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Megaphone

Madonna: Europe feels like Nazi Germany right now

© Reuters / Lucy Nicholson
Rising intolerance and anti-Semitism have reached the point when "it feels like Nazi Germany," pop icon Madonna said, adding that France, in particular, no longer encourages diversity and freedom.

"We're living in crazy times. It feels like Nazi Germany," Madonna said in an interview to Europe 1 radio, adding that the situation in Europe is "scary."

The 56-year-old singer also pointed that France has totally lost its tradition of welcoming diversity and honoring freedom, saying that "anti-Semitism is at an all-time high" in the country.

"It [France] was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form - artistic expression of freedom... Now that's completely gone."

The pop icon added that France was once a country "that accepted people of color, and was a place artists escaped to, whether it was Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker."
Cloud Precipitation

Irish police clamp down on water charge protesters

Irish protesters against the water charges

Irish protesters against the water charges
Five anti-water charge protesters have been jailed for contempt of court in Ireland, following a crackdown by the Garda (police) and the state against any effective protest against the hated water charges.

Since Dublin's Fine Gael/Labour Party government imposed water charges as part of the multi-billion-euro bailout programme concluded with the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank in 2010, there has been widespread opposition from working people who correctly see the charge as yet another measure to make them pay for the economic crisis and the collapse of the banks.

On February 19 the High Court imposed a sentence of 28 days on three anti-water charge protesters for failing to maintain a 20-metre distance from water meters when they were being installed in housing estates. Two other protesters, who have since been refusing food (Derek Byrne from Donaghemede and Paul Moore from Kilbarrack), were jailed for 56 days.

The frustration and anger of many local communities has resulted in numerous water meter installations being blocked by residents, who have physically obstructed work being carried out by contract firms on behalf of Irish Water. Irish Water was the body set up by the government to collect the water charges from the population.

Following the arrests, more than 10,000 people, led by the families of the jailed anti-water charge protesters, marched to Mountjoy jail in Dublin calling for the release of the protesters.

The jailing of the protesters followed a general crackdown by the Garda and the courts on the right to protest. Twenty-three people were apprehended in dawn raids by the Garda recently and later released without charge. On February 9, Socialist Party TD (Teachta Dála—member of parliament) Paul Murphy, along with three other members of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, were arrested in the early hours of the morning and detained under section four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. This act permits the detention of people for up to 24 hours for a wide range of offences against the state.
Arrow Down

Violent arrests as hundreds rally over 43 missing students in Mexico

Protest March Mexico
© Reuters/Henry Romero
A protester (C) is detained by riot police after a protest march to demand justice for the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College, at Zocalo Square in Mexico City February 26, 2015.
Mexican police have violently arrested protesters rallying in the country's capital. The demonstrators are demanding a thorough investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in September.

Clashes between police and protesters broke out during the organized demonstration on the five-month anniversary of the disappearance of the students, who were attending a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, located in southwestern Guerrero state.

Thousands have been rallying in the streets of Mexico City, carrying banners with the portraits of the missing students. Their parents were leading the demonstration.
Violentas detenciones en #AcciónGlobalAyotzinapa pic.twitter.com/v3yybtsqqi

— Proyecto Ambulante (@proamboax) February 27, 2015
The rally went peacefully through the streets of the capital, but the clashes started when part of the crowd moved to one of the subway station, according to RT Spanish reports.
Reportan detenciones cerca del Metro Sevilla Fotos: @bpm_arian4 http://t.co/S29uDBCO51 pic.twitter.com/bNaLZF8Vey

— Sin Embargo (@SinEmbargoMX) February 27, 2015
The incident has caused a number of mass protests in the country, with people demanding justice and demonstrating against corrupt police. Mexican's president's visit to the United States last month has been also marred with rallies.
Stock Up

So much for those sanctions: Russian MICEX stock index is top performer so far this year

© Reuters/Maxim Shemetov
The Russian ruble-denominated MICEX is currently the best performing index this year, with analysts expecting the growth streak to continue, despite rating downgrades, Western sanctions and the plunge in the oil price.

The MICEX has added 27 percent since the start of the year, outperforming some of the leading indices in Germany, France and Italy, MICEX confirmed in an e-mail to RT.

Russian analysts expect the growth to continue during the year. Aleksey Astapov of asset managers Arsagera expects the MICEX to hit 2,100 by the end of 2015, a huge jump from Thursday's reading of 1,750. It's close to the 2011 high, and a further rise could drive the index to its highest level since 2008.

The MICEX hasn't given a forecast but said 2014 market volatility was largely spurred by oil prices and geopolitics, and that forced many foreign investors who had quit Russian stocks to change their attitude to the market in the second half of 2014 and the start of 2015.


Comment: Looks like the actions of the Western Empire against Russia are having the opposite effect.


"Our data shows that in the beginning of 2015 the overall net purchases of Russian shares by foreign investors were above $656 million (40 billion rubles)," MICEX said.
© Moscow Stock Exchange
Nuke

TEPCO officials admit to concealing Fukushima radioactive leak

© AP Photo/ Toshiaki Shimizu
Tokyo Electric Power Co., TEPCO, has been slammed by fishermen, for knowingly allowing radioactive substances to flow freely into the sea for ten months.

Operators of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant admitted that a drainage ditch allowed highly-contaminated water to flow into the sea, and that the leak was first detected back in May 2014.

Fishermen were shocked to hear such confession, voicing disappointment in the company that has been criticized for the cleanup of the Fukushima disaster that happened four years ago.

"I don't understand why you (TEPCO) kept silent about the leakage even though you knew about it. Fishery operators are absolutely shocked," Masakazu Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative said.

A TEPCO officials justified the cover-up saying the company found out during an investigation.

"This was part of an ongoing investigation in which we discovered a water puddle with high levels of radiation on top of the Reactor No. 2 building, and because this also happens to be one of the sources for this drainage system, we decided to report everything all at once."
Cowboy Hat

Local, state, and federal authorities raid Texas secessionist meeting

It seemed like a typical congressional meeting for the Republic of Texas. Senators and the president gathered in the center of a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall, surrounded by public onlookers, to debate issues of the national currency, develop international relations and celebrate the birthday of one of their oldest members.

But this wasn't 1836, and this would be no ordinary legislative conference. Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff's Office, the Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine's Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group.

"We had no idea what was going on," said John Jarnecke, president of the Republic of Texas. "We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action."

The raid was a response to legal summons sent by Republic of Texas members to a Kerr County judge and bank employee, demanding they appear in the Republic's court at the Veterans and Foreign Wars building in Bryan the day the officers stormed in. Jarnecke's group, the subject of a half-hour YouTube documentary, maintains a small working government, including official currency, congress and courts.
Whistle

Court rules cop who was fired for blowing the whistle on NYPD arrest quotas can sue

© Flickr/ Ethan
A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a New York City police officer who alleges he was unjustly punished by his superiors after he exposed an illegal quota system within his Bronx precinct.

In a ruling Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a lower court's decision to dismiss the suit, brought by Officer Craig Matthews and the New York Civil Liberties Union in 2012.

"Quotas lead to illegal arrests, criminal summonses and ruined lives. They undermine the trust between the police and the people they are supposed to be protecting and serving," said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the case.

"Today's decision protects the ability of police officers to speak out against this kind of misconduct when they see it. New York City's finest should be applauded when they expose abuse, not abused and retaliated against."

The city Law Department says it's reviewing the decision, while the NYPD still maintains it does not operate under arrest or summons quotas.

Matthews, a 17-year veteran of the NYPD, said supervisors at the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx kept color-coded records of which officers met quota, and punished those who fell short.

Comment: The NYPD might as well be an extension of the U.S. military. It doesn't exist to protect citizens and stop violence, it is only the army for the elites used to control the masses.

Megaphone

Detainees who were tortured at Chicago's Homan Square "black site" speak out

© Scott Olson/Getty
On Tuesday, The Guardian's Spencer Ackerman reported on the "equivalent of a CIA black site" operated by police in Chicago. When computer program analyst Kory Wright opened the story, he told me, "I immediately recognized the building" — because, the Chicago resident says, he was zip-tied to a bench there for hours in an intentionally overheated room without access to water or a bathroom, eventually giving false statements to try and end his ordeal.

A friend of Wright's swept up in the same police raid described his own brutal treatment at the facility, known as Homan Square, including attacks to his face and genitals. The experiences of the two men line up with the way defense attorneys described the "black site" warehouse to Ackerman: as a place where detainees were held off the books, without access to lawyers, while being beaten or shackled for long periods of time.

Wright claims that nine years ago, he spent "at least six [brutal] hours" at the Homan facility on his 21st birthday. He says that he was never read his Miranda rights, and that his arrest was not put into the police system until after his ordeal was over. Wright was reminded of the facility again this week when he noticed a tweet from a writer he admires, The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates, linking to Ackerman's story. Ackerman compared Homan Square to the network of shadowy torture centers built by the CIA across the Middle East — but focused "on Americans, most often poor, black and brown," rather than on purported overseas terrorists.

Also unlike CIA black sites, Homan Square wasn't a completely furtive enterprise. Several lawyers and anti-police brutality advocates with whom I spoke knew that suspects were routinely detained at Homan. The facility houses many of the police department's special units, including the anti-gang and anti-drug task forces, along with the evidence-retrieval unit. Once suspects arrived at Homan, they did not have to be booked immediately, at least not as far as the police department was concerned, according to the people with whom I spoke. In fact, it was possible that a suspect's arrest report wouldn't show that he or she had ever been to Homan. Further, police could detain individuals at Homan for hours, or disappear them, before shipping them off to a district station for processing.

Comment: See also: Gulag archipelago: Chicago police are torturing and disappearing Americans at local 'black site' - How many more sites are there across the US?

Post-It Note

Shame: Florida teacher posts 'student terror list'

terrorist wheel of fortune
© Anthony Freda Art
Last week, a St. Pete high school teacher was stuck in hot water over shaming students by placing their names on a "student terrorist list" and posting it on the door. It is unclear what was the motive for his actions. The teacher, however, went so far as to give the blacklisted students Arabic sounding alias names.

While the teacher sounds like he might have a screw loose - is he in reality doing what he was trained to do?

In other words, was he doing "his job" but just went one tad too far? See below for more. Notably, it doesn't appear that he will be reprimanded for his actions.

While this particular story is of a quirky, zany nature, the truth is, that government schools are bent toward detecting future thought-crime terrorism in students.

Comment: This may seem like a joke but one shudders to think that teachers informing on students, or vice versa, will become an expected and accepted practice.

Piggy Bank

States and municipalities staging all-out assault on pension benefits

pension fund
States and municipalities throughout the United States are engaged in a frontal assault on the pension benefits of current and retired public employees. These attacks are proceeding with complete disregard for the law, riding roughshod over state constitutional protections safeguarding pension benefits that employees have earned over decades of toil.

Earlier this month, Judge Christopher Klein signed a confirmation order allowing the city of Stockton, California to go ahead with its plan to slash workers' retirement benefits as part of a deal to exit bankruptcy. The agreement will eliminate health care benefits for municipal retirees while cutting pension benefits for new-hires and increasing employee pension payments.

In ruling that bankruptcy courts have the authority to slash current retirees' pensions, Klein could not hide his enthusiasm. He declared that CalPERS, the state's public employee pension system, "has bullied its way about this case with an iron fist." But, he gloated, the pension fund "turns out to have a glass jaw."

Comment: The pathocracy will continue to dismantle every social safety net to keep the system rigged in their favor. Those in power will use any excuse to rob the masses, while widely proclaiming that changes will be made and / or that they are doing this for the greater good. Once any nation is overtaken by pathological individuals, the stage has been set for its decline.

The American dream is dead

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