Republican legislators in Arizona are attempting to pass legislation that forces transgender people to only use public restrooms, dressing rooms and showers associated with the gender listed on their birth certificate. According to the Associated Press, conservative lawmakers are proposing the legislation in response to a human rights bill passed by the city of Phoenix which prohibits gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.
Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh of Phoenix is leading the charge to make it a criminal offense for transgender people to use public restrooms not associated with their birth gender.
According to U.K. paper The Independent, violation of the new law would be a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by fines as high as $4,000 and up to six months in prison.
Parents lose custody of their children for a month after they take innocent bathtime photos in to be developed at Walmart and employee calls police
An Arizona couple falsely accused of taking pornographic pictures of their three young daughters are suing Walmart in a bid to win damages after an horrific ordeal which they claim robbed them of precious time with their kids and cost them $75,000 in legal fees.
In 2008, Lisa and Anthony ‘A.J.’ Demaree took their three young daughters – then aged five, four and 18 months – on a trip to San Diego.
On returning home they took 144 photographs, mostly from their recent trip, to their local Walmart in Peoria, Arizona to have them developed.
What happened next was the start of a nightmare for the Demarees.
A Walmart employee, unhappy over the content of several bath time pictures, contacted bosses with concerns that they may have been images of child pornography.
BISBEE, Ariz. — For the last 20 years, they have descended on the sun-bleached desert lands in southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.
Longtime locals say they damage irrigation lines, tread on land without permission, alienate merchants and contribute to a sense of unease that didn’t use to exist.
But lately these complaints are aimed not so much at people arriving illegally from Mexico as they are at the federal forces sent to stop them.
Residents say the deployment of hundreds of agents — armed, uniformed and omnipresent — and millions of dollars in new infrastructure have created a military-like occupation in their once-sleepy hamlets.
They point to sprawling new facilities that dominate the scrubby landscape, such as the upgraded U.S. Border Patrol station in Naco and a fortified border fence that lights up like an airport runway lost among the yuccas. Some grumble that the federal agents are paid well above the county average while spurning the areas they patrol to live in a suburbanized town nearly 25 miles away.
(CBS News) The national flu epidemic is getting worse by the day: On Wednesday, Boston — with a population of at least 600,000 — declared a public health emergency after the virus killed more than a dozen people.
At least three more states — Montana, South Dakota and Arizona — are now reporting widespread flu, bringing the total to 44 states. And the CDC says the percentage of people going to the hospital for treatment of flu symptoms has doubled in the past month.
The emergency in Boston was declared after confirmed cases of flu reached 700. There were just 70 at this time last year. Across the state, 18 patients have died.
“In the last two weeks alone we’ve doubled our number,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “So, if we continue at this rate to see new cases, we’ll have an explosion of flu in the city of Boston. We really need to get ahead of it at this point in time.”
Newtown school shooting story already being changed by the media to eliminate eyewitness reports of a second shooter
(NaturalNews) The national media is ablaze today with coverage of the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT, where 27 people have reportedly been killed, including 18 children.
As always, when violent shootings take place, honest journalists are forced to ask the question: “Does this fit the pattern of other staged shootings?”
One of the most important red flags of a staged shooting is a second gunman, indicating the shooting was coordinated and planned. There are often mind control elements at work in many of these shootings. The Aurora “Batman” shooter James Holmes, for example, was a graduate student actually working on mind control technologies funded by the U.S. government. There were also chemical mind control elements linked to Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter of Congresswomen Giffords in Arizona in 2011.
According to multiple eyewitness reports from Aurora, Colorado, including at least one caught on camera by mainstream media news reports in Colorado, James Holmes did not operate alone. There was a second shooter involved. But the media quickly eliminated any mention of a second shooter from its coverage, resorting to the typical cover story of a “lone gunman.”
Today, the exact same thing is happening with the Newton, CT school shooting.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said Tuesday night that he has received information from Hawaii that proves President Obama’s American birth and satisfies Arizona’s requirements for having the president on the upcoming election ballot.
A Hawaii official sent Bennett’s office verification of birth for President Obama on Tuesday, according to both Bennett and Hawaii officials.
Bennett said the issue is now resolved from his point of view. He has cancelled a planned Wednesday news conference where he was expected to discuss the issue.
Federal authorities said Wednesday that they plan to sue Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office over allegations of civil rights violations, including the racial profiling of Latinos.
The U.S. Justice Department has been seeking an agreement requiring Arpaio’s office to train officers in how to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops and reach out to Latinos to assure them that the department is there to also protect them.
Arpaio has denied the racial profiling allegations and has claimed that allowing a court monitor would mean that every policy decision would have to be cleared through an observer and would nullify his authority.
Looks like Obama’s “Fast and Furious” is alive and well… That is unless you believe it’s possible for a professional trucker to accidentally enter Mexico from Arizona.
The U.S. truck driver detained by Mexican authorities Tuesday with 268,000 rounds of ammunition was transporting a legal cargo to Phoenix but mistakenly exited to Juárez, the man’s employer said on Wednesday.
Dennis Mekenye, owner of Demco Transportation Inc. in Arlington, Texas, said Bogan Jabin Akeem, 27, left Dallas on Monday with a trailer with nine pallets containing the ammunition.
The cargo was being taken from Tennessee to an ammunition retailer in Phoenix called United Nations Ammo Co. as part of a legitimate transaction, Mekenye said.
Akeem made a stop in El Paso and, before driving the last stretch toward Phoenix, he accidentally took a wrong turn toward the international Bridge of the Americas, his boss said.
“It was a mistake for him to take a wrong turn and find himself in Mexican soil,” Mekenye said. “He missed the exit, and he went south. He asked one cop there, ‘I missed my exit, how can I turn around?’ ”
Mekenye said Akeem could not turn the vehicle around at the bridge and had to continue into Mexico. Coming back,
Mexican authorities told him they had to inspect his vehicle.
Mekenye said he didn’t know whether Akeem declared he was transporting ammunition or whether Mexican authorities discovered the cargo upon inspection.
“It was a legitimate movement from Tennessee to Phoenix,” said Mekenye, who also said that his company does not ship to Mexico and that he has never been investigated for shipping contraband.
The owner of United Nations Ammo in Phoenix, who identified himself only as “Howie,” said he was expecting Akeem to arrive Tuesday night to offload the cargo Wednesday morning.
“All the media was calling it cartel ammo, but we paid for that ammo, it’s really our property. In no way whatsoever was that ammunition ever supposed to go to Mexico,” he said. “We ordered this ammunition, and it’s ammunition meant to be sold in the United States of America for legal hobbyists, legal shooters and legal enthusiasts.”
The cargo had a value of $100,000, he said.
“It’s a tremendous shipment we paid for,” he said. “We’re hoping they will release the man and our property so it can be delivered to us.”
Howie declined to comment on how large the order of ammunition rounds was compared with previous ones.
Federal officials did not respond to calls seeking comment on Mekenye’s version of the events.
Akeem was arrested Tuesday evening by Mexican federal authorities and will remain in custody until a court determines whether a criminal case will go forward. Mexican authorities have 48 hours to decide whether they will continue with an investigation.
José Angel Torres Valadez, spokesman in the Northern region for Mexico’s General Attorney’s Office, or PGR, said he could not share any details until the 48-hour period has passed but said it is possible that Akeem will be taken to Mexico City to continue the investigation.
Akeem was driving a tractor-trailer with Texas plates and the logo “McKinney Trailer Rentals.” A spokesman with McKinney confirmed that Mekenye’s company has been a McKinney client for several years.
The bullets were being transported inside metal boxes. Sources said the ammunition is of the type used for AK-47 and AR-15 rifles. The rifles are often used by members of Mexican criminal organizations.
The bullets are legal to buy in the United States, but the ammunition is banned in Mexico, which considers those types of rifles and bullets only for military use. The seizure was one of the largest made by Mexican authorities in Juárez since a vicious drug-cartel war that has killed more than 9,500 people erupted four years ago.
Mekenye said he has been in touch with the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Olga Bashbush, spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, confirmed that Akeem was a U.S. citizen and said consular officials met with him Tuesday. Representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not return calls seeking comment.
Mekenye said that Akeem had been his employee for more than two years. A criminal background check showed Akeem did not appear to have any previous convictions or run-ins with the law.
U.S. authorities have increased enforcement to try to stop the so-called Iron River, or flow of weapons, into Mexico.
Last week, a U.S. Border Patrol agent from El Paso and his girlfriend were arrested by U.S. federal agents on gun-smuggling related charges. They are accused of lying on federal forms to buy firearms and ammo intended for Mexico.
In Juárez, local police operations have resulted in the seizure of 168 weapons so far this year.
Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6129. Follow him on Twitter @AlejandroEPT
March 21, 2012|By Richard A. Serrano, Washington BureauReporting from Washington —
When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show. Had Celis-Acosta simply been held when he was arrested by theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in May 2010, the investigation that led to the loss of hundreds of illegal guns and may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent could have been closed early.
Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau show that as far back as December 2009 — five months before Celis-Acosta was detained and released at the border in a car carrying 74 live rounds of ammunition — ATF and DEA agents learned by chance that they were separately investigating the same man in the Arizona and Mexico border region.
ATF agents had placed a secret pole camera outside his Phoenix home to track his movements, and separately the DEA was operating a “wire room” to monitor live wiretap intercepts to follow him.
In May 2010, Celis-Acosta was briefly detained at the border in Lukeville, Ariz., and then released by Hope MacAllister, the chief ATF investigator on Fast and Furious, after he promised to cooperate with her.
The ATF had hoped he would lead them to two Mexican cartel members. But records show that after Celis-Acosta finally was arrested in February 2011, the ATF learned to its surprise that the two cartel members were secret FBI informants.
Seven months after federal agents began the ill-fated Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, they stumbled upon their main suspect in a remote Arizona outpost on the Mexican border, driving an old BMW with 74 rounds of ammunition and nine cellphones hidden inside.
Detained for questioning that day in May 2010, Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta described to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives his close association with a top Mexican drug cartel member, according to documents obtained this weekend by the Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.
The top Fast and Furious investigator, Special Agent Hope MacAllister, scribbled her phone number on a $10 bill after he pledged to cooperate and keep in touch with investigators.
Then Celis-Acosta disappeared into Mexico. He never called.
Had they arrested him red-handed trying to smuggle ammunition into Mexico, Fast and Furious might have ended quickly. Instead, the program dragged on for another eight months, spiraling out of control.
Celis-Acosta continued slipping back and forth across the border, authorities say, illegally purchasing more U.S. weapons and financing others. He was not arrested until February 2011, a month after Fast and Furious closed down.
The operation, run by the ATF’s Phoenix field office, allowed illegal gun purchases in Arizona in hopes of tracking the weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders. Instead, about 1,700 guns vanished, and scores turned up at crime scenes in Mexico. Two were found south of Tucson where U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot to death in December 2010.
Why ATF agents did not arrest Celis-Acosta immediately is not clear. He was their prime suspect and the subject of secret wiretaps approved by the Justice Department.
“Due to the fact that the criminal case is still ongoing in the courts, and the inspector general’s office is still investigating, we cannot comment about this,” ATF chief spokesman Drew Wade said.
Other law enforcement officials, speaking anonymously because of ongoing investigations, acknowledged it was a crucial blunder in a deeply flawed program. “I don’t know why they didn’t arrest him,” one said. “They certainly could have.”
But, another argued, agents may have viewed Celis-Acosta as a possible conduit to the cartels. “He was cooperating and talking a lot and giving up a lot,” he said. “From an investigative standpoint, that’s pretty good information you’re getting. Maybe he can hook you into even bigger fish.”
Fast and Furious, which is under investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), began Oct. 31, 2009. From the start, Celis-Acosta, 24, was the main target, according to internal ATF documents that have not been publicly released. An ATF flow chart listed him at the top of more than two dozen individuals involved in the gun-smuggling ring.
The documents state that Celis-Acosta led the smuggling ring and that he was paid from drug proceeds to illegally acquire firearms for cartels. He carried a permanent U.S. resident card, a Social Security number and an Arizona driver’s license. He moved easily between homes in Mexico and Phoenix. Eventually arrested by U.S. marshals at a relative’s home in El Paso, he pleaded not guilty to gun-smuggling charges as one of 19 Fast and Furious defendants. None of the 19 has gone to trial.
According to an ATF “Report of Investigation,” prepared by MacAllister, authorized by her supervisor, David J. Voth, and reviewed by William D. Newell, then the ATF special agent in charge in Arizona, U.S. authorities stopped Celis-Acosta as he headed south through the border town of Lukeville, Ariz.
The document said an ammunition magazine containing 74 rounds was hidden in a spare tire, and the phones in the dash. In the trunk of the 2002 BMW 754i was a ledger referring to money given to “Killer” and a list of firearms.
Celis-Acosta first said he did not know the ammunition was inside. He said a friend’s mother bought the BMW “with a credit card.”
MacAllister was called to the scene, and Celis-Acosta began to open up. He admitted he knew “a lot about firearms.” He conceded he was en route to a birthday party for “Chendi,” a close associate who he said was a Mexican cartel member and “right-hand man” to Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel.
Celis-Acosta said Chendi moved 6,000 pounds of marijuana a week into the U.S., terrorized Mexican police, wore a $15,000 wristwatch and lived in a home with “a lot of gold” inside and a landing strip outside.
MacAllister checked with the Drug Enforcement Administration and learned Chendi — real name Claudio Jamie Badilla — was a “large-scale marijuana and multi-kilogram cocaine trafficker.”
MacAllister asked Celis-Acosta whether he “would be willing to cooperate.” When he said yes, they confiscated the ammunition and let him go.