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Thu, 29 Sep 2016
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Fascist Minnesota police pull woman over for drinking coffee while driving

© Shutterstock
St. Paul woman is dumbfounded after getting pulled over for doing something everyone who drives a car has done — taking a sip of coffee.

Lindsey Krieger said she was merging onto I-94 when she was pulled over on Monday. The officer asked her if she knew what she was doing wrong, and she said no. The officer informed her she had taken a sip from her coffee cup, and that doing so is against the law, Fox9 reports.

"I thought it was a joke," Krieger said.

The police department sided with the officer. Sgt. Mike Ernster of the St. Paul Police Department told the station he couldn't comment on the specifics of the case, but said, "Inattentive driving relates to anything that takes your attention away from those obligations of every driver, which is to pay attention."


The harrowing stories of pregnant women behind bars in US prisons

© Victoria Law
Clockwise from top left: Sierra Watts in her only visit with her son, Oak Lee, before he was adopted; Minna Long’s son Noah; Michelle Barton with her daughter, Semaj, in February 2014, hours after birth; the mattress in the Wichita County jail cell where Nicole Guerrero gave birth; Noah’s twin brother, Joseph. Excerpts from 2015 letters from pregnant prisoners in Oklahoma
Our 6-month investigation reveals the horrific and shameful conditions facing pregnant prisoners—and the inhumane treatment they receive.

At 5 a.m. on June 12, 2012, lying on a mat in a locked jail cell, without a doctor, Nicole Guerrero gave birth.

Guerrero was eight-and-a half months pregnant when she arrived 10 days earlier at Texas' Wichita County Jail. The medical malpractice lawsuit Guerrero has filed—against the county, the jail's healthcare contractor, Correctional Healthcare Management, and one of the jail's nurses, LaDonna Anderson—claims she began experiencing lower back pain, cramps, heavy vaginal discharge and bleeding on June 11. The nurse on duty told her there was no cause for concern until she had bled through two sanitary napkins. Several painful hours later, Guerrero pushed the medical emergency button in her cell.

At 3:30 a.m., more than four hours later, Guerrero was finally taken to the nurse's station. Guerrero says she showed Anderson her used sanitary pads filled with blood and fluids, but was not examined. Instead, she was taken to a one-person holding cell with no toilet, sink or emergency call button, known as the "cage." At 5 a.m., her water broke. She called out to Anderson, but, Guerrero says, Anderson refused to check on her. Shortly after, Guerrero felt her daughter's head breach. A passing guard stopped to assist her, and Guerrero, unable to keep from pushing, gave birth on a blood and pus-covered mattress.

The baby was dark purple and unresponsive, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. When Anderson arrived minutes later, she did not attempt to revive the baby, Guerrero says. The EMTs got there after 20 minutes and rushed the baby to the hospital. Guerrero remained in the cage, where she delivered the placenta. At 6:30 a.m., the baby was pronounced dead.

Comment: It's not just pregnant women who are mistreated in US prisons. Incarcerated women as a whole have to deal with rampant sexual assault:

Brick Wall

Private prisons: Mass incarceration bit players

© (Doug Mills / The New York Times)
A prison guard on duty outside El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma. President Obama toured the prison on July 16, 2015.
Social justice activists love to hate private prisons. The loathing is easy to justify. Making profit by locking people up and keeping them there is repulsive. Moreover, major private prison operators like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group have a history of tragedy and ruthless behavior. From the early days of CCA when cofounder Tom Beasley described marketing prisons as "just like ... selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers" to more recent revelations of locking up preschoolers, private prisons have plumbed the depths of immorality. And they have thrown money at the project, spending millions on lobbying for harsher sentencing laws to secure their bottom lines, even bribing judges to incarcerate juveniles.

Since 2000, private prison companies have staked out the war on immigrants as their market niche, working with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to promote the passage of harsh anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona, Alabama and other states to corral more "customers" for their growing stable of detention centers. Unless you are a shareholder, there is little to praise about the rebirth of private prisons that has accompanied mass incarceration.

Comment: America: Enter the biggest prison system in history

Stock Down

The global economic system is deflating and nobody seems to notice

Freedom in peril 1941
Whenever we at the Automatic Earth explain, as we must have done at least a hundred times in our existence, that, and why, we refuse to define inflation and deflation as rising or falling prices (only), we always get a lot of comments and reactions implying that people either don't understand why, or they think it's silly to use a definition that nobody else seems to use.

-More or less- recent events, though, show us once more why we're right to insist on inflation being defined in terms of the interaction of money-plus-credit supply with money velocity (aka spending). We're right because the price rises/falls we see today are but a delayed, lagging, consequence of what deflation truly is, they are not deflation itself. Deflation itself has long begun, but because of confusing - if not conflicting - definitions, hardly a soul recognizes it for what it is.

Moreover, the role the money supply plays in that interaction gets smaller, fast, as debt, in the guise of overindebtedness, forces various players in the global economy, from consumers to companies to governments, to cut down on spending, and heavily. We are as we speak witnessing a momentous debt deleveraging, or debt deflation, in real time, even if prices don't yet reflect that. Consumer prices truly are but lagging indicators.

Comment: The global economic system will end badly. Get prepared for it.


Passaparola: A cultural revolution to save humanity after the collapse

"We've reached a point that means we can no longer go on as we are doing!

Everyone's talking about crisis and it's slightly paradoxical because I've always been hearing about a crisis ever since 1968 when there was a cultural crisis, then in 1972, with the publication of the work by The Club of Rome, there was talk of an ecological crisis, then there was the neoliberal counter-revolution and the social crisis with Margaret Thatcher and Reagan, and now there's the financial crisis and the economic crisis after the collapse of Lehmann Brothers.

Finally, all these crises are getting mixed up and we're seeing a crisis of civilisation, an anthropological crisis. At this point, the system can no longer be reformed - we have to exit from this paradigm - and what is it? It's the paradigm of a growth society. Our society has been slowly absorbed by an economy based on growth, not growth to satisfy needs - and that would be a good thing - but growth for the sake of growth and this naturally leads to the destruction of the planet because infinite growth is incompatible with a finite planet.


Six people captured in Mexico over escape of drug cartel boss 'El Chapo' Guzman

© AP Photo/ Marco Ugarte
According to media reports, six people alleged to have helped Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman break out of prison in July have been captured in Mexico.

Six people alleged to have helped Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman break out of prison in July have been captured in Mexico, The Guardian newspaper reported Thursday, citing officials.

"Today we are able to affirm that the group responsible for planning, organizing and carrying out the escape from outside the prison has been broken up," Attorney General Arely Gomez said, as cited by the media.

Comment: People alleged to have helped Guzman escape are captured, but it's not like the authorities are looking too hard for him. After all, the War on Drugs is as farcical as the War on Terror:
Omnipresent and all-too-powerful, the cartels' influence reaches very high. Generals, judges and high-ranking officers are in their pockets. An effective narco-state, in Mexico everyone who is anyone has been bought, and whoever tries to expose them is killed. Every year, dozens of journalists learn the hard way that exposing government/cartel corruption is not tolerated.


But this rags-to-riches entrepreneurial 'success story', touted mainly by the corporate media and successive Mexican governments, only goes so far in explaining how this lurid state of affairs came about. On their way to becoming multinational operators, the cartels had the help of the self-styled 'masters of the universe' in Wall Street and the CIA. Without their involvement they could never have 'made it'. High-level US involvement was present throughout the cartels' rise. Long before the cartels came on the scene, these usual suspects were already long in the game. In a very real way, the cartels are merely the Latin American arm of a very North American business.

El Chapo Guzmán, Washington's Drug Problem, and the North American Police State


Still fighting: Iceland sentences 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison

Unlike the Obama administration, Iceland is focusing on prosecuting the CEOs rather than the low-level traders.

In a move that would make many capitalists' head explode if it ever happened here, Iceland just sentenced their 26th banker to prison for their part in the 2008 financial collapse.

In two separate Icelandic Supreme Court and Reykjavik District Court rulings, five top bankers from Landsbankinn and Kaupping — the two largest banks in the country — were found guilty of market manipulation, embezzlement, and breach of fiduciary duties. Most of those convicted have been sentenced to prison for two to five years. The maximum penalty for financial crimes in Iceland is six years, although their Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to consider expanding sentences beyond the six year maximum.

Comment: Way to go Iceland in showing the way on how to handle the banksters.


Goodbye middle class: Over half of all American workers make less than 30K a year

We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying.

According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year. Let that number sink in for a moment. You can't support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month - especially after taxes are taken out. And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month. In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today.

You can find the report that the Social Security Administration just released right here. The following are some of the numbers that really stood out for me...

Cardboard Box

To Russia with love: Dealers accidentally send 5kg of drugs to Moscow police

© Flickr/ Henry Faber
Police officers at a station in southern Moscow got quite a shock this week, after receiving a package containing five kilograms worth of the synthetic drug known as 'spice'.

In a press conference Thursday, Ministry of Internal Affairs press service head Andrei Galiakberov told journalists that "when the package was checked, it was found to contain about five kilograms of a white powder with a peculiar odor." Expert analysis soon determined that the mysterious powder was actually the synthetic drug known as spice.

Police say that the box of drugs was sent from abroad to a person whose identity is presently being determined. Naturally, police have also opened a criminal investigation into the package's origins.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has now turned to Russian Post, the country's national postal operator, demanding that they take all appropriate measures to help determine where the package may have come from.

Red Flag

Update: Two killed, three injured by masked man 'with sword or knife' at Swedish school

© Stig Henstrom/TT News Agency/Reuters
Police cordon an area after a masked man attacked people with a sword at a school in Trollhattan, western Sweden October 22, 2015.
Two people were killed by a masked attacker with a sword or knife at a school in the city of Trollhättan in southwest Sweden, local media reported. Three others were injured.

An adult male teacher died at the scene. The second person died while undergoing surgery at 2:30 p.m. local time, DN newspaper cited police as saying.

"A single man went into the school building...and he injured four persons - two male adults and two boys," police media officer Stefan Gustafsson told RT. He confirmed that an adult male had been killed. Sweden's Channel 4 said the killed man was a teacher who died at the scene.

The press secretary of NAL hospital, Niklas Claesson, told RT by phone that "two kids (11 and 16 years of age), one teacher and the suspect" were brought in. Claesson said the attacker was shot and is in serious, yet stable, condition.
He initially said the suspect was shot dead by police but later recalled his statement, saying the man is still alive and that he "regrets" his previous comment.

Gustafsson said a suspect armed with a "sword of some kind or a large knife" entered the Kronan School at about 10:10 a.m., and that police drew their weapons at the scene. "We know nothing at all [about the attacker]," he said, adding that the suspect was taken to hospital after being shot.

Comment: The Daily Mail is reporting the man was wearing a Darth Vader type mask and took photos with students during his killing spree. They also report the man was a Nazi sympathizer.
The 21-year-old man who launched a sword attack on a school in Sweden and stabbed two teachers and two pupils stopped to pose for pictures with students before continuing his horrific spree.

Wearing a mask and holding a sword already covered in blood, the attacker stands next to two young students at the school, seconds before stabbing a teacher, who died at the scene.

Another teacher was rushed to hospital in in Trollhättan, north of Gothenburg, alongside the injured students, two boys aged 11 and 15.

The 11-year-old later died from his wounds, local media reports.

The anonymous girl who took the photograph told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that they thought it was a Halloween prank when they saw the masked man.
In the weeks before the attack, the 21-year-old, who was described by witnesses as wearing a 'Darth Vader mask and helmet' had expressed sympathies with Nazi Germany and extreme right-wing organisations.

An investigation by magazine Expo into the murderer's social media activities found that he had 'liked' several YouTube videos glorifying Nazi Germany and showed support for anti-immigration and right-wing politicians on Facebook.