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Mon, 19 Feb 2018
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Mother faces life in prison for the torture and death of her 8-year-old son

Gabriel Fernandez and Pearl Fernandez

Gabriel Fernandez and Pearl Fernandez
The mother of an 8-year-old California boy who was routinely beaten, starved and tortured until he died has pleaded guilty to a murder charge.

City News Service reported Thursday that, under the terms of a plea agreement, Pearl Fernandez is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2013 death of Gabriel Fernandez.

The 34-year-old Fernandez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and admitted a special-circumstance allegation of murder involving torture. Sentencing is set for June 7.

Fernandez's boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, was convicted last year of the same charge. Jurors recommended the death penalty for when he is sentenced on March 8.

During Aguirre's trial, according to Fox 11, prosecutors told jurors that Gabriel was beaten, shot with a BB gun, forced to eat cat feces and sleep while gagged and bound inside a small cabinet. Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami called Aguirre an "evil" man who "liked torturing" the boy, according to Fox 11, and did so methodically for months before the child's death.

USA

Justice Clarence Thomas speaks out against the culture of victimhood

Clarence Thomas
© Library of Congress
Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Library of Congress in Feb. 2018.
Justice Clarence Thomas decried the contemporary culture of victimhood during remarks Thursday, telling an audience at the Library of Congress that constant aggrievement would exhaust the country.

Ever a touchstone for controversy on racial issues, the justice related a story from a recent trip to Kansas, where a black college student told him she was primarily interested in school work, and less interested in the political tumult gripping college campuses.

"At some point we're going to be fatigued with everybody being a victim," he said.

Thomas has struck similar chords throughout his public life. He appeared on Laura Ingraham's Fox News program in November 2017, and suggested contemporary activists could benefit from the example of his grandparents, who exhibited quiet fortitude during the heady days of white supremacy.

He made his Thursday remark in the context of a broader discussion about his childhood. Thomas was born in Georgia's coastal lowlands among impoverished Gullah-speakers, and spent his childhood working his grandfather's farm. He likened his upbringing to Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel "The Help" as most of the women in his life, including his mother, were domestics in white households.

Comment: Justice Thomas' interview with Laura Ingraham:




Map

Russia could be Lebanon's alternative to the devil and the deep blue sea

Lebanon
Lebanon, as so often in the past, is facing mortal danger.

Saudi Arabia is putting great pressure on the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, a powerful but controversial figure who holds dual nationality - Saudi and Lebanese. Riyadh expects Lebanon to play by its own rules, sidelining Hezbollah, ending Iranian influence in the country, and promoting Saudi business and political interests... or else. It is clear that foreign aid from the Gulf is increasingly conditional.

Tension with Israel is also mounting. A military conflict could erupt at any moment, with devastating consequences. Between 1978 and 2006, Israel attacked its northern neighbor on five occasions. The last time Israel invaded Lebanon, during the so-called Lebanon War in 2006, at least 1,300 Lebanese people were killed and 1 million displaced.

The Israeli air force is lately, unceremoniously, violating Lebanese air space, flying over its territory on the way to Syria, where it is bombing selected targets, grossly violating various international laws.

Map

Libya: Seven years since February 17

Libyan people
On February 17 it will be 7 years since the start of the events in Libya which led to the overthrow of its leader - Muammar Gaddafi. These years have been full of dramatic and often bloody events, which, according to a number of different indices (effective sovereignty, stability, commercial activity etc.), have left the country much worse off.

Since 2014 the country has been in a chaotic situation - divided into two sectors, with opposing capitals in Tripoli and Tobruk, each of which have their own government, parliament, and security services. The balance of power between them is changing.

In the last year the area controlled by the National Army, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar (i.e. the eastern, or Tobruk, sector) has expanded. That sector includes the 'oil crescent' (the oil wells and the main ports for oil exports). The Government of National Accord, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, has an unsteady hold over the country.

Star of David

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held without trial launch boycott of Israeli courts

Ofer Prison Israel
© Moshe Shai/Flash90
Prison guard walking past Palestinian prisoners in Ofer Prison, outside the West Bank city of Ramallah. February 13, 2012.
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention - Israel's widely condemned policy of detention without charge or trial - launched an open-ended boycott of Israeli courts on Thursday.

The 450 administrative detainees released a joint statement announcing the boycott, saying "the core of resisting administrative detention policy comes from boycotting this Israeli legal system."

"We put our faith and trust in our people, their power and institutions, and in the civil society which will not leave us alone in this fight," the statement said, adding that "this is a national patriotic act that should not be violated by any individual or institution."

Pistol

Gun control debate: Three anti-gun talking points peddled by the American Left after the Florida shooting

rifles weapons guns
Yesterday was horrific. Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, ventured onto campus with an AR-15 rifle and smoke grenades, pulled the fire alarm, and began to open fire on students and faculty. He killed 17 people and wounded at least a dozen more. It didn't take long for the anti-gun crowd to start spewing their drivel across various mediums. We have the usual Cobb salad of crap: we've had 18 school shootings this year, we should ban semi-automatics, which is an unconstitutional gun ban, you can conceal carry a rifle (no, I'm not kidding), and Trump made it easier for the mentally I'll to buy firearms. All of this is either flat out wrong or grossly inaccurate.

We all knew that we would have to restack the sand bags. We always do after these tragic events, but we also always win these arguments. Liberal anti-gun positions don't get better with time; it's not like aging a fine wine. It's still the same putrid red progressive meat that everyone else refuses to digest. So, let's go through the motions of eviscerating these talking points again.

Sherlock

Paddock autopsy states Las Vegas shooter died more than twelve hours later than 'suicide' in official narrative

Las Vegas shooting autopsy
© The Free Thought Project


Newly released autopsy reports reveal that Las Vegas shooting suspect Stephen Paddock died more than 12 hours after police claim he committed suicide.


Las Vegas - As Americans search for answers to the questions surrounding reports of a mass shooting at a high school in Florida, the alarming autopsy results from a mass shooting in Las Vegas, which show that the suspected gunman died more than 12 hours after he reportedly committed suicide, are being ignored.

While the official timeline of the Las Vegas shooting has changed multiple times, one thing has remained the same-the claim that after opening fire out of the window of his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Stephen Paddock shot and killed himself at some point between 10:15 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2017.

However, the autopsy report released by the Clark County Coroner claimed that Paddock actually died at 12 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2017.

Comment: The autopsy report is using a 24 hour format (see image above), so when it indicates that Paddock died at 1200 on October 2nd, it literally means at noon, more than 12 hours after the shooting. Let's suppose this is a mistake - which is entirely possible as the report is quoting the "toe tag", presumably written by a different person - and what they meant was that he died at 12 am on October 2nd (or at 0000 hours). That still means he would have died at least 40 minutes after the official timeline indicates. Did someone also make the mistake of rounding-up the time of death by 40 minutes?

Perhaps the problem for the person writing the autopsy was that since they did not know the Time of Death because no one would tell them, because the narrative had not yet been established, the doctors decided to put the time they were doing the autopsy. Perhaps, in this scenario, they then later forgot to update the Time and Date of Death.

So while this may not be particularly significant evidence, it does suggest further support the impression that the narrative was being 'massaged' as things progressed.

Don't miss our previous analyses of the Las Vegas shooting:


Family

US: Mother gets 7 days in jail for baptizing daughter after custody dispute

Baptism

File photo.
A Charlotte mother has been sentenced to seven days in jail for having her daughter baptized, according to WSOC.

The court case goes back a couple of years to when Kendra Stocks and Paul Schaaf were in a custody battle over their daughter. Court documents say the two could never agree on religion.

According to court records, Schaaf is a practicing Catholic who attends Mass every week, and that ultimately the court granted him final decision-making authority on all legal custody decisions, including decisions concerning religion.

Comment: As seems to be typical of many marriages nowadays, the children are the ones who suffer the disputes of the parents. Whether the mother should have been jailed is questionable:


Caesar

Jordan Peterson's intellectual complexity makes journalistic incompetence all the more obvious

Jordan Peterson
It was while I was watching Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman's spectacularly disastrous interview with University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson that what was wrong with much of journalism today crystallized in my brain.

I'd been oscillating between anger and frustration watching Canadian media fail again and again - and often in jaw-dropping fashion - in reporting on Peterson and I couldn't quite establish what was going wrong.

Peterson is the teacher and clinical psychologist who burst onto the scene after making a video decrying the government's Bill C-16 which compelled the use of invented gender pronouns (ze and zir, etc) for non-binary and transgender people. Peterson connected the "compelled speech" of the legislation (and the unscientific instantiation of gender as a non-biologically-correlated social construct) to radical leftist ideology and authoritarian governments.

In an admittedly complex and controversial argument, Peterson blamed the spread of postmodernism within the academy for the rise of both identity politics and the emergence of the illiberal left. Many of the stories about him were shallow or missed the point, but several in respected publications like the Globe and Mail and Maclean's by Tabatha Southey, Ira Wells and most recently by John Semley, were just hatchet jobs, replete with insults, inaccuracies and what appeared to be deliberate misrepresentations. In short, bad journalism you would not expect in good outlets.

Comment: See also: Jordan Peterson's Vice News Interview: Another Cathy Newman Moment


Pistol

Brennan: 'Congress must ban semiautomatic weapons'

Brennan
© The Counter Jihad Report
Former CIA director John Brennan
In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting this week that left 17 people dead, John Brennan echoed the concerns of law enforcement officials who have spoken out against assault weapons on the streets of America.

On Thursday, ex-CIA Director Brennan weighed in on the gun debate by calling on Congress to revamp gun laws following the deadly mass shooting at a South Florida high school, located less than an hour's drive from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

"Having worked international counterterrorism for much of my career, it is imperative that we devote equal energy and effort to addressing the scourge of gun violence in our country," Brennan commented in a tweet Thursday. "Congress needs to act now to prevent access to semiautomatic weapons that kill innocents."

Since the expiration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, US citizens have been entitled to purchase semiautomatic weapons (defined as assault weapons that fire a single bullet with each squeeze of the trigger), and magazines that carry no more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Comment: The Rights of the People outweigh the wrongs of the few.