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Interesting Links: June 7, 2015

June 7, 2015 6 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about the reality of “american justice”- a concept best understood as an oxymoron.

Link 1: Texas officer suspended after pool party video shows him pulling gun on teens

Video posted to YouTube on Saturday shows one officer sprinting past the camera, falling and losing his flashlight, then running again.Teenagers are seen returning the flashlight to another officer, who responds politely, before the first officer returns and shouts: “On the ground! I told you to stay! Get your asses on the ground. I told you to stay!” The officer, who was not named when his suspension was announced, is then seen forcing a number of teenagers to lie on a grass verge and a sidewalk and telling others to “get your ass out of here”. Some teenagers are handcuffed. One teenager can be heard saying: “Sir, we just came from a birthday party, please.” Another says: “Officer, I can’t find my bag.” The officer replies: “I don’t care, sit down.” The officer is then shown talking to teenagers on the ground.

He then forces a group of bystanders to leave. One, a girl, does not comply and the officer wrestles her to the ground. When other teenagers surround him to remonstrate, he draws his gun. Two other officers move to restrain him, and the officer re-holsters the weapon. He then slams the girl back to the ground, shouting: “On your face!” As the officer appears to sit on the girl to keep her subdued, hectoring her all the while, a voice, possibly that of the person filming the incident, says the officer pulled a gun on the girl.“No I didn’t,” he says, pointing at the camera. “Now get your butts outta here.” The officer is later shown in close-up, lecturing two boys who are sitting on the ground. “You just did what everybody else did,” he says, “and what everybody else did was illegal. You did it and you got caught. Now you’re sitting here paying for it. “I asked y’all to sit,” he adds, “you didn’t and you became a part of the mob. You could’ve been the guys that were doing right and you weren’t, so now you’re sitting here in trouble.”

Link 2: Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 3 Years With No Trial Commits Suicide

Last fall, I wrote about a young man named Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. He had been arrested in the spring of 2010, at age sixteen, for a robbery he insisted he had not committed. Then he spent more than one thousand days on Rikers waiting for a trial that never happened. During that time, he endured about two years in solitary confinement, where he attempted to end his life several times. Once, in February, 2012, he ripped his bedsheet into strips, tied them together to create a noose, and tried to hang himself from the light fixture in his cell. In November of 2013, six months after he left Rikers, Browder attempted suicide again. This time, he tried to hang himself at home, from a bannister, and he was taken to the psychiatric ward at St. Barnabas Hospital, not far from his home in the Bronx. When I met him, in the spring of 2014, he appeared to be more stable.

His relatives recounted stories he’d told them about being starved and beaten by guards on Rikers. They spoke about his paranoia, about how he often suspected that the cops or some other authority figures were after him. His mother explained that the night before he told her, “Ma, I can’t take it anymore.” “Kalief, you’ve got a lot of people in your corner,” she told him. One cousin recalled that when Browder first got home from jail, he would walk to G.E.D. prep class every day, almost an hour each way. Another cousin remembered seeing him seated by the kitchen each morning with his schoolwork spread out before him.

Link 3: Watch Austin cop pepper spray man for filming an arrest

Around last call on Saturday night in Austin, Texas, a tourist from Los Angeles taped several white police officers tackling a black man in the middle of a busy street, confiscating the phone of a filming bystander, and then pepper spraying the man who’d been taping in the face. Jericho Tucker, a “video game player and online entertainer” was in Austin this weekend for the X Games, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Tucker and friends were walking along the city’s famously boozy 6th Street close to 1:30 AM on Sunday, when the group observed what appeared to be a team of white cops pinning a black man to the ground, handcuffing him, and taking him away. Tucker caught the confrontation on his camera phone, as well as footage of a police officer taking away a filming device from someone in the crowd, and then aiming burning liquid in his direction.

Tucker’s video shows officers picking a black man — who remains silent throughout the filming and whose crime is unclear — off the ground, and escort him in handcuffs away from a gathering mass of onlookers. Some police are on horseback, and use the horses’ bodies to push back the crowd from the street onto the sidewalk. “Hey, watch the fuck where you going with your fucking horses,” someone can he heard saying in Tucker’s video. And then, a cop smacks a camera phone from a man’s hand, and pepper sprays him in full view of Tucker’s lens.

What do you think? Comments?

A Brief Comparison of Andreas Lubitz and Chris Kyle

June 6, 2015 1 comment

A couple of months ago, the intertubes and airwaves were full of news and speculation about why Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed an airliner full of passengers and the rest of the crew in the French Alps. At that time, news sites and blogs were full of the latest leaked bits of information (or rumors) about his mental state- from his history of depression to whether he was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs for symptoms of psychosis.

As many of you know, there was no shortage of theories about what drove Andreas Lubitz to do what he did on Mar 24, 2015. Some proposed he was ideologically motivated, while others confidentially gave a post-mortem diagnosis of schizophrenia. A few blamed high-functioning autism or relationship problems with women, while others blamed working conditions and precarity of his chosen career. Perhaps the only point most people seemed to agree on was that he should not have deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 and killed 149 others with him.

A few months before this event, a film called American Sniper was released in the USA. It quickly became very profitable and has since made over 500 million dollars. It is no secret that this film, like every Hollywood films, distorted historical facts to portray a certain pro-white and pro-american delusion.. I mean “version” of the actual events. But that is best left for another post. The relevant point of the Chris Kyle story, as far as this post is concerned, is that he had 165 confirmed kills in Iraq. To put it another way- he deliberately killed 165 Iraqis, including women and children.

Now Chris Kyle’s number is not especially high. Snipers like Simo Häyhä (505-542 kills) and even women snipers such as Lyudmila Pavlichenko (309 kills) have killed more than that now dead idiot from Texas. But most snipers in the 20th century did so in wars where their country was being invaded or they were fighting a war against another uniformed army. However every american sniper since WW2 did so in support of the invasion of some country that posed no threat to the USA, let alone had invaded it. They also largely killed semi-regular troops, militia or civilians who were just defending their country or just happened to look “dangerous”.

By now, you might have noticed that the number of people killed by Andreas Lubitz (149 + himself) and Chris Kyle (~ 165) are roughly similar.

But why do most people want to believe that Andreas Lubitz was mentally ill while Chris Kyle was a “war hero”? If you look at it rationally, Andreas Lubitz killed 149 people who he barely knew and had no personal animosity against. Chris Kyle also killed ~ 165 people (one by one) who he almost certainly did not know and had no personal animosity against. Also what was Chris Kyle doing in Iraq anyway? And this brings us to the difference in what motivated both men. Andreas Lubitz probably just wanted to attain some degree of posthumous fame (or infamy) otherwise he could have killed just himself. Chris Kyle killed for money, bragging rights, fame and more money after retiring from the army. Sure, he did it under the guise of performing his “duty”, “patriotism” and other similar bullshit reasons.

Yet most people think that Andreas Lubitz was mentally ill for killing 149 people along with himself. Curiously, they also believe that Chris Kyle was a sane, selfless and humane “war hero” who was defending them from “bad people” inspite of the fact that nobody from Iraq posed any real threat to them. They also forget or gloss over the fact that USA was the real aggressor in that war and Iraqis were merely defending themselves from the aggressor.

If the extent of disconnection from (or willful ignorance of) reality correlates with the severity of mental illness, the average person in USA and Chris Kyle would be seen as far more mentally ill than Andreas Lubitz.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: June 3, 2015

June 3, 2015 4 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are also about the ever-expanding saga of sexual abuse and molestation scandal in the Duggar family.

Link 1: Josh Duggar confessed three times to sexually assaulting his sisters — and his parents still did nothing

Just when it seemed the details of Josh Duggar’s admitted sexual assault couldn’t get worse, the story has become more horrifying. On Wednesday, InTouch magazine — which first broke the story of abuse in the “19 Kids & Counting” family last month — released additional police reports indicating that Duggar told his father, Jim Bob, on three separate occasions that he had sexually abused his sisters as well as a family friend. Then Jim Bob and his wife, Michelle, waited more than a year to contact the authorities.

The new report, which is less redacted than initial documents, confirms that Duggar was 15 years old when he first molested his five-year-old sister. He also admitted seven separate instances of abuse to his father before he or any of his sisters was taken for professional counseling; InTouch notes that it remains unclear whether Jim Bob and Michelle brought their children for counseling of their own volition, or if intervention was mandated once law enforcement officials did become involved in the sexual assault allegations.

Link 2: Jill and Jessa Duggar to Confirm to Megyn Kelly That Josh Molested Them

19 Kids and Counting stars Jill and Jessa Duggar, ages 24 and 22, would have been 11 and 10 when their older brother Josh molested them in 2002. They confirmed they were among the victims when they joined their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, Wednesday for an interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly. Us Weekly confirmed the girls were part of the interview, which airs at 9 p.m. central. It had previously been reported that four of the girls Josh Duggar touched were his sisters, and that his oldest sister, Jana, was not a victim. The fifth girl was reportedly a family friend.

Earlier in the day, Fox was advertising the Kelly File interview as just a sit-down with Jim Bob and Michelle. Kelly promised to ask for “a first-person account of what Josh did, who was involved, what the parents did about it, how they satisfied themselves that it had been resolved, what they did to help the victims, and to answer some of the harder questions about whether they behaved hypocritically,” but she also told People that “what Josh did” wouldn’t include any details of the molestation because “I’ve been told I’m not going to get answers there.”

Link 3: Josh Duggar molested four of his sisters and a babysitter, parents tell Fox News

The parents confirmed publicly for the first time that their firstborn son — who had previously apologized for unspecified “wrongdoing” as a teenager — had molested multiple young girls. The Duggars, who star in TLC’s popular reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” spoke about the multiple incidents of molestation that occurred in their Arkansas home. According to Jim Bob and Michelle, the victims included four of their daughters, along with a family babysitter.

Kelly also asked the Duggars about their troubled son’s first interview with law enforcement. Josh gave a full account of his actions to the officer, Jim Bob Duggar said Wednesday. The conversation between Jim Bob, his son, a witness and an Arkansas State Trooper did not directly result in any further law enforcement action against Josh Duggar. Instead, the teenager received a “stern” talking-to from the officer. That officer was Joseph Hutchens, now serving a decades-long prison sentence for child pornography. “We had no idea what that officer was going through,” Jim Bob said.

At one point, Kelly asked Michelle Duggar about a robocall she made that,Kelly said,”suggested transgender people might want to go into the bathrooms of girls, locker rooms of girls, and that they may be child molesters.” “I think that protecting young girls and not allowing young men and men in general to go into a girls’ locker room is just common sense,” Duggar said. “But this is different, because you injected child molestation into it,” Kelly said.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: June 2, 2015

June 2, 2015 3 comments

Here are links to two interesting news articles that I came across today. They are both about the virtually bottomless appetite for government sanctioned “legal surveillance” in the USA. See kids.. there is really not that much of a difference between totalitarian nation states and their supposedly democratic counterparts.

Link 1: FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities

Scores of low-flying planes circling American cities are part of a civilian air force operated by the FBI and obscured behind fictitious companies, The Associated Press has learned. The AP traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights in 11 states over a 30-day period since late April, orbiting both major cities and rural areas. At least 115 planes, including 90 Cessna aircraft, were mentioned in a federal budget document from 2009. For decades, the planes have provided support to FBI surveillance operations on the ground. But now the aircraft are equipped with high-tech cameras, and in rare circumstances, technology capable of tracking thousands of cellphones, raising questions about how these surveillance flights affect Americans’ privacy.

The FBI says the planes are not equipped or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance. The surveillance equipment is used for ongoing investigations, the FBI says, generally without a judge’s approval. The FBI confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services. “The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. “Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes.” The front companies are used to protect the safety of the pilots, the agency said. That setup also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don’t know they’re being followed.

The FBI is not the only federal law enforcement agency to take such measures. The Drug Enforcement Administration has its own planes, also registered to fake companies, according to a 2011 Justice Department inspector general report. At the time, the DEA had 92 aircraft in its fleet. And since 2007, the U.S. Marshals Service has operated an aerial surveillance program with its own fleet equipped with technology that can capture data from thousands of cellphones, the Wall Street Journal reported last year. In the FBI’s case, one of its fake companies shares a post office box with the Justice Department, creating a link between the companies and the FBI through publicly available Federal Aviation Administration records

Link 2: This Shadow Government Agency Is Scarier Than the NSA

If you have a telephone number that has ever been called by an inmate in a federal prison, registered a change of address with the Postal Service, rented a car from Avis, used a corporate or Sears credit card, applied for nonprofit status with the IRS, or obtained non-driver’s legal identification from a private company, they have you on file. They are not who you think they are. They are not the NSA or the CIA. They are the National Security Analysis Center (NSAC), an obscure element of the Justice Department that has grown from its creation in 2008 into a sprawling 400-person, $150 million-a-year multi-agency organization employing almost 300 analysts, the majority of whom are corporate contractors.

NSAC formally expanded the focus of the Task Force beyond just foreign terrorists. The internal data mart expanded in 2008 to support proactive work to identify potential counterintelligence and nuclear-proliferation threats via advanced analysis of financial, communication, and travel records. Both the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have conducted investigations and obtained documents on FTTTF and the FBI’s data-collection efforts. That work, and additional documents obtained by Phase Zero, paint a picture of a massive, overlooked domestic intelligence operation with a mission that goes far beyond catching foreign terrorists.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 28, 2015

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are mainly about the dismal state of criminal justice in the USA. While authors of the linked articles seem to think it can be reformed, I believe otherwise.

Link 1: Orange County Prosecutor Misconduct Implicates District Attorney

Prosecutorial and police misconduct are often dismissed as just a few bad apples doing a few bad apple-ish things. But what happens when it’s entrenched and systemic and goes unchecked for years? That looks to be the case in Orange County, California, where the situation got so completely out of hand this spring that Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals issued an order disqualifying the entire Orange County District Attorney’s Office (that’s all 250 prosecutors) from continuing to prosecute a major death penalty case. After literally years of alleged misconduct involving jailhouses informants, as well as prosecutors’ repeated failures to turn over exculpatory material, Judge Goethals determined in March that the office can simply no longer work on the case of mass murderer Scott Dekraai, who pleaded guilty last year to killing his ex-wife and seven others at a beauty salon in 2011.

All this is happening right up the road from Los Angeles, home of one of the most massive jailhouse informant scandals in history. In 1989, in an infamous interview with 60 Minutes and an explosive piece in the Los Angeles Times, former jailhouse snitch Leslie Vernon White demonstrated how he fabricated the confessions of other inmates, then leveraged them for reduced sentences. The White revelations led to a grand jury investigation that revealed that jailhouse snitches often lied, and that police and prosecutors—knowing they were lying—used them anyhow. L.A. has since enacted significant reforms of its jailhouse informant policies. Not so Orange County. And both the scope and scale of the Orange County shenanigans are remarkable.

In an explosive moment following a hearing last year, Sanders revealed that the Orange County Sheriffs Department has maintained a massive, secret, 25-year-old computerized record-keeping system called TRED. These TRED documents were full of potentially exculpatory data, but the agency officials had systematically refused to turn any of them over, or even acknowledge their very existence, to defense counsel.

Link 2: Georgia Court Prosecutors Cut all Black Jurors out of Death Row Trial

The prosecutors seeking to send Timothy Tyrone Foster to death row went about their job in a curious manner. During jury selection, they highlighted each black prospective juror’s name in green—on four different copies of the jury list—and wrote that the green highlighting “represents blacks.” On each black juror’s questionnaire, prosecutors circled the response “black” next to a question about race. They also referred to three black jurors as “B#1,” “B#2,” and “B#3” in their notes. Finally, the prosecution’s investigator ranked each black juror against the others—in case “it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors.” The prosecutors struck each black candidate, one by one, from the jury pool until none remained.

Because it’s so difficult to prove a state of mind, the Supreme Court has gradually allowed judges to look for clues that prosecutors struck jurors on account of their race. In one case out of Texas, the court cried foul when prosecutors used their peremptory strikes to exclude a stunning 91 percent of eligible black jurors at the trial of a black man. The court also noted some of the tricks the Texas prosecution used to keep blacks out of the jury. When a number of blacks sat toward the front of the room where the jurors were being chosen, for instance, the prosecutor “shuffled”—that is, rearranged where the candidates sat. Prosecutors usually evaluate potential jurors at the front of the jury panel first, so people toward the back are more likely to be dismissed. The prosecutor clearly shuffled the jury to move blacks from the front to the back. Somehow, this is legal under Texas law.

Link 3: The Myth of the Hero Cop

The second is the bevy of special laws around the country that are designed to shield police officers from the very tactics the police regularly use on ordinary suspects. For example, in most states, law enforcement officers cannot be questioned until they have been given a few days to get their stories straight. And many states have passed laws—such as Section 50-a of New York’s Civil Rights Law—that are specifically designed to make it almost impossible to obtain or use at trial records of a police officer’s prior brutality or misconduct. These two factors can make convicting police officers extremely difficult, and it is no accident; it is the direct result of the sustained effort by police unions to protect officers from even the most deserved discipline or prosecution.

The hero cop narrative is also belied by the facts. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, police work does not crack the top-10 list of most dangerous jobs. Loggers have a fatality rate 11 times higher than cops, and sanitation workers die in the line of duty at twice the rate that police do. Yes, police officers are sometimes shot and killed, but this is a fairly rare phenomenon. Indeed, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, of the 100 officers killed in the United States in the line of duty in 2013, far more crashed their cars or were hit by cars than were shot or stabbed. In fact, if you compare the murder rate among police officers with the murder rate in several American cities, you find that it is far safer to be a NYPD officer than an average black man in Baltimore or St. Louis.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: May 26, 2015

These links are NSFW.

Outdoor Nubiles: May 26, 2015 – Smooth slim cuties enjoying the outdoors

More Outdoor Nubiles: May 26, 2015 – More smooth slim cuties enjoying the outdoors

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

Interesting Links: May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015 3 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are also about the Duggar family sexual abuse and molestation scandal.

Link 1: Founder of Josh Duggar’s ‘treatment center’ left after ‘sexually grooming’ teens and young women

The founder of a chain of Christian “treatment” centers Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sent their eldest son to for molesting five girls — including his sisters — resigned in 2014 under a cloud of accusations that he had “sexually groomed” and harassed young women and teens in his ministry. According to RadarOnline Josh Duggar was taken by his father to the Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock, for counseling after admitting to groping the young girls.

Gothard, and IBPL, has a colorful history with his Gothard’s brother Steve being forced out after having affairs with a few of the institute’s secretaries. Gothard himself left under a cloud in 2014, amid accusations that he had sexually harassed multiple women and failed to report allegations of child abuse at IBPL.

Link 2: Watch Michelle Duggar accept ‘Mother of the Year’ award from pastor who resigned for adultery

At the same time that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar were covering up the fact that their eldest son Josh was molesting young girls — including his sisters — the mother of 19 was traveling around the country accepting awards for being “Mother of the Year.” One of the awards she received was from a pastor who later left his ministry after admitting to adultery.

“Michelle Duggar is the real deal,” said Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries. “She embodies the very best of a Christian role model for women. She is a highly intelligent and gracious woman of God and a capable and faithful helpmeet to her husband Jim Bob. As a mother, Michelle is singular. She has modeled for millions a passion for God’s gift of the fruit of the womb and a tenderness and wisdom in raising her 19 children that have been downright inspiring.” Vision Forum leader Phillips stepped down from the ministry in 2013 after admitting to “an inappropriate extra-marital relationship with a woman.” He was later excommunicated by the church, and VisionForum Ministries was shuttered as donations dried up.

Link 3: Duggar Revelations Are Just the Latest Sex Abuse Scandal to Rock Far-Right Fundamentalism

Doug Phillips of the far-right group Vision Forum was forced to step down after admitting to “a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.” The woman in question, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, claims it was more than “inappropriate,” noting that they met when she was 15 and that he “methodically groomed” by moving her into the house as a nanny and becoming “the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life” before pushing for sex. The Duggars were tight with Phillips and Vision Forum, which promoted a lot of Duggar-related material.

Another hardcore fundamentalist leader who had a mentorship relationship with the Duggars, Bill Gothard, was also caught up in a sex abuse scandal last year. Gothard was the leader of Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization that promotes the “quiverfull” philosophy—particularly its emphasis on forsaking contraception and having as many children as possible. Gothard resigned after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. Prior to this, Wire reports, the Duggars were “devotees of Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars’ official website called Gothard’s Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their ‘#1 recommended resource’ for families.

What do you think? Comments?

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