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Sun, 22 Oct 2017
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Despite Trump pardon, Arizona judge won't wipe out guilty verdict for Joe Arpaio

© John Moore/Getty Images
Joe Arpaio's lawyer Jack Wilenchik said he plans to ask the judge to reconsider her ruling and, failing that, will likely appeal.
A federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump's pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio ends his prosecution for criminal contempt of court, but does not wipe out the guilty verdict she returned or any other rulings in the case.

In her order Thursday, Phoenix-based U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton rejected arguments from Arpaio's lawyers and Justice Department prosecutors that the longtime Maricopa County sheriff was entitled to have all rulings in the case vacated, including the guilty verdict the judge delivered in July after a five-day trial.

"The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping," Bolton wrote, quoting an appeals court ruling. "To vacate all rulings in this case would run afoul of this important distinction. The Court found Defendant guilty of criminal contempt. The President issued the pardon. Defendant accepted. The pardon undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case."


German Intelligence: ISIS children coming back to Europe from war zones could become next generation of jihadists

© Reuters
Children returning from war zones controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq could grow up to be a new generation of jihadists, the chief of German intelligence has warned.

Some 950 people from Germany have left to join IS, 150 of whom have died, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). However, as the militants rapidly lose ground across the Middle East, women and children - who make up around 25 percent of this group - are expected to flee, creating a new security risk, the BfV chief said on Wednesday.

"We see the danger of children who socialized with and were indoctrinated by jihadists returning to Germany from the war zones," said Hans-Georg Maassen. "This could allow a new generation of jihadists to be raised here."

IS is known to make use of children in its propaganda, showing videos of minors being trained to be jihadist fighters as well as carrying out executions. A number of these children were brought over by their parents to live in the terrorist group's self-styled caliphate.

Evil Rays

European NGO attacks RT: Labels guest commentators 'useful idiots who undermine Western democracy'

An NGO called the European Values Think-Tank has published a report on RT featuring an extensive list of US and European public figures who have been accused of "undermining western democracy" just by appearing in RT shows.

The report, claiming to be an "overview of RT's editorial strategy and evidence of impact," comes with an Excel list of 2,327 people who have appeared on RT over the last four years. The names are carefully arranged in seven categories, including US politicians, UK politicians, European politicians and so on, and are arranged in alphabetical order. The list mentions the shows the guests appeared on, the total number of their appearances, and gives hyperlinks to all the relevant episodes.

The report states that appearing on the network is counterproductive and makes the guest a "useful idiot" to a "hostile foreign power." Expressing one's opinion on RT is considered by the NGO as equivalent to "complicity with the Russian propaganda machine."

Although the list looks like a really thorough effort at cataloguing all of the RT guests, it's got a number of strikingly weird blunders. For example, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is there, but only the link attached leads to a satirical show featuring someone impersonating him. Meanwhile, US Senator John McCain's daughter is mistaken for the senator himself and "Politicking with Larry King" is unexpectedly referred to as "Politicking with Larry David."

Comment: Looks like the "European Values Think-Tank" doesn't value accuracy very much. It was probably slapped together in an hour just so some neocon nincumpoop could quote from it.


Liberal madness: College student permitted to officially change his personal pronoun to "His Majesty"

Like most colleges have done in the past months, on Tuesday, administrators of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor announced a new campus policy which effectively allowed students to select their own personal "preferred pronouns". The school informed the entire campus community, students and teachers alike, that they are obligated to adhere to these new rules. Punishment will be handed out to individuals who disobey the rules.

"The University of Michigan is committed to fostering an environment of inclusiveness. Consistent with this value, the University has created a process for students to designate pronouns with the University and have those pronouns reflected on class rosters this fall," reads an email sent by the administration to students and teachers.

Comment: If you're actually on board with this sort of thing, please see this for your own sake, as well as for those you love.

Wedding Rings

Older couples unable to escape wildfires embrace a last time

© AP/Eric Risberg
FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2017 file photo, a mailbox, one of few items left at the site of the destroyed home in Napa, Calif., where Sara and Charles Rippey died in a fast-moving wildfire, shows a pink and black polka dot ribbon that indicates a fire crew has visited the location. The vast majority of those who died in the Northern California wildfires were in their 70s and 80s including several couples who died together.
Some had just celebrated marriages of half a century or longer. They spent their time volunteering and playing with grandchildren. A few had lived through both world wars.

The vast majority of the 42 people found dead so far in the wildfires that have ravaged Northern California were senior citizens, most older than 70. Several were couples who died together, including childhood sweethearts who had grown old together.

Comment: May they all RIP! Our condolences to the families.


Trump launches a petition against the NFL, asks people to stand during the national anthem

© Brad Mills / Reuters
US President Donald Trump has launched a petition targeting the NFL anthem protests, asking people to "show patriotism" by signing up to support standing during the national anthem.

The petition was launched on Thursday by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and is the US president's latest move to target the wave of protests that has seen NFL players 'take a knee' while the national anthem is played before games.

"The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support," read the petition, which appeared on the Republican National Committee website.

After an NFL owners' meeting earlier this week, commissioner Roger Goodell said the league believes players "should stand" for the anthem, but decided against punishing those who choose not to do so.

Trump, however, has consistently called for any players who join the protests - which were started last season by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick - to be fired by their teams.

Arrow Down

Thousands of UK's most vulnerable women turned away from shelters as refuges struggle under huge budget cuts

© Laura Dodsworth/Women’s Aid
In a small office in the Midlands the telephone rings every half hour or so. On the line are women desperate for help, trying to flee domestic violence. But there is no space in the refuge, there is almost never any space.

"Last week", says a volunteer, "we had a lady call; she had four children, and the closest space we could find for her was the Orkney Islands." They do not know if the woman took the 600 miles trip to safety; she did not call back.

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found domestic violence refuges across England struggling under huge budget cuts. More than a thousand vulnerable women and children have been turned away from refuges in just six months.

Local authorities across England have cut their spending on domestic violence refuges by nearly a quarter (24%) since 2010, according to our new research.

Comment: Interesting how there is always plenty of money to wage wars, but no funding for the UK's most vulnerable:

Bad Guys

Pedophile mother sexually abused 11 year old boy on camera and sold footage on market stall

© gmp.police.uk
A female pedophile has been jailed for 15 years after she sexually abused an 11-year-old boy on camera. The footage of her molesting the child was then sold at a market stall.

Dawn Davies, 36, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to 15 years after a jury convicted her on 12 counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The traumatized 11-year-old was subjected to a campaign of "corruption and depravity" after being lured to Davies' Salford flat, the court heard.

Arrow Up

Russian MP proposes life sentences for sex crimes involving children under age 12

© Sputnik
A working group of lawmakers headed by United Russia MP Irina Yarovaya has proposed the introduction of life sentences for sex crimes involving victims under the age of 12.

"For the first time, we are proposing to make life sentences a punishment for sex crimes against children younger than 12," Yarovaya said at a session of the working group on Thursday.

The Russian MP also spoke in support of changes to the Statute of Limitations in cases of crimes committed against children in order to increase the timeframe within which complaints can be made for the purpose of prosecution.

The bill prepared by the working group would also make an attempt to conceal sex crimes a separate crime, and would consider situations in which a suspect lives in the same home as their victim to be an aggravating factor in the crime.


#MeToo: Half-dozen women say they were sexually abused and harassed while working for Orange County, CA Democratic Party

Fran Sdao, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Orange County, said the organization plans a formal investigation into the allegations.
A half-dozen women said on social media that they were victims of sexual abuse and harassment while working as interns or employees of the Democratic Party of Orange County and the Orange County Labor Federation.

The women, who made their allegations as part the #MeToo campaign on Facebook, said the alleged incidents at the Democratic Party headquarters took place in 2015 and the alleged incidents at the Labor Federation took place in 2014, according to Danielle Serbin, chairwoman of the Orange County Young Democrats.

The accusations were lodged against two men. One now works as a campaign consultant for a Democratic congressional candidate and another holds a leadership position with the Labor Federation.

Fran Sdao, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Orange County, said her organization plans a formal investigation into the allegations.