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Sheriff

Policing for profit: Drug cops seize college kid's life savings under draconian civil forfeiture law

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Charles Clarke
In February 2014, Drug Enforcement Administration task force officers at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport seized $11,000 in cash from 24-year-old college student Charles Clarke. They didn't find any guns, drugs or contraband on him. But, according to an affidavit filled out by one of the agents, the task force officers reasoned that the cash was the proceeds of drug trafficking, because Clarke was traveling on a recently-purchased one-way ticket, he was unable to provide documentation for where the money came from, and his checked baggage had an odor of marijuana.

Clarke's cash was seized under civil asset forfeiture, where cops are able to take cash and property from people who are never convicted of -- and in some cases, never even charged with -- a crime. The DEA maintains that asset forfeiture is an important crime-fighting tool: "By attacking the financial infrastructure of drug trafficking organizations world-wide, DEA has disrupted and dismantled major drug trafficking organizations and their supply chains, thereby improving national security and increasing the quality of life for the American public."

But the practice has become contentious, in part because agencies are generally allowed to keep a share of the cash and property they seize. In cases like Clarke's, where local and federal agents cooperate on a seizure, federal agencies typically keep at least 20 percent of the assets, while local cops split the remainder among themselves. Critics argue that this creates a profit motive and leads to "policing for profit."

Laptop

Totalitarian propaganda, technological isolation, and the lonely American

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© Seth Wenig / AP
Sandy Johal uses a selfie stick to take a picture of herself in New York’s Times Square in January.
Michael P. Printup, president of Watkins Glen International, one of the country's largest racetracks, stood with a group of about a dozen race fans at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Next to him were boxes of free doughnuts and coffee. A line of men with towels, who had spent the night in nearby RV campers, pop-up campers and tents, stood patiently outside the door to a shower room. A light drizzle, one that would turn into a torrential downpour and lead to the races being canceled in the afternoon, coated the group, all middle-aged or older white men. They were discussing, amid the high-pitched whine of cars practicing on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit racetrack, the aging demographic of race fans and the inability to lure a new generation to the sport.

"Maybe if you installed chargers for phones around the track they would come," suggested one gray-haired man.

But it is not just sporting events. Public lectures, church services, labor unions, Veterans of Foreign Wars halls, Masonic halls, Rotary clubs, the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, Grange Hall meetings, the League of Women Voters, Daughters of the American Revolution, local historical societies, town halls, bowling leagues, bridge clubs, movie theater attendance (at a 20-year low), advocacy groups such as the NAACP and professional and amateur theatrical and musical performances cater to a dwindling and graying population. No one is coming through the door to take the place of the old members. A generation has fallen down the rabbit hole of electronic hallucinations—with images often dominated by violence and pornography. They have become, in the words of the philosopher Hannah Arendt, "atomized," sucked alone into systems of information and entertainment that cater to America's prurient fascination with the tawdry, the cruel and the deadening cult of the self.

Comment: Western culture in general, and Americans in particular, has been socially engineered to be self-centered, distracted, narcissistic and oblivious to the world and the people around them in any real meaningful way. It is not by accident, and, in many ways, it is all pervasive. Watch the film Century of the Self to get some better idea of how this has happened.




Cult

Captive virgins, polygamy and sex slaves: What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible

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Bible believers are beside themselves about the prospect that marriage norms and laws are changing, but let me tell you a secret about Bible believers that I know because I was one. Most don't actually read their Bibles.

If they did, they would know that the biblical model of sex and marriage has little to do with the one they so loudly defend. Sex in the Bible includes rape, incest, master-slave sexual relations, captive virgins, and more. Of course, just because a story is told in the Bible doesn't mean it is intended as a model for moral behavior. Does God forbid or command the behavior? Is it punished or rewarded? In the New Testament stories, does Jesus change the rules or leave them alone? By these criteria, the Bible not only describes many forms of sexual relationships (including sexually coercive relationships), it gives them the divine thumbs up.

Not One Man, One Woman

The God of the Bible explicitly endorses polygamy and sexual slavery and coerced marriage of young virgins along with monogamy. In fact, he endorses all three to the point of providing detailed regulations. Based on stories of sex and marriage that God rewards and appears to approve one might add incest to the mix of sexual contact that receives divine sanction.

Fire

Economic collapse in motion: 16 facts highlighting the financial devastation we are seeing all over the world

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As we enter the second half of 2015, financial panic has gripped most of the globe. Stock prices are crashing in China, in Europe and in the United States. Greece is on the verge of a historic default, and now Puerto Rico and Ukraine are both threatening to default on their debts if they do not receive concessions from their creditors. Not since the financial crisis of 2008 has so much financial chaos been unleashed all at once. Could it be possible that the great financial crisis of 2015 has begun? The following are 16 facts about the tremendous financial devastation that is happening all over the world right now...

1. On Monday, the Dow fell by 350 points. That was the biggest one day decline that we have seen in two years.

2. In Europe, stocks got absolutely smashed. Germany's DAX index dropped 3.6 percent, and France's CAC 40 was down 3.7 percent.

3. After Greece, Italy is considered to be the most financially troubled nation in the eurozone, and on Monday Italian stocks were down more than 5 percent.

4. Greek stocks were down an astounding 18 percent on Monday.

Airplane

The sky's the limit? Aircraft crashes and accidents for June

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© Roni Bintang/Reuters
Security forces and rescue teams examine the wreckage of an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane after it crashed into a residential area in the North Sumatra city of Medan, Indonesia.
Listed below is the latest installment of global aircraft incidents, continuing on from these earlier compilations here, here and here. A total of 149 such reports have been compiled for the 30 days of June. Once again this tally does not claim to be comprehensive, as its very likely that many 'minor' accidents, especially away from the English-speaking world, will have been missed.

Sadly, (and as intimated in the last report that something like this might be on the cards) on the last day of the month another major accident involving an Indonesian aircraft (military) occurred and the combined death total from both the plane and on the ground currently stand at over 140 victims and is likely to increase.

June 1

Ultralight Pilot Crashes in St. Andrews Bay, Florida

Pilot killed in small-plane crash in Livermore, California:
The crash happened shortly after the pilot reported "control problems" after departing from Livermore Municipal Airport, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft crashed about three miles northeast of the airport.
'It is a miracle no-one was killed:' Plane crashes onto packed Italian beach as screaming families run for their lives

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The light aircraft nose-dived straight onto a beach where scores of families were sunbathing
June 2

Vehicle Incident in Turkey on Tuesday, 02 June, 2015 at 08:38 (08:38 AM) UTC:
Shortly after taking off from Turkey's Antalya province on Monday night, the pilots on the Airbus A320 model noticed a burning smell coming out of the cockpit, prompting them to divert the planet to the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The passengers were evacuated to the terminal.
HCSO: Small plane runs off runway at Hooks Airport, Texas

Plane hits fence in landing at Fresno's Chandler Airport, California:
Mike Hutchinson crash-landed his single engine plane at Fresno Chandler Executive Airport Tuesday evening, June 2, 2015. Hutchinson said his engine "came apart at 8,500" feet and though he was able to get to Chandler Hutchinson said he had too much speed and crashed into the airport's chain-link fence at the rear of the airfield near West Whites Bridge and South Teilman avenues. Hutchinson, the only person in the plane, walked away from the crash wearing khaki shorts and a yellow polo shirt.
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Plane crashes into fence
At least 4 killed in helicopter crash in Nepal

Vehicle Incident in Russia [Asia] on Tuesday, 02 June, 2015 at 16:16 (04:16 PM) UTC.

Small plane crashes on Mexican highway, killing all 5 aboard

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© EPA
Mexican firefighters and members of Mexican Federal Police inspecting the site where a small plane crashed on the highway between Mexico City and Queretaro, Mexico, on June 2, 2015.
Goma Air plane crash lands in western Nepal, passengers safe:
A twin-otter aircraft with 18 passengers on board crash-landed in Pokhara, about 200km west of Kathmandu today as the nose-wheel of the aircraft failed to open while landing, said officials.
Sonex Aircraft CEO, mechanic killed in plane crash, Wisconsin

Air France Flight 275 Makes Successful Emergency Landing in Khabarovsk, Russia:
"Air France flight 275 en route from Tokyo to Paris reported at 6:51 a.m. Moscow time [GMT 03:51] failure of one of its engines and took a decision to land in Khabarovsk," the source told RIA Novosti, adding that the aircraft landed successfully at 07:32 Moscow time (GMT 04:32).
Woman killed in Chatham County plane crash remembered as safety advocate, North Carolina:
Barbara Harris Para, 69, and her husband, pilot Frederick Calvin Para, 72, both of Whispering Pines, were attempting to land a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A-36 for a second time when they crashed into the woods near the runway at about 8 a.m.

"On that second attempt, then they turned the aircraft, that is when the engine stalled," North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Knox said. "We do have the info that the engine stalled and they had a loss of power. That is what caused the plane to go into the wooded area."
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Chatham County plane crash
Vehicle Incident in Australia on Tuesday, 02 June, 2015 at 06:45 (06:45 AM) UTC:
A charter plane carrying about 80 fly-in, fly-out workers has made an emergency landing at Solomon airstrip near Tom Price in Western Australia's Pilbara region. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the plane was forced to turn back to the airstrip at the FMG-operated Solomon mine after take-off. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said they were told the plane had filled with fumes, but their attendance was not required by the time the plane had landed.
June 3

Pilot Injured In Small Plane Crash On Cerro Summit, Colorado

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© KREX
The small plane crash near Montrose on Wednesday
Small plane crashes into barn in Tipton County, Indiana

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A small, single-engine plane crashed into a barn in Tipton County
Ultralight aircraft crashes into Diversion Canal, pilot uninjured, Louisiana

IAF fighter trainer aircraft crashes in Odisha, India

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© The Hindu
The Indian Air Force fighter plane A-3492 that crashed in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district on Wednesday.
Grygla couple dies in British Columbia plane crash

Pistol

11yo Illinois boy arrested for playing with toy gun

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© Still from Youtube video
An 11-year-old African-American boy in Illinois was arrested by police while playing with a toy gun in the street with his friends. Police said they made the arrest after receiving a call from a driver, who complained the toy gun had been pointed at him.

The Granite City Police Department said it had been justified in arresting Chris Fulton because it had received a call from a driver saying the two boys were crossing the street slowly and, when the driver had asked the boys to hurry up, Fulton pointed the toy gun at him.

"The juvenile in the green shirt pointed what appeared to be a real gun as he walked towards the sidewalk," said Granite City Police Chief Richard Miller.

Comment: The police are on hyper-alert now and anything you do can be construed as threatening.


Fire

Seventh church burns in South Carolina as deliberately-provoked race war escalates

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© Reuters / Adrees Latif

The Mt. Zion AME Church in Williamsburg County, South Carolina is on fire and the roof has collapsed, according to local reports. Emergency crews are currently at the scene fighting the blaze.

It's currently unknown how the fire began, but local WCSC reported that officials received a call about it around 9 pm. The church is located on Mackey Road in Greeleyville.

Comment: This is not going well for South Carolina nor the United States. Expect more of this nation wide.


Bacon n Eggs

UC Berkeley student creates app to feed the homeless

When UC Berkeley student Komal Ahmad invited a homeless man to lunch three years ago, she was inspired to create an app that would change the lives of hundreds of thousands living on the streets.

When the man asked her for money for food, she took him to lunch instead and learned of his time as a soldier in Iraq. "He'd already gone on two deployments and now he's come back, he's 26 and on the side of the road begging for food," Ahmad said. "It just blew my mind."

Shortly after her experience, she began an initiative at Berkeley to donate uneaten food from the university's dining halls to local homeless shelters. The program was so successful that in three years, it has spread to over 140 colleges around the country.

Comment: Good on Ahmad. Let's hope the cops don't get wind of it and declare it illegal.


Bulb

Citing risks to land and health, New York bans fracking

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© Reuters/Andrew Kelly
New York State officially banned fracking for natural gas by issuing its final environmental impact statement, concluding a seven-year review. The environmental agency said fracking posed risks to land, water, natural resources and public health.

The release of the environmental impact statement on Monday concluded seven years of analysis by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It first issued a moratorium against fracking in 2008.

The agency received a staggering 260,000 comments over various drafts of its environment impact statement. In 2009, more than 13,000 public comments were made on its draft. A revised draft issued in 2011, which involved four public hearings around the state, received another 67,000 comments, and the second draft, with regulations over permit conditions, received an additional 180,000 comments.

"After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens in a statement.

"High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC's mission to conserve, improve and protect our state's natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state."

Pistol

Suspect in France terror attack denies association with jihadists

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© Reuters/Emmanuel Foudrot
The suspect held over an attack against a gas company site is escorted by police officers during investigations in Saint-Priest, near Lyon, France, June 28, 2015
A man under investigation for allegedly beheading his boss and trying to blow up a gas factory in France claimed that his actions were not religiously motivated, a source close to the investigation told Reuters.

Yassin Salhi, 35, told the police he was not a jihadist and committed the attack the day after a spat with his wife, and several days after a quarrel with his boss, Herve Cornara.

Salhi tried to blow up the "Air Products" gas factory in the town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon. He entered the facility using his duty pass. Police later found the beheaded body of Salhi's boss on the factory premises.

They also found two black flags with Arabic lettering resembling those of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL].