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Archive for December, 2009

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This is a small but significant victory for those opposed to arbitrary police harassment and brutality.

“A federal appeals court this week ruled that a California police officer can be held liable for injuries suffered by an unarmed man he Tasered during a traffic stop. The decision, if allowed to stand, would set a rigorous legal precedent for when police are permitted to use the weapons and would force some law enforcement agencies throughout the state — and presumably the nation — to tighten their policies governing Taser use, experts said.

“Michael Gennaco, an expert in police conduct issues who has conducted internal reviews of Taser use for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies, said the ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals prohibits officers from deploying Tasers in a host of scenarios and largely limits their use to situations in which a person poses an obvious danger.”

Read more at The LA Times.

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The U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman is flatly contradicted by the FBI. What are the Feds trying to hide? Mere incompetence? Something worse?

“A person was detained by customs at Detroit Metro Airport on Friday following Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s alleged attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, according to a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“It is unknown why the person was detained or whether the person will face any charges, spokesman Ron Smith told MLive.com.

“Bill Carter, a spokesman with the FBI in Washington, D.C., said in an interview Tuesday that Abdulmutallab was the only person arrested or charged in relation to Friday’s foiled attack.”

Read more at MLive.com.

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Gotta hand it to those Brits who get mad as hell and don’t take it anymore.

“THE hunt was continuing yesterday for a fed-up motorist who blew up a speed camera in the early hours of Christmas Day, setting off a full‑scale security alert.

“Police and firefighters rushed to the scene fearing the explosion had come from a nearby petrol station.

“Residents in the quiet neighbourhood were awoken by a deafening explosion that sent debris flying into the road.

“Those who looked out of their windows saw a cloud of smoke coming from the Truvelo camera.”

Read more at The Daily Express.

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There was a time when kids were taught that it was their civic duty to be skeptical and to question those who presumed to rule them. That was the essence of American liberty. Today, the mission of public schools is to train kids to be obedient. How was this transformation carried out?

“The shift to a society now governed through crime, market-driven values and the politics of disposability has radically transformed the public school as a site for a civic and critical education. One major effect can be seen in the increasingly popular practice of organizing schools through disciplinary practices that closely resemble the culture of prisons. For instance, many public schools, traditionally viewed as nurturing, youth-friendly spaces dedicated to protecting and educating children, have become one of the most punitive institutions young people now face – on a daily basis. Educating for citizenship, work and the public good has been replaced with models of schooling in which students, especially poor minority youth, are viewed narrowly either as a threat or as perpetrators of violence. When not viewed as potential criminals, they are positioned as infantilized potential victims of crime (on the Internet, at school and in other youth spheres) who must endure modes of governing that are demeaning and repressive.”

Read more at Truthout.org.

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Oh no! The scary terrorists are going to get us! Please ramp up the violations of privacy!

“Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) — A suspected terrorist’s attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner may override privacy concerns and intensify a push for full-body scanning equipment at airports.

“U.S. officials charged a 23-year-old Nigerian man with trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253 as it prepared to land in Detroit on Christmas Day. President Barack Obama said yesterday he ordered a thorough review of the episode and called for new scrutiny of screening policies and technologies.

“Metal detectors currently used to screen passengers wouldn’t have found the explosive allegedly carried aboard by the suspect, said former Federal Aviation Administration security chief Billie Vincent. Only more sophisticated devices such as low-level X-rays and millimeter-wave technology would work, Vincent said.”

Read more at Bloomberg.com.

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The Chinese government is standing behind Shenzhen Nanshan Power’s decision not to honor its contract with Goldman Sachs.

Why would the U.S. government never take such a position? Because Goldman Sachs is a major shareholder in the private corporate enterprise known as the U.S. Federal government.

The Chinese government is a corporate enterprise as well, to be sure, but Goldman Sachs isn’t among its major shareholders.

“Goldman Sachs was one of the foreign banks, along with Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, blamed by the state assets watchdog for providing “extremely complicated” and difficult to understand derivatives products.

“Shenzhen Nanshan Power said in a statement that it received several notices from J. Aron & Company, a trading subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, for at least $79.96 million as compensation for terminating oil option contracts.

“‘We will not accept the demand by J. Aron for all the losses and related interests,’ said Nanshan, in line with the stance it took last December.”

Read more at Reuters.

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These “mentors” are paid by both the military and the private sector. Whose interests do they truly serve?

“WASHINGTON — In a marketplace awash in consulting firms that help defense companies sell to the Pentagon, the Durango Group has a unique advantage.

“The Colorado-based firm has become a base of operations for retired officers who also are handsomely paid by the military for their advice. No other defense consulting firm employs more ‘senior mentors’ than Durango. Of the 59 former officers who work for Durango, 15 also serve as mentors, a USA TODAY investigation found.

“As Durango associates, the retired officers are paid to help private companies win and administer Pentagon contracts. As mentors, the retirees are paid by the military to help run war games, which also gives them access to classified strategies and weapons systems. Durango cites these mentoring assignments on its website as signs of its associates’ unique connections.”

Read more at USA Today.

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As U.S. citizens pare down their personal debt, the parasites in Washington are on a debt-inflating binge. At the current rate, the national debt will soon exceed gross domestic product. Could the massive debt actually “bring all of these plans to a grinding halt”? We should be so fortunate!

“THE BELTWAY BANDITS are suffering delusions of grandeur. The Pentagon wants to fight two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while continuing its military occupation of 130 countries. The Treasury Department wants to prop up Wall Street. Congress wants to borrow more money to encourage Americans to buy homes and cars. The Democrats want to provide free healthcare for all, including illegal immigrants. The problem for Washington is that it is quickly becoming apparent that the debt the federal government has accumulated in the past two decades could bring all of these plans to a grinding halt.”

Read more at AmericanFreePress.net.

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‘Tis the season to slip unpopular legislation over on the American people.

“With key sections of the U.S. Patriot Act set to expire Dec. 31, the Obama administration – essentially tiptoeing through the corridors of Congress and using the raucous health care debate as cover – has quietly maneuvered for renewal of the controversial provisions, which he opposed as a senator.

“Perhaps the most contentious measure is the business records provision, also known as the library provision, which allows the government to seek a court order forcing private entities such as banks, hospitals, and libraries to hand over “any tangible thing” – from library circulation records to medical records – officials think is relevant in a terrorist investigation.”

Read more at The Lakeland Times.

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