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Camcorder

Baltimore to install cameras in police vans in wake of Freddie Gray murder

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© Reuters / Jim Bourg

Comment: It's hard not to read this and say, so what? Eric Garner's murder by police was caught on video, and it didn't change anything. Police will continue to find excuses for their brutality towards the population, and the authorities will continue to support that brutality.


In the wake of protests over Freddie Gray, whose death from injuries sustained in police custody in April provoked unrest in several US cities, Baltimore has pledged to install cameras in police vans for a "more complete record of what occurs there."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told reporters on Wednesday that the city of Baltimore has been"working through a process that will place cameras with recording capabilities in the backs of all our police vans."

In fact, the van in which Freddie Gray was transported on April 12 did have a camera that the driver could use to monitor the passengers, but it was reportedly not working at the time.


Comment: How convenient for Gray's murderers. So the reaction of Baltimore's leaders is to install more cameras that can conveniently fail to operate. Great idea, Mayor!


Gray, 25, suffered a severed spine while being transported in the police vehicle and passed away on April 19, his tragic death striking unrest in Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston and New York, just to name a few cities. The next day after his death police officials said that Gray had actually requested an inhaler while in police custody, but admitted that calls for medical assistance were not made for over 40 minutes.

By the time Gray arrived at the hospital, he slipped into a coma and died. On top of that, according to Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Gray was not secured in the van with a seatbelt, which is against police regulations. He was handcuffed instead and placed in leg irons. This led to his injuries most likely caused by a sudden slowing of the police van, the investigation has found. During one of the stops police officers checked on Gray only to find that he was unresponsive, but failed to take any actions. Gray's death has been declared a homicide by the state attorney.

Ambulance

Thousands evacuated in Tennessee after train derails releasing flammable and toxic gas

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More than 5,000 people in eastern Tennessee have been evacuated after a freight train carrying "highly flammable and toxic gas" derailed and caught fire on Thursday morning.

Seven firefighters have been taken to hospital after breathing in fumes from the blaze, while a 1-mile evacuation zone has been put in place around where the train came off the tracks.

"They are receiving treatment in the emergency room at Blount Memorial Hospital. At the time, some of them were pretty close to the scene of the derailment, while others were knocking on doors and evacuating residents," said a Blount County Sheriff's spokeswoman, Marian O'Briant who was speaking to NBC News.

Officials have put the number evacuated at 5,000; however, other sources are saying the figure is nearer to 1,200.


V

260,000 Austrians sign petition to exit EU, forcing parliament referendum debate

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© Reuters / Heinz-Peter Bader
The parliament in Vienna
Over 260,000 Austrians have signed a petition calling for the EU exit for the country, and now the Austrian parliament must discuss a referendum on the issue.

Overall, the 261,159 people who signed the petition represent 4.12 percent of the electorate. The petition was most popular in the regions of Lower Austria (where 5.18 percent of potential voters signed it) and in Carinthia (4.85 percent).

The threshold for calling a debate on a potential referendum is 100,000 people.

The petition was launched by 66-year-old retired translator Inge Rauscher, who composed a similar petition in 2000. On that occasion, it was signed by 3.35 percent of the electorate.

Comment: Looks like there are a lot of Austrians who are sick of the EU.


Heart - Black

Cop fired and charged with assault after body cam and surveillance footage show him beating man in holding cell

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Screenshot from YouTube.com video by The Daily Pig Report
Police body-camera video and surveillance footage became proof against a police officer who severely beat a suspect in holding cell in December. To warning calls that the beating was being video recorded, a cop answered only "F**k that!"

Two Federal Heights Police officers were attempting to calm a rowdy suspect at the suburban Denver police station in December. But the standard detention turned into a battering spree when one of the officers appeared to lose his temper after the detainee tried to slap him.

Officer Mark Magness, 51, pleaded guilty to assault, received year of probation and has been fired from Federal Heights Police force for mercilessly beating suspect Kent Lasnik, 48, detained for allegedly attacking a liquor store clerk. The beating that occurred in several stages ended in Lasnik bleeding from his mouth.

The incident took place in December but ABC7 obtained it recorded from several viewpoints only now.


Comment: This cop needs some serious therapy to deal with his anger issues. It's good he's no longer a cop so that he can't take them out on innocent people like the man in the video.


Eye 1

Nanny state: UK to allow teachers to 'confiscate and destroy' unhealthy lunches

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© Getty Images
Teachers can take away the food parents give children for lunch
As part of an assault on childhood obesity, the Government allows school staff the power to seize children's meals they judge to be "unhealthy or inappropriate".

As part of guidelines on lunchbox searches, teachers are also expected to consult and discuss healthy eating plans with pupils' parents. The Department of Education claims schools and teachers should also seek out legal advice if they have worries over pupils' food.

Education minister Lord Nash said: "Schools have common law powers to search pupils, with their consent, for items. There is nothing to prevent schools from having a policy of inspecting lunch boxes for food items that are prohibited under their school food policies. A member of staff may confiscate, keep or destroy such items found as a result of the search if it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances. If authorities and schools are concerned about their legal position, they should seek their own legal advice."

The wide-ranging powers for schools and teachers have led to a number of recent rows over pupil's packed lunches.

Comment: On top of the wholly draconian measure of the government forcibly taking away a student's lunch, this law is also worrisome because the government has a totally backwards idea of what is healthy food. School lunches have repeatedly been shown to have very little nutrition. Perhaps the government should step aside and let people decide for themselves what to eat.


Heart - Black

Mother charged for tying 4-year-old son to bush while babysitting other kids

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A Rockland County mother was facing serious charges Tuesday, accused of tying her child to a bush while she went to babysit.

As CBS2's Steve Langford reported, Mery Isabel Quinde Castro, 22, did not want to face CBS2's cameras Tuesday. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Castro's 4-year-old son was found alone, tied to a bush outside a Spring Valley apartment block by his own mother. He was tied to the bush for about half an hour Tuesday morning - catching the attention of neighbors and then of police, Langford reported.

"Her child, this 4 1/2-year-old boy, did not want to go into the apartment," said Spring Valley police Chief Paul Modica. "So she tied him to the bush until she could get him into the apartment."

Stock Down

Americans not in the labor force soar by 640,000 to record 93.6 million

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© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The devastation of the US labor force continues.

In what was an "unambiguously" unpleasant June jobs payrolls report, with both April and May jobs revised lower, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force soared once again, this time by a whopping 640,000 or the most since April 2014 to a record 93.6 million, with the result being a participation rate of 62.6 or where it was in September 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called "market" which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus - the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy.

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


Cross

From Christian faith to nihilistic void

This article is related to two previous ones. As you will see, the destruction of beauty (modern art), the destruction of families and identities (gender theory), and the destruction of religions show several similarities.
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Virgin Mary (Sassoferrato, 17th Century)
You might already know a bit about my grandma and her witty remarks. I mentioned her in the two articles linked above. Something I didn't share with you yet, is her religious faith.

When I was a kid, raised by atheist parents, I found it difficult to understand why my grandma was going to church, why she was interested in the Pope's doings and sayings, why she was praying, why she had paintings of the Virgin Mary hanging on walls and a crucifix above her bed.

To be frank I found all this religious display a bit ridiculous. How could it have been different, when the only thing I had ever heard about the Church was its evil deeds: the Crusades, the Inquisition and, more recently, the pedophile priests.

Grandma's religious faith didn't decline with time. She's now 100 years old and still a religious person. Each time I come back from some medical check-ups, I tell her that the results are good and she's on the verge of tears because she's so relieved. She then tells me in a soft emotional voice: "I've been praying so much for you".

I was struck by our difference in beliefs. Things had changed so fast. Two generations ago most minds were permeated with religion while my generation at best ignored it, at worse despised it.

This introduction might give you an idea of the topic of this article. We will be dealing with religions, particularly Christianity. More specifically, how religions influence us and actually how any social/cultural environment, whether religious or not, influences us. We will see that a religious environment is far less detrimental for individuals and societies than the atheist and nihilistic creed that dominates today's world.

Our social/cultural environment is made of a set of beliefs, rules and norms that basically define what is good and what is evil. For a long time religions played a major role in the definition of those items. So our first step will be to have a quick glance at how the fundamental beliefs (i.e. the cosmogony, the way we see the world) evolved over time.

Comment: On the origins of Christianity and any value system it retains after being stripped of its mythological features, readers might enjoy listening to our recent radio show discussion with author and biblical scholar Dr. Robert Price:

Behind the Headlines: The Myth of Jesus Christ - Interview with Robert M. Price


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.