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CHP Officer Admits to Sharing Stolen Nude Photos of Female Suspects with Fellow Officers for Years

October 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

A California Highway Patrol officer confessed to stealing explicit photos from the cellphone of a DUI suspect and sharing them with officers, describing it as a “game.”


A California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos from the cell phones of DUI suspects has told investigators he and other officers have been doing it for several years.

According to documents acquired by the Contra-Costa Times, CHP Officer Sean Harrington, who was accused of stealing photos earlier this week,  confessed to stealing explicit photos from the cellphone of a second Contra Costa County DUI suspect in August and sharing them with fellow officers, describing it as a “game.”

Harrington told investigators he has been stolen photos “half dozen times in the last several years,” forwarding them with leering text messages to fellow officer Officer Robert Hazelwood.

The investigation into Harrington began following an Aug. 29 arrest of the San Ramon woman who discovered photos had been stolen from her phone five days after her release, when she noticed on her iPad that the photos had been sent to an unknown number. According to the woman, a record of the messages had been deleted from her iPhone but the information was available on the  iPad which was synched to the phone.

After contacting authorities, Contra Costa district attorney inspector Darryl Holcombe compared video surveillance and time-stamped text messages from the woman’s phone and determined Harrington was in possession of the woman’s phone at the moment the photos were forwarded. The woman was being processed in the Martinez County Jail at the time when the photos were stolen, according to court records.

Harrington admitted under questioning that he stole five photographs from the woman and forwarded at least one to Hazelwood.

“Harrington said he first learned of this scheme when he was working in the Los Angeles office,” Holcombe wrote in an affidavit. “Harrington said when he was assigned to the Dublin office, he learned from other officers that they would access the cell phones of female arrestees and look for nude photographs of them. Harrington said if photographs were located, the officers would then text the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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From Gary Webb to James Risen: The Struggle for the Soul of Journalism

October 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

Two courageous reporters dug up dark government secrets. Only one was betrayed by his peers. Why did it happen?


In thinking about the cases of Gary Webb and James Risen, two famous investigative reporters aggressively persecuted for their explosive revelations (in very different situations, and with different results), we are drawn into the thorny question of journalism and its so-called professional ethics. How well do the supposed codes of journalism work, and whom do they serve and protect? Is the primary role of journalism as a social institution to discover the truth as best it can and raise the level of public discourse, or to preserve its own power and prestige and privilege? I don’t claim to know the answers with any certainty. If anything, the stories of Webb and Risen suggest that those questions yield different answers in different contexts.

I’ve been a working journalist for more than 25 years, across the demise of print and the rise of the Internet, and I’ve always viewed the idea of journalism as a profession as, at best, a double-edged sword. I mean the word “profession” in the sense that law or medicine or accounting is so defined, each with its own internal codes of conduct administered by various self-governing institutions. All too often, the ideal of professionalism in journalism becomes an excuse for “the View from Nowhere” described by media critic Jay Rosen – a bogus conception of impartiality and “balance,” a refusal of critical thinking and a disinclination to challenge official sources or disrupt accepted narratives.

Amid the chaos of Internet journalism, and the evident fact that many people in the field have no conception of ethics or responsibility, it seems laughably nostalgic to talk about professionalism. But in any case journalism never resembled those listed professions, which was always a strength and a detriment. There is no examination to pass and no credentialing board to face. Graduate programs in journalism have grown more influential, paradoxically or not, even as the trade itself has decayed. But no one would claim they are necessary. I’ve known plenty of journalists who didn’t …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Apocalypse Now: Seriously, It Is Time for a Major Rethink About Liberal and Progressive Politics

October 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Don Hazen, AlterNet

We are losing badly to the corporate state. Here's what we need to do.


As the Editor of AlterNet for 20 years, I have read and seen the entire range of horrendous and growing problems we face as a society and globe virtually every day. It is not just climate change, or ISIL, or Ferguson, or poverty and homelessness, or more misogynistic murdering of women, or the Democrats about to lose the Senate as Obama gets more unpopular. It is much, much more. Every day. It passes by before my eyes. At AlterNet, there are no issue silos—there is just the open faucet of depressing political information coming and going every hour of every day (with the occasional story of success and inspiration). 

So I am sorry to share my deep-seated opinion, which should jibe with anyone who is paying attention. After decades of engagement in progressive politics and media, it is very clear to me: we progressives, liberals, common sense people, are losing badly to the conservative business state, the tyranny of massively expanding tech companies, theocratic right-wing forces and pervasive militarism, home and abroad. By virtually every measure, things are getting worse. And are trending much, much worse in ways we can easily measure, like inequality, climate, militarization of police forces, etc., and in ways that are more psychological and emotional.

Americans are very pessimistic: 76 percent of respondents in a Wall Street Journal poll did not feel confident that their children’s generation will have a better life than they. That’s up from 60 percent in 2007. Optimism for Americans peaked in 2001. The percentage of American adults who believe the country is on the wrong track jumped eight percentage points just this summer, to 71 percent, the WSJ poll found.

And Americans dark views of the future are rational, as their lives have become so much more difficult and depressing. People are working longer hours, working far past previous retirement age—if they can retire at all. Many Americans do not take vacations. And many Americans of all ages can't find good jobs, or can only find low-paying and often part-time work, which causes their lifestyles to plummet. College graduates are …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Republican Party’s Electoral Philosophy: Cheating Wins

October 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Sean McElwee, Salon.com

The explosion and enforcement of restrictive voter ID laws make this one thing very clear.


Last week, the Supreme Court upheld a law that could disenfranchise 600,000 Texans. But the effects of the law won’t fall equally: African-Americans and Latinos are 305 percent and 195 percent less likely (respectively) to have the necessary forms of identification than whites. The Republican party is increasingly unpopular, and relies almost exclusively on white voters. The charts below show the 2008 if only white men voted and if only people of color voted (source).

Since 2008, people of color become a growing share of the voting population while the GOP has, if anything, moved further to the right. It has further alienated voters of color with racist attacks and laws. But as they say: if you can’t beat ‘em, make sure they don’t vote. Over the last four years the Republicans have gone through elaborate attempts to make sure populations that don’t support them don’t get a chance to vote.

Since 2006, Republicans have pushed through voter ID laws in 34 states.  Such laws did not exist before 2006, when Indiana passed the first voter ID law. The laws were ostensibly aimed at preventing voter fraud, but a News21 investigation finds only 2,068 instance of alleged fraud since 2000 (that is out of over 146 million voters). They estimate that there is one accusation of voter fraud for every 15 million voters. As Mother Jonesnotes, instances of voter fraud are more rare than UFO sightings. There have been only 13 instances of in-person voter fraud (the sorts that a voter ID law would reduce), while 47,000 people claim to have seen a UFO. 

On the other hand, research by the Brennan Center for Justice finds that, “as many as 11 percent of eligible voters do not have government-issued photo ID.” Those who do not have ID are most likely to be “ seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income voters, and students” — i.e.. people who vote Democratic (chart source).

There is now a large literature studying the effects of voter ID laws. James Avery and Mark Peffley <a target=_blank …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Holy Wingnuts! This Week's Wacky Religious Rants About Gays and Atheists

October 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Dan Arel, AlterNet

The religious right is losing ground quickly … and this is forcing them to resort to dishonest tactics.


The religious right is losing ground quickly in their fight against marriage equality and this is forcing them to resort to dishonest tactics. Take, for example, the couple from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho who claim they are being forced to perform same-sex weddings in their wedding chapel, despite it being against their religious beliefs.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are ordained ministers who run the Hitching Post, a wedding chapel that operates under the International Church of the Four Square, an evangelical Pentecostal sect. The Knapps claim they were told they must start performing same-sex weddings, or face fines and possible jail time for violating a city ordinance.

The Knapps have quickly claimed religious discrimination and many religious groups are claiming that their worst fears have come true and that churches are being forced to perform same-sex weddings. But here’s the hitch (pardon the pun): the chapel is not a non-profit ministry, but a for-profit company, which means it’s required by law to follow state and federal laws.

If you think the gays are ruining your life here in the mortal world, don’t worry, says a Republican congressman; they’re not going to bother you in heaven. Iowa Rep. Steve King was asked by the Jefferson Herald about the recent growing acceptance of homosexuals by the Catholic Church. King is a practicing Catholic.

“I’ll just say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven. So let’s stick with that principle,” said the congressman. “Let me say it isn’t to me to pass that judgment, and those who choose a lifestyle that I’ll say is not one that’s anointed and favored by my faith — or their faith, for that matter — that’s between them and God.”

Nothing makes fundamentalist Christians see red more than gays, except maybe atheists. Dragging out an old conservative meme, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Obamacare Is Not a Revolution, It Is Mere Evolution

October 25, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

health

Mises Daily Weekend by Roger McKinney

Liberty-loving people are right to be appalled by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, just about every evil in the legislation has already been inflicted on the market through 50 years of state destruction of the healthcare market.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE