SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The former executive director of California's largest labor union and her husband were taken into custody Friday on charges including tax fraud, embezzlement, perjury and failure to pay unemployment insurance taxes. Alma Hernández and her husband, Jose Moscoso, appeared in Sacramento Superior Court and then were booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail. The next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9. Hernández and Moscoso allegedly underreported their income by $1.4 million over the span of five years, according to a complaint filed Oct. 4 by the attorney general's office. He...
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After the Highland Park mass shooting, Americans are once again asking how the alleged shooter was able to fly under the radar while posting videos of mass shootings or school shootings.
Speaking on the MSNBC panel Tuesday, former FBI investigator Peter Strzok explained how all of the details that should foretell a mass shooter ultimately end up flying below the radar.
"If you look at social media, and if you look at the type of personality that manifests this sort of behavior, I think there is far more material than there are federal law enforcement officers, state and local law enforcement officers who are able to review that," he explained. "And the second thing is I don't know given the First Amendment as a society we want that level of invasive governmental look into what people are or are not doing online."
The problem with all of it, however, is that it's doing nothing more than treating the symptoms of a deadly cancer in the American population.
"The fact of the matter is we have made — nobody should be surprised and nobody should think it is hard to do something that this suspect did," Strzok continued. "We have made it easier in the United States to buy a weapon than it is to go to your local animal shelter and adopt a pet. The fact is that he, like many of these other folks we're seeing, these sort of socially alienated 18, 19, 22-year-old awkward white males go into gun shops, lawfully buy, again, not handguns, not a musket, but a weapon designed starting in the Vietnam War to be a weapon of war. [They] buy that legally, and in some cases, then turn around, some with planning, some without and are able to do it."
He explained he isn't surprised when people look at social media or YouTube videos and see a pattern of violence. There are cases where police even investigated the stability of a person who turned into a mass shooter. The Parkland shooter who killed 17 people was firing off guns in his backyard. Neighbors complained and there were red flag laws in place, but everything was ignored.
"I wouldn't be surprised to find out more, but I don't think focusing on that we can have as many red flag laws as we want," Strzok said. "We can augment mental health programs as much as we want, but at the end of the day, all that is doing is treating the symptoms. The root issue here is the ready access to guns and in particular, the ready access to assault weapons that were designed to be used on a bat battlefield to kill as many people as possible."
See the full conversation below:
Ex-FBI agent explains how a mass shooter can show up on law enforcement radar www.youtube.com
Frustration with America's failing institutions could give the GOP a critical boost going into the 2022 midterm election, according to a new analysis published by The Washington Post.
"If you feel like everything is out of control and nothing is working, you’re not alone. It’s also exactly how the Republican Party would like you to feel — whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or an independent," Paul Waldman wrote. "Gallup has released new data showing that people’s faith in almost every institution in American life — the government, the media, the medical system, the police, organized religion and many others — has not only declined over the past year but in some cases is now lower than at any time since they began asking questions about such confidence over four decades ago."
The poll also showed a sharp drop in patriotism among young Americans.
"Smart Republicans know this is great for them and their electoral prospects," Waldman wrote. "Republicans benefit from a general sense that things don’t work. Their worldview is built around the idea that each of us is on our own and out for ourselves. Lost your job? Too bad, it was probably your fault, and don’t go asking the government for help. You got sick? Bad luck, but don’t expect the medical system to help. You can’t trust the police and it’s a chaotic world out there? You’d better buy some guns."
He noted the frustration with Democratic leaders who have "offered little in the way of a pragmatic plan to restore abortion rights" and noted that implicit in their message to vote harder is "The only way to address this problem is through the government institutions that seem to be failing you."
The lack of fight from Democratic leaders could harm the party in the midterms.
"And if Democratic voters lose their faith, they demobilize, seeing no point in voting or participating. Which is exactly what Republicans want them to do," Waldman wrote. "Perhaps Democrats can convince their base that voting out of pure anger (especially at the Supreme Court) is worthwhile. But right now the party’s leaders don’t really seem to be trying. Meanwhile, the pandemic lingers on, the effects of climate change grow ever more miserable, inflation hasn’t turned around, mass shootings are an almost daily occurrence, and there don’t seem to be any trustworthy institutions to turn to."
That dynamic was on display in a story published by CNN on Tuesday under the headline, "After string of Supreme Court setbacks, Democrats wonder whether Biden White House is capable of urgency moment demands."
"Debra Messing was fed up. The former 'Will & Grace” star was among dozens of celebrity Democratic supporters and activists who joined a call with White House aides last Monday to discuss the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade," Edward-Isaac Dovere reported. "Messing said she’d gotten Joe Biden elected and wanted to know why she was being asked to do anything at all, yelling that there didn’t even seem a point to voting."
He noted Democrats still haven't released a plan. Biden is currently overseas.
"I'm having a meeting with a group of governors when I get home on Friday. And I'll have announcements to make then," Biden said on Tuesday.
"Democrats worry the lack of decisions and authority are deepening their own midterm problems and feeding a sense that the President couldn’t truly handle the extra complications of a run for reelection in 2024 – and along the way, reinforcing narratives that he’s an old man not fit for the moment," Dovere warned. "The President who campaigned on putting America back together again after four years of deep divisions appears to have stopped trying, supporters say."
The frustration has been boiling over on social media. Slate legal expert Mark Joseph Stern described the White House's response as "feckless and torpid and pathetic."
Minnesota House Dems hope to fully legalized marijuana after sneaking THC edible provision past their GOP colleagues
House Democrats responsible for legalizing low-dose THC products said on Tuesday the under-the-radar approach that seemingly took Republicans by surprise was a necessary gambit to fully legalizing marijuana in the future.
“We absolutely did this on purpose. It was an intentional step forward,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, who authored another bill that fully legalized marijuana but failed to gain traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The provision was tucked into a large health and human services bill and legalizes the production and sale of edible products with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The food and beverages can only be sold to people over 21 and with no more than 5 milligrams of THC per serving — about half the dose allowed in other states with legal marijuana — or 50 milligrams per package.
It was signed into law by the governor in early June but went largely unnoticed by the public until the day before it went into effect on July 1.
“Sometimes legislation benefits from a lot of publicity. Sometimes legislation benefits from the ability to do the work more quietly, but it was all done in the public eye,” Winkler said when asked why Democrats didn’t publicize a bill they’re now all celebrating.
Republicans have responded both with surprise and subdued approval.
Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said it has a “broader effect” than he expected. Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said in a statement he supported the “bipartisan legislation” that regulates the sale of products with THC.
The law has few restrictions on the sale — virtually any store can sell THC edibles — but does prohibit the edibles from looking like cartoon characters, animals or fruit so as not to make them attractive to kids. The products must also come in child-resistant packages.
But already there are problems with THC products looking too much like candy — they are sold as gummies and chocolates — according to the bill’s author, Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina.
“Later this week, I’ll be having more information about how we plan to handle that as a state,” Edelson said during the Tuesday news conference. “There’s going to be some problems in terms of how do we enforce this.”
Edelson said she and her fellow lawmakers are working with the League of Minnesota Cities, indicating they will ask local governments play an active role in regulating THC edibles. The state Legislature is not in session and the governor would have to call a special session to pass any updates to the law.
The Board of Pharmacy, which mostly oversees licensing pharmacists and pharmacies, is tasked with regulating the potency, packaging and age requirements of the new products. It’s a large task for an agency that has fewer than two dozen employees.
The Democrats’ answer to any problems with the current law is to vote more of them into office this November, promising to pass full legalization if they control the House, Senate and governorship.
“The right thing to do is to elect Democrats, send us back to St. Paul so that we can continue working on this important issue,” said Rep. Jess Hanson, DFL-Burnsville.
The House Democrats, joined by activists and a hemp farmer, held the news conference outside Indeed Brewing in northeast Minneapolis, which Winkler suggested could benefit from selling beverages with THC.
The guidance from the Board of Pharmacy, however, says restaurants and bars may not add THC to food or beverages for onsite or take away consumption. THC also may not be added to beer or other alcoholic beverages.
Democrats emphasized the foot-in-the-door legalization bill furthers racial justice, as Black and Indigenous people have been disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for marijuana crimes.
The law, however, doesn’t do anything to explicitly advance racial equity, such as giving licensing priority or grants to people from areas that were targeted in the War on Drugs — although those efforts have largely floundered elsewhere in the country. That means people with capital and relationships to financial lenders and existing THC businesses will likely dominate the Minnesota legal marijuana market.
Angela Dawson, a Black hemp farmer from Pine County, said the law isn’t perfect, but it will create more opportunities for people of color.
“We’re working with the scraps we’re given, quite frankly,” Dawson said. “We’re going to continue to push (an) equity agenda. We’re going to ask Minnesota to also be advocates for equity within this system.”
Minnesota Reformer is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Minnesota Reformer maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Patrick Coolican for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Minnesota Reformer on Facebook and Twitter.