for something it’s not… …it sets us two steps back.
How refreshing. On this day, of all days, I think that Dr. Andrews personifies the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. more than the phony play made by Dr. Kalu just to get a job back. King fought for equality based on content of character, not on skin color. Dr. Andrews calmly and eloquently makes that point in today’s world.
Bruce Redwine says that he has watched Fairfax County parking enforcement officer tickets his customers’ cars for expired tags or inspection stickers for several years now. Finally, he says that he has had enough and is speaking out.
In almost all cases, he explains, the vehicles are waiting at his garage for state inspection or repair at his Chantilly, Virginia autoshop.
The last time it happened, The Washington Post reports that “he snatched the latest ticket out of Officer Jacquelyn D. Hogue’s hand and added some profane commentary on top.”
Officer Hogue didn’t take kindly to having mean words written about her. As a result, she had Redwine arrested for felony assault on a police officer.
The most amazing thing is that parking enforcement officers aren’t technically police officers. But that didn’t stop her buddies on the force from charging him accordingly.
When the case first went to court, Redwine was sentenced to four days in jail.
Thousands of dollars in legal fees later, Redwine has appealed and won an acquittal. But the whole incident has left him extremely bitter.
The Washington Post reports that Redwine doesn’t “understand why Fairfax police have zealously sought to enforce laws on expired tags or inspections, mainly on drivers who are making the effort to get their cars into compliance, while on private property.”
Ray Barrera of A&H Equipment Repair said, “they’re harassing the small businesses trying to make it in this tough economy.”
He says his customers have been charged a total of $60,000 in fines and fees over the past years… all while parked on his private property, and all while awaiting inspection for the things they were being ticketed for.
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The Vanderhall Edison2 electric auto-cycle promises to deliver loads of zero-emission driving fun, all wrapped up in a striking package.
The electric vehicle revolution can’t happen fast enough, as far as I’m concerned. The sooner we can get cleaner transport options on the road, the better, and it’s going to take all types of electric vehicles, from semis to trains to pickup trucks to small city cars and beyond.
Although many of us would likely choose a much more practical, and cheaper, electric vehicle as a daily runabout, such as an e-bike or light electric vehicle, most of the offerings on the market right now are for standard-sized cars that are heavy, costly (there aren’t that many used EVs available yet), and frankly, kind of boring. However, there are some alternatives popping up from small auto shops and electric vehicle startups, such as the latest model from Vanderhall Motor Works. The company currently hand-builds several different models of gas-powered 3-wheeled vehicles in its Utah shop, but the Edison2 promises to deliver the same exciting open-air driving experience as the others, except in a higher-torque electric format.
The Edison2 is built on an aluminum mono frame and wrapped in an ABS composite body, and features dual electric AC induction motors paired with a 30 kWh lithium-ion battery pack to deliver high-torque performance to the wheels. The 0-60 time is said to be 4 seconds, with a top speed of 100+ mph, and the driving range per charge is estimated to be about 200 miles. This two-seater, which has an open canopy, weighs in at 1400 pounds and can carry up to 500 pounds of total weight, including the passengers.
Looks like fun, eh? If money was no object, I’d probably choose the Morgan EV3 over the Edison2, simply for the nostalgia factor (it’s a Morgan!), but there’s a lot to like about the Vanderhall 3-wheeler, including its lighter weight, longer driving range, and quicker acceleration, not to mention the fact that it’s most likely half the price or less as the Morgan EV3 will be when it’s available.
The Edison2 is probably anything but practical for those with kids, pets, long commutes, or living in rainy or cold climates. But then again, so is a motorcycle for the most part, and this 3-wheeled auto-cycle actually seats two, and considering that there are plenty of people who wouldn’t think twice about spending $35k on a sportscar, I’d rather see more of these electric roadsters on the road than gas-powered muscle cars and diesel trucks any day of the week. If you’ve got $35,000 to drop on a new road toy, and you want to go electric, a $250 deposit will put you on the reservation list for an Edison2at Vanderhall Motor Works. Production of the vehicle is expected to begin mid-2018.