07:27 GMT21 September 2020
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    Does California Share the Same Values as the Rest of the US?

    Connecting The Pieces
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    For many in the US, human trafficking is usually thought of as taking place in a faraway land. Looking at local newspapers in California, however, an entirely different picture is painted.

    The man, who had a problem with the law, heard through the grapevine that a certain lawyer could help him with his situation and maybe even make him disappear. In an arranged meeting, the lawyer noted that yes, indeed he could help the man for a certain sum of money, but once the man disappeared, he would have to stay away, forever. The man agreed and poof, just like that, was gone. To make a long story short, little did the lawyer know that he too, one day, would have to use his own “problem-be-gone” service.

    Now, if this sounds vaguely familiar, that is because this is the basic premise for the newest hit show from Netflix, “Better Call Saul”. In this series, it is possible not only to see how shady the law business is, but also how sketchy law enforcement is as well. And while this is just a TV show, closely following local news reveals that there is more than just a kernel of truth in the show.

    In one of the stranger stories to hit the interwebs this week, the Washington Post reported that — “An attorney with the Internal Revenue Service’s professional standards office in Washington has been charged with conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine”. That’s right. A tax lawyer working for a top level government agency was caught dealing meth, also known as hillbilly heroin. Crazy, right? 

    The article at the Post continued, “According to a criminal complaint unsealed in Brooklyn federal court, an IRS attorney since 2012 has allegedly participated in a meth ring with others in Arizona and on Long Island.” Apparently, this guy, already what some would call a triple loser since he was a DC resident, a lawyer and working for the IRS, is now on his way to adding a felony conviction to his resume, and for what? A few thousand dollars? Is this what passes as normal in the swamps of the capital? That an official tasked with serious responsibility is willing to sell his soul for a sum not even large enough for a really fun weekend in Vegas?

    And speaking of losers, as in a whole gaggle of them, back in the summer of 2016, the Oakland police department found itself caught up in a scandal, as the Los Angeles times reported — “It started … when a suicide note was found near the body of Officer Brendan O’Brien. That note sparked an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving several city police officers and a young prostitute.” That’s right. A cop suicide, allegations of police cover-ups, a young prostitute and sex.

    In fact, as the local NBC affiliate reported — “The young woman at the center of the sex scandal claims to have had sex with 28 officers stretching across several agencies. And she also said that some officers paid her for the sex, either with money or with information. She also said four of those encounters were when she was underage.” But, it doesn’t stop there, as the plot continues to thicken!

    In an interview with NBC, the woman noted specifics when — “she told those agencies that she had sex with at least 14 Oakland officers, including three when she was underage; that two officers provided her with confidential police information, including tips on scheduled anti-prostitution stings; and that a retired OPD captain in his 80s paid $250 to have sex with her in a rundown San Pablo Avenue motel.” Get that? That last part was almost from a cheap dime store novel, an old retired ex-cop way past his prime was banging a hooker in a cheap rundown motel. Just let that ew factor set in.

    A few weeks after the Oakland police department scandal, approximately four weeks, to be exact, the Daily Mail noted that-“Nearly 300 people were arrested in a human trafficking sweep in Los Angeles, where authorities discovered ten victims who had been forced into prostitution.” The article continued by noting — “All but two of the victims found in "Operation Summer Rescue" were under 18 years old.” 

    Now, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, more cases of human trafficking have been reported in California than in any other U.S. state. Nearly one in five calls last year to the Center's hotline came from California.

    Fast forward to today and headlines across the nation this week note that — “Authorities say 474 people have been arrested in a multi-day sting operation focused on human trafficking in California.” That’s right. Once again we can read the words, human trafficking, California and underage sex. In fact, the article goes on to say — “They say officers also rescued 28 children who were being sexually exploited and offered services to 27 adults they said were victims of sex trafficking.”

    As the talk of California seceding the Union continues to gain steam, many are asking why? Of course, the answer to that, as the NY Mag notes is – “The arguments for Calexit are pretty simple: The state is drifting ever-further away from the rest of the country in cultural attitudes and public policies, especially with respect to immigration and the environment.” And who knows, maybe it is true, because, as the old saying goes, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day”.

    So, what do you think dear listeners, “Does California share the same values as the rest of the US?”

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

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    human trafficking, police, Calexit, Oakland, California
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