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Tue, 27 Sep 2022
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Stop thanking me for my service

yellow ribbon
© Shutterstock.com
As a veteran, I'm tired of being blindly celebrated. Good intentions aren't a substitute for good politics

Last week, in a quiet indie bookstore on the north side of Chicago, I saw the latest issue of Rolling Stone resting on a chrome-colored plastic table a few feet from a barista brewing a vanilla latte. A cold October rain fell outside. A friend of mine grabbed the issue and began flipping through it. Knowing that I was a veteran, he said, "Hey, did you see this?" pointing to a news story that seemed more like an ad. It read in part:

"This Veterans Day, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, and Metallica will be among numerous artists who will head to the National Mall in Washington D.C. on November 11th for 'The Concert For Valor,' an all-star event that will pay tribute to armed services."

"Concert For Valor? That sounds like something the North Korean government would organize," I said as I typed Concertforvalor.com into my MacBook Pro looking for more information.

The sucking sound from the espresso maker was drowning out a 10-year-old Shins song. As I read, my heart sank, my shoulders slumped.

Special guests at the Concert for Valor were to include: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg. The mission of the concert, according to a press release, was to "raise awareness" of veterans issues and "provide a national stage for ensuring that veterans and their families know that their fellow Americans' gratitude is genuine."


Former cop headed to trial for raping a child while other officers watched

officer rape trial
© LiveLeak.com
Pharr, Texas - Trial is set to begin December 1, in the case of former Pharr police officer Erasmo Mata, Jr., accused of repeated first-degree felony sexual assaults of a child.

A federal civil lawsuit filed with Texas Southern District Court back in May accused Mata of assaulting the minor five times, on five separate occasions, all while on duty. The suit alleges that the attacks took place in abandoned houses around the city as other Pharr police officers stood by and watched.

The lawsuit also accused the department of engaging in a cover-up to protect the officers from criminal charges, as well as not conducting a rape kit or immediately testing the evidence.

The lawsuit was filed against the officer, the City of Pharr, the Pharr Police Department and the Pharr police chief.

Claims against the City of Pharr and the Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas were dismissed, however the motion to dismiss Mata was denied.

The Pharr Police Department did an internal investigation, but the family claims Chief Villescas told them not to hire an attorney and that he would personally take care of the allegations against the officer, Valley Central reports.

While the officers were terminated, neither Mata, nor the officers who allegedly watched, initially faced any criminal charges for the 2013 attacks.


Graphic video released in "firing squad" style police killing of mentally ill man

Saginaw, MI - The gruesome dashcam video of a summary execution of a mentally ill man by police has been released to the public this week.

The video shows six police officers, in firing squad fashion, execute mentally ill, Milton Hall, in broad daylight in a Saginaw parking lot.

Hall was several meters away from the closest police officer when the shots began. He posed very little threat to the officers as he was armed with a small pocket knife and could have easily been brought down with a taser.

Six Saginaw police officers fired 47 times at the 49-year-old Hall, striking him 11 times. Police claim Hall acted aggressively, according to then-Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael D. Thomas.

The video was obtained by the ACLU from the family of Hall. It provides a more detailed depiction of the incident that day than the original cellphone footage.

Bad Guys

Utterly insane! Utah police shut down dance party because people were dancing without a "dance permit"

Utah dance party
© Unknown
"[We were] told by officers we couldn't have a dance, under threat of being taken to jail with a felony of inciting a riot."

A dance party in St. George, Utah was shut down over the weekend because the city will not allow people to dance without permits. However, "Heart of Dixie", the company who organized the event was actually under the impression that they had all of the permits that they needed.

The group has held their annual Halloween event "The Monster Mash" for the past three years in other areas of Utah. This year, they moved their event to St. George, but unfortunately the permit process is far more rigorous there than in other places where they had done business in the past.

Many event promoters are familiar with being required to get permits for alcohol and amplified music, and although many disagree with the process, they still do what they must to stay out of trouble.

Some towns, like St. George, do not like having events in their town, so they make the permitting process so difficult and complicated that it is nearly impossible to legally establish a live music event.

It is fairly common in these areas for the city to throw permit requirements on event organizers days before their show, which sabotages their event after months of planning is done and large sums of money have been invested.

That seems to be the case in St. George, where town bureaucrats claim that event organizers had applied for their "dancing permit" just days before the event.

While dancing permits do exist they are not typically separate forms than those required to hold a large gathering with amplified sound. These "permissions" are typically wrapped into the same paperwork, but in St. George this was an entirely separate permit. In other words, the event was permitted for live music, but not for dancing.

Jared Keddington, one of the main organizers for the event, told local Fox 13 that he thought he had all of the permits that he needed.

"We were given a permit, and then told by officers we couldn't have a dance, under threat of being taken to jail with a felony of inciting a riot. Things had been crossed out, and in hand was written, no dance activity permitted. On another page it was typed that the event must not be allowed to become a dance party due to random acts of dancing by patrons," Keddington said.

"It's not OK to tell people they can't dance. It's not OK to tell people they have to get a permit to dance," he added.

City spokesman Marc Mortensen said that Keddington did not file for the permit soon enough, but Mortensen neglected to mention how town officials made the entire process nearly impossible for the event organizers every step of the way.

"Via the power of social media, who knows how many could have showed up and would that have overburdened that particular neighborhood and could it have potentially created problems, that's what we try and avoid," Mortensen said.

Only in the "Land of the Free" do we need a permit to dance.......


Colorado man vanishes at stadium during Broncos game

Paul Kitterman
© Courtesy of Tia Bakke
Paul Kitterman, second from left, poses for a photo with his son, left, and two family friends shortly before his disappearance.
Paul Kitterman told his friend Tia Bakke that the experience of being at his first ever Denver Broncos game in person with his son was "awesome" - and that was the last she heard of him.

The 53-year-old from Kremmling, Colorado, seemingly vanished into the Sports Authority Field crowd at the Broncos-Chargers game Thursday night in what Denver police now call a missing persons case.

"He would never bail on his son, or anyone," Bakke told ABC News, "so by Friday night, we knew something was really, really, wrong."


NASA rocket bound for International Space Station explodes just seconds after takeoff

An unmanned rocket exploded shortly after takeoff Tuesday evening on Virginia's eastern shore. Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket was carrying thousands of pounds of equipment to restock the International Space Station.

The launch was supposed to be the third of eight planned Orbital missions to ferry gear and food to astronauts aboard the ISS. The rocket had some 5,000 pounds of food, supplies and science experiments, which all were engulfed in a fireball just above NASA's Wallop's Island facility.


Here's why US home ownership rate dropped to 1983 levels

The last time US home ownership declined down to 64.4% (which the Census Bureau just reported is what US home ownership declined to from 64.7% in Q2), was back in the fourth quarter of 1983.
It goes without saying that this is about the bearishest news possible for those few who still believe in the American home ownership dream.

Of course, those who have been following real-time rental market trends would be all too aware there is no rebound coming to the home ownership rate. The reason is simple: increasingly fewer can afford to buy, instead having no choice but to rent, which in turn has pushed the median asking rent to record highs. In fact in the past two quarters, the asking rent was just $10 shy of its all time highs at $756 per month.

But capital allocation preferences aside, while explaining the disparity between rental and home ownership in a world where Renting is the new American Dream, what the charts above don't explain is why there is no incremental demand from all those millions of young Americans who enter the population and, eventually, the workforce. At least on paper.

Comment: This article clearly shows how the current economic conditions are unsustainable and cannot continue without a serious reset of some kind.


Hunger will tame the fiercest animals: Engineered poverty in the UK

© Matt Kenyon
What would you do to keep your baby from starving? Perhaps the same as Lucy Hill. At the start of October, the 35-year-old mother from Kidderminster was broke. After missing an interview at the jobcentre, her disability benefits had been stopped - which left her, her partner and her toddler of 18 months without anything to live on. So she went to the local Spar and stole a chicken and some soap powder.

Two weeks later, Hill was up before the magistrate. Her police interview noted that she said "sorry to the shop ... but had no money ... and was in a desperate situation". She was ordered to pay compensation, a fine, costs and a surcharge: a total of over £200 to be taken off someone who'd only committed a crime because she had no money. Her solicitor John Rogers remembers that the mother's chief worry was that the social services might find out and take away her baby.

After running me through the details, Rogers sighs. Cases like this keep coming his way, he says: "They miss an appointment so their benefits are sanctioned [docked or stopped altogether], so they have no money, so they steal." His local office now handles "at least half a dozen" such cases each month - up from almost nothing a year ago.

He's just one lawyer in one post-industrial town, describing a national policy: of starving the poor into committing crime. Nothing is accidental about this regime.


'A cop tried to kill my dog last night': Tales from the police state

police chase
Why bother sharing stories about police shooting our pets? I hear: Aren't these just a few isolated incidents from a few bad eggs? Shouldn't people learn to keep their pets safe - it's the owners' fault. It's just incompetence and paranoia... Officers need more training to handle dogs! Pass a law for training! They shoot people too, of course they would shoot dogs... By highlighting these acts of terror you are further propagating fear...

What prompted those concepts?

Did it ever occur to the folks above that the very problem lies in the training? Although I only suspected, but could never provide concrete evidence for, the idea that officers are specifically trained and encouraged to shoot or kill pets (outside of SWAT raids where they are unfortunately always the first casualty) - a few incidents point in that direction.

First, do you remember the officer who was shot and killed after he tried to shoot a homeowner's dogs? He was instructed to do so by the police chief. (See the Daily Mail link therein)

Comment: True. It's not incompetence nor a lack of training. (What type of sick person needs training to know that killing family pets is wrong?) Could it be that police work attracts psychopaths who enjoy wielding power over others?

Arrow Down

Exhibiting no symptoms, New Jersey woman forcibly quarantined in 'prison-like' conditions

Kaci Hickox
© Steven J. Hyman
Kaci Hickox in quarantine.
Newark - A humanitarian worker says she is being detained against her will and "treated like a criminal" after selflessly working to provide health care to the people of Africa. The quarantined nurse has not tested positive for any disease and has exhibited no symptoms of illness.

Kaci Hickox, 33, recently returned from the West African nation of Sierra Leone, part of an assignment from Doctors Without Borders to help the poverty and disease stricken natives deal with the recent ebola outbreak.

What she returned home to in the USA, she said that she "would not wish on anyone."

Ms. Hickox said that even though she tested negative for ebola and never felt ill, she was forcibly detained by armed police and state health workers and confined as part of a mandatory quarantine instituted by Governor Chris Christie.

The "prison-like" treatment has included locking her in an unheated tent in a parking lot, without a flushing toilet, while being deprived of legal counsel.

When Ms. Hickox first arrived at Newark International Airport from Sierra Leone, a federal agent smiled at her and told her, "No problem. They are probably going to ask you a few questions."