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The police are America's terrorists

© Jim Cooke
Last Saturday, Walter Scott was driving his Mercedes in North Charleston, S.C., when he was pulled over by police officer Michael Slager for driving with a broken taillight. Scott had a complicated life, as many of us do. He was employed and engaged; he owed back child support; in all likelihood he really didn't want to go to jail. When Slager approached, Scott ran.

There is video of what happened next. Our first clear view is of Scott twisting his doughy body away and moving—half-sprinting, half-waddling—from Slager through an abandoned, grassy lot. Initially, the scene is almost comical. Scott's legs have 50 years' worth of wear on them, and appear to have but 50 yards' worth of running in them. For a brief moment, the video takes on a familiar quality, like something from an episode of Cops. Instead of pursuing, though, Slager, 33, draws his handgun and fires seven times. After a pregnant pause, Slager shoots once more. Around 30—less? more?—feet into his desperate dash, Scott falls to his knees, and then onto his belly, and sprawls facedown beneath a tree.

Only then does Slager move again, walking toward Scott.

"Put your hands behind your back now!" he orders. Scott doesn't comply. When the officer gets to the body, he handcuffs Scott's arms behind his back, then stands up, like he's forgotten something. He first walks, then jogs back to the spot from where he shot, and picks an object off the ground. As a second officer approaches Scott, speaking into his walkie-talkie for a medical kit, Slager ambles back over, then drops the object on the ground next to the dead man.

"This just doesn't sound right," Scott's surviving brother, Anthony, would later say. "How do you lose your life at a traffic stop?"

On Tuesday, Slager was charged with murder after a cell-phone video of Scott's death was released. Thanks to technology and chance, we now know a lot about Scott's final seconds. He was executed. It's right here:


Michigan officer "felt threatened", shoots and kills family's tiny miniature pig, Caesar

Brandy Sevelle with family pet pig

Brandy Sevelle with family's pet pig, Caesar
"He came out of the woods at me running at a trotting pace and I felt threatened so I shot and killed him....I was following orders"
In one of the most cowardly moves by law enforcement that we've ever witnessed, a Michigan DNR officer shot and killed a family's miniature pig Thursday after he "felt threatened." Two years ago, Tony Gervasi and Brandy Savelle decided to get another pet. They adopted a miniature pig named Caesar, and he's been a part of their family every since. "He just instantly became one of us, cuddled, slept in our bed. Just like another dog," said Gervasi. Caesar was mostly an indoor pet, but recently they've been letting him explore their 28-acre property. Last week, after Caesar went out on one of his exploration trips, he never returned.

Comment: The pathological police are still executing their force where it's not warranted.

See related articles:


Police in U.S. killed more blacks in 2014 than died in 9-11 attacks

© Flickr/ Thomas Hawk
With yet another controversial police shooting of an unarmed African American man -- this time in South Carolina - making headlines, there's another sobering statistic making the rounds.

Police in the United States killed more black people in 2014 than were killed during the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

This according to an analysis by Raw Story of data released by the Centers for Disease Control. The analysis also includes numbers gathered by the website KilledByPolice.net.

The numbers show that in 2014, law enforcement killed 238 African Americans. In the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, 215 African Americans died after terrorists slammed two jet planes into the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan.

Comment: The death and gun culture of the U.S., not to mention the widespread racist views espoused by law enforcement, leads to kinds of unthought-of numbers we see above. For comparison, the UK in 2013 only fired a gun 3 times in total! Police shootings in the UK are extremely rare, mostly because guns are rare. But in the U.S., where police are taught to shoot first and ask questions later and gun proliferate throughout society, we see the affects of a police force that sees itself as the enemies of the people instead of their protectors.

Light Saber

Hundreds of Seattle high school students boycott Common Core test


At a news conference Tuesday, Garfield history teacher Jesse Hagopian said about half the juniors at the school — the site of a testing boycott in 2013 — have refused to take new, computerized tests, called Smarter Balanced, which are designed to measure whether students understand new learning standards known as the Common Core.
Several hundreds students in and around Seattle are refusing to take a new standardized test as part of the Common Core standards.

"There's actually a growing movement - in fact, probably the largest in Seattle's history," said Jesse Hagopian, a Garfield High School teacher.

Common Core standards, developed by educators across the country and bankrolled by the Gates Foundation, have been adopted in most states in the country.

In Washington, the test to ensure students have achieved these standards is called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC.

This is the first year that all students in Washington state must take the test. It is administered to students in third through eighth grade, as well as tenth grade.

The test given for tenth graders is used as part of a high school graduation requirement. A statement from Seattle Public Schools said students who refuse to take the test will receive a zero score, which could mean they will need to take remedial courses in college.

Opponents of the test said it is unfair, especially for underprivileged students. The entire test is done on a computer, which they said is challenging for students who may not have access to computers or who haven't been taught typing skills.

Hagopian and other Seattle teachers gathered at the local chapter office of the NAACP to denounce the test and urge others to do the same.

Hagopian told KIRO 7 that since the inception of No Child Left Behind, there has been a series of standardized tests.


$1 billion disappears -- and Moldova looks for answers

Central Bank of Moldova
© AFP/File/Mihaela Rodina
The case of the vanishing billion came to light when the Central Bank of Moldova discovered that three banks have given out loans worth a total of $1 billion, or 15 percent of the impoverished ex-Soviet state's GDP.
Chisnau - A billion dollars is a lot for Europe's poorest state of Moldova -- particularly when it disappears.

Anti-corruption prosecutors and American auditors have been searching the books for clues about the mysterious transactions, an embarrassment for the ex-Soviet state on track for EU membership.

The scandal has even threatened to destabilise the banking system in the country of 3.5 million people.

The case of the vanishing billion came to light when the Central Bank of Moldova discovered that three banks have given out loans worth a total of $1 billion, or 15 percent of the impoverished ex-Soviet state's GDP.

The financial establishments -- Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank -- hold about a third of all bank assets in the country, including money for pension payments.

The transactions apparently happened over the course of several days, just before the parliamentary elections in late November, in which pro-European Union parties narrowly squeezed pro-Russian representatives out of the majority.

The recipients of the funds have not been identified and now the money seems as good as gone.


Oxford University: Harsh austerity measures causing hunger, rise in dependency on food banks

© Reuters/Rick Wilking
Harsh austerity measures including slashed welfare payments and dwindling public services have caused the rapid spread of food banks across Britain, new academic research suggests.

The analysis, published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal, was led by a team of academics from Oxford University.

The study, "Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK," noted that increasing numbers of doctors in Britain are witnessing their patients turn to food banks to survive. Its authors concluded that the idea put forward by the Conservative-led government that this trend is the result of supply, not demand, was false.

The study's authors analyzed data from the Trussell Trust, a leading NGO that coordinates food banks across the UK.

The government has long refused to admit to a link between its austerity policies and a dramatic explosion in food banks across the state. However, the Oxford University report shows otherwise.

The study detailed a concrete link between demand for food parcels and the government's austerity measures. It found demand for emergency food aid is highest in areas where poverty occurs in parallel with reductions in social welfare payments. It also revealed that emergency food assistance is most common in regions where high levels of unemployment exist.

Comment: Unfortunately, statistics and studies don't ever tell the whole story. These numbers do not represent people who live in towns where there is no food bank or are too ashamed to ask for help; getting by eating much less or buying cheap food. The number of people needing food worldwide is growing and growing and those 'numbers' cannot convey the despair and suffering families are enduring.

Hunger leads to revolution: World Bank warns of food riots


Giant Hawaii telescope construction halted over unrest


Mauna Kea
After more than a week of demonstrations and more than a dozen arrests, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday that the company building one of the world's largest telescopes atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea has agreed to his request to halt construction for a week.

"They have responded to my request and on behalf of the president of the University and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have agreed to a time out on the project, and there will be no construction activities this week," Ige said at a news conference.

Thirty Meter Telescope is constructing the telescope on land that is held sacred to some Native Hawaiians. Scientists say the location is ideal for the telescope, which could allow them to see into the earliest years of the universe. The $1.4 billion project is being built in partnership with the Chinese and Indian governments.



Trapping people in poverty: California suspends millions of licenses, issues huge fines for minor violations

Last month, the US Department of Justice released a damning report on Ferguson, Missouri and the way in which law enforcement agencies and the local court system raise revenues through municipal fines and fees that disproportionately impact Black residents. The DOJ investigation — which detailed patterns of unconstitutional arrests and unfair court penalties — garnered national attention for its stomach-churning stories of excessive police force, overtly racist actions of city officials, and widespread mistreatment in court.

By some measures, California is not all that different. That's according to a new report released today by a group of civil rights and legal aid organizations, who argue that courts throughout the state systematically extract revenue from residents with exorbitant fines and fees for very minor traffic violations. The report, "Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California," includes a range of troubling statistics and anecdotes that illustrate how courts in the state trap people in poverty. The report argues that traffic courts in California — through harsh fines and punishments that can be impossible for low-income people to overcome — are increasingly destroying people's lives over minor infractions.

There are a number of inequities in the system and ways in which a traffic violation can rapidly lead to overwhelming debts, according to the report, which was co-authored by the East Bay Community Law Center, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. The most striking finding of these organizations relates to the courts' widespread practice of suspending drivers' licenses — a punishment that severely disrupts people's lives and is tied to fines that are often insurmountable for people living paycheck to paycheck.


Arthur Goodman: Peering into the future of a people

Pouter Bibi
© 24.ae
We analyze the future of Israeli politics with Arthur Goodman, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Europe's largest Jewish voice against Zionism. We cover his history with the organization, explicate the process of the recent Knesset elections, and express our knowledge and understanding of the situation happening in Palestine, as well as the international community's shift in support from Benjamin Netanyahu as he engages in further dangerous hardline rhetoric and crimes against humanity.

: Can you tell us a little information about yourself?

ARTHUR: I've been handling lobbying for JFJFP ever since it was formed; about 13 years ago. I grew up in a middle-class Jewish family and used to be 100% supportive of Israel. I had always assumed that everything Israel was right and Arabs wrong, without much thought behind it, until my mid-50s. One day, towards the end of the first Intifada, I looked at a newspaper with a picture of Palestinian teenagers throwing stones at Israeli soldiers across barren wasteland. I thought, "It takes guts to throw stones at armed soldiers". That never occurred any time before, but it shows how your psychological preconceptions can color how you look at things.

Comment: Jews for Justice for Palestinians is an interest group based in Britain that advocates for human and civil rights, and economic and political freedom for the Palestinian people. It opposes the current policy of Israel towards the Palestinian territories and seeks a change in their political status.

Comment: "Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin promised "many Elon Morehs," but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit, to mock America, trick the Palestinians and lead us all astray. The man in the video betrays himself in his own words as a con artist, and now he is again prime minister of Israel. Don't try to claim that he has changed since then. Such a crooked way of thinking does not change over the years.

"Forget the Bar-Ilan University speech, forget the virtual achievements in his last visit to the United States; this is the real Netanyahu. No more claims that the Palestinians are to blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu exposed the naked truth to his hosts at Ofra: he destroyed the Oslo accords with his own hands and deeds, and he's even proud of it. After years in which we were told that the Palestinians are to blame, the truth has emerged from the horse's mouth." --Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, Haaretz (July 15, 2010)

Apparently not a lot has changed since 2010. He's done it again. It speaks to Bibi's leverage, the numbed mindsets of Israeli politicians and the degree of civilian indoctrination...a fascinating study of pathology at work with real and irreversible consequences.


Sacramento, California mother accused of setting 7-year-old daughter on fire

© Sacramento Police Dept
The mother entered the courtroom Tuesday weighed down by a padded green smock that attorneys said is given to inmates held in the Sacramento County jail's psychiatric unit.

That's where she's been since Saturday, when, officials said, she poured gasoline on her 7-year-old daughter and lit the girl on fire.

Porche Latrice Wright, 27, stood quiet and still as Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian read the charges against her - attempted murder, with premeditation, and aggravated mayhem. Davidian also noted that Wright had two outstanding issues of probation including settling a case of domestic violence against a spouse or cohabitant.

According to court records, Wright completed a "batterer's treatment program" to settle a felony domestic violence charge from last year. She was scheduled to appear in court to provide proof that she had completed the program Monday, at which point she was back in jail.

She was arrested at her home, a light blue duplex in the 600 block of El Camino Avenue, Saturday afternoon when a family friend called for help after seeing burn marks on Wright's 7-year-old daughter.

The girl was taken immediately to a hospital, where she remained Tuesday. Though it was not immediately clear how badly burned the child was, a charge of aggravated mayhem indicates "extreme indifference to the physical or psychological well-being of another person, intentionally (causing) permanent disability or disfigurement of another human being," according to California law.

The girl is expected to survive.

Comment: This is beyond horrific. That poor little girl. How any mother could do something so barbaric to a young child is dumbfounding.