Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sierra Madre Resident / Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian hauled in by Feds for Illegal Arms Sales

Mod: It isn't often that a Sierra Madre resident makes national news. Unfortunately, here it wasn't for the best of reasons. But the real black eye would have to go to the City of Pasadena, which, along with the financial collapse of its schools, the racially polarized beating by Pasadena officers of Altadena resident Chris Ballew, and the embezzlement of $6 million dollars by a city employee who will seemingly never go to trial, is a place that has certainly had its share of unhappy news. Below is the press release that Pasadena sent out Friday discussing its latest searing run-in with national notoriety. It almost reads like an apology.


Mod: If you head over to Google News and type in the name "Vasken Gourdikian," you will see a long menu of breaking news articles from newspapers all over the country. The Washington Post actually published two separate stories. Here is one of them.

California police lieutenant arrested on gun-selling charges (The Washington Post link): LOS ANGELES — A Southern California police lieutenant used his job to get around the state’s strict gun laws in order to resell dozens of guns without a license, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian was arrested Friday morning and is charges with illegally selling more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017. Gourdikian, 48, of Sierra Madre, was due to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later Friday. His attorney, Mark Geragos, was expected to comment on the case after the court proceeding.

Gourdikian, who worked as the police department’s spokesman until he was placed on leave last year, used his status as a police officer to buy guns that weren’t available to the general public and then re-sold the guns, prosecutors said.

As a police officer, he was able to purchase so-called “off-roster” handguns, which aren’t available to the public and aren’t listed in a catalog of certified handguns maintained by the state, authorities said. Gourdikian posted on online gun message boards that he had weapons that were brand new and in the box, court documents said.

The investigation against Gourdikian began during a routine analysis of sales and trace reports by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Bill McMullan, the special agent in charge of the ATF field office in Los Angeles.

“As alleged in the indictment, Mr. Gourdikian used his position as a law enforcement officer to buy firearms from gun dealers that the general public could not. He then repeatedly sold those firearms at a profit,” McMullan said. ATF agents raided Gourdikian’s home last year and seized 62 firearms, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle, officials said.

He was also charged with possessing an unregistered gun and falsely claiming on federal firearms forms that he was buying a gun for himself, even though he had already agreed to sell the weapon to someone else, prosecutors said.

Mod: The cumulative effect of all this bad news is having an unhappy impact on the City of Pasadena's floundering local government agency. In an insightful article posted recently on the news site Pasadena Now, the Rotten Rose's increasingly ineffectual Mayor Terry Tornek attempted to explain everything away to a room filled with residents outraged over the Chris Ballew beating. It apparently did not go very well.

Mayor Tornek Responds to Criticism of Pasadena Police (Pasadena Now link): Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek read a prepared statement during Monday night’s City Council meeting in which he defended the Pasadena Police Department’s professionalism and integrity. Tornek faced a Chamber filled with numerous anti-police protestors and just two days earlier had officially responded to an Altadena Town Council letter accusing Pasadena police of lacking proper training, requesting the department revise its policies on use of force and racial profiling, and keep two specific officers “restricted from conducting any police business within Altadena city limits.”

It was, he said, time for him to address the issues as the City’s Mayor.

“For several weeks now we have been hearing from local residents expressing their heartfelt concerns over the use of force incident that occurred in November in Altadena,” Mayor Tornek began. “We’ve even heard from the Altadena Town Council, expressing their concern over the PPD conduct in their community. We have been given lists of demands, exhortations about inappropriate police conduct and suggestions about suspensions, policies, training and investigation methodologies. Through it all, I have been listening carefully and asking questions of my own.

“As Mayor of Pasadena,” he continued, “I think that it is time for me to speak out on the issue."

(Bromides snipped) - The remarks were met with disdain from some audience members who earlier had crowded into City Council chambers carrying signs and shouting calls for the removal from active duty of Lerry Esparza and Zachary Lujan, the officers involved in the violent and controversial November 9, 2017 traffic stop of Chris Ballew.

Ballew, an Altadena resident, suffered a broken fibula and head injuries in the incident. A cellphone video of the arrest was widely circulated on social media, garnering more than a million views worldwide. Ballew and his family have filed a lawsuit against the City.

Police Chief Phillip Sanchez and City Manager Steve Mermell have said that the officers’ conduct is under investigation. The officers remain on active duty.

Mod: One question I have is how does this master of disaster, Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez, continue to survive in that position? After all, he signed the paperwork that allowed Gourdikian to obtain some of his most lethal weaponry. This guy has been a serial calamity to the city paying his salary for years. What is his secret?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

84 comments:

  1. I am guessing there was too much dirt to try and cover up so they (PPD) decided to toss him to the wolves instead, being that gun control has taken off after too many mass killings etc. It's a good time that the law enforcers are held to the same legal standards as those other people not wearing uniforms? No more double standards.

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    1. The only reason Gourdikian was arrested is because the Feds were involved. Pasadena lacks the will to do anything like that on their own. Like with everything else that happens there this would have gone to a behind the doors investigation that would never resolve.

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  2. Pasadena Police Chief suspends waiting period waivers for officers
    Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez announced Thursday his department will suspend the issuance of waiting period waivers for officers looking to purchase firearms. Sanchez says he wants to thoroughly review the department’s practices, according to the Pasadena Star-News.

    There’s a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases in California. Last week, it was reported that Sanchez signed off on at least four waivers for Lt. Vasken Gourdikian, who had 57 guns seized from his home earlier this year. Several of those guns were ‘off-roster’ — weapons available almost exclusively to law enforcement.
    http://www.guns.com/2017/06/09/pasadena-police-chief-suspends-waiting-period-waivers-for-officers/

    Is Chief Sanchez being investigated?

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  3. Only reason why this officer was arrested because the Obama Administration changed the rules on legal gun and amo sales as a last minute in your face, FU, to the second amendment.

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    1. Really? Until Obama came along you didn't need a license to sell semi-automatic weaponry? You have some proof of that?

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    2. Obama supposedly violates the 2nd Amendment and the NRA just moans and cries because it never throws its resources (including Russian) into a legal fight? Yeah, sure.

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    3. In the looney land that is the alt-right Obama is to blame for everything Trump screws up.

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    4. Really? This poor innocent cop unwittingly sold all these guns at the same time at the ‘last minute’? Lamest excuse yet.

      You’re crooked too, just like the crooked cop.

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  4. One thing you have to say for Bill Bogaard. He knew how to keep a lid on the stench.

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  5. Replies
    1. Is that an intentional non sequitur?

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  6. Pasadena is carrying almost $1.7 billion dollars in unfunded pension debt. You might as well stick the fork in now. The turkey is done.
    http://www.pensiontracker.org/agencySummary.php?agency_name=City+of+Pasadena&id=36&search=Search

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    1. So does getting rid of Gourdikian relieve the city of some of that...might be a good starting place.

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  7. Pasadena police officer illegally sold more than 100 guns, some outlawed in California, feds say
    https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2018/03/02/pasadena-police-lt-vasken-gourdikian-arrested-suspecting-of-selling-guns-without-a-license-lying-in-statements/

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  8. Gourdikian is looking at 35 years in Club Fed. Realtors are now rushing to see if they can't get the listing on his home.

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  9. 8:15, learn the truth.

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  10. Considering all of the headlines about semi-automatic guns and school massacres, it is probably not a good time to go on trial for selling those things. Especially on this state.

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  11. Lawyer: Charges against policeman are misguided
    An attorney for the California police lieutenant accused of illegally selling dozens of guns says the charges against his client are "misguided" and abuse of prosecutorial discretion. Defense attorney Mark Geragos says in a statement that Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian will vigorously fight the charges.

    Gourdikian pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges and is accused of using his job to get around the state's strict gun laws in order to resell dozens of guns without a license. Prosecutors say Gourdikian illegally sold more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017. Geragos says statements from prosecutors about his client are "better suited for a political rally." He says Gourdikian has a long, unblemished and distinguished career in law enforcement.

    http://www.bradenton.com/news/nation-world/national/article203218354.html#storylink=cpy

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  12. He's been arrested and will face trial. He isn't an example of anything endemic other than being a typically greedy arrogant Armenian doofus. He has small children who live in our town. Let it go.

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    1. Let what go ? The fact that he’s a criminal? What does the age of his kids matter?

      Uhhhh ohhhhh, where’s the racist patrol, you labeled him as a “typical arrogant Aremenia doofus”, this satisfies the racist definition pal.

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    2. 9:22 is kind of sensitive and insensitive at the same time.

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    3. 30% of adult Americans own a gun (19% of that 30% belong to the NRA according to Pew Research). It's time for that 30% to start jury nullification and refuse to convict anyone in California of a gun crime until California stops violating the 2nd Amendment.

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    4. Sure. Any smart prosecutor could then ask prospective jury members if they own a gun. Answer yes, and you are excused. That way you would only get a jury made up of people who don't own guns, and someone like Vasken could kiss his freedom bye bye.

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    5. You can't be excused for owning a gun. Owning a gun is a constitutional right. So FBI agents and police officers and military members shouldn't be allowed on juries?

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    6. I'd never vote to convict him. Gun ownership is a civil right enshrined in the constitution and the NRA is the USA's largest civil rights organization. Everyone here has broken the idiotic blizzard of California and Federal laws dozens of time and not been caught.

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    7. Making semi-automatic weapons available to people who could not otherwise get their hands on them is not my idea of law enforcement. He was arming people who had no accountability. Even potential cop killers.

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    8. More cops are killed by booze then guns. Should we ban the sale of alcohol? Didn't we try try that? Freedom gets abused. That's the excuse the government uses to try and take your freedom. Which is why we have a contract with the government called the constitution. Allowing only the government to have a monopoly on guns has led to tens of millions of deaths by governments and it always will.

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    9. Cops are often victims of the kinds of guns Vasken was selling. I bet a lot of them are glad to see him going to jail.

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    10. 10:50, I stopped reading after your first 8 words.

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    11. 10:50 is obviously killing himself with booze.

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    12. Crooked cops are endemic. Separate this illegal gun runner from those small children as soon as possible.

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  13. 9:05am. "You can't handle the truth".

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    1. Which truth are you trafficking in? Mainstream or alternative?

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    2. Alt trafficking and arms trafficking go hand in hand.

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    3. The big money is in lying. Truth is for volunteers.

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  14. Which prison do they put convicted police officers? I can't imagine that is a very comfortable experience.

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    1. I'm sure he'll be accepted into the local Aryan prison gang.

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  15. He sold guns, obviously last thing he would do is record the gun serial number before he sold it, sure would be great evidence to show a gun he sold was used in a crime.

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  16. Pasadena is a corrupt, racist city.

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    Replies
    1. But it does put on a good parade. Maybe next year you NRA fools could enter a float.

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    2. The soccer moms will love you.

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  17. 19:17am glad you brought up Obama's Fast and Furious cop killing gun deal he made. He should be behind bars in Federal lockup.

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    1. Lol- right wing nuts whined that Obama wanted all their guns. Now crying because he didn’t take them

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    2. You must be referring to the ATF "gunwalking" operation originally implemented by the Bush Administration.

      You probably intended to mention that the Bush Administration DOJ made no arrests or indictments in its gunwalking operation.

      You also probably intended to mention that President Barack Obama's DOJ reviewed the matter, found that guns had been allowed into the hands of suspected gun traffickers under Bush, and began issuing indictments and conducting prosecutions.

      You intended to mention those things didn't you?

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  18. 9:45am then how do you explain the arrogant doofus Adam Shiffless (Burbank).
    He is in bed with the Russian Armenians.

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    Replies
    1. You're an idiot.

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    2. The Trump family is an organized crime outfit from New York. Schiff is a former prosecutor, now Congressman, who is helping to bring these thugs down. Trump hates him for his intellect and honesty. Two things "The Don" is notably lacking in.

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    3. Trump should consider himself lucky that Schiff is just a Congressman on a committee rendered relatively toothless by Trump/Putin Republican co-conspirators rather than the assigned AUSA prosecuting him.

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    4. 12;44pm You have that much inspiration for Schiff? I don’t even want to understand why.

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    5. You couldn't.

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  19. The 2nd Amendment states:

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Notice how the text includes right at the very beginning ""A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...." What has become of this important limiting clause in 2nd Amendment jurisprudence?

    It is only later in the text that the clause "the right of the people to keep and bears arms" provides additional context. Notice the Amendment does not say "the right of 'individuals....'"

    The drafters of the 2nd Amendment intended it as a means of assuaging States' concerns about potential federal tyranny over the free States via a federal standing army, not as an individual right to own arms. It is the "people" (plural, not singular individuals) of the States that have the right to keep and bear arms through each State's "well regulated Militia."

    Individuals at the time of the drafting of the Constitution and Bill of Rights owned arms--whether muskets, flintlock pistols, knives, and swords. The lack of an express statement maintaining the right to own such arms in the Constitution and Bill of Rights was no more necessary than an express statement that an individual had the right to farm his land. It was a given.

    No one at the time questioned the right to own a musket that could fire 2 to 3 shots per minute. But now the "security of a free State" and everyone's individual rights to life and liberty mandate reasonable regulation of individual ownership of weapons capable of turning a single cowardly misanthrope into a platoon that can unleash hundreds of rounds a minute, regulation not prohibited by the intentions underpinning the 2nd Amendment nor by the plane text of the Amendment itself.

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    1. All well regulated militias get their guns from the garage of some guy in Sierra Madre.

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  20. Florida Republican tells colleagues that thoughts and prayers are the only defense against evil

    Republican state senator Kelli Stargel lectured her fellow Florida lawmakers and constituents during a special session Saturday, taking to the floor to deliver a speech in which she advocated against gun control, against banning assault weapons, against allowing local towns and cities to make their own laws to restrict guns, while arguing in favor of arming teachers. Senator Stargel also attacked those who mock the “thoughts and prayers” she offers when there is yet another mass shooting.

    “If I thought for one moment that if we banned assault weapons, that all of these tragedies would end, you would have me. I would be with you. But are we going to ban fertilizer, which is what they used in the Oklahoma bombing? Are we going to ban pressure cookers, which is what they used in the Boston massacre? Are we going to ban the multiple handguns that were used in other assaults? Are we going to ban the sawed off shotguns which was used in Columbine?” she asked.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/watch-florida-republican-tells-colleagues-thoughts-prayers-defense-evil/

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    1. This BS is why we need separation of church and state

      And regulation

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    2. All dishonest strawman arguments by Stargel. Someone should ask her which is easier, building a truck bomb or pressure cooker bomb with fertilizer or buying an AR-15 with a bump stock?

      Arming teachers? Even armed sheriffs failed to enter the school without SWAT back up.

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    3. That whole armed teacher nonsense is NRA BS. A distraction meant to bamboozle idiots.

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  21. "Democratic Civil War", Diane Finstein is experiencing a party split.
    De Leon vs Finstein; across the country the Democrats are having their "Tea Party" moment.

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    1. Translation: Senator Feinstein, who is in her 80s, has a primary challenger.

      They're grasping at straws down in the Fuhrer bunker.

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    2. The ‘tea party’ was fake from the beginning

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    3. It now functions as a 5th column for Vladimir Putin.

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  22. 12:28pm. What are you yammering about? No one could TEXT back in the days that the Constitution was written.
    2nd Amendment keeps us free of Federal tyranny.

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    1. Have you lost any toes yet?

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  23. 12:40pm. Ok I'll mention that if you mention that President Clinton did nada to keep the United States safe from ISIS. The bombing of the Navel ship Cole is a good place to start.

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    1. What's that got to do with the madman in the White House now?

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    2. That’s because ISIS didn’t exist when clinton was president. Bush inadvertently created ISIS after his neoconservative failed illegal invasion in the Middle East.

      You’re an idiot.

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    3. Iraq was the Bush Family Vanity War. Lot's of wonderful young men and women lost their lives so Junior could feel like a man.

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    4. It's got nothing to do with Traitor Trump at all.

      1:28 is the type of collaborator who will just jump from "whatabout" subject to "whatabout" subject in a quest to distract and be "right" about something, anything in the service of his Russian master.

      Of course, he's wrong again: the Cole attack was by Al-Qaeda, not ISIS. And President Clinton was on watch on the USS Cole when it was attacked--only fools like 1:28 argue that a president thousands of miles away can stop all attacks.

      But since 1:28 likes jumping around, let's look a little more locally, such as Bush and the Republicans ignoring warnings of an imminent attack against the US in 2001. And then when the attack is underway, he just sits there like a bewildered jester reading The Pet Goat, rather than directing the response (other than making sure the Bin Laden family and other Saudi business partners of the Bushes could immediately leave the country.) When he finally directs a response, he attacks the wrong country and sows the seeds that grew into ISIS.

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    5. Pres Clinton was "not" on watch on the Cole... (I need to proofread my comments.)

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    6. ...or just stop making them

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  24. 1:28pm. What you label "madman" in reality is refreshing to the majority of Americans in this Country.
    President Trump cannot be bought, he doesn't owe Conservatives or Progressives a wink and a nod; unlike the last four men in office.
    The educated and informed voters of this Country have finally taken back their government by electing #45.

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    1. Trump never has achieved majority support. He lost the election by 3 million in the 2016 popular vote, and his poll approval numbers are some of the lowest ever recorded. I guess you could say that the madman's base is made up of just the ... mad. Oh, and traitors.

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    2. Trump supporter are the same uneducated fools that love "reality" TV. That's why they find him "refreshing."

      One thing 2:06 says is true: Trump cannot be bought.

      But that is only because he has already been bought and is already owned by Putin and the Russian oligarchs.

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    3. It’s amazing how this blog goes from a crooked cop who got paid for a year of doing nothing to Trump bashing. There are important things in local politics that need discussion. No wonder local cities are a mess.

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    4. The Tattler is an anomaly. Most cities have no discussion of issues whatsoever.

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    5. 3:16, let me explain: it’s because Dump sucks more than SM government.

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    6. Trump is a developer and he under the thumb of a hostile foreign economic power. Do we need to point out any additional similarities?

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    7. 3:16. So to you a local cop who sells guns and has been stopped by the feds is more important than a pr*sident who sold and continues to sell out our entire country but has not yet been stopped?

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    8. Sorry- no majority-

      Trump lost the majority vote

      He’s totally bought be anyone he desperately needs real estate funding from


      You’re so feeble

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  25. Houston man shot to death after putting on bullet proof vest at party

    A man died at a party he was throwing at his home in the Heights after he put on a bullet proof vest and a guest shot him, Houston Police said.

    Police were dispatched to the garage apartment on 23rd Street early Sunday. It was not immediately clear if the bullet had gone through the vest or if the shooter had missed the vest.

    The suspect and another witness fled the scene, HPD said. Homicide detectives are trying to determine if the incident was a dare or not, and no charges have been filed.

    https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-man-puts-on-bullet-proof-vest-is-shot-by-12726664.php

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  26. 3:16pm. What issues? Just say NO to moving the Library. There done, nothing else to discuss.

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    1. You must have an exciting home life

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  27. Nunes claims that Colbert's jokes about him are a danger to the country.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nunes-on-colbert-danger_us_5a9b5d71e4b089ec353af434

    In related news, the Dunning Kruger effect is being renamed the Nunes Nugatory Noggin effect.

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  28. Well, it’s been a few days, what new lies have Bulldozer Harbicht and Chandler tried to spread ?
    Harbicht will go down in flames just like 2016.

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  29. https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/02/us/dc-cop-unlicensed-gun-dealer/index.html

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