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Thu, 21 Sep 2017
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Killary snubs cops: Nation's largest police union endorses Trump

The nation's largest police union on Friday endorsed Donald Trump for president, lauding his commitment to police officers.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) gave the GOP presidential nominee its endorsement after he received support from more than two-thirds of the group's national board.

"[Trump] has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today. He understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again," said Chuck Canterbury, the FOP's national president.

Heart - Black

Mentally ill man begging for water dies of severe dehydration in Milwaukee jail

© Aaron Bernstein / Reuters
A mentally ill black man who died in a Milwaukee prison in April suffered from severe dehydration, a medical examiner concluded. Inmates said he was begging for drinking water days before perishing in custody.

Terrill Thomas, 38, was sent to jail after two shooting episodes in which he allegedly was involved on April 14. In one he shot his best friend in the chest after suspecting him of trying to steal Thomas's car. In another one hours later, Thomas opened fire at Potawatomi Bingo Casino and told everyone to leave. After being arrested, he told investigators there were a lot of snakes in the casino and it looked suspicious.

Thomas suffered from bipolar disorder and, according to his family, had experienced a mental breakdown at the time of his arrest. His mother asked the police to take him into custody, saying her son had become violent and erratic.

On April 27, he was supposed to undergo medical evaluation to determine if he was competent to stand trial for five counts of charges against him. But this didn't happen because on April 24 he was found dead in his solitary cell.

Chart Pie

Tim Anderson: No, Syrian Campaign poll does not suggest "70% Syrian refugees are fleeing Assad"

As one might expect, during a war, misunderstandings are often driven by interested parties. In the case of Syrian refugees in Europe a US-based organisation called 'The Syria Campaign' has helped drive some of these, including a claim that most of the refugees are 'Fleeing Assad'. 'The Syria Campaign' is a Wall Street Public Relations creation and one of several interlocked, US-based groups (Avaaz, Purpose, the White Helmets) which have campaigned for a Libyan-style 'no fly zone' in Syria. That is, they work for NATO intervention on the side of the jihadist groups (see Sterling 2015). In any case, a careful look at the evidence allows us to see through this 'refugees fleeing Assad' scam.

The Syria Campaign (2015) commissioned a poll in Germany which was apparently carried out by German academic Heiko Giebler. In it, 889 Syrian refugees were said to have been interviewed in Berlin, Hanover, Bremen, Leipzig and Eisenhüttenstadt. Candidates 'were approached on entering or leaving registration centers'. However the survey does not specify how sampling choices were made (TSC 2015). This is important because sampling error can easily undermine the representative nature of a poll. Indeed if there is no sampling error, as in this case, there is no way to assert to what extent the survey represents a broader population. The results are then almost useless, except as anecdotes.


Ukrainian neo-Nazis attack Russian embassy in Kiev with firecrackers day before Russian elections

Overnight a group of some 20 radical Ukrainian nationalists, attacked the Russian Embassy in Kiev with fireworks. The embassy is bracing itself for potential trouble on election day.

The attack happened at about 1:00am on Saturday morning, a diplomatic source told TASS news agency.

"Unidentified individuals threw a smoke stick at the embassy's territory and shot fireworks at the building," the source said, adding that the attackers failed to ignite anything.

Footage of the incident taken from a passing car shows multiple fireworks being fired at the windows of the embassy. The projectiles do not appear to do much damage since the windows were covered by metal shades.

Another video published by Reuters showed a group of people in hoodies shooting fireworks at the embassy and holding cameras. Two of them carried a large banner with a rhyme that read: "Russian swine, you are not welcome here. Today it's fireworks; tomorrow there will be Grads [multiple rocket launchers]."

Comment: In Ukraine and the West in general, Kiev's violation of international law is a "minor incident unworthy of commenting". Western democracy is built upon the stifling of other countries' democracy.

Treasure Chest

Slush fund: Less than 6% of Clinton Foundation donations actually went to charity

© Glen McCoy
Just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation's massive 2014 budget actually went to charitable grants, according to the tax-exempt organization's IRS filings. The rest went to salaries and employee benefits, fundraising and "other expenses."

The Clinton Foundation spent a hair under $91.3 million in 2014, the organization's IRS filings show. But less than $5.2 million of that went to charitable grants.

That number pales in comparison to the $34.8 million the foundation spent on salaries, compensation and employee benefits.

Another $50.4 million was marked as "other expenses," while the remaining almost $851K was marked as "professional fundraising expenses."

Comment: New book 'Partners in Crime': Clinton Foundation is 'a vast, criminal conspiracy' and 'a slush fund for grifters'


What a racket: US religion is worth $1.2T/year (tax free!) - more than America's 10 biggest tech companies, combined

© ToBeDaniel/CC-BY
Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen Ministries
The largely tax-free religion industry is one of the biggest in America, worth $1.2 trillion/year, a number that includes religious "healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations."

The figure comes from The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis, co-authored by Georgetown's Brian J Grim and Newseum's Melissa E Grim, and published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. The authors describe the estimate as "conservative" and note that while religion as a whole is declining in the US, spending on religious "social programs" has tripled since 2001, to $9T.
Grim and his co-author Melissa Grim of the Newseum Institute in Washington came up with three estimates of the worth of US religion. The lowest, at $378bn, took into account only the revenues of faith-based organisations. The middle estimate, $1.2tn, included an estimate of the market value of goods and services provided by religious organisations and the contributions of businesses with religious roots.

The top estimate was based on the household incomes of religiously affiliated Americans, and placed the value of faith to US society at $4.8tn annually.

The analysis did not take account of the value of financial or physical assets held by religious groups. Neither did it account for "the negative impacts that occur in some religious communities, including ... such things as the abuse of children by some clergy, cases of fraud, and the possibility of being recruitment sites for violent extremism".

The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis [Georgetown's Brian J Grim and Newseum's Melissa E Grim/Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion]

Religion in US 'worth more than Google and Apple combined' [Harriet Sherwood/The Guardian]

(via /.)

Comment: While many church organizations keep their expenses reasonable and devote their resources to good works, others see church organizations as the ultimate cash cow. Ron L. Hubbard, founder of the bogus cult Scientology said,
You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.
At least one religious leader is recognizing the problem.

Pope Francis calls for ending tax-exempt status of uncharitable churches

Arrow Down

Pipeline leak spells gas shortages and price spikes on East Coast of US

A massive pipeline leak in Alabama is threatening widespread gas shortages and significant price hikes on the East Coast of the United States. Though the leak reportedly poses no danger to the public, officials say it stands to affect drivers all along the I-95 corridor from Florida to Maine.

According to reports, the leak will likely start affecting drivers in the nearby states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina within a matter of hours and may spread in coming days. Colonial Pipeline Co., which transports some 40% of the gas along the I-95 corridor says at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline have already been lost.

Senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan warned that some stations may run out as primary gasoline transportation shipping routes along the East coast have been temporarily closed.

Comment: Alabama pipeline ruptures leaking 250,000 gallons of gas causing 'fuel emergency'


Catalan ex-president facing trial for holding independence vote

© www.rt.com
Former Catalan President Artur Mas
Former Catalan President Artur Mas and two other officials are to testify before court for holding an independence vote in 2014 which Madrid deemed illegal. Catalonia's Supreme Court has rejected the defendants' appeals against the decision.

Catalonia's Supreme Court (TSCJ) dismissed the appeals of former Catalan President Artur Mas, former Vice-President Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister of Education Irene Rigau which they filed against the investigating magistrate's decision to continue with the prosecution process, Catalan News Agency reported on Thursday. The defendants have been accused of disobedience to the Supreme Court and of administrative prevarication.

Comment: See also:


Any hope left? Libyan rebels 'miss Gaddafi' after years of chaos created by Western intervention

© Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters
Libyans who mounted a revolution against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi now miss the stability provided by the old order because of the savage violence into which the country has descended, it is reported.

The testimony has emerged in a number of on-the-ground interviews carried out by the Daily Mail and comes only days after a Commons Defence Committee report placed blame for the country's collapse and the emergence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) firmly on the shoulders of David Cameron.

The former PM, who stepped down as an MP hours before the report was published, faces calls from fellow Tories to appear before the committee to account for the "ill-conceived" 2011 war, which even US President Barack Obama is alleged to have privately written off as Cameron's personal "sh*t-show."

Comment: More reading:

Red Flag

Obeying their masters? Japanese court approves controversial U.S. Marine base project in Okinawa

© Kyodo / Reuters
Protesters raise placards reading"Anger was over the limit"during a rally against the U.S.military presence on the island and a series of crimes and other incidents involving U.S.soldiers and base workers, at a park in the prefectural capital Naha on Japan's southern island of Okinawa,Japan.
Continuing outrage by locals and a bid by the Okinawa governor were not enough to stop the land reclamation intended for the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma facility. The court ruled in favor of the project, but the local government isn't giving up.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga had campaigned together with the residents of the Japanese island to stop a landfill project that would lay the foundations for a construction of a replacement facility for the American base. The project, situated in the Henoko district, has been the focus of anger in the unfolding saga of residents trying to push the Americans out of Japan's Okinawa, where they enjoy a massive military presence.

A high court in Fukuoka on Friday ruled that the governor's attempt to cancel construction was "illegal," and has given Tokyo the go-ahead to continue construction, the Japan Times reports.

Comment: The people of Okinawa have suffered more than enough abuse from their U.S. military occupiers and aren't likely to acquiesce to this project without a continuing struggle: