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Megaphone

Former UK climate diplomat: Shell is "psychopathic"

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© Reuters
The U.K.'s former top climate change diplomat says Shell and other oil companies are fighting tooth and nail to stifle climate change action. The United Kingdom's former climate change envoy John Ashton has accused Shell of engineering a "psychopathic" attempt to block action on climate change.

In an open letter to Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden published by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper Tuesday, Ashton said the energy giant's recently announced roadmap to cleaning up its environmental portfolio is nothing more than veiled attempt to preserve the "status quo." Ashton accused Beurden of using a cynical argument that "the economic and moral cost" of phasing out fossil fuels "would exceed the benefit in climate change avoided."

"In reality your authority is compromised by your obvious desire to cling to what you know, whatever the cost to society," he stated. Ashton continued by arguing, "For a leader in the oil and gas industry to call for continued dependence on oil and gas will sound to most like special pleading."

2 + 2 = 4

Los Angeles elementary school teacher facing prison for putting plastic bag over 10-year old student's head

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A photo posted on Instagram shows Thelmo Garcia, parents of his students confirmed on March 12, 2015.
A fourth-grade teacher in Los Angeles is facing up to 6 years in prison over allegations he abused a student at Rosewood Elementary School with a plastic bag.

Teacher Thelmo Garcia, 37, was arrested off campus and charged with a single count of child abuse last Friday stemming from an incident in February in which Garcia allegedly put a plastic bag over a 10-year-old student's head for several seconds before removing it, KTLA 5 reports.

Garcia pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown L.A. and was held on a $100,000 bond, according to NBC Los Angeles.

"I was surprised because I thought he was a good person," Rianna Lashchev, a former student of Garcia's, told the news site. "I was crying and I felt bad for him."

Parent Tara Siddiqi, however, is less surprised.

"Her daughter, Tanya Siddiqi, said her teacher would pull children's hair, give high-fives while holding a tack, and throw staples at students," NBC Los Angeles reports.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials issued a statement about Garcia's arrest that does not detail his alleged misdeeds, but informs parents that he was removed from the school in February. The statement also does not disclose whether Garcia is on paid or unpaid leave, or whether he was terminated.

His profile was also removed from the school's website, according to KTLA 5.

Comment: A new behaviorial theory of teaching children to fear for their lives?


Magnify

Media manipulation: Newspaper uses yearbook photos for white suspects, mug shots for black suspects

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Rafi of the blog So Let's Talk About It recently made a startling discovery about subtle racial biases. Earlier this month the Iowa newspaper The Gazette posted two stories about local burglaries written by the same author and published within one day of each other. One story used yearbook photos of the suspects while the other used mugshots. The only other difference between the two stories? Those who got the yearbook photos were white and those who got the mugshots were black.

As Rafi points out, regardless of what photos were available of the black suspects, the white suspects definitely had mugshots taken. In trying to justify the discrepancy, The Gazette explained they must make a formal request in order to get mugshots, yet they were clearly willing to take that extra step when it came to the black suspects.

This is just another reminder that the media has a lot of power to subtly shape the perception of crimes. It's the same issue that inspired the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag on Twitter, which sought to draw attention to the way black victims of police brutality are so often portrayed as menacing or dangerous. Similarly, The Huffington Post explored how the media will often portray white suspects with more empathy and respect than black victims.

Stormtrooper

Judge rules SWAT Teams can enter homes without a warrant and temporarily seize your property

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© Boston Globe
The only pretext a SWAT team needs to temporarily seize your property is to use it as an observation post in an emergency situation, a federal judge in Nevada has ruled.

Police even have the right to smash down your door with a battering ram without a warrant and shoot you with pepper balls in order to take over your property, US District Court Judge Andrew Gordon concluded in a case called Anthony Mitchell v. City of Henderson. Mitchell and his parents sued the city of Henderson, a Las Vegas suburb, because of events on July 10, 2013.

The Mitchells' attorneys argued the events violated their clients' First, Third and Fourth Amendment rights. The Third Amendment makes it illegal for the government to seize private homes for use as quarters for soldiers and has rarely been the focus of a federal case. The attorneys contended that the Third Amendment applies to police as well as the military.

Does the Third Amendment Apply to SWAT teams?

Gordon dismissed the case.

"The relevant questions are thus whether municipal police should be considered soldiers, and whether the time they spent in the house could be considered quartering," he wrote. "To both questions, the answer must be no."

Judge Gordon's description of events as described by Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda, makes for some very disturbing reading. None of the Mitchells was suspected of a crime. Instead, police simply wanted to take over their homes to use as observation posts to watch a neighbor who was barricaded inside his house and who was refusing to leave. Police were investigating a domestic complaint against the neighbor.

Comment: It's one thing to have a SWAT Team ask to use your house to stage their forces. It's entirely different to treat the occupant of that house as a criminal and violate that individual's Constitutional rights. But, as this case proves, Americans have no real Constitutional rights anymore. They are living in a totalitarian police state where their rights are merely conditional, not given.


No Entry

Two men disguised as women attempt to break through NSA HQ gate - one shot dead

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The FBI publicly identified Tuesday the man who died Monday while trying to use an unauthorized vehicle tried to gain access to the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Maryland, as Ricky Shawatza Hall.

His passenger who remained hospitalized Tuesday has not been publicly identified.

On Monday morning, Hall attempted to gain entry at the National Security Agency headquarters, Jonathan Freed, NSA director of strategic communications, said in a statement.

"The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus. The vehicle failed to stop and barriers were deployed."

NSA police on the scene fired on the vehicle when it accelerated toward a police car, blocking its way, according to the NSA. An NSA police officer was also hospitalized but not identified.

The two men who officials say tried to ram the main gate at NSA headquarters were dressed as women, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Heart - Black

"Soulless" woman charged with murdering 20-month-old son in fast food restaurant bathroom

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© Facebook
A "soulless" mother shockingly killed her 20-month-old son in the bathroom of a Midtown burger joint Monday — and prevented restaurant workers from rescuing the doomed boy, police and witnesses said.

Then she "blamed the devil," a police source said.

The 35-year-old Lower East Side mom, identified as Latisha Fisher, took little Gavriel Ortiz-Fisher inside a rest room at 5 Boro Burger on Sixth Ave. at 36th St. around 2:25 p.m., cops said.

As the tragedy started to unfold, a woman walked into the bathroom and saw the mother holding her hand on the boy's mouth, but Fisher told her: "I put my hand over his mouth to put him to sleep," according to a police source.

At some point, the mother locked herself in the bathroom. Customers and employees eventually became worried when the line to the toilets grew long.

When workers forced their way inside, the child was unconscious and foaming at the mouth, according to the sources.

They said Fisher tried to swat away attempts by the restaurant staff to perform CPR on the limp toddler.

"I would describe her as soulless," a law enforcement official said when asked if the mom seemed distraught. "She put her hand over his mouth and smothered him."

Another sickened police source said: "She is a lunatic. She is crazy."

Handcuffs

Pre-crime comes to Canada: PEI man arrested for suspicion he may commit a crime

The RCMP have arrested a man after a peace bond was ordered against him based on allegations he might commit a terrorism offence.

Police say Amir Raisolsadat was released on unspecified conditions and ordered to return to court on April 20.

No other information about the man, including where he is from, was released by the RCMP, citing the fact there is an ongoing criminal investigation in the case.

Radio station Toronto 680 News says the man was arrested in Prince Edward Island, but a spokeswoman for the Mounties in that province would not comment, referring questions about the case to RCMP national headquarters in Ottawa.

The RCMP in Ottawa issued a news release on the arrest, but declined to answer any questions.

The news release says police may pursue an application for an order requiring someone to keep the peace and be of good behaviour under the Criminal Code if they believe that person may commit a terrorism offence.

Comment: Philip K. Dick is turning in his grave. Thankfully he's got George Orwell to keep him company... Welcome to the Orwellian police state, Canada. You have your prime minister to thank for that.


Eye 1

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein accused of sexual assault

© Reuters

Producer Harvey Weinstein and wife, designer Georgina Chapman, arrive at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 22, 2015.
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is accused of groping a 22-year-old Italian model he met at the red-carpet premiere of his Radio City "New York Spring Spectacular."

The model told cops that the Oscar-winning Hollywood producer sexually abused her after coaxing her to his Manhattan office on the pretext of talking business, sources told the Daily News.

The woman informed cops that Weinstein, a married 63-year-old father of five, groped her breasts and reached up her skirt around 6 p.m. Friday in his third-floor office at the Tribeca Film Center on Greenwich St., sources said.

"He asked if her breasts were real before touching them," a police source said. "She asked him to stop, and he put his hand up her skirt. He asked for a kiss; she responded 'No.'"

Once the model left Weinstein's office, she called a friend and described what happened, another police source said. The friend took her to the 9th Precinct stationhouse in the East Village, and officers there drove her to the 1st Precinct station in Tribeca to report the incident.

Comment: Another charming Hollywood specimen...


Dollar

Record high ground beef prices since last financial crisis; American paychecks lagging

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© Truthalerts.com
Since the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled. Has your paycheck doubled since then? Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a "low inflation" environment, the government's own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run over the past six years. In early 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was hovering near 2 dollars. In February, it hit a brand new all-time record high of $4.238 per pound. Even just 12 months ago, the price of ground beef was sitting at $3.555 per pound. So we are talking about a huge increase. And this hits American families where they really live. Each year, the average American consumes approximately 270 pounds of meat. The only nation in the world that eats more meat than we do is Luxembourg. If the paychecks of American workers were going up fast enough to deal with this increase, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But of course that is not happening. In an article just last week, I showed that real median household income is a couple thousand dollars lower now than it was during the depths of the last recession. The middle class is being squeezed, and we are rapidly getting to the point where burgers are going to be considered a "luxury" item.

The following chart was posted by the Economic Policy Journal on Wednesday, and it incorporates the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When I first saw it, I was rather stunned. I knew that the price of ground beef had become rather outrageous in my local grocery stores, but I had no idea just how much damage had been done over the past six years...

The biggest reason why the price of ground beef has been going up is the fact that the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking. It shrunk seven years in a row, and on January 1st, 2014 it was the smallest that it had been since 1951.

The good news is that the decline appears to have stopped, at least for the moment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the size of the U.S. cattle herd actually increased by 1 percent last year...
The U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, offering hope to consumers that beef prices could start to subside after soaring to a series of records.

The nation's cattle supply increased 1% in the year through Jan. 1 to 89.8 million head, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department, reversing a steady decline fueled by prolonged drought in the southern U.S. Great Plains and industry consolidation that encouraged many ranchers to thin herds.
But an increase of 1 percent is just barely going to keep up with the official population growth rate. If you factor in illegal immigration, we are still losing ground.

Comment: Clearly, all of humanity are endangered by handfuls of evil men and women in power who allow and orchestrate such bubbles and events. Given the probability of collapse, it's best to prepare now.


Cult

Oh the irony: Dating website for adulterers is primarily used by those of Christian faith

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© Avid Life Media
A dating website that helps people in the United Kingdom engage in extramarital affairs says that most of its members are of the Christian faith.

The website IllicitEncounters.com said there are more than ten Christian adulterers for every one atheist.

"It's incredibly ironic that atheists are more faithful than Christians," Claire Page, spokesperson for IllicitEncounters, said. "It proves the argument that what some people perceive as immoral - like adultery - isn't increased by the lack of spiritual guidance. If the only reason you don't kill someone, or steal, or covet thy neighbor's wife, is because it tells you not to in the Bible, to me, that's a lot more worrying."

"To me, that says you can't think for yourself what is right and wrong. Besides, for us and our 987,000 customers, we don't look at affairs like most people do. There are many reasons people have affairs, it's not as black and white as some people think."

The website conducted a survey of its members, and found only 6 percent described themselves as atheists, while 64 percent classified themselves as Christian.