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Chalkboard

Congress may expand charter school program despite high failure rate, financial mismanagement

As both the House and the Senate consider separate bills that would reauthorize and expand the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year Charter Schools Program (CSP), the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has examined more than a decade of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) as well as documentation from open records requests. The results are troubling.

Between 2001 and 2013, 2,486 charter schools have been forced to shutter, affecting 288,000 American children enrolled in primary and secondary schools.

Furthermore, untold millions out of the $3.3 billion expended by the federal government under CSP have been awarded as planning and implementation grants to schools that never opened to students.

Comment: It is just stunning that Congress would even consider expanding the program when faced with the overwhelming evidence of the failure rate of charter schools. It becomes even more curious knowing that the FBI has launched an investigation into this secretive, money-making scheme. One might wonder if palms are being greased to extend the life of a highly lucrative venture.


Stormtrooper

New SWAT documents confirm the brutal reality of U.S. police militarization

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Massachusetts SWAT teams made headlines last year when they refused to grant a public information request to the ACLU, claiming they were "private companies" and, therefore, exempt from such inquiry. The ACLU subsequently sued, and last month, it received access to the documents it requested. The documents confirm that broad overreach, unnecessary and overblown tactics, and an eagerness to attack are increasingly present in law enforcement establishments around the country.

The NEMLEC, or Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, encompasses multiple SWAT teams across that region of the state. According to the documents it tried to suppress, NEMLEC conducted 79 SWAT raids from August 2012 to June 2014. Though the NEMLEC (along with SWAT teams around the country) claims SWAT teams are only used for "active shooters, armed barricaded subjects, hostage takers, and terrorists," the data reveals a different story.

Though the NEMLEC touts its operations as reserved for "critical" situations, only one of the 79 incidents actually involved a terrorist attack: SWAT teams were deployed to assist in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. In that same 2012 to 2014 time period, there were no active shooter situations, no hostage situations, and only 10 cases of barricaded subjects.

Comment: Like a virus, or a cancer, the militarization of police in the United States has metastasized, taken a lethal hold - and is only growing. This phenomena has been conceived of, germinated, funded, nurtured and reinforced by the same interests that would have us believe that we should be mass propagandized, mass vaccinated, mass surveilled and mass incarcerated, among other things. And it's not bad enough that we should have this implosion of suffering and death foisted upon ourselves, the U.S. citizens, but this same psychopathic contagion is being projected and thrust upon the entire world. God cleanse America!

See also: In the grips of psychopaths: Ferguson is Baghdad is New York is Kabul


Handcuffs

Militarization of police: SWAT teams now used in minor drug arrests

© Reuters / Jim Bourg
Police SWAT team members.
Newly acquired documents show that over a two-year period, Massachusetts SWAT teams were mostly deployed to serve warrants and arrests for minor drug offenses, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Nine hundred pages of documents show how SWAT teams are being routinely deployed to carry out tasks that were previously considered ordinary police work, according to the ACLU of Massachusetts.

"The single-most reason for deployment wasn't for public safety concerns, but for drug offenses," Jessie Rossman, staff attorney with the ACLU, told the Boston Globe.

For the first time, the documents show policies, procedures and organizational charts for SWAT teams, as well as military-style equipment lists showing two armored BearCat vehicles, night vision goggles, grenades and high-tech firearms.

Comment: Now that most US police departments have an arsenal of equipment generously provided by the military, they seem to be finding more instances where they need to use their toys. If they cannot find excuses to use excessive force, they generally create a reason. The PTB are planning for something big, and want to make sure that the police forces are armed to the teeth to keep the population at bay once the chaos begins.

Militarization is more than tanks and rifles: It's a cultural disease, acclimating the citizenry to life in a police state


Eye 1

NYPD beat autistic teen in front of home without cause

© DNAinfo/Rosa Goldensohn
Troy Canales
A 17-year-old autistic boy was thrown onto the sidewalk by New York City police officers, punched in the face, arrested, hauled to the precinct for questioning and released without charges, according to a lawsuit.

Troy Canales was standing in front of his Bronx home on the night of November 12, 2014, when two officers drove up in a police car demanding to know what he was doing, according to the Manhattan federal court lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the officers clearly had no training in how to deal with people with special needs when they began questioning Canales, who is able to talk but has a hard time making eye contact with strangers.

"[Canales] was extremely scared, but told the officers that he was just 'chilling' and was not doing anything," the suit stated.

"[The officers] each grabbed the plaintiff's arms and forcefully threw him down on the sidewalk, smashing his head against the concrete. [The officers] kneed plaintiff in the back and punched him in the face as he screamed to his family for help."

Heart - Black

No charges for Atlanta officer who fatally shot driver in back

© Photo courtesy of Cobb County sheriff's office
Nicholas Thomas
A grand jury says it won't press charges against a police officer who shot a man outside a tire store in Atlanta. Sergeant Kenneth Owens killed Nicholas Thomas as he allegedly drove a customer's car towards officers after they tried arrest him.

Thomas died from a single gunshot to his upper back on his right side on March 24, as he drove a car towards the police officers, who were trying to serve him with a parole violation.

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said in a statement that he had sympathies with Thomas's family and called the loss of life "unfortunate." However, he understood why the officers took the course of action outside the Goodyear tire store.
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© Photo courtesy of Smyrna Police Dept
Smyrna Police Sgt. Kenneth Owens
"But when he drove the vehicle toward officers in the manner he did, the officer who fired the shots was justified under the law to use lethal force," the statement says, as cited by AP. "Police officers in Georgia are authorized to fire their weapons to protect themselves or others from immediate bodily harm. That is what happened in this case."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Cobb County Police Department had both said the shooting was "justified under the facts and the law." Owens was initially placed on administrative leave, while police say that he returned to administrative work in May.

Family

Protesters march against BBC's support of Israel's 2014 attack on Gaza

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© Reuters/Neil Hall
Pro-Palestinian protesters chant during a demonstration against violence in the Gaza strip outside Downing Street in London August 23, 2014
Palestine activists will highlight the BBC's pro-Israel bias in an annual protest against the occupation of Jerusalem, which coincides with the first anniversary of the Gaza War.

Activists will march from the BBC's Broadcasting House at Portland Place to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square as part of Al Quds Day demonstrations, held annually on the last Friday of Ramadan.

The Islamic Human Rights Council (IHRC), which is organizing the protests, said the US Embassy was selected as a rallying point because of Washington's "heinous support of Israel."

Al Quds Day rallies take place across the globe, but are especially prominent in the Arab world where they can receive state support.

Speaking to RT, IHRC Communications chief Nadia Rasheed said the BBC was chosen as a starting point of the march because of its "pro-Israeli" bias.

"We're starting near the BBC in protest of what we deem to be the bias in their reporting of the situation in Palestine and their pretense of impartiality when in reality their coverage is pro-Israeli," Rasheed said.


Pistol

Tragedy: Two dead after shooting spree in southern German region of Ansbach

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© AFP Photo/DPA
Policemen stand at a crime scene in Tiefenthal-Leutershausen near Ansbach, southern Germany, after a gunman in a car killed a woman and a cyclist in drive-by shootings on July 10, 2015.
Two people have been killed after gunshots were fired from a car in the southern German city of Ansbach, according to local media.

The gunman initially shot and killed an 82-year-old woman in the Tiefenthal district. Shortly after, he reportedly shot a cyclist in nearby Orsteil Rammersdorf. He died at the scene.

Comment: One can only wonder why these random people were killed. Truly tragic.


Megaphone

Former cop blasts police cover-ups in civilian shootings, calls prosecutor in Michael Brown shooting 'a criminal'

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© Screenshot/The Joe Rogan Experence
Michael Wood
A former Baltimore cop who has since blown the whistle on abuse and corruption he witnessed on the force called the prosecutor in the Mike Brown case corrupt.

Michael Wood, who was a police officer for 11 years before retiring with an injury last year, blasted onto the national scene last month when he began tweeting illegal and violent things he saw his colleagues do to citizens.


On Wednesday, Wood went on "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast to discuss law enforcement. When discussing the need for due process in police shootings, Wood called Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor who led the investigation into the shooting by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown, a criminal.

"He's a criminal. He criminally covered up that indictment. There's no way around it," Wood said. "That's what they did and no one seemed to care."

Eye 2

Youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting girl hundreds of times over 5 year span

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© Lake Saint Louis police
Former Ballwin Baptist Church youth pastor Cameron Patterson
A former youth pastor was accused this week of sexually assaulting a girl over a five year period, beginning when she was 12 years old.

The St. Louis Dispatchreported that former Ballwin Baptist Church youth pastor Cameron Patterson, who also worked as an after school program supervisor for Wentzville School District, was charged on Wednesday in Lake Saint Louis with two counts of felony child molestation.

Court records indicated that Patterson had sexually assaulted the victims "hundreds of times" beginning at the age of 12 and continuing until she was 17 years old, The St. Louis Dispatch noted.

Patterson reportedly used email to apologize to the victim, court documents said.

Sheriff

Cop threatens to break teen's neck after mistaken 911 call

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Dallas police officer Terigi Rossi
A Dallas police officer received a three-day suspension after putting his arm around a 14-year-old teen and telling him "I will break your f*cking neck," WFAAreports.

The altercation — which took place last October and was recorded by the teen without the officer's knowledge — came after officer Terigi Ross and his partner responded to a 911 call that ended in a hangup.

According to authorities, the teen's stepmother made the call over a towed car and then hung up thinking the conversation was over. After speaking with the woman, Rossi decided to handcuff her and told her she was being arrested.

When confronted by the teen over why she was being arrested, Rossi grew angry and began threatening the teen, telling him he was going to end up in a foster home before launching into an expletive-filled rant.