Stanislaus County District Attorney

Today marks the end of an era at the District Attorney’s office. Criminal Investigator Kirk Bunch retired after more than 19 years with the office serving the citizens of Stanislaus County AND…..a law enforcement career of over 33 years. And if that wasn’t enough, he also served our country in the US Army from 1982-1985.

Investigator Bunch was a tremendous asset to this office. He had a passion for his job and truly cared about victims. He will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best. Thank you Investigator Bunch for your service to the citizens of Stanislaus County!




Court Bans Agents Who Botched Carter Page Surveillance From Seeking Wiretaps

A secretive federal court on Wednesday effectively barred F.B.I. officials involved in the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser from appearing before it in other cases at least temporarily, the latest fallout from an internal inquiry into the bureau’s surveillance of the aide.

A 19-page opinion and order by James E. Boasberg, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also largely accepted changes the F.B.I. has said it will make to its process for seeking national-security wiretaps following a damning inspector general report about errors and omissions in applications to monitor the adviser, Carter Page.

But Judge Boasberg ordered law enforcement officials to specifically swear in future cases that the applications to the court contain “all information that might reasonably call into question the accuracy of the information or the reasonableness of any F.B.I. assessment in the application, or otherwise raise doubts about the requested findings.”

While Judge Boasberg also ordered the F.B.I. to report back about its progress on the changes, the move essentially brought to a close the court’s intervention after the report. His predecessor as chief judge in December had ordered the F.B.I. to explain what it would do to regain the confidence of the judges who review wiretap requests.

The order comes as Attorney General William P. Barr has discussed administratively imposing even greater — but as yet unspecified — restrictions on F.B.I. spying conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, and lawmakers are debating legislation that would add more safeguards as federal law.

By contrast, the authority of the FISA court is limited: The court can grant or deny applications but lacks jurisdiction to micromanage how the F.B.I. and the Justice Department organize themselves to put together FISA requests as part of counterterrorism or counterintelligence investigations.

After the inspector general report was released in early December detailing a dysfunctional effort by investigators to seek court permission to surveil Mr. Page, whom they had suspected of being a link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, the F.B.I. said it would take corrective steps.

Officials said the bureau would start enhanced training and use checklists to reduce the risk of repeating one of the significant breakdowns in the process: Evidence casting doubt on investigators’ suspicions about Mr. Page failed to reach the court.

The F.B.I. has also since said it will starting requiring field office agents, rather than headquarters supervisors, to sign factual affidavits describing their cases to the court. That was a key suggestion of David S. Kris, a FISA expert whom Judge Boasberg had appointed to critique the government’s changes. Mr. Kris told the judge that the F.B.I.’s initial changes did not go far enough.

Lawmakers have been debating more sweeping changes, such as requiring judges to appoint an outsider to critique the government’s arguments more frequently. The proposals ranged from requiring the critiques only in cases involving First Amendment activity, like political campaigns and religious worship, to a broader call to use them in all cases involving Americans.

Some civil liberties advocates want to go even further by permitting defense lawyers to read FISA applications when their clients are prosecuted on the basis of evidence from a national-security wiretap to ensure that the applications were candid and complete. Defense lawyers are permitted to do that in ordinary criminal cases, but not national security investigations.

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, found that four applications to wiretap Mr. Page, starting in October 2016 and extending through the summer of 2017, gave the court an incomplete and inaccurate picture of the evidence, including facts that undercut the F.B.I.’s belief that he might be a Russian agent.

Before the second renewal request, the F.B.I. talked to a source for a notorious set of claims about Mr. Trump and Russia, the so-called Steele dossier, that had formed part of the basis of the Page applications. The source contradicted certain claims the dossier had attributed to him, but the Justice Department did not tell the court.

The Justice Department has subsequently acknowledged to the FISA court that the full spectrum of evidence about Mr. Page available by the final two renewal applications in 2017 fell short of the legal standard to justify his continued surveillance.

While Mr. Horowitz did not find evidence to confirm Republican conspiracy theories that the Russia investigation and surveillance of Mr. Page were a high-level plot to sabotage Mr. Trump for political reasons, he rejected as unsatisfactory the excuse that the officials working on the applications were busy and referred all of them for internal investigation.

Judge Boasberg’s new order also directed that no Justice Department or F.B.I. officials “under disciplinary or criminal review relating to their work on FISA applications shall participate in drafting, verifying, reviewing or submitting such applications to the court.”

That ban would thus appear to cover the case agent whom the inspector general singled out as “primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions” in the Page wiretap applications, and who was among those referred for disciplinary review.

The report did not name him, but The New York Times has identified him as Stephen M. Somma, a counterintelligence investigator in the F.B.I.’s New York field office. The disciplinary review process takes some time, and the internal scrutiny of Mr. Somma and his colleagues is ongoing.

Meanwhile, lawmakers pressing for changes to the surveillance powers regrouped on Wednesday after Mr. Trump pressed Republicans at the White House a night earlier to draft a set of changes that could pass Congress and he could sign into law.

Aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the top House Republican, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, met to sort out where they may be able to agree on new privacy protections after an earlier legislative effort broke down amid disagreements about how far to go.

“McCarthy said that he thought he and Nancy Pelosi might come up with a package,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters. “Well, if that happens, that’s a big breakthrough.”

Congress faces a deadline of March 15, when three F.B.I. national-security surveillance and investigative tools enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks are set to expire. While none of those tools were involved in the problematic Page wiretap applications, they have been caught up in the debate because any legislation to extend them is seen as a vehicle to for broader FISA changes.



The Bee Has Been Declared
“Most Important Living Being on the Planet”

At a meeting of the Royal Geographic Society of London, Earthwatch Institute declared bees the most invaluable species on this planet, as reported by The Guardian in 2008. And along with it comes this disturbing piece of news. If the bees were to disappear today, mankind would follow suit very soon!

Scientists and wildlife experts have added bees to the list of species that are doomed to extinction in the near future if humanity does not do something about its most beneficial insects.

The Importance of Bees

The loss of bees will be disastrous for mankind as they are irreplaceable. The relation between bees and flowering plants is one of the most extensive, harmonious, and interdependent cooperation on the planet. A relationship spawned over a period of nearly 100 million years has led to the procreation of a rich diversity of species and also promoted the elevation of the human species on earth.

There are more than 20,000 species of bees. Yet, an overwhelming number of them do not live in hives. They vary in size from 2mm to 4cm and do not adapt well to new plant types.

75% of the food crops that produce the seeds and fruits we consume are influenced, at least partly, by pollination. 87 of the leading food crops worldwide are supported wholly or partially by pollination. This, in turn, feeds thousands of animal and bird species. They are the main reason for the diversity of plant species. The decline in the bee population would adversely affect major crops like coffee, cocoa, almonds, tomatoes, and apples to name just a few, as per the reports of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The oldest known sweetener and also the healthiest, honey has been much sought after since ancient times. The total export of just leading honey-producing nations was worth $2.4 billion way back in 2009. This is another vast source of food that would just disappear with the bees.

The monetized value of the global crops that are directly dependent on pollinators is in the region of $235 billion to $577 billion every year. This was a free gift of nature. Relying on the artificial process is close to impossible. The only way out is to support the process which leads to natural pollination.

Deforestation and Pesticides

We have already let loose processes that may in the not too distant future lead to the extinction of the planet’s leading pollinator and with it the extinction of countless other species including man. The need to sustain our ever-increasing population has led to the use of methods to increase production at any cost, especially the clearing of forests for farmland and the incremental use of pesticides. 40% of the invertebrate pollinator species, especially bees are facing extinction. This has led to a steep decline in the population of both wild and domestic bee population. Vast populations have been decimated in some parts of the globe.

Pests, Diseases, and Mobiles

The transmission of pests and pathogens from other areas due to globalization has affected the population of bees in some areas. The waves produced by mobile telephones are being blamed. The Federal Institute of Technology of Switzerland says that bees are disoriented by waves emitted during calls. Daniel Favre, Biologist, and other researchers produced evidence that showed that bees were disturbed and warned other bees when exposed to the waves, as reported in The Australian.

A total prohibition on the use of toxic pesticides, especially neurotoxins and using natural alternatives is the immediate necessity.  Pollinator-friendly practices in agriculture are a must. Farmers need to be aware of the pollination needs of specific crops and act accordingly. Wildlife habitats must be preserved. Farmers can diversify farms to make food resources always available for the bees. The need for restoring ecological friendly practices must be encouraged. This will preserve the habitats of the pollinators.

The Ultimate Gaming Bed So You Never Have To Leave The House

This gaming bed is the dream of all gamers

There are currently over 2.5 billion gamers across the world with USA, China, and Japan having the most numbers of gamers population. Without a doubt, electronic video games have redefined entertainment and recreations. And Japan continues to revolutionize video game culture with this ultimate gaming bed. And it is what it sounds like – a bed for gamers. It’s not just a chair or a couch for gaming but a full, functional bed.

Japanese furniture manufacturer Bauhutte introduces its awesome line of gaming furniture that would make every gamer’s life more enjoyable. There’s the reclining chair and desk combo complete with console shelves to place your gaming cabinet and other gaming stuff. You can also opt for a version with a steering wheel controller for a more realistic gaming experience. Or the one with an included tent-like enclosure to cut your ties with the outside world. Although all of the pieces in the collection are worth having, it’s the gaming bed that really catches our interest the most.

Waking up from our beds and moving from the bed to our gaming desks can be a bit tiring, right? This is why this gaming bed is created to make our lives less complicated.  Now we don’t have to get out of our bed anymore because we have everything we need within reach. It has an elevated headboard when you can place one or two flexible long arm phone holders to keep your phone’s screen hovering over you while you lay down.

Additionally, it includes a bed desk that can be set at the foot of the gaming bed. The wide desk can accommodate a dual-monitor setup, a pair of speakers, and a keyboard. It also features two extended spaces on both ends for your gaming mouse and console. Furthermore, it has two cup holders on one side to keep your favorite beverages at hand. And a hanging basket on the side to keep your extra console and headphones.

You can also opt to add a smaller desk to the side of the bed to place your keyboard. Of course, more multi-level shelves filled with drinks and snacks surrounding the gaming bed would make your dream life complete. You won’t even need to get out of the bed anymore, unless you need to use the bathroom. Can we just all agree that this is the perfect life?

The Japanese company offers each piece of furniture individually, not as a set. So, you’ll need to purchase each furniture such as desks, shelves, and racks separately. Also take note that the bed is not included as these gaming furniture are intended to be added to your existing bed.