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Sun, 20 Jun 2021
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Boston and freedom: slipping away, or already gone?

border patrol miranda rights
© Gerard L. Nino/US Customs and Border Protection
The government's fidelity to the Constitution is never more tested than in a time of crisis. The urge to do something - or to appear to be doing something - is nearly irresistible to those whom we have employed to protect our freedom and to keep us safe. Regrettably, with each passing violent crisis - Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, 9/11, Newtown and now the Boston Marathon - our personal freedoms continue to slip away, and the government itself remains the chief engine of that slippage.

The American people made a pact with the devil in the weeks and months following 9/11 when they bought the Bush-era argument that by surrendering liberty they could buy safety. But that type of pact has never enhanced either liberty or safety, and its fruits are always bitter.

he Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It was written to create and to restrain the federal government. Every person who works for any government in the U.S. has taken an oath of fidelity to the Constitution, not unlike the presidential oath, which induces a promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

The chief and final interpreter of the Constitution is the Supreme Court. One may not always agree with its interpretations, but they are, as legal scholars sometimes say, "infallible because they are final." Those interpretations are particularly final when we have relied on them for generations.

One of those rulings underscores the primacy of constitutional protections, no matter the environment in which they are claimed. Indeed, after the Civil War had ended and President Lincoln was dead, the Supreme Court in a case called Ex parte Milligan (1866) rebuked and reversed Lincoln's unilateral assaults on personal freedoms in the North and in so doing reminded us that the Constitution was written for good times and for bad, and its protections cover all persons at all times and under all circumstances who have any contact, voluntary or not, with the government.


Massive explosion rocks Marathon Detroit Refinery

Marathon Detroit Refinery
© Twitter user@Publimetro

A tank containing diesel fuel at the Marathon Detroit Refinery has reportedly exploded, forcing a mandatory evacuation order for a nearby area. No injuries have been reported so far.

The fire is located in one of the refinery's smaller tanks, Marathon spokesman Shane Pochard has told the Detroit Free Press.

Marathon's own fire crew are battling the flames, along with first responders from Detroit and surrounding areas, Pochard said.

It is unknown if anyone was injured or how the fire started, Pochard said.

A HazMat team from the Detroit Fire Department and Senior Fire Chief Carl Smith are at the scene.
Reports of the explosion came in just before 6 pm local time.

Marathon, based in Findlay, Ohio, has 7 refineries.

"Police have blocked Fort Street off by I-75 south ... oh my goodness ... there's an ambulance out here, a fireman standing outside, you know, it doesn't look like they are trying to get close. They are not trying to go in there," one listener told the local radio station

Comment: Is there a symbolic significance to the fact that the Marathon Detroit Refinery explodes a few days after bombs go off in the Boston marathon? After the recent explosion of a fertilizer plant in Texas, does anyone think that there have been a little too many things exploding in the US lately?

Sometimes the Universe speaks with symbols, but who is listening?

Heart - Black

Univ. of Arizona student Dean Saxton holds sign: 'You deserve rape'

Dean Saxton, a junior at the University of Arizona, protested a campus sexual assault awareness event on Tuesday with a sign that read, "You deserve rape."

"If you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you're probably going to get raped," Saxton told the Arizona Daily Wildcat. "I think that girls that dress and act like it, they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they're pretty much asking for it."

Saxton, who is majoring in religious studies, often preaches on campus under the name "Brother Dean Samuel."


Mystery surrounds September 11 jet debris in New York

© Associated Press
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly uses a sketch drawing to show where part of a planes landing gear was found, Friday, April 26, 2013, in New York.
Police in New York City are guarding what appears to be a piece of wreckage from one of the jets that crashed into the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on the United States almost 12 years ago.

Surveyors checking a narrow alley between two buildings in a neighborhood several hundred meters from the site of the disastrous attack on September 11, 2001, found what appeared to be a portion of an airliner's landing gear.

The large piece of metal debris - more than 150 centimeters long and about 43 cm wide - is at the bottom of a space between the two buildings that is less than 46 cm wide. Rope attached to what appears to be a broken pulley is wrapped around part of the landing gear, indicating the wreckage may have been lowered to its current resting place from the roof of one of the two buildings.

Police said wreckage and debris from the explosions and fires resulting from the September 11 attacks had been found during the weeks and months after the attacks in 2001. They said they would attempt to remove the landing gear during the coming week, after checks to make sure the alley does not contain any hazardous materials or toxins.


Missouri mom beats son's drug dealer with bat, faces jail time

A Missouri mother was found guilty Tuesday of third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, for beating her son's drug provider with a baseball bat.

Sherrie Gavan, 54, tried everything to keep her son, Clayton, away from heroin, his drug of choice. She slept next to him while he went through withdrawals, put him in a new school and even took him to work with her. She finally just decided to go after the source and attacked Joshua Loyd, the person who got her son his stuff. As a result of her actions, she may now be facing a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

"I don't know what happens from here," Sherrie said after the verdict was handed down. "I just know you can't protect your child anymore." The jury took about two hours to make their decision.


3-year-old toddler shoots infant in face

A 3-year-old girl accidentally shot her 10-month-old infant sibling in the side of the face this week in Middleton, Idaho (video below).

According to Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue, an unidentified mother left her two children in the car while she went into the house.

The 3-year-old girl found a loaded pistol in the car and shot her brother in the left cheek. He was treated at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, reports KOBI-TV.

Bad Guys

Mass nervous breakdown: Millions of Americans on the brink as stress pandemic ravages society


The U.S. population makes up 5% of the world population, yet are prescribed 2/3rds of all psychiatric drugs used worldwide. If this is not a sign of looming mental health collapse, we don't know what is!
As a doctor, I can tell you that stress has reached pandemic levels, though many still hold back from admitting it to themselves or their peers. Our normalcy bias prevents us from taking notice that tens of millions of people in Western countries are dropping like flies from illness, depression and self-destruction. I came across this article by David Kupelian on Americans' health and agreed with some of the observations made about the dire state of affairs:
  • Fully one-third of U.S. employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all "millennials" (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.
  • Shocking new research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in five high-school-aged children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with ADHD, and likewise a large new study of New York City residents shows, sadly, that one in five preteens - children aged six to 12 - have been medically diagnosed with either ADHD, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
  • New research concludes that stress renders people susceptible to serious illness, and a growing number of studies now confirm that chronic stress plays a major role in the progression of cancer, the nation's second-biggest killer. The biggest killer of all, heart disease, which causes one in four deaths in the U.S., is also known to have a huge stress component.
  • Incredibly, 11 percent of all Americans aged 12 and older are currently taking SSRI antidepressants - those highly controversial, mood-altering psychiatric drugs with the FDA's "suicidality" warning label and alarming correlation with school shooters. Women are especially prone to depression, with a stunning 23 percent of all American women in their 40s and 50s - almost one in four - now taking antidepressants, according to a major study by the CDC.
  • Add to that the tens of millions of users of all other types of psychiatric drugs, including (just to pick one) the 6.4 million American children between 4 and 17 diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin or similar psycho-stimulants. Throw in the 28 percent of American adults with a drinking problem, that's more than 60 million, plus the 22 million using illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants, and pretty soon a picture emerges of a nation of drug-takers, with hundreds of millions dependent on one toxic substance or another - legal or illegal - to "help" them deal with the stresses and problems of life.
Likewise, the CDC has reported that antidepressant use in the U.S. has increased nearly 400 percent in the last two decades, making antidepressants the most frequently used class of medications by Americans aged 18-44. The U.S. population makes up 5% of the world population, yet are prescribed two-thirds of all psychiatric drugs used worldwide. If this is not a sign of looming mental health collapse, I don't know what is!


Man bites traffic cop in Siberia

© Ilya Pitalev
Car lovers can be willing to go to great lengths for the sake of their vehicles, but a motorist in Russia's Novosibirsk Region broke new ground when he bit a police officer to avoid being fined for having tinted windows.

The Toyota Mark II with pitch-black windows was spotted and signaled to stop by a traffic patrol in the town of Cherepanovo late Thursday, regional police reported.

The motorist ignored the signal to stop and instead reversed to the premises of a nearby warehouse, the report said.

When the two patrolmen approached his car there, he addressed them with a string of profanities and tried to flee - biting the hand of an officer who tried to stop him.


Fracking debris considered too radioactive even for waste site

Protestors hold signs against fracking
© AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan
Protestors hold signs against fracking during a demonstration.
A truck carrying drill cuttings from a fracking site set off a radiation alarm at a landfill in Pennsylvania. Emitting gamma radiation ten times higher than the permitted level, the waste was rejected by the landfill.

After the alarm went off, the MAX Environmental Technologies truck was immediately quarantined and sent back to the Marcellus Shale fracking site it had come from in Greene County, Va. The 159-acre Pennsylvania landfill site accepts residual and hazardous waste, but the cuttings were too radioactive for the site to safely dispose.

The Pennsylvania landfill, located in South Huntingdon, rejects waste that emits more than 10 microerm per hour of radiation. The fracking materials were found to emit 96 microerm per hour of Radium 226 - a rate that is 84 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's air-pollution standard and ten times higher than the landfill's permitted level, Forbes reports.

Exposure to the materials taken from the fracking site can have serious health consequences, including the risk of developing cancer. The high level of radiation emitted by the materials serves as alarming news for environmentalists and residents located near hydraulic fracturing sites across the US.


Protesting drone warfare, sanctions and the prison industrial complex

Brian Terrell
© WNV/Jo Larmore
Brian Terrell
Editor's note: Brian Terrell was arrested in April of last year for protesting drone warfare at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and wrote the following from Yankton Federal Prison Camp, where he is nearing the end of a six month sentence.

In the final weeks of a six month prison sentence for protesting remote control murder by drones, specifically from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, I can only reflect on my time of captivity in light of the crimes that brought me here. In these ominous times, it is America's officials and judges and not the anarchists who exhibit the most flagrant contempt for the rule of law and it is due to the malfeasance of these that I owe the distinction of this sabbatical.

As I share in the perspectives gained from residing in the federal prison camp in Yankton, South Dakota, it is important to disclose that as a political prisoner sent up on trumped misdemeanor charges for a few months, my situation is not the same as my fellow inmates - all nonviolent "offenders," most are prisoners of the war on drugs and most are serving sentences of many years. I also try to avoid the temptation to exaggerate the hardships and privations I've suffered here. Certainly, doing time in a minimum security camp is easier time than in most other kinds of jails. If basic necessities are barely met, they are met. I am in good company and time is passing with little drama and without fear. For me, these months have been more a test of patience than of courage.