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Mon, 03 Oct 2022
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Psychopath in Action: 'Millionaire Matchmaker' Contestant Achieved Wealth Via Bank Fraud

© Minyanville
There is Earth-shattering news in the world of reality television this week. It seems that a contestant misrepresented himself in order to get on a show for his proverbial 15 minutes of fame. Tampa resident Michael Prozer, a self-proclaimed internet mogul worth $400 million, managed to pass through the ironclad vetting process of Millionaire Matchmaker.

As it turns out, Prozer doesn't own a mansion and a private jet -- as he'd claimed on a 2009 episode of the Bravo series. Appearing as the CEO of Xchangeagent Inc., an online payment service à la PayPal that operates in 36 countries, Prozer scammed producers into setting him up with one of the dating service's gold diggers-in-waiting.

But Prozer didn't just defraud producers of a reality show, he took his con all the way to the bank. With the help of Fedor Stanley Salinas, a financial specialist at Wachovia Bank, Prozer was able to fake deposits worth over $21 million in an account in order to procure a $3 million short-term business loan from Park Avenue Bank in Valdosta, Georgia. Prozer and Salinas set up meetings, both on the phone and in-person, between Park Avenue Bank and people posing as Wachovia employees, who verified his account status.

No such collateral existed, the loan was never repaid, and the Park Avenue Bank took the $3 million hit. Last year, it was forced out of business.


Spain Nun on Trial Over Babies 'Stolen' Under Franco

© Agence France-Presse
Sister Maria may have been part of a nationwide baby-snatching network
A Spanish nun has become the first person to appear in court in connection with the alleged theft of newborn babies, mostly in the Franco era.

Sister Maria Gomez Valbuena, 80, is accused of stealing a mother's newborn daughter at a Madrid hospital in 1982.

Appearing before a judge on Thursday, Sister Maria refused to testify.

Thousands of babies are thought to have been taken from parents in hospitals and given to other families during the Franco dictatorship and later.

The alleged thefts are thought to have started in the 1936-39 Civil War. Some cases are believed to happened as late as the 1990s.

The practice is believed to have been motivated by a desire to remove children from "undesirable" left-wing parents and give them to "approved" right-wing families.

The Spanish authorities have investigated hundreds of complaints related to the events. Many parents say they were told by hospital staff that their babies had died during or after childbirth.

Many cases have been dismissed for lack of evidence.


Zimmerman Makes Court Appearance in Florida Shooting

George Zimmerman
© The Associated Press/Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/Pool
George Zimmerman, center, is directed by a Seminole County Deputy and his attorney Mark O'Mara during a court hearing Thursday April 12, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
US: Stanford, Florida - Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman made his first court appearance Thursday on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, as a court document provided new details on the prosecution's case.

During the brief appearance, Zimmerman stood up straight, looked straight ahead and wore a gray prison jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer "Yes, sir," twice after he was asked basic questions about the charge against him and his attorney.

His hair was shaved down to stubble and he had a thin goatee, which appeared consistent with his booking photo from the day before. He had resurfaced Wednesday to turn himself in after weeks in hiding.

Judge Mark E. Herr said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and that an arraignment would be held on May 29 before another judge.

A document prepared by prosecutors shed some light on why they chose to charge Zimmerman. The affidavit says Martin's mother identified screams heard in the background of a 911 call as her son's. There had been some question as to whether Martin or Zimmerman was the one calling for help.

Prosecutors also interviewed a friend of Martin's who was talking to him just before the shooting. The affidavit says Martin told the witness he was being followed and was scared.

Martin tried to run home, the affidavit says, but was followed by Zimmerman: "Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin."

The affidavit says that "Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher" who told him to stop, and "continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home."

Comment: Please read the Sott Focus: Hysterization Via Racism in the Trayvon Martin Case for a better understanding of the dynamics at play in the Trayvon Martin case.


Texas Christian Values: School Fires Unwed Pregnant Teacher

© American Broadcasting Company
A Christian school in Texas has fired an unmarried science teacher because it claimed she was not a good "Christian role model" - even after she offered to get married.

Cathy Samford, who is now 39 weeks pregnant, told ABC News that she was "totally shocked" when Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall, Texas fired her from her job as a science teacher and volleyball coach after they discovered she was pregnant late last year.

"I'm not just some teacher that went out to a bar and got pregnant and went back to school saying it's okay," Samford explained. "I was in a committed relationship the whole time and probably would have been married if things had gone differently and this would be a non-situation."

"I didn't think I would lose my job," she said. "I was in shock and devastated and that's when I said, 'If this is the problem, I'm willing, and so is my fiancé, to go ahead and get married.' That wasn't the issue. We were going to get married regardless."


Cindy Sheehan vs. The Empire

cindy Sheehan
© Unknown
Even if one only counts foreign military invasions, the United States of America has long been an Empire, but if we talk about our nation's First People, it has always been so.

This is a true story: A few months before I went to Crawford, Texas in August of 2005, to ask George Bush the infamous question, "What Noble Cause," I visited my Congressional Representative, George Miller (D). I begged him to do what he could to end the wars and hold the Bush crime syndicate accountable for killing my son, Casey.

Miller told me that he was sympathetic to my cause, but he couldn't do anything because the Democrats were at that time, a "minority." (We would all soon learn that the Democrats wouldn't do anything even when they were the majority, but that's another story.)

Anyway, I said, "George, I am only one person, but I will do whatever I can to hold Bush accountable. The Bush family has been murdering people for generations, but when they murdered by son, Casey, they murdered the wrong person."

Well, since that meeting, I have been doing everything I can to hold BushCo (etc) accountable, but in my quest for accountability, I learned my target was too narrow--George Bush was never the bullseye. The bullseye is the Robber Class that uses the Military Empire for profit and power.


Humanitarianism - How Nato Left Boat People to Die

© AFM Air Wing
The 19 interviews by Goldsmiths researchers into the 'left-to-die-boat' ignored by Nato vessels in the Mediterranean in April 2011 has determined that 72 migrants were ignored by all Nato and non-military entities encountered in the two weeks drifting slowly in the sea, despite a clear distress call.

The migrants' vessel was established to have been within Nato's maritime surveillance area for 15 days, drifting in Libyan territorial waters, while Nato patrolled the area to prevent the flow of arms and mercenaries and prevent attacks.

The area was populated by at least 38 maritime assets as well as many additional aerial assets during the time of the event.

Nato maritime command in Naples and participating states were informed of the presence of a vessel in distress, and the military and naval assets had the detection capability to detect the migrants' vessel during its 14 days of drift back towards the coast of North Africa.

The independent research's geospatial report determined the movements of the boat, using a drift model to simulate the trajectory of the rubber vessel after the boat drifted in high waves for two weeks between 28 March and 10 April, when it landed in Ziltan.


Charles Manson Denied Parole, With Next Parole Hearing Set for 2027

Charles Manson
© unknown
Charles Manson, shown in a June 2011 prison photo, has accumulated 108 serious disciplinary violations in prison since 1971.
US: Corcoran, California - Notorious killer Charles Manson, 77, was denied parole Wednesday after a California parole panel "could find nothing good as far as suitability" for his being paroled, a commissioner said.

Manson didn't show up for his parole hearing, which was held at a state prison in Corcoran, California, where he is serving a life sentence.

Manson's next parole hearing was scheduled for 15 years from now, meaning he could die in prison.

California Board of Parole Hearings Commissioner John Peck said that Manson has accumulated 108 serious disciplinary violations in prison since 1971 and that he has shown no indication of remorse for his nine murder convictions.

Manson hasn't participated in any self-help programs or vocational training, Peck said. Manson also hasn't shown any parole plans, he said.

Peck also cited Manson's statement to a psychologist in a prison interview on November 2, 2011, in which Manson stated:

"I am special. I am not like the average inmate. I have put five people in the grave. I've been in prison most of my life. I'm a very dangerous man," Manson told the psychologist, according to a report read aloud by Peck during the hearing.


Parents Find Newborn Alive in Morgue 12 Hours After She Had Been Declared Dead

© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Fabian and Analia Bouter, parents of a premature baby who had been declared dead and was found alive 12 hours later in the morgue.
Argentina, Buenos Aires - premature baby who had been declared dead was found alive 12 hours later in the morgue by her mother.

The Argentinian parents of the baby, who is now critically ill in hospital, were going to name her Luciana Abigail but changed their minds and are calling her Luz Milagros instead, her middle name the Spanish word for "miracles."

"Luz is a miracle," Analia Bouter, the baby's mother, told the local press. "If we had left it to go and see her another day, she may not have held on."

Luz was born three months premature at the Hospital Perrando, in the city of Resistencia, in Argentina's northern Chaco province. Doctors said she had no vital signs.

After the birth, the parents left the hospital but decided later they wanted to go and see their daughter's body, which was being stored in a drawer in the morgue.


Connecticut Lawmakers Vote to Repeal Death Penalty

© Andrew Sullivan / The New York Times
Representative Patricia M. Widlitz was for the repeal bill.
US - The Connecticut House of Representatives gave final legislative approval on Wednesday to the repeal of the state's death penalty, moving it one step closer to becoming the fifth U.S. state in recent years to abandon capital punishment.

The 86-62 vote followed 10 hours of debate in the Democratic-controlled House and came after last week's Senate vote to abolish the death penalty. The bill now goes to Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, who has vowed to sign it into law.

"The death penalty doesn't bring finality," said Democratic Representative Gerald Fox, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "The cost of the death penalty and the litigation that ensues places a financial burden on the judicial system and the state. We have learned in recent years, we have made mistakes."

Connecticut would join 16 other states and the District of Columbia without capital punishment. Its measure would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The repeal applies only to future sentences. The 11 men now on Connecticut's Death Row would still face execution.

But some legal experts have said defense attorneys for current Death Row inmates could use the repeal measure to win life sentences for their clients.


Zimmerman Charged with Second-Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin Shooting

George Zimmerman
© The Associated Press
George Zimmerman
US - George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., has been charged with second-degree murder in the 17-year-old's death. Zimmerman has been transferred to Seminole County jail, according to news reports, and is being held without bail.

"Just moments ago we spoke by phone with Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton," Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the case, said at a news conference in Jacksonville. "Three weeks ago our prosecution team promised those sweet parents we would get answers to all of their questions, no matter where our quest for the truth led us. And it is that search for justice for Trayvon that has brought us to this night."

"We did not come to this decision lightly," she said, declining to discuss specifics of the investigation. "We do not prosecute by pressure or petition ... We're law enforcement. We enforce the law."

Comment: Please read the Sott Focus: Hysterization Via Racism in the Trayvon Martin Case for a better understanding of the dynamics at play in the Trayvon Martin case.