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Sat, 28 Jan 2023
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Serial rapist Bill Cosby on rape allegations: "Jesus would give you a little wiggle room"

© Baltimore Sun screencapture
Appearing at Baltimore's Modell Center for the Performing Arts, comedian Bill Cosby followed the removal of a heckler accusing him of rape with an anecdote about sin, concluding, "Jesus would give you a little wiggle room."

The former television star has continued a stand-up comedy tour despite accusations of doping and sexually assaulting women, with two more women coming forward leveling accusations at the comedian on Friday, bringing the total to over three dozen.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Cosby fans were greeted outside the performing arts center on Friday night by protesters organized by the advocacy group SlutWalk Baltimore, holding signs and demonstrating against a man they described as a "serial rapist."

Cosby, who entered the half-full hall to a loud ovation, was 10 minutes into his routine when a man in the balcony stood up and yelled, "Thirty-eight women spoke up and called you a rapist. Thirty-eight women!"

Bad Guys

No one is free until we all are free

© AP / John Locher
A man takes a picture of a woman at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in January.
This column is adapted from a talk Chris Hedges gave Friday night at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

The scourge of male violence against women will not end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It is a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, cannot take part in a liberation movement until they are liberated. They cannot offer to us their wisdom, their leadership and their passion until they are freed from physical coercion and violent domination. This is why the fight to end male violence across the globe is not only fundamental to our movement but will define its success or failure. We cannot stand up for some of the oppressed and ignore others who are oppressed. None of us is free until all of us are free.

On Friday night at Simon Fraser University—where my stance on prostitution, expressed in a March 8 Truthdig column titled "The Whoredom of the Left," had seen the organizers of a conference on resource extraction attempt to ban me from the gathering, an action they revoked after protests from radical feminists—I confronted the sickness of a predatory society. A meeting between me and students arranged by the university had been canceled. Protesters gathered outside the hall. Some people stormed out of the lecture room, slamming the doors after them, when I attacked the trafficking of prostituted women and girls. A male tribal leader named Toghestiy stood after the talk and called for the room to be "cleansed" of evil—this after Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam Nation woman, emotionally laid out what she and other women face at the hands of male predators—and one of the conference organizers, English professor Stephen Collis, seized the microphone at the end of the evening to denounce me as "vindictive." It was a commercial for the moral bankruptcy of academia.

Comment: This is what our world has become. When you give your power to psychopaths they exploit everything - women, children and the planet - in the worst and most unimaginable ways. If you'd like to learn more about how psychopaths can infect entire populations read: Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski.

Bad Guys

Deepwater Horizon still creating an environment of fear and intimidation five years on

bp oil_water
© Unknown
The Nature Coast, Florida - A group of fishermen living along Florida's "Nature Coast" - tucked along the state's western shore from the Panhandle to Pine Island - have agreed to meet with Bellona's Karl Kristensen and me and they're feeling a bit edgy.

We've driven out to a house out along the Gulf of Mexico through the early sunset of a late February night.

All of them have switched off their cellphones. A woman paces back and forth to the edge of the yard to monitor passing cars and gauge if our voices might carry over the still sea waters where prying ears could be listening from darkened boats.

The people at the house are trying to puzzle together the four most devastating events following BP's Macondo well blowout on April 20, 2010, which killed 11 and fouled Gulf waters with 4.9 million barrels of crude: declining and deformed seafood harvests, chronic illnesses they've developed, what's happening to the environment that provides their livelihood, and why their concerns are met with foreboding hostility and ominous threats.

Unlike other interviews I've had with Deepwater Horizon victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama - who all talked to me in public lunch shacks or on their docks - this discussion opens with one of the fishermen telling me: "We could get killed for what we are telling you."

The fishing community in which they live is small and insular, they explain, and solely dependent on the sea for its survival. Talking about how it was impacted by the BP oil spill is violently discouraged.

One of the group says the message to many in these small fishing villages is clear: "If you've got something to say about oil or [the toxic oil dispersant] Corexit affecting these waters, keep your mouth shut."


Woman had to film herself being raped by her parole officer so police would believe her


50-year-old Zachary Thomas Bailey
A man whose job was to help guide people after they've been released from prison, has been arrested himself, after being accused of vile criminal acts.

A parole officer in South Florida was arrested this week for sexually assaulting a woman on probation. The woman was so scared of violating her probation if she turned him in, that she had to film their second encounter in order to prove this cop's misdeeds.

According to police, 50-year-old Zachary Thomas Bailey used his authority to target the victim, telling her he needed to do a "study" of her home in Coral Springs.

"This is someone who is hired to protect you," said Coral Springs Police Lt. Joe McCue, "hired to say, 'Hey, protect the society,' and you don't expect your probation officer to be acting in this manner."

The victim alleges that on two separate occasions Bailey sexually assaulted her. To make this assault even more vile, the victim's young daughter was home during her mom's attacks.

"The first time he went there, he said he needed to check out the bedroom," said McCue. "While in the bedroom, Mr. Bailey did sexually batter the victim by putting his hands down the front of her pants."

Heart - Black

Indiana governor signs bills that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people


Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law a religious freedom bill that could allow businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds.

Supporters of the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature, say it will keep the government from forcing business owners to act in ways contrary to strongly held religious beliefs. Opponents say it is discriminatory.

"The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action," said Pence, in a statement after signing the bill.

Legal experts say the Religious Freedom Restoration Act sets a standard that will allow people of all faiths to bring religious freedom claims.

Gay rights groups worry it will be used by businesses that do not want to provide services for gay weddings, although those cases would probably end up being fought out in court. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year following an appeals court ruling.

Source: Reuters

Stock Down

U.S. study suggests parents' income indirectly affects growth of children's brains

© Getty
The structure and growth of a child's brain may be indirectly affected by their parents' income, a study in the US has claimed.

In research involving more than a thousand children and young people, scientists found that those with poorer parents were more likely to have smaller brain surface area in key regions linked with language and reading.

The effects of income, as well as parent's educational history, appeared to be independent of genetic factors, the researchers from nine American universities said.

Social and economic background has long been linked with variations in brain functioning, but the new research is thought to be the first to suggest these factors can even affect the structure of the brain itself.

A link between income and children's diet, healthcare, lack of access to good schools and play areas, and even exposure to polluted areas may lie behind the connection, neuroscientists said.

Not all children of poorer families had smaller brain surface areas and the authors of the study said their findings did not mean that a person's social status led to "an immutable trajectory of cognitive of brain development".

Comment: Such a link is practically a no-brainer (no pun intended). Of course, when you are living in poverty, without access to healthy food and no doubt in a stressful environment, development will be negatively affected and thus brain function. Unfortunately, that's the price we have to pay for America's exceptionalism. The empire simply can't thrive without vast inequality and the slow but steady consumption of human material (i.e., 'useless eaters', slaves for the 1%). That includes our children.

Bizarro Earth

Renowned violinist gets naked, roams hotel halls, tries to strangle woman


Renowned German violinist Stefan Arzberger
A renowned German violinist went on a naked rampage at a Manhattan hotel, forcing his way into a female tourist's room and choking her
, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

Staffers at the boutique Hudson Hotel at Columbus Circle were first alerted to the bizarre antics of Stefan Arzberger after guests reported seeing a man roaming around naked early Friday, the sources said.

A 64-year-old female hotel guest from North Carolina "heard a knock and opened her door slightly'' at around 8 a.m., a law-enforcement source said.

She was confronted by a wild-eyed Arzberger — who recently performed at the Library of Congress — "completely naked,'' the source said.

"He stuck his arm out, and she tried to slam the door shut, but he stuck his arm in between the door and the door jamb," the source said of the 42-year-old lead violinist for the internationally acclaimed Leipzig String Quartet, which has played at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

"He barged inside and grabbed her around the neck with both hands and started strangling her."

The violinist allegedly choked the woman so hard that the blood vessels in her eyes were ruptured, according to a court complaint.

Hotel staff heard the victim crying for help and pulled the crazed man off her, cops said.

Arzberger managed to flee back to his room, but police arrested him shortly after, the sources said.


Operation 'Jade Helm': Are US special forces training for martial law?

© Reuters / Lucas Jackson
As elite branches of the US military prepare to hold military training in seven southwest states, with some troops operating incognito among civilians, some Americans fear the training is actually preparation for imposing martial law.

Operation Jade Helm, which is scheduled to kick off in July and run for eight weeks, will involve the participation of 1,200 troops from the US military's most elite fighting forces, including Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Special Operations from the Air Force and Marines.

The troops will be participating in what has been called Realistic Military Training in towns in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

Comment: Well, there was this recent drill: Operation Vigilant Guard. Here's a somewhat creepier explanation of Operation Jade Helm:
So what happens after all the players are on the ground?

The most likely scenario is that at the JOAX and CRF "events" the operation will go terribly wrong and while the large force at the JOAX will likely handle the fake disaster in the area they parachute into, the CRF will have to "escape and evade."

So, America's special forces will most likely have to evade capture by local law enforcement, suspicious citizens, and whatever military unit is turned loose to try to catch them. One source believes the force from the JOAX will become the "bad guys" and try to catch the CRF troops while they attempt to make their way undetected to a safe (blue states on the map) "country."

This "survival" and "evasion" portion of the exercise explains Chief Deputy Roy Boyd's ominous statement:
"They're going to set up cells of people and test how well they're able to move around without getting too noticed in the community."
There is no way of knowing exactly what the scenario presented to the troops will be, but it is a certainty that this is not a federal takeover.

At some point, some or all of the troops will be captured. They will begin attempting to "resist" interrogation and plan their "escape."

Why the big secret?

These exercises are very common. Let's suppose you were 1000 miles from where you had to be and you had little or no funds to get there. What would you have to do to arrive safely at your destination while avoiding law enforcement and a military detachment?

These training exercises are not discussed because America's most elite units will most likely be committing a slew of minor crimes along the way. They will certainly trespass, engage in petty theft, sneak onto a train, hide in the back of an 18-wheeler, they might even steal a car. This training is absolutely necessary for these troops' survival in extreme situations, however, the public reaction to the above wouldn't be favorable.
Read the full article here.


Again? Vehicle rams gate at NSA headquarters, shots fired, one dead

© Reuters/NSA
Gunfire was heard after a vehicle appeared to ram the gates of the National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland, on Monday morning. One person has apparently died at the scene of the attack, and another was injured.

Authorities say an officer who was involved at either the crash or the shooting is one of the people injured. Emergency workers were seen carrying a person in uniform to one of the ambulances.

© Screenshot from Google Maps

Comment: From earlier this month: NSA headquarters damaged by multiple gunshots. Something interesting is going on here.


Canadian/UK's Harry Smith: Sets his sights on Stephen Harper

The 92-year-old anti-austerity campaigner, a UK sensation, sets his sights on Canada.

Harry Smith

Harry Smith: 'Since Harper has come into power, everything has gone downhill.'
A sparkling-clean nation where everyone willingly paid their taxes is the Canada that Harry Leslie Smith remembers choosing as a place to raise his family and live his life decades ago.

Now, at 92, Smith has become a sensation in the United Kingdom for his opinion pieces and memoir Harry's Last Stand, in which he draws parallels between his brutal childhood in the U.K. and where the western world is headed today as government austerity grips many of its countries.