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Bad Guys

Ready, reset, go! ...to Cold War 2.0

anti-goverment fighter
© AFP Photo
An anti-goverment fighter holds his gun towards the Ukrainian army position at a checkpoint near the front line in the northern outskirts of city of Donetsk, on July 22, 2014.
The New Great Game in Eurasia never ceases to thrill with extreme plot twists. The Big Three players remain the same: the US, Russia and China. The devil is in the concentric subplots.

In Washington, the deep state Russia 'policy' has revealed itself to be sanctions, sanctions, sanctions; because of Crimea, because of support for federalists in Eastern Ukraine, because of the MH17 tragedy.

Sanctions are targeting Russia's energy, defense and finance - and are fast on their way towards all-out economic war, which in itself is a declaration of war. As with Cuba; as with Iraq (until there was regime change); as with Iran (until there is a nuclear deal, and even that is a major 'if').

Beware the wrath of the Empire of Chaos. The prescription is always the same; sanctions; no holds barred geo-economic/political warfare; internal subversion (NED, assorted NGOs); and non-stop vitriol marinated in hubris.

In Moscow, there are no illusions; no matter what the Kremlin does on Ukraine, there won't be any 'reset'. Washington's sanction hysteria - which has far surpassed the level of containment - is even regarded as a means towards (what else?) regime change, Putin's huge popularity notwithstanding. No wonder US Think Tankland is drooling about it.
Arrow Down

How cops continue to steal Americans' hard earned cash with zero repercussions

Unlce Sam
© Liberty Blitzkrieg
Almost exactly one year ago today, I published a post which went on to become extremely popular titled: Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas. If you failed to read it the first time around, I suggest you take look as it provides a good outline of just what is at stake when it comes to this destructive and abusive practice increasingly utilized by police departments across these United States with zero repercussions for the offending officers. In last years article I noted that:
In a nutshell, civil forfeiture is the practice of confiscating items from people, ranging from cash, cars, even homes based on no criminal conviction or charges, merely suspicion. This practice first became widespread for use against pirates, as a way to take possession of contraband goods despite the fact that the ships' owners in many cases were located thousands of miles away and couldn't easily be prosecuted. As is often the case, what starts out reasonable becomes a gigantic organized crime ring of criminality, particularly in a society where the rule of law no longer exists for the "elite," yet anything goes when it comes to pillaging the average citizen.

One of the major reasons these programs have become so abused is that the police departments themselves are able to keep much of the confiscated money. So they actually have a perverse incentive to steal. As might be expected, a program that is often touted as being effective against going after major drug kingpins, actually targets the poor and disenfranchised more than anything else.
While this epidemic of law enforcement theft is problematic throughout the country (see these egregious examples from Tennessee and Michigan), it appears Texas has a particularly keen love affair with the practice. Not only did last year's story take place in Texas, today's highlighted episode also takes place in the Lone Star State. This time in a town of 150 people called Estelline, which earns more than 89% of its gross revenues from traffic fines and forfeitures. In other words, from theft.
Blue Planet

Earth headed for sixth mass extinction

© AFP

The rapid depletion of Earth's biodiversity indicates that the planet is in the early stages of its sixth mass extinction of life since becoming habitable 3.5 billion years ago, according to a new study published in Science.

Human activity, including a doubling of its population in the past 35 years, has driven the decline of animal life on Earth, the researchers concluded.

There has been a 25 percent average decline rate of remaining terrestrial vertebrates, and a 45 percent decline rate in the abundance of invertebrates. These losses will continue to have innumerable impacts on species that depend on the delicate balance of life on Earth for their own survival.

"We tend to think about extinction as loss of a species from the face of Earth, and that's very important, but there's a loss of critical ecosystem functioning in which animals play a central role that we need to pay attention to as well," said Rodolfo Dirzo, lead author of the study and a biology professor at Stanford University.
Binoculars

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare plover from the Arctic tundra turns up in Tamworth, UK


Bird-watchers get into a palaver over Pacific Golden Plover
Dozens of dedicated bird watchers have been getting into a flap at a beauty spot near Tamworth after an ultra-rare bird flew in - thousands of miles from where he should be.

Flustered 'twitchers' have descended on the RSPB's Middleton lakes armed with long-lens cameras after a Pacific Golden Plover was spotted in the site's Jubilee Wetlands.

The arrival of the bird, which is spotted gold and black on the crown, back and wings, was quite a surprise.

That's because at this time the year it should be in its breeding ground, thousands of miles away in the Arctic tundra, from northernmost Asia into western Alaska.

USA

The absurd, bureaucratic hell that is the American Police State

"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." - C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Police State
© hermes-press.com
Whether it's the working mother arrested for letting her 9-year-old play unsupervised at a playground, the teenager forced to have his genitals photographed by police, the underage burglar sentenced to 23 years for shooting a retired police dog, or the 43-year-old man who died of a heart attack after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers allegedly over the sale of untaxed cigarettes, the theater of the absurd that passes for life in the American police state grows more tragic and incomprehensible by the day.

Debra Harrell, a 46-year-old South Carolina working mother, was arrested, charged with abandonment and had her child placed in state custody after allowing the 9-year-old to spend unsupervised time at a neighborhood playground while the mom worked a shift at McDonald's. Mind you, the child asked to play outside, was given a cell phone in case she needed to reach someone, and the park - a stone's throw from the mom's place of work - was overrun with kids enjoying its swings, splash pad, and shade.

A Connecticut mother was charged with leaving her 11-year-old daughter in the car unsupervised while she ran inside a store - despite the fact that the child asked to stay in the car and was not overheated or in distress. A few states away, a New Jersey man was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of his children after leaving them in a car parked in a police station parking lot, windows rolled down, while he ran inside to pay a ticket.

A Virginia teenager was charged with violating the state's sexting law after exchanging sexually provocative videos with his girlfriend. Instead of insisting that the matter be dealt with as a matter of parental concern, police charged the boy with manufacturing and distributing child pornography and issued a search warrant to "medically induce an erection" in the 17-year-old boy in order to photograph his erect penis and compare it to the images sent in the sexting exchange. The police had already taken an initial photograph of the boy's penis against his will, upon his arrest.
Beaker

No 'rainbow families': Canadian fertility clinic bans patient from using non-white donor

fertility
© Reuters / Michael Dalder
A single Canadian woman, who sought in vitro fertilization in the only local clinic in Calgary, has been prohibited from using donors of a different ethnicity to avoid "creating rainbow families."

The 38-year old woman, who requested to use only her first name, Catherine, told the Calgary Herald that "everything went downhill" when last March she learned that she could only use sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who were white, like her.

"I was absolutely floored," she told the newspaper.

When asked why she did not want to choose somebody of her own "cultural background," Catherine said there were many reasons why.

One of the main reasons was that after she picked out donors who met required standards, had a good health history and a compatible blood type, a list of potential biological fathers for her child was narrowed-down to about 20 Caucasian donors. Moreover, many of them had already been used by several other patients in the area.

"Frankly, it's appalling how many people have the same donors, probably because of this policy," she said. "A friend of mine just went through this process and used the donor that I would have picked."

Despite that, Dr. Calvin Greene The Regional Fertility Program (RFP), where Catherine went to undergo in vitro fertilization, is firm on his position.

Greene stressed that the RFP would deny couples or singles who insist on using donors of a different ethnicity under a policy in operation since the center was opened in the 1980's.

"I'm not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that's what she wants," Dr. Calvin Greene, the clinic's administrative director told the Herald. "That's her prerogative, but that's not her prerogative in our clinic."
Bizarro Earth

Giant anteaters kill Brazilian hunters!

Giant Anteater
© Thinkstock
Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

The long-nosed, hairy mammals are not typically aggressive toward people and are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), largely due to deforestation and human settlements that encroach on their territory.

However, they have poor vision and if frightened, they may defend themselves with front claws that are as long as pocketknives.

The case studies of two fatal attacks by giant anteaters were described in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, which released the paper online this month, ahead of its publication in the December print issue.

"Both were farmers, were hunting and were attacked by wounded or cornered animals," lead author Vidal Haddad of the Botucatu School of Medicine at Sao Paulo State University told AFP.

In the first case, a 47-year-old man was hunting with his two sons and his dogs when they came upon a giant anteater in northern Brazil. The hunter did not shoot at the animal, but he approached it with his knife drawn.

The anteater stood on its hind legs and grabbed the man with its forelimbs, causing deep puncture wounds in his thighs and upper arms.

The hunter bled to death at the scene, said the report, which noted that the encounter happened on August 1, 2012 but had not been described in scientific literature until now.
Evil Rays

The epic fight to protect cetaceans from the US Navy

© John Durban/NOAA
A Blainville’s beaked whale.
On the morning of March 15, 2000, 17 beaked whales stranded themselves on beaches in the northern Bahamas.

It was an terrible and extraordinary event: Beaked whales are the world's deepest-diving mammals, and these creatures had spent most of their lives in deep undersea canyons. For even one to show up in shallow water would be extremely unusual.

For 17 to strand was almost inconceivable, and it might have remained a mystery but for an equally extraordinary coincidence. Just a few feet away from one of the beaches lived Ken Balcomb, a beaked whale researcher who more than anyone in the world was equipped to find out what happened.

Long before he started studying whales, Balcomb had served two tours of duty in the Navy, where he'd done classified work with submarine-detecting sonar. He knew just how loud it could be, and in days following the stranding photographed Navy destroyers in Bahamian waters. He also had the wherewithal to have several of the dead whales' heads sent for autopsies - and when they returned evidence of hemorrhages, Balcomb knew what happened. They'd fled to shallow water to escape noise so concussively loud it burst blood vessels in their brains.
Attention

Pilot whale dies after beaching in Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii

© Terry Lilley
Dead whale washes up to shore on Kauai.
Video posted on YouTube shows a 16-foot adult short-finned pilot whale lying sideways in shallow water at Hanalei Bay. Marine biologist Terry Lilley was one of the first to come upon the animal Friday morning. He said the whale was barely breathing.

"It didn't look like it was something where we would have had the ability to get it back out into the sea in time," Lilley told Hawaii News Now by telephone.

He said there were two small punctures in the whale's body, each about an inch across, but no other outward signs of injury.

"This whale was very fat, very healthy looking," he said. "It did not seem to have any disease or markings or anything that would indicate it had any trauma. So having a super healthy whale wash up like this is highly unique," Lilley said.

Arrow Down

The CIA's global torture operations: Disclosure under Barack Obama, the most secretive president in U.S. history

Obama
© EPA/Martin H. Simon/POOL
President Barack Obama addresses intelligence personnel at C.I.A headquarters in Langley, VA, USA on May 2011 to thank them for their service in relation to the Osama bin Laden operation.
Journalist Mai Bei, (Yahoo News) is reminding America of its recent dark past vis-à-vis that longtime rogue agency the CIA's global torture operations during that rogue regime of the Bush administration.

The plot thickens with the Senate Intelligence Committee strongly in favor of declassifying its five years in the making, 6,700 page report bringing to light in graphic criminal detail the plethora of Geneva Convention and international law violations committed by overzealous CIA henchmen in their quest to torture information out of thousands of detainees the world over "fighting" America's so called war on terror.

Today's article attempts to create high drama Washington-style by hyping up anticipation of an executive-legislative showdown between how much of the CIA's dastardly deeds should be disclosed to the waiting American public.

Pressure is mounting on our current beleaguered president known for his disastrous foreign policy on the heels of the exact same disastrous foreign policy launched by the war criminal neocons before him. As a recent backdrop leading to this latest theatrical release of government-gone-bad is the back and forth sniping charges between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA, both accusing the other of illegal spying.

Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-CA) had long been cozy with protecting CIA secrecy and criminality right until she learned that Director John Brennan's CIA was busily violating her committee's privacy. She had no problem with the American public's privacy constantly violated in act after unconstitutional act or for that matter any world citizen's right to life being destroyed in the name of national security. But her ire was hypocritically provoked when the CIA no doubt got up too close and personal on her naked body politic and she did not like it one bit.

Then lest we forget we had President Obama campaigning on the promise once Bush was gone to be the most open, honest and transparent presidency in US history. What does he do? He proceeds to become the most secretive president in US history, racking up more cover-up scandals, more charges of espionage, more press harassment and more denials of Freedom of Information Act requests than all previous presidents combined!
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