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Sheriff

Huge biker gang chases SUV through New York City, beats target to a pulp in front of wife and daughter - Prosecutors dragging their feet cause biker gang leader is undercover cop

Image

Alexian Lien after he was attacked by motorcyclists on Sept., 28, 2013
An off-duty undercover cop who claimed he took no active role as fellow bikers pulled a Manhattan dad from his SUV and beat him to a pulp actually furiously slapped the car's back window so hard that it shattered at the height of the bloody road-rage attack, sources told The Post.

The cop, a seven-year veteran, had told investigators he didn't help the injured man because he rode up to the scene as the beating was nearly over, sources said.

The development came as another biker who helped in driver Alexian Lien's beat-down was arraigned in Manhattan Court on Tuesday.

Craig Wright, 29, of Brooklyn can allegedly be seen on video throwing punches through the shattered driver's-side window of the 33-year-old victim's Range Rover in front of Lien's terrified wife and 2-year-old daughter. Wright is also seen allegedly kicking Lien outside the SUV. He was held on $100,000 bail Tuesday.

Comment:
"Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the investigation and could weaken the cases we expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes."
That's cop-speak for "We're letting this one fly."

There's no such thing as an "off-duty undercover police officer." These state agents often go undercover for years, even decades, at a time.

The officer's superiors protesteth far too much about "canning" their man, while completely contradicting themselves by not having any of this biker gang prosecuted.

Take a look at the original video of this car-chase. It's pretty obvious that Cruz's account of what happened is very unlikely. The biker gang was chasing the victim's car; once they had it surrounded, Cruz slammed on his breaks hard, forcing the victim to 'bump into' his motorcycle, at which point the gang gained 'just cause' to chase him all the way downtown, then beat him to pulp in front of his wife and daughter.

In Amerika, criminals walk free because they work for the Federal Government, while innocent people are tased to death because "they looked at me funny."


USA

U.S. adults way behind counterparts overseas in skills

Image
© Paul Sakuma, AP
Tesla workers cheer on the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., in 2012. The high-tech electric cars sell for more than $60,000 each. American workers sometimes lag behind their foreign counterparts in certain basic skills such as math and problem-solving.
Americans trail adults in other countries in math, literacy, problem-solving.

Americans have been hearing for years that their kids are lagging behind the rest of the developed world in skills. Now it's the adults' turn for a reality check.

A first-ever international comparison of the labor force in 23 industrialized nations shows that Americans ages 16 to 65 fall below international averages in basic problem-solving, reading and math skills, with gaps between the more- and less-educated in the USA larger than those of many other countries.

The findings, out Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Education, could add new urgency to U.S. schools' efforts to help students compete globally.

The new test was given to about 5,000 Americans between August 2011 and April 2012. The results show that the typical American's literacy score falls below the international average, with adults in 12 countries scoring higher and only five (Poland, Ireland, France, Spain and Italy) scoring lower. In math, 18 countries scored higher, with only two (Italy and Spain) scoring lower. In both cases, several countries' scores were statistically even with the USA.

Play

Georgia police kill diabetic man after family calls 911 for ambulance

Jack Lamar Roberson
© First Coast News
Jack Lamar Roberson
Jack Lamar Roberson, 43, was gunned down by Waycross, Georgia police on October 4 after his family called 911 for an ambulance due to issues with his diabetes, First Coast News reports.

Waycross police officers claim they responded to a report of attempted suicide and were told that Roberson was combative.

Upon arrival, Roberson allegedly "lunged" at the officers with two "weapons" and refused to drop them. That's when they fired, claims Police Chief Tony Tanner.

Roberson's family tells a different story.

Crusader

Ohio school district agrees to keep portrait of Jesus off wall, pay $95G fine

Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio
© AP
A painting of Jesus Christ, upper left, hanging above an entrance to Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio. (AP)
An Ohio school district has agreed to keep a portrait of Jesus Christ off school property and pay a $95,000 fine in the face of legal pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Jackson City School District, located in Jackson, reached a deal on Friday after the ACLU, along with the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, sued the district in February, citing "unconstitutional" actions and charging that students and visitors to the school "will continue to suffer permanent, severe and irreparable harm and injury," according to the lawsuit.

The picture had been hanging in Jackson's high school since 1947 as part of a "Hall of Honor" display meant to highlight famous historical figures.

Arrow Down

Self harming on rise: Why do so many children self-harm?

Those who cut themselves - many as young as 10 - are often dismissed as attention-seekers. But their distress is real, and their numbers are increasing, reports Kate Hilpern
Self Harming Child
© Unknown
With celebrities such as Demi Lovato, the US singer, increasingly making public that they self-harmed, it's a concept that is much more likely to be on a young person's radar
Chloe was just 12 when she started self-harming. "I was very quiet and an easy target for bullies. My brother was unwell, so I didn't want to bother my parents, and I had very few friends. One day in class, I dug my nails into my arm to stop me crying, and I was surprised by how much the physical pain distracted me from the emotional pain. Before long, I was regularly scratching myself, deeper each time."

The following year, on another particularly bad day, Chloe came home to find a knife on the kitchen side. "It felt almost instinctive to cut myself and afterwards, I felt so much better. By the time I was 15, I was using scissors or blades several times a day and never left home without something sharp."

Chloe hid her scars, but one day a friend saw her diary. This led to Chloe's mum, Jo, finding out. "It was a big shock," says Jo. "Chloe, who is now 17, has always been a very sensible, studious young lady. I didn't even know she was unhappy. Making matters worse was the fact that I got such bad advice. I was told not to discuss anything with Chloe, just to march her into treatment. It didn't work."

Last week, official statistics revealed an alarming rise in children who self-harm. These figures show that in the past year, NHS hospitals treated more than 18,000 girls and 4,600 boys between 10 and 19 after they had deliberately harmed themselves - a rise of 11 per cent. During the same period, cases involving children between 10 and 14 rose from 4,008 to 5,192 - a rise of 30 per cent.

According to Sarah Brennan, chief executive of YoungMinds, "An equally striking finding, which reflects Jo's experience, was the lack of confidence among parents and professionals about how to deal with it."

So what's going on? Why are so many young people - children, for goodness sake - self-harming? And where did the phenomenon, one that many people hadn't even heard of until recently, come from anyway?

Rachel Welch, project manager at selfharm.co.uk, isn't convinced self-harming is on the rise. It's just we are more aware of it, says the 35-year-old. Indeed, even the Bible includes stories about self-harming and the World Health Organisation has long recognised it as a problem, not just in the West but in developing countries.

Stormtrooper

Militarized Police: America's police are looking more and more like the military

A Defense Department program transfers military-grade weapons and vehicles to local law enforcement. It's the last thing we need

militarised police
© Brian Snyder/Reuters
"The militarization of our domestic policing will make-over America, and fast."
America's streets are looking more and more like a war zone. Last week, in a small county in upstate New York with a population of roughly 120,000 people, county legislators approved the receipt of a 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, donated by the US Defense Department to the county sheriff.

Between the Armored Personnel Carriers locking down main streets in major American cities - mimicking our MRAPs in Afghanistan - or Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) and Special Forces units canvassing our country, if we're not careful, this militarization of our domestic policing will make-over America, and fast.

Here's how it all happened. A little-known Pentagon program has been quietly militarizing American police forces for years. A total of $4.2bn worth of equipment has been distributed by the Defense Department to municipal law enforcement agencies, with a record $546m in 2012 alone.

In the fine print of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1997, the "1033 program" was born. It allows the Defense Department to donate surplus military equipment to local police forces.

Though the program's existed since the 1990s, it has expanded greatly in recent years, due, in part, to post-9/11 fears and sequestration budget cuts. The expanse, however, seems unnecessary given that the Department of Homeland Security has already handed out $34bn in "terrorism grants" to local polices forces - without oversight mind you - to fund counter-terrorism efforts.

Additional militarization, then, deserves congressional attention as the program is harmful and must be scaled back for a number of reasons.

First, the program is transforming our police into a military. The results of such over-militarized law enforcement are apparent from the dispersion of Occupy protesters in Oakland to the city-wide lockdown in Boston. As retired police chief Norm Stamper stated to the Associated Press:
We make a serious mistake, I'm convinced, in equipping domestic law enforcement, particularly in smaller, rural communities, with this much military equipment.

Brick Wall

Florida bay is Closed: Feds try to close the ocean because of shutdown

obama surfing
© Unkown
Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was "closed" due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban... of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

This is governing by temper-tantrum. It is on par with the government's ham-fisted attempts to close the DC WWII Memorial, an open-air public monument that is normally accessible 24 hours a day. By accessible I mean, you walk up to it. When you have finished reflecting, you then walk away from it.

Cell Phone

Political prosecution?: The phone company that said No to NSA

Former US West CEO Joseph Nacchio was released from prison last week after completing a four year insider trading sentence. He still claims the NSA framed him on the insider trading charges - after he refused to participate in their illegal phone surveillance program in 2001. US West was the only major telecommunication program that refused to spy on its customers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nacchio feels vindicated by Edward Snowden's recent revelations about NSA spying on Americans' phone and email communications.

US West Nacchio
© Unkown
Nacchio was convicted of selling US West stock based on inside information about the company's deteriorating financial health. He denies this, claiming he believed US West's lucrative contracts with the federal government would continue. Instead his refusal to cooperate with the NSA resulted in the wholesale cancellation of government contracts.

Nacchio had evidence supporting this claim. However the judge ruled it was classified and prevented his defense team from presenting it. The redacted NSA files were only made public after the former CEO was convicted and sentenced. However Harper's and others have always supported Nacchio's contention that he was prosecuted in retaliation for saying "no" to the NSA.

Whether or not Vlaccio is guilty of insider trading (all the legal arguments are summarized at Race to the Bottom), the most illuminating information in the redacted files is that the NSA was pressuring US West to spy on customers in February 2001. This was a good seven months before the 9-11 attacks, the supposed justification for curtailing Americans' civil liberties.

Arrow Down

No visa for homosexuals in the Arabian Gulf - GCC to 'detect, bar' gays, transgenders

Kuwait: Gulf states plan to study a project which will identify homosexuals and transgender individuals through a 'clinical test' which will be added to the list of medical tests one has to undergo to obtain a visa. If individuals are revealed to be homosexual or transgender, they will be denied entry into the country, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting a senior official in Kuwait's Ministry of Health.

"Homosexuals and 'third-sex' individuals can be detected through clinical tests during the routine medical examination for visa", Public Health Department Director Dr Yousuf Mendakar said. 'Third-sex' is a common term used in Gulf states to refer to transsexuals or people with gender identity disorder. The senior official added that an individual who is identified as homosexual will have 'unfit' stamped on his medical report; a term often used for people who fail medical tests which will automatically disqualify their visa application.

Dr Mendakar's statements did not specify the test or the people targeted in the new project. It was also unclear whether this excluded cross-dressers or included all homosexuals in general. He also did not explain how medical examiners intend to determine a visitor's sexual orientation. "Expatriates undergo medical tests at local clinics, but the new procedure includes stricter measures to find out homosexuals and transgenders so that they are banned from entering Kuwait or any GCC state", he added.

Bad Guys

Former NYPD sergeant questions sister's killing by police in Washington

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© REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Valarie (L) and Amy Carey, sisters of Miriam Carey, the woman involved in the Capitol Hill shooting, attend a news conference outside their home in the Brooklyn borough of New York, October 4, 2013.
Police in Washington could have avoided shooting dead a woman pursued by officers in a car chase that led to the lockdown of the Capitol this week, the driver's sister, former New York police sergeant Valarie Carey, said late on Friday.

The family of Miriam Carey, whose one-year-old daughter Erica was in the car with her during the encounter with police on Thursday, has said she suffered from post-partum depression.

Carey, 34, a resident of Stamford, Connecticut, tried to drive her black Infiniti coupe through a barrier near the White House, then sped toward Capitol Hill, leading police on a high-speed chase that ended when her car got stuck on a median and police shot her.

"My sister could have been any person traveling in our capital," Valarie Carey told reporters outside her Brooklyn home. "Deadly physical force was not the ultimate recourse and it didn't have to be."

The chase and shooting came at a time of high political tension in the U.S. capital with Congress debating how to resolve the shutdown of the federal government. The Capitol was locked down after the shots were fired.