Mexican drug cartels threaten Arizona coppers

In the first public incident of its kind, cartels are making direct death threats to U.S. law enforcement officials in Nogales, Arizona, the police chief there told CNN Monday…

The threats began less than two weeks ago, after off-duty police officers from the Nogales police department seized several hundred pounds of marijuana from a drug smuggling operation they stumbled upon while horseback riding in the eastern fringes of Nogales, the chief said.

The smugglers in the incident managed to flee into Mexico before they could be detained.

Home free!

We are taking the threats very seriously,” Kirkham told CNN. “We have received information from informants who work in Mexico that the drug cartel running that operation was unhappy about our seizure. They told our informant that they understand uniformed police officers have a job to do, but anyone out of uniform who gets involved in their operation will be targeted.”

“America is based on freedom. We’re not going to be intimidated by the threats, but we are taking them seriously. I’ve told my officers if they venture into that area off duty to be armed,” Kirkham said.

I presume someone will pass that suggestion along to ordinary civilians as well as off-duty police officers. Seems reasonable to me.

Goldilocks burglar found sleeping by homeowner

A Goldilocks-style burglar in New Zealand raided a fridge, drank alcohol, ate food, tried on clothes, and was found fast asleep in a bed when the home-owner returned.

But the story did not have a happy ending for Vanessa Joy Long, 39, who has long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, when her victim exercised an option not available to the Three Bears and called police.

Long pleaded guilty in Christchurch District Court on Monday, saying she had entered the house through an unlocked back door…

The home-owner is seeking £720 in damages for damage to the bedding and mattress, and the cost of food, drink.

We probably could have a Dumb Crook Daily feature.

It’s not a job category that requires a whole boatload of smarts.

Pope’s best mate faces new child abuse allegations

A secret Vatican file on a disgraced Roman Catholic German bishop alleges he is a “severely alcoholic man” who sexually preyed on young priests.

The dossier was seen by Pope Benedict XVI before he accepted the resignation of Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg last month.

Documents, compiled after Vatican investigators questioned members of Bishop Mixa’s inner circle, have detailed a litany of alleged alcoholism and sexual abuse.

The new allegations have come to light following his demands last week that the Vatican review his case. He has accused Germany’s Archbishop Robert Zollitsch and Bavaria’s Archbishop Reinhard Marx of not behaving a “brotherly” manner and pressuring him to resign.

In the dossier, witnesses described the bishop as an alcoholic who had to drink wine and spirits throughout the course of his day to feed his addiction to alcohol.

Others accused him of carrying out sex attacks on young priests during his time as a parish priest. Following an sexual incident, Bishop Mixa would then “go to confession the next morning before he celebrated mass“…

The Bishop of Augsberg’s resignation in early May followed accusations that he beat children at a Catholic orphanage in the 1970s and later misused Church money.

Bishop Mixa has since moved back into his Church mansion, and says he will demand the decision to accept his resignation is reversed next month. He claims the Pontiff was pressured to accept his resignation due to the unproven allegations of sexual abuse.

And all that other stuff ain’t especially important either, right? As far as day-to-day management of the Catholic Corporation Church is concerned.

U.S. pullout from Iraq kicks off world-class garage sale


“I’ll give you 5 bucks for the hat, Joe”

The detritus of occupation comes in all shapes and sizes.

In Iraq, it’s M-16 ammunition clips, rifle bipods and body armor at Baghdad’s Haraj market. Or Playboy DVDs, Irish Spring soap and military-issue MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) at a store in Karrada district, scavenged from the trash or more often skimmed off supplies at U.S. bases by industrious local contractors.

For traders in U.S. cast-offs, now is the last hurrah.

The remaining 85,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq are pulling out over the next 18 months, and the Pentagon is getting rid of the fixtures and fittings of the bases they live in, some of it at auction, some bound for the black market.

Among the items hitting the streets are air-conditioners and refrigerators from 500 bases the U.S. operated at the height of its presence in 2007, when some 170,000 soldiers were trying to keep Iraq from tearing itself apart. The size of the U.S. force in Iraq meant many of the bases were like cities, with PX shops as big as Wal-Marts, and Burger King and Krispy Kreme stores…

Such are the spoils of modern war, while stocks last

In Iraq, the United States isn’t sticking around. Or so we are told.

Combat operations end in August and troop numbers drop to 50,000 by September 1, before a full withdrawal by the end of 2011. Much of their hardware goes to U.S. forces in Afghanistan or is repatriated. Some equipment goes to the Iraqi government.

More than 370 bases have been handed over, and the military says it is “transitioning” to Iraq 62,000 excess items, including vehicles and office furniture.

RTFA.

None of this should surprise you – including the official lies. Maybe there will be a few enterprising hustlers who will pack up some of the leftover, ship ’em back to the United States to sell to the fools who willingly paid for this crap with tax dollars a hundred times over.

Louisiana lawmakers unanimously vote prayer to stop oil disaster

While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are proposing… prayer.

State senators designated Sunday as a day for citizens to ask for God’s help dealing with the oil disaster.

“Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail,” state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week’s unanimous vote for the day of prayer. “It is clearly time for a miracle for us.”

The resolution names Sunday as a statewide day of prayer in Louisiana and calls on people of all religions throughout the Gulf Coast “to pray for an end to this environmental emergency….”

I wouldn’t hold my breath….

China unleashes global rally with flexible yuan

Global markets celebrated on Monday at the merest hint that China would let its currency appreciate, showing just how badly the Middle Kingdom is needed to drive a recovery in the sagging world economy…

Assets leveraged to global growth, from commodities to stocks and Asian currencies, all rose on hopes that China’s surprise pledge of yuan flexibility would lessen the risk of a trade war between the world’s biggest and third-largest economies…

Beijing has faced a barrage of complaints from abroad for keeping the yuan artificially cheap even as the country’s export juggernaut roared back to life.

Yet many economists suspect Beijing will nudge the exchange rate higher in increments, not leaps.

The People’s Bank of China had surprised everyone on Saturday by saying it would make the yuan more flexible, but by Sunday it already seemed to be playing down the chance of major change.

In a new statement on its website, the central bank explicitly ruled out a one-off revaluation, repeating that there was no basis for any big appreciation and that the currency’s value was not far off its fair level…

As well as a nod to trade tensions, a rising yuan would also give China more purchasing power to buy foreign goods, which would be positive for world trade, especially for commodity exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand…

Because China successfully instituted managed stimulus measures, their own response to the global crash – they’ve discovered they are ready a good bit earlier than expected to expand domestic consumption as a central driver to their whole economy.

New factories, new businesses are in place – often with foreign partners – ready to produce consumer goods for a domestic market.

Though infrastructure-building has decades of targets to go, they’ve proven to themselves they can handle projects comparable to Eisenhower’s buildout of our Interstate Highway system.

China knows they needn’t repeat many of the mistakes plaguing other nations, older economies. While here in the United States, we can count on folks still afraid of FDR and Keynes to guarantee us a lagging response, foot-dragging our way out of this recession.

Italian cardinal shares corruption with government


Crescenzio with Bubba Berlusconi
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

A leading Italian Catholic cardinal and an ex-government minister are under investigation for corruption.

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the archbishop of Naples, previously ran the department that co-ordinates the Vatican’s foreign missions. He is accused of colluding with Pietro Lunardi, a former transport minister, to offer cut-price property deals…

Until 2006 he headed the Vatican department in control of financing overseas missions. In that position he enjoyed access to the department’s enviable portfolio of cash and property assets.

He now faces investigation alongside Mr Lunardi, a former minister in the centre-right government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, under the scope of an magistrates’ investigation into a major corruption scandal involving prominent politicians…

Emerging from church in Naples on Sunday, Cardinal Sepe told reporters: “The truth will emerge. I am serene…”

Didn’t Al Capone say something like that – a few times?

The nice thing about inviting a church into government, it supposedly dilutes corruption by giving citizens two centers of greed and deceit instead of just one.

Or does that double the corruption?