You are browsing the archive for 2015 March 27.

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Cop Gets Firsthand Taste of Police Brutality During His Own Violent Arrest

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Cassandra Fairbanks, The Free Thought Project

Videotape caught the whole incident.

Pittsburgh, PA– A Pennsylvania State Trooper, David Williams, is suing the city of Pittsburgh and four police officers following his own brutal arrest in September. This cop on cop violence was caught on surveillance video.

The encounter began at Williams’ brother’s wedding reception where a server alleged that the groom got “touchy-feely” with her and tried to pressure her into drinking alcohol despite her informing him that she was pregnant.

The uncomfortable woman called her boyfriend to come pick her up, and upon arrival, the man confronted the groom about his behavior. A fight broke out between the two men, and when police arrived a confrontation between the officers and Williams began.  The arresting officers claim that Williams would not move back and became aggressive with the police.

Williams was ultimately arrested for allegedly ignoring police orders to stand back and fighting with officers, CBS reported.  The trooper and his lawyer are disputing the official story and say that the video proves that the Pittsburgh officers were the ones who assaulted him.

“Throwing him to the ground, punching him in the head, kicking him in the groin, and for that conduct, he was then charged with criminal offenses that he didn’t commit in an effort to justify these abusive tactics,” his attorney Tim O’Brien told KDKA.

The video very clearly shows Williams being kicked and assaulted.

“These officers’ false reports destroyed my reputation, traumatized my family and nearly caused me to lose my job and my liberty. If I hadn’t discovered the surveillance videotape, I might never have been able to clear my name,” Williams said in a statement to KDKA.

This is not the first time we have seen that thin blue line injuring its own.

In February, an officer responding to a domestic disturbance at a North Texas residence, shot and killed an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.

At the end of January, we reported on a Yonkers police officer who shot a suicidal officer from another precinct, claiming he feared for his safety.

Earlier in the month of January we reported on an undercover Albuquerque police officer who was shot by another officer during a drug bust over …read more


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Saudis Pledge to Continue Yemen Bombing Campaign

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian

Coalition says it has established air superiority over Yemen and accomplished initial goals of destroying air defense systems under Houthi control.


The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has vowed to continue its air campaign as bombing entered a second day.

The Shia rebels’ northern stronghold and other key military installations were targeted and heavy air strikes hit Sana’a, the capital, in waves throughout the night. Officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in the city said at least 39 civilians had been killed so far.

The Saudi defence minister’s adviser, Brig Ahmed bin Hassan Asiri, said at the campaign’s first press briefing late on Thursday night that the Saudi-led coalition had established air superiority over Yemen and accomplished its initial goals of destroying air defence systems under Houthi control.

He said a ground campaign was not planned, but he did not rule out the possibility. “At these current stages there is no planning for operations by ground forces, but if the situation necessitates it the Saudi ground forces are ready and the forces of friendly states are ready and any form of aggression will be answered,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni-led allies in the Gulf and the Middle East view the Houthi takeover in Yemen as an attempt by Iran to establish a proxy on the kingdom’s southern border. The campaign, operation Decisive Storm, threatens to spark a regional confrontation between Iran and its Arab rivals, who are increasingly anxious at the Islamic republic’s growing influence in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Arab officials still hope the air campaign – launched late on Wednesday and backed by the US, Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey – will weaken the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who are attempting to overthrow President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and avoid the need for a ground offensive.

Asiri said air strikes targeted surface-to-air missile batteries, anti-aircraft guns and Houthi command and communications centres. The Dulaimi air base was also hit, destroying aircraft hangars and runways as well as weapons, ammunition and maintenance depots.

“The operations will continue as long as there is a need …read more


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Twitter Pounds Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for His Absurdly Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Act

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

Lots of celebrities get in on the act.

While the state of Indiana is taking a beating across the country for passing the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,”  allowing businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds, Governor Mike Pence has come in for an extra heaping of scorn on social media.

In a speech following the signing of the bill, Pence defended his actions saying, “If I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.” Across the country many disagreed with the governor, once believed to harbor national aspirations, and expressed themselves bluntly.

A host of celebrities, including Broadway star Audra McDonald, Larry King, Harvey Fierstein, Miley Cyrus, and popular Indiana-based author John Green took shots at the governor, while others jumped on Pence’s Twitter account to express their contempt and displeasure with his decision to sign the bill into law.

A sampling of comments below Pence’s Twitter announcement of the signing the bill attended by a group of observers he has, thus far, refused to identify by name:

















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Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Amendment to Offset Increased OCO Funding

March 27, 2015 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Sen. Rand Paul today introduced Amendment 992 to S.Con.Res.11, the Budget Resolution. This amendment would pay for the $96 billion of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding in the budget. That funding is exempted from budget caps and slated to cover ongoing war costs and increased defense spending in the regular defense budget contrary to the 2011 Budget Control Act.

‘First and foremost, a strong national defense should always be the federal government’s main responsibility. I believe Congress can and should pay for our top priorities and not use budgeting gimmicks to evade spending limits,’ said Sen. Paul.

…read more


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White Supremacy’s Gross Symbol: What the Stars and Bars Really Represent

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Elias Isquith, Salon

It didn't take long before the Confederate flag became a symbol of racism.

As Paul Campos noted earlier this week, the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling later this year on whether a state can stop its citizens from purchasing specialty license plates featuring the Confederate flag. The case is a complex and interesting one that raises all sorts of questions about free speech. But while the court has been grappling with the limits and mandates of the First Amendment, the outside world has been engaged in a different, less esoteric discussion.

It’s one that’s popped up time and again throughout American history, and will undoubtedly continue to rears its head, at least so long as “Sweet Home Alabama” is a staple of classic rock radio. What, really, is the meaning of the Confederate flag? Is it simply a sign of Southern heritage, as former Rep. Ben Jones argued recently? Or is it a symbol of “treason in the defense of slavery,” as Campos writes?

Seeking answers, Salon recently spoke over the phone with James McPherson, the celebrated historian of American history and author of the classic Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era and this year’s The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters.We discussed the creation of the flag, the way its meaning changed throughout U.S. history, and how Confederate leaders might feel about its continued prevalence today. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Elias Isquith: Most schoolchildren are taught the story (or myth) of Betsy Ross and the creation of the U.S. flag. Is there a story behind the Confederate flag, too?

James McPherson: Well, we know who designed the Confederate battle flag, which is the one you’re talking about; the St. Andrew’s Cross, red background and blue cross with the white stars on it. That’s actually not the Confederate national flag, although it appeared as part of the third and fourth Confederate national flags.

The original Confederate national flag had three broad bars, a red bar, a white bar and red bar, and then …read more


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The Secret Advantages of Being a Night Owl

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Benjamin Sprall, Huffington Post

There's an undeserved stigma against those who go to bed late and sleep even later.

If you're a late riser, there's a good chance that you have, at one point, been made to feel inferior to your early riser friends and colleagues. 

Unlike early birds (people who have a genetic tendency to go to bed and wake up early), late risers, also known as night owls, have a natural tendency to go to bed late and sleep even later. And that's just fine. Although you may sleep though the early morning hours, which many early birds claim are their most productive of the day, for night owls these productive hours manifest themselves much later in the day.

Undeserved Stigma

In night owls, melatonin secretion begins very late, which makes it easy for them to stay awake (and productive) well into the night. Because of this, according to Sleep: A Very Short Introductionby Steven W. Lockley and Russell:

Evening types wake earlier in their circadian “day” and are therefore more sleepy and poorer performers in the morning but do not decline as much as morning types by the end of the day.

The undeserved “lazy” stigma given to night owls comes about due to the early birds of the world never seeing them at their most productive because, ironically, early birds are often fast asleep by the time night owls get going.

In his book Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You're So Tired, Till Roenneberg comments:

The postman doesn't think for a second that the young man might have worked until the early morning hours because he is a night-shift worker or for other reasons. He labels healthy young people who sleep into the day as lazy—as long sleepers.

But as Christopher Drake, a senior scientist with the Henry Ford Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit commented, “The human body needs approximately seven to eight hours of sleep a night to maintain optimal alert levels during the day.” Though scientists have recognized that there are indeed a sleepless elite who can run on …read more


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For Years, DEA Agents Attended Illegal Sex Parties Paid for by Drug Cartels

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By John Vibes, The Free Thought Project

High-ranking agents were bribed by the cartels they are supposedly fighting against.

Washington, DC—According to a recent report from Justice Department watchdog sources, a number of DEA agents are being accused of having “sex parties” with prostitutes that were purchased by drug cartels. These were not isolated incidents. The parties were reportedly a regular occurrence that took place over the course of several years.

Seven out of the 10 DEA agents who have been accused of attending the parties have confessed, but each of them received very short suspensions, some less than a week. It was also revealed in the recent report that the parties took place in locations that were rented or leased by the U.S. government.

There are a number of other witnesses in the report also. Police officers in Colombia claim that DEA agents were bribed by cartel members within the country.

“Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the 131-page report that was published this week.

These findings came to light during an investigation that took place following the 2012 scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, where U.S. Secret Service agents and DEA agents were caught partying with prostitutes while preparing for a visit from President Obama.

“The Department of Justice takes the issues raised in the Inspector General report seriously and is taking steps to implement policies and procedures to help prevent them from happening in the future. The Department is already working with the law enforcement components to ensure a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and misconduct is enforced and that incidents are properly reported. The department is also committed to ensuring the proper preservation and disclosure of electronic communications, including text messages and images,” Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said in a statement.

Interestingly, Horowitz told reporters that the Justice Department was unable to know the full scope of the sexually explicit text messages and images that were sent between DEA agents because …read more


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San Francisco Prison Guards Forced Inmates to Fight 'Like Game of Thrones'

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Joanna Walters, The Guardian

The Department of Justice has been asked to investigate claims of ‘sadistic’ treatment, including threats of violence if inmates did not comply.

The Department of Justice has been asked to investigate after prison guards allegedly forced inmates to engage in gladiator-style fights for “sadistic pleasure” and betting, in scenes the authorities said evoked “Game of Thrones.”

An inmate at the San Francisco County jail who weighed 150 pounds was allegedly forced to fight a 350-pound inmate, under threat of being beaten up and shot with a Taser by guards, Jeff Adachi, the San Francisco County public defender, said in a press conference on Thursday.

Four sheriff’s deputies have been accused by three inmates of orchestrating vicious fights for their own amusement while encouraging them with chants. Adachi said the deputy who reportedly orchestrated the activities was accused in 2006 of sexually assaulting inmates, in a case that was later settled out of court.

“I can only describe this as an outrageously sadistic scenario that sounds like it’s out of 'Game of Thrones',” Adachi said.

All four sheriff’s deputies were put on administrative leave on Thursday, and the two inmates cited by Adachi were moved to different prisons.

A recording of the lighter-weight inmate, Rico Palikiko Garcia, was played by Adachi on Thursday. Garcia described “deputies betting against me and forcing me to fight, and if I don’t fight then he’s basically telling me that he was going to beat me up, cuff me up, Tase me all at once.”

He ended up with suspected broken ribs, and his weightier opponent was also injured, Adachi said.

They were allegedly told they would be beaten up by the deputies if they sought medical attention, and that if they did do so, they should say they fell out of their bunks. The inmates were told they would be rewarded with hamburgers if they won the fights but squirted with pepper spray, beaten and transferred to dangerous housing quarters and deprived of food, if they refused to fight, Adachi said.

Stanley Harris, the largest man in his group of inmates, was taunted …read more


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GOP State Rep. Says It's a 'Really Great Party' If You Witness Rape on Campus

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Connecticut Rep. Mike Bocchino made some truly tasteless comments about campus sexual assault.

In Connecticut, lawmakers are debating a measure to define consent with respect to college sexual assault that would help prevent rapes on campus. GOP state Rep. Mike Bocchino objected by saying that there are no witnesses to rape, and if there are, it's a “really great party”:

“No question that sexual assault is a horrific thing. No question that date rape things that happen on college campuses are disgusting. Because at the end of the day, there are no witnesses…or at least if there are, it’s a really great party.”

Connecticut Democrats, through a spokesperson, have called on Bocchino to apologize: “I assume that it was an attempt at humor, but Rep. Bocchino should know better — and his constituents elected him to know better. Campus sexual assault is not a joke. It affects both genders, but up to one in five female students are victims. It’s a serious problem, and I hope Rep. Bocchino publicly apologize for his distasteful and offensive comment.”

Watch a local news report on Bocchino's comments:

WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Politico Presents …. Washington Lobbyists!

March 27, 2015 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

I noticed that my paper copies of Politico have been quite thick this week. Is there a lot of news? Well, yes. But newspapers usually run all the news the advertising will support. And Politico is just chock-full of ads in this budget season. As I wrote in my favorite chapter of The Libertarian Mind, “What Big Government Is All About,” there’s been a huge boom in the business of getting taxpayers’ money in the past few years:

Every business and interest group in society has an office in Washington devoted to getting some of the $4 trillion federal budget for itself: senior citizens, farmers, veterans, teachers, social workers, oil companies, labor unions, the military-industrial complex—you name it. The massive spending increases of the Bush-Obama years have created a lot of well-off people in Washington. Consulting and contracting exploded after 9/11. New regulatory burdens, notably from Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, are generating jobs in the lobbying and regulatory compliance business.

“Walk down K Street, the heart of Washington’s lobbying industry, and look at the directories in the office buildings. They’re full of lobbyists and associations that are in Washington, for one reason: because, as Willie Sutton said about why he robbed banks, “That’s where the money is.”…

“How much would you spend to get a $200 million subsidy from the federal government? About $199 million if you had to, I’ll bet.

So what does that have to do with the page counts in Politico? Well, check out this list of the full-page ads in Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s editions:

International Council of Shopping Centers (tax the internet)
National Multifamily Housing Council/National Apartment Association
My Plate, My Planet (federal food guidelines)
CA Technologies
American Medical Association (more Medicare money for doctors)
Innovation Alliance (patent law)
Alzheimer’s Assocation (federal research money)
United Launch Alliance (NASA contracts)
Navy League (military spending)
Beer Institute (beer taxes)
Society for Human Resource Management
United Technologies
Americans for the Arts (taxpayer funding)
Better Medicare Alliance (insurance companies and others, more Medicare funding)
Natural Products Association
Oil and Natural Gas Industry
Boeing/Textron (fund the V-22)
Application Developers Alliance (patent law)
American Bankers Association
Aerospace Industries Association (fund the Ex-Im Bank)
Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (build more carriers)
Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (more Medicare money)
U.S. Travel Association (increase tax on air travelers)
NextEra Energy (recipient of $2 billion in federal subsidies)
Comcast (allow merger with TimeWarner Cable)

Some of these organizations ran full-page ads …read more

Source: OP-EDS