Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

Continue reading

Religion as a Tool of Repression

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

Continue reading

‘Firm sold Israel torture instruments’

A Danish-British security company has sold torture instruments to the Israeli prisons, holding Palestinians inmates, a Danish newspaper has written.

The firm, named G4s, sells the devices to the detention facilities in the occupied West Bank, which provide the necessary means for torture of the Palestinian prisoners, Berlingske Tidende reported on Nov. 23.
Continue reading

Startups Backed By The CIA

The spy agency has a venture capital arm that is funding an array of companies developing bleeding-edge technologies.

Tiny cameras. Hearing devices for the teeth. Wi-fi for refrigerators. These are some of the products made by companies that have caught the eye of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Continue reading

US contacts allies about WikiLeaks move

The United States has briefed its key allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia ahead of the mass release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks plans to release around three million leaked documents, including cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

The website had previously posted online secret details of US military operations in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

United States Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley says the United States is “gearing up for the worst-case scenario.”

Continue reading

Cops & Firemen

Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

California passes bill to counteract ‘disturbing’ Texas curriculum

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

Continue reading

San Bernardino County Sheriff Candidates to Participate in June 1 Forum in Big Bear

The California Statewide Direct Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 8, and those voters who plan to request a vote-by-mail ballot have until June 1 to do so. In addition to five statewide measures on the June 8 ballot, San Bernardino County voters will have opportunity to vote for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (currently Dr. Gary Thomas) and County Sheriff.

Current Sheriff for the County Rod Hoops, who in February 2009 assumed the role of outgoing Sheriff Gary Penrod, will be in Big Bear on June 1st to participate alongside Sheriff candidates and Deputy Sheriffs Paul Schrader and Mark Averbeck in a forum hosted by the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce and the Democratic Club of Big Bear Valley.

The Tuesday, June 1st candidates forum, to be held at the Municipal Water District offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive at 6:30pm, is also scheduled to include candidate for Tax Collector Ensen Mason, running against incumbent Larry Walker, and both candidates for County Assessor, current Assessor appointee Dennis Draeger and Alfred Castorena Palazzo. The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters office can be reached at 387-8300 or via sbcrov.com.

Local opposition to Arizona law sought

At Tuesday’s Beaumont Unified School District board meeting, trustee Mark Orozco called on his fellow board members to consider a resolution opposing Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law, which he pointed out gives police in that state the right to detain anyone who is suspected of being in this country illegally, or for failing to provide proper documentation of citizenship.

“Under the new law, Arizona police now are required to stop and question anyone they reasonably suspect of being undocumented,” said Orozco, who is a history teacher at Marshall School in Pomona. “I am deeply troubled, and as an educator, I am disturbed by the lessons this law teaches our children about democracy, inclusion and nondiscrimination.”

Orozco called Arizona’s law an attack on civil rights of Arizona’s Latino population, and likened the situation to the way Jews were treated in Germany prior to World War II, when they were required to carry documentation with them at all times.

“The right of undocumented immigrant children to a K-12 public education has long been protected,” Orozco said. “This legislation may be the start of a very slippery slope. What’s next? Will lawmakers require teachers, education-support professionals and school employees to act as immigration agents?”

Orozco said that he feared the impact that potentially oppressive measures could “impede on the mission of teaching and learning.”

“I understand that my peers and some members of the community will probably criticize me … but it needs to be said,” Orozco said during board comments at the end of the meeting. “I am speaking not just as a board member or public official, but also as a leader of our community and a concerned American citizen who cannot sit by and be silent.”

Continue reading

Radley Balko on the Militarization of Police

Stupid Drug Story of the Week: The Associated Press on the arrival of “deadly, ultra-pure heroin.”

Yesterday, the Associated Press moved a story completely devoid of historical context. The piece, titled “Deadly, Ultra-Pure Heroin Arrives in U.S.,” claims that in “recent years”—a time frame that goes undefined—Mexican dealers have started peddling “ultra-potent” black tar heroin and are selling it for as little as $10 a bag.

In alarmist prose, the article asserts that the ultra-smack’s purity ranges from 50 percent to 80 percent heroin, up from the 5 percent purity of the 1970s, and this potency is “contributing to a spike in overdose deaths across the nation.” But reports of high-potency heroin being sold in the United States are anything but “recent.” My source? The AP itself. Over the decades, the wire service has repeatedly reported on the sale of high-potency heroin on the streets. Here are a few examples of AP coverage culled from Nexis.

Continue reading

2010 National Drug Control Strategy

President Obama’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy uses a multifaceted approach to combat drug abuse and drug use in America’s communities.

This Strategy “provides a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system, and international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Because nearly all Americans are impacted by the consequences of drug use, the Strategy is designed to be relevant at the local level. Whether you are a parent looking for information, a community member interested in treatment resources, a police officer or local elected official searching for new approaches to drug-related crimes, or someone who wants to know more about the Administration’s drug policy, the National Drug Control Strategy will serve as a useful resource.”

San Diego County Now Has ‘Majority, Minority’ Population

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego metro area has one of the largest immigrant populations in the country. A new study out today from the Brookings Institution says more than 22 percent of San Diego’s population was born in another country. The State Of Metropolitan America report looked at the changing demographics of the 100 largest metro areas in the country.

Audrey Singer with Brookings said San Diego particularly stands out in one category. Among the top 100 metro areas, San Diego ranks 10th in the percentage of children with at least one immigrant parent.

“Nearly 42 percent of children in metropolitan San Diego are second generation,” Singer said.

Continue reading

Derry’s controversial team—continued

See also:

Derry buys more police protection

Another Nazi Pig Comes to Town: San Bernardino County supervisor hires controversial activist

Last week, The Alpenhorn News revealed that Third District Supervisor Neil Derry had appointed Wanda Nowicki to his staff as an administrative analyst, even though her background check had revealed a criminal history.

At the time, the fact that Nowicki had no special background to qualify for the position raised skepticism. Revelations regarding her criminal background were further exacerbated when documents obtained by The Alpenhorn News revealed that Jim Erwin, Derry’s chief of staff at the time of Nowicki’s appointment, had advised the Director of Human Resources not to share or disclose the contents and findings of her criminal background check to anyone.

Information about Nowicki’s criminal background once again called into question many of Derry’s choices to fill key staff positions. It began when he named Erwin as his chief of staff. He made this choice despite Erwin’s reputation within the county as a polarizing and controversial figure.

Erwin is infamous for his alleged 2004 affair with ex-county labor negotiator Elizabeth Sanchez who lost her job when she admitted to being romantically involved with Erwin, who at the time was the leader and chief negotiator for the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (SEBA). The affair is alleged to have occurred at the same time the two negotiated from opposite sides, a new labor contract between SEBA and the county.

Sanchez was promoted to the position of director of human resources. However, rumors about the affair were well known. When initially confronted about it by the county’s chief administrative officer, she denied it but ultimately admitted to the relationship a short time later and was asked to resign. There was no apparent consequence for Erwin’s involvement.

Continue reading

Los Angeles teacher call for Mexican revolution in the US

News videographer at center of media battle after shooting video of abusive cops

Source

A freelance news videographer in Seattle lost his gig with a television station over a police abuse video they rejected after he posted the video on Youtube.

The video showed the customary abuse we expect from the Seattle Police Department; a cop kicking a detained suspect in the head after threatening to beat the “fucking Mexican piss” out of him.

It turned out, the suspect was completely innocent of armed robbery that got him detained.

Police then picked him up, brushed him off and sent him on his way.

The videographer, Jud Morris, ended up getting a video interview with the man, who had a fresh wound on his face from being face down on the ground, possibly from the kick that was caught on video.

The video also shows a female cop stomping on the suspect’s leg.

Morris, who was working for Q13 Fox news at the time, first approached them with the video, but they rejected it, telling him it was not newsworthy to see a cop kick an unarmed suspect in the head who later turns out to be innocent.

Morris, who as a freelancer owns all his work, then posted the video on Youtube.

He was fired the following day.

Continue reading

National Foundation for American Policy reports on immigration

Death at the Border

Family Immigration: The Long Wait to Immigrate

The National Foundation for American Policy recently issued these two reports that discuss difficulties faced by individuals seeking to become citizens of the United States.

The first report claims that “the absence of a way to enter the United States legally to work has contributed to more than 4,000 men, women, and children dying while attempting to cross to America since 1998.” Immigrant deaths increased in 2009 though overall illegal immigration decreased, indicating a significant increase in the level of danger and violence on U.S. borders.

The second report discusses the waiting time involved with becoming a U.S. citizen. The United States is missing out on many benefits due to the excessive time needed for immigrants to enter the country, which for many is over 20 years. According to the report: “Research shows legal immigrants experience faster wage growth than natives, are more likely to start businesses and have higher median years of schooling.” Overall the report finds that “raising family immigration quotas would serve both the humanitarian and economic interests of the United States.”

On this day (May 6)

Forty years since the Kent State massacre

May 4 marks the 40th anniversary of the shootings of unarmed student protesters at Kent State University in northeast Ohio. The Ohio National Guard killed four students and wounded nine others at a rally against the Nixon administration’s decision to escalate the Vietnam War by invading neighboring Cambodia.

The four students who died were Allison B. Krause and Jeffrey Glenn Miller, who had participated in the antiwar protest, and two bystanders, Sandra Lee Scheuer and William Know Schroeder, who were walking between classes when the troops opened fire. Miller was killed instantly, Scheuer died within minutes, while Krause and Schroeder succumbed to their wounds after several hours.

One of the students wounded, Dean Kahler, 20, was a first-semester freshman who was a curious onlooker to the protest. A bullet cut his spinal column, leaving him in a wheelchair to this day.

At least 67 bullets were fired during the 13-second fusillade, and students were hit over a wide area. The closest of the victims, one of the wounded, was 71 feet from where the troops formed a firing line. The furthest, wounded in the neck, was 750 feet away. The four dead students were between 265 and 345 feet distant. None of the victims was armed or could have posed a physical threat to the guardsmen.

The Kent State Massacre was part of a wave of violent state repression that swept the United States in the aftermath of the April 30 television announcement by President Richard Nixon that US forces had crossed the border from Vietnam and invaded Cambodia.

Continue reading

Rim of the World News interviews Candidate Paul Schrader Sheriff/Coroner of San Bernardino County

May 1st in History

Superior Court Judge candidate Ed Montgomery endorses Paul Schrader for sheriff of San Bernardino County

It is my privilege and honor to endorse candidate Paul Schrader for the office of Sheriff in San Bernardino County.

Our community will be well served by many of Paul’s proposals and recommendations once he takes office. San Bernardino has suffered too long without an election for sheriff. It is time to move forward in the 21st century and address new technology and systems to better protect our citizens. There needs to be cooperation and understanding between our law enforcement officials and the citizens they are protecting.

Paul and his family have been out in the neighborhoods attending events and knocking on doors to get the word out about his commitment to San Bernardino County. Paul’s door will remain open to our community once he is in office. His commitment to a fresh start in San Bernardino County through public accountability and cooperation is the real deal.

I hope you will join me in voting for change for San Bernardino County on June 8, 2010.

Putting our Families and Children First,

Ed Montgomery
Candidate for Superior Court Judge, Seat #29

Study Describes Difficulties of Latino Kids in U.S.

WASHINGTON – Latino children face obstacles in education and health that make their success as adults and their integration into society more difficult, the National Council of La Raza says in a study released Wednesday.

Latinos make up 22 percent of the country’s total population under age 18, a percentage that is predicted to grow in the coming years.

The examination of the basic statistics of that group reveals an “alarming” situation that must be corrected, says the report, which was put together by the NCLR’s Patricia Foxen and Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau.

Continue reading

YouTube Didn’t Delete M.I.A. Video, But Did Bury It

See the story here.

New Study: Drug law enforcement contributes to gun violence and high homicide rates and increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting organizations involved in drug distribution could unintentionally increase violence

See also: Study links drug enforcement to more violence

Today, the newly formed International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) released their first report: Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review.

“Given the growing emphasis on evidence-based policy-making and the ongoing severe violence attributable to drug gangs in many countries around the world, a systematic review of the available English language scientific literature was conducted to examine the impacts of drug law enforcement interventions on drug market violence.”

The results of the review found that “an increase in drug law enforcement interventions to disrupt drug markets is unlikely to reduce violence attributable to drug gangs. Instead, from an evidence-based public policy perspective and based on several decades of available data, the existing evidence strongly suggests that drug law enforcement contributes to gun violence and high homicide rates and that increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting organizations involved in drug distribution could unintentionally increase violence. In this context, and since drug prohibition has not achieved its stated goal of reducing drug supply, alternative models for drug control may need to be considered if drug-related violence is to be meaningfully reduced.”

San Francisco City workers banned from official travel to Arizona

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today a moratorium on official city travel to Arizona after the state enacted a controversial new immigration law that directs local police to arrest those suspected of being in the country illegally.

The ban on city employee travel to Arizona takes effect immediately, although there are some exceptions, including for law enforcement officials investigating a crime, officials said. It’s unclear how many planned trips by city workers will be curtailed.

The move comes amid a cascade of criticism of Arizona’s law, which has been denounced by civil rights groups, some police officials and President Obama, who said it threatens to “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.” Legal challenges are being weighed to overturn it.

San Francisco’s move comes as the Board of Supervisors introduced non-binding resolutions calling for comprehensive immigration reform and a boycott of Arizona because of the new law, which requires police to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. There are also online boycott campaigns calling for everything from a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team to the Grand Canyon.

Continue reading

Pima County, Arizon, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik objects to new immigration law

An Arizona sheriff says he has “no intention of complying” with the state’s “abominable” new immigration law, which he describes as a “national embarrassment.”

Last week, Arizona Governor Janice Kay “Jan” Brewer signed a controversial bill that authorizes state police to stop people they suspect may be illegal immigrants and demand identification.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik said he would like Brewer to know “what she and the legislature has accomplished is morally wrong and a national embarrassment,” ABC News reported.

The sheriff called the law abominable and said he did not intend to comply with it, because it was “racist.”

Mexico warns citizens in Arizona

HTML clipboard

The Mexican government warned its citizens Tuesday to use extreme caution if visiting Arizona because of a tough new law that requires all immigrants and visitors to carry U.S.-issued documents or risk arrest.

And a government-affiliated agency that supports Mexicans living and working in the United States called for boycotts of Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns until those organizations rebuke the law.

“We are making a strong call to the Arizona government to retract this regressive and racist law that’s impacting not only residents of Arizona, but people in all 50 states and in Mexico as well,” said Raul Murillo, who works with the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, an autonomous agency of Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading

Sarkozy proposes total ban on the burqa in France

F

At the April 21 meeting of the French cabinet, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that a bill banning the wearing of the burqa or niqab full-face veil in public would be put before the cabinet in May. The bill is a blatant attack on democratic rights, moving France towards extra-legal rule.

Prime Minister François Fillon stated that the government would fast-track this legislation, even though such a law could be ruled unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights. “We are ready to take legal risks because we think that the stakes are worth it”, he said, adding. “We cannot encumber ourselves with prudence in relation to legislation that is unsuited to today’s society…. If we have to shift the jurisprudence of the [French] Constitutional Council and that of the European Court of Human Rights, we think that it is our public duty to do so”.

Continue reading

US confronts its reputation abroad

Court case reveals diocese pattern of sending problem priests to desert

BARSTOW • As the sex abuse scandals that plague the Catholic Church continue to make headlines, a recent lawsuit has brought new information to light regarding the San Diego Diocese’s placement of priests with a history of sexual abuse in desert parishes, including St. Joseph Catholic Church in Barstow.

One man involved in the lawsuit, known only as John Roe 65, says that he was abused by a priest at St. Joseph in 1972 while attending school there. The lawsuit was settled out-of-court last week for an undisclosed amount. The school at St. Joseph closed in 2002.

Roe 65 was able to file the suit because he served in the United States Navy from 1977 until 2006, and statutes of limitation do not apply while a person is serving in the military.

The two priests named in the lawsuit who served at St. Joseph are Anthony Rodrigue and John Keith.

Continue reading

Deportation’s Harmful Effect on Children

This brief from the International Human Rights Law Clinic University of California, Berkeley School of Law , In the Child’s Best Interest? The Consequences of Losing a Lawful Immigrant Parent to Deportation states “Congress is considering a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws more than a decade after the enactment of strict immigration measures. Lawmakers should take this opportunity to reaffirm the nation’s historic commitment to family unity by addressing the discrete provisions that currently undermine it. Current U.S. immigration laws mandate deportation of lawful permanent resident (LPR) parents of thousands of U.S. citizen children, without providing these parents an opportunity to challenge their forced separations. Through a multi-disciplinary analysis, this policy brief examines the experiences of U.S. citizen children impacted by the forced deportation of their LPR parents and proposes ways to reform U.S. law consistent with domestic and international standards aimed to improve the lives of children.”

Continue reading

Sheriff Hopeful Schrader Pushing Department Reform

Paul Schrader says he is running for San Bernardino County sheriff because he believes “I can do a better job than what is being done now.”

In expanding on that point, Schrader said, “I am more qualified because I have a diverse background in law enforcement. I’ve worked as a supervisor in specialty positions in law enforcement including supervisor of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s legal unit, audit unit, risk analysis unit, as supervisor of operations, in the sheriff’s headquarters in Los Angeles and as a street deputy. I have a widely diverse background. I am from someplace else and have a perspective that can be utilized here. I am able to look at a department, do the basic jobs of an auditor and risk analysis teams to see what needs to be cut, where we need to reallocate funding and if we need to move manpower I can tell where we need to do that. Because I come from outside of the San Bernardino County sheriff’s department, I have a fresh pair of eyes to look at the overall structure of the department and bring a fresh start to the department.”

Schrader is challenging the incumbent, Rod Hoops, who was appointed to the post in 2009 after former sheriff Gary Penrod resigned. There is another candidate in the race, San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy Mark Averbeck.

Already, Schrader said, he has come to some conclusions about the need for reform and reorganization in the department.

Continue reading

LA cardinal raps ‘Nazi’ migrant bill

The head of the largest Catholic archdiocese in the US has denounced anti-migration policies in the state of Arizona, saying it promotes Nazi-style repression.

“The Arizona legislature just passed the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law,” Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote in his blog on Sunday.

Mahony was referring to a new Arizona legislation, which created a new state offense of ‘willful failure to carry or complete an alien registration form’. The legislation was passed on Monday.

The bill would also require the police to determine people’s immigration status if there is reason to suspect the legality of the individuals’ stay in the country.

A provision of the law also allows citizens to sue government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws.

“I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation,” the cardinal who is a staunch supporter of immigrants’ rights said.

“Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers?” he asked.

The top churchman further added that the “tragedy” of the measure lies in its reasoning, which implies that US immigrants “rob, plunder, and consume public resources.”

The new measure is considered as the latest crackdown in Arizona, which has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants.

Sheriff candidate Paul Schrader’s blog

Paul Schrader, candidate  for sheriff of San Bernardino County, now has a blog at http://sheriffpaul.wordpress.com

Paul Schrader: Transparency- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

The questions asked at most of my events and from people all over the county is, what are they hiding, and why is the sheriff and his command staff not open and available to the public.

As part of my fresh start approach to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, it will be my duty to see that the Department is above reproach in order to restore and retain the respect and trust of the public. My first objective is to make all areas of the Department transparent, especially the jails. There will be an open dialogue maintained with the community and community activists who have questions regarding the Department, including the jails.

In order to bring justice to those wronged and closure to those who have done right, I will have all internal investigations expedited. The community will know the truth, and Deputies will be treated fairly and in accordance with “The Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights”.

This is the right thing to do.  Check out my website at www.sheriffpaul.net and let’s work together for a TRANSPARENT Department.

Dennis L. “Pinky” Stout got the message

Today I am announcing my decision not to seek the Office of District Attorney of San Bernardino County.

From a very early age all I dreamed about was being a public prosecutor.  After 17 years as a Deputy District Attorney, I realized my ultimate dream in 1994 when I was elected District Attorney.  I ran unopposed in 1998 and was reelected to a second term. During those eight years we accomplished a complete rebuild of the office from the ground up. We implemented over 50 new programs.

We positioned the office so that it could become the best prosecutorial agency in the state.

Continue reading

Unidentified pedestrian struck by vehicle, patrol car

APPLE VALLEY • An unidentified man stepped into the path of a vehicle traveling east on Highway 18 and then was immediately struck again by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department patrol car, authorities said.

Investigators are now asking for help in identifying the man.

Robert Squire was traveling east on Highway 18 in his 2002 Mitsubishi Gallant Sunday night followed by an Apple Valley station patrol vehicle, according to sheriff’s officials. A man stepped directly in front of Squire’s vehicle and was struck, sending the man flying into the air. He was then struck by the Apple Valley unit.

Both Squire and the deputy stopped immediately to help the man and called for rescuers.

The man was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and his condition was unknown.

The man had no identification with him and is being referred to as John Doe. He is described as an adult Hispanic man.

Continue reading

CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Major Drug Conference in Mexican Drug War Says Prohibition Has Failed, Calls for New Policy

Coming as Mexico‘s war on drugs turns bloodier by the day, the conference concluded that current prohibitionist policies are a disaster.

Editor’s Note: With 137 people killled last week in the Mexican drug war, a conference on this topic couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

On Monday and Tuesday in Mexico City, political figures, academics, social scientists, security experts, and activists from at least six countries came together for the Winds of Change: Drug Policy in the World conference sponsored by the Mexico City-based Collective for an Integrated Drug Policy (CUPHID). Coming as Mexico’s war on drugs turns bloodier by the day, the conference unsurprisingly concluded that current prohibitionist policies are a disaster.

“The principal conclusion is that we need a more integrated drug policy based on prevention, scientific evidence, and full respect for human rights,” summarized CUPHID president Jorge Hernandez Tinajero. “It remains clear that, yes, there exist alternatives to the current strategy.”

In a press release after the conference, CUPHID emphasized the following points:

  • The so-called war on drugs has failed and, without doubt, we need “winds of change” to advance toward alternative policies to address the problematic of drugs across the globe.
  • The prohibitionist paradigm has been ineffective, and furthermore, for the majority of countries it has implied grave violations of human rights and individual guarantees, discrimination, and social exclusion, as well as an escalation of violence that grows day by day, ever broadening the scope of impunity for organized crime.
  • Drugs are never going to disappear. Thus, a more realistic drug policy should focus on minimizing the harms associated with drug use – overdoses, blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS, and violence. This concept is known as “harm reduction,” and must be the backbone of any drug policy.

Hamas Leader Was ‘Drugged And Suffocated’

[  Succinylcholine is NOT a sedative.  It is a muscle relaxer used to induce paralysis, so the victim can die awake, while his lungs refuse to work.  Mossad also knew it would be detected. ]

The Hamas commander who was killed in his Dubai hotel room was drugged and then suffocated, police have said.

It is believe a sedative was used to relax the victim’s muscles to make his death look more natural.

Major General Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina, deputy commander of Dubai police said in a statement: “The killers used the drug succinylcholine (suxamethonium chloride)* to sedate Mahmoud al Mabhouh before they suffocated him.”

He added: “There were no signs of resistance shown by the victim.”

Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room on January 20.

The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has been widely accused of carrying out the assassination. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied this.

See also: Interpol adds suspected Dubai assassins to most wanted list

Continue reading

Study Links Religion and Racism

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus warned religious listeners against what today would be called “ingroup prejudice”: the tendency to think less of outsiders, especially those of another race.

The Samaritan, a member of a group despised by Israelites of that time, proves himself more charitable to an injured traveler than two members of the Jewish clergy.

Devout listeners startled by the Samaritan’s charity would have had to confront a difficult message: Piety and prejudice keep close company.

It appears not much has changed.

A meta-analysis of 55 independent studies carried out in the United States with more than 20,000 mostly Christian participants has found that members of religious congregations tend to harbor prejudiced views of other races.

In general, the more devout the community, the greater the racism, according to the authors of the analysis, led by Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at USC College and the USC Marshall School of Business. The study appears in the February issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Continue reading

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department buys gear from company targeted by sweatshop investigators

The Safariland website is a virtual big box retailer of tactical equipment, chemical weapons and forensics for police departments, military and private security contractors. The Premium Wallbanger System is used for SWAT team entry operations and can create a shooting port through a wall. It can use an explosive charge to breach metal doors and provides OVC spray coverage. The Protech brand makes a rifle threat plate that can withstand multiple rounds from an AK-47. The DeltaNu Reporter is a handheld illicit drug identification system. The Monadnock Autolock defender baton is expandable and comes with a guard for hand protection.

In the early days Safariland kept it simple. The Ontario-based multinational corporation birthed in a ’60s suburban Los Angeles garage was known for custom holsters. The manufacturer claims that 70 percent of peace officers in North America currently use Safariland duty gear. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department purchases duty gear from the manufacturer.

Decades of growth and a series of mergers and acquisitions has left Safariland the flagship of 19 companies under control of the British defense contractor BAE Systems. The free trade business model of the ’90s put Safariland in a factory in Mexico well before the consolidation with BAE systems took place. The North America Free Trade Agreement fueled the growth of maquiladoras. The border factories import materials into Mexico for assembly and then re-export them to the U.S. to enter the global marketplace.

The treaty made conditions ripe for economic and environmental exploitation. The effect of the duty-free and tax-free provisions of NAFTA that leave little or in most circumstances zero development in the communities the workers live.

Continue reading

San Bernardino County sheriff says deputies will not ask immigration status on the street

In a department address Thursday, San Bernardino County’s sheriff reaffirmed positions on two hot-button topics, saying deputies would enforce medical marijuana laws though he feels they’re “greatly flawed,” and only broach someone’s immigration status inside jails.

Rod Hoops delivered a wide-ranging state of the department address, his first since being appointed last February, to a roomful of county leaders and sheriff’s staff. A theme was cost-saving measures he has already taken, and ones still in the works.

That’s when he noted the cooperation with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, which recently resulted in a new three-year agreement to help identify illegal immigrants booked into county jails.

Officials have said the program helps cut the long-term cost of housing such suspects. Jail staff is trained to screen inmates for their immigration status, and if applicable, refer them to ICE for possible deportation.

“We will not target anyone from a specific country, and our department does not enforce immigration laws,” Hoops said, emphasizing that screenings only take place in jails, not in contact deputies have on the street.

A local immigration advocate said later that his longstanding worry with the program still exists: that it often results in the deportation of individuals arrested for relatively minor offenses.

“Continuing the agreement undermines the trust in the community,” Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Service Center, said later by phone. “It gives argument to people who say they’re afraid to come forward and report crimes.”

Continue reading

SPLC Suit Wins $2.75 Million Settlement for Exploited Workers

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – In one of the largest settlements of its kind, an Arkansas forestry company has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle the legal claims of foreign guest workers who say they were cheated out of the wages they earned planting trees for the company.

Superior Forestry Service Inc.’s agreement to pay more than 2,200 guest workers makes this one of the largest settlements ever reached under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the workers by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Farmworker Justice, the Legal Aid Justice Center and attorneys from two Chicago-based private law firms: Willenson Law, LLC and Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym. Superior Forestry is one of the largest forestry contractors in the United States.

The settlement received preliminary approval Thursday from U.S. District Judge William J. “Jim” Haynes II. It is subject to final approval following a fairness hearing in March.

“Guest workers are too often seen as disposable workers who can be cheated and exploited,” said Jim Knoepp, an attorney with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project. “This settlement sends a powerful message that these workers have rights and that their employers will be held accountable.”

Continue reading

Let Dr. Aafia go home, Mr. President

Reading all those legal thrillers by John Grisham and watching Hollywood blockbusters that portray innocent individuals framed and ensnared by a powerful system, one always thought: Of course, these things do not happen in real life.

I am not so sure anymore though. The abduction, persecution and now conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated neuroscientist, by the U.S. authorities reads like a regulation Grisham thriller written for Hollywood.

Aafia disappeared with her three children on her way to Jinnah International Airport airport for Islamabad way back in 2003. Five years later, she was presented in a New York court in March 2008 as “a top al-Qaeda terrorist” and the “most dangerous woman on earth,” as United States Attorney General John Ashcroft put it.

The U.S. authorities claimed then that Aafia was captured near Ghazni governor’s office in Afghanistan with a bag that carried instructions on making explosives and a list of U.S. landmarks.

But more damningly, the U.S. authorities claimed that the frail mother of three attacked a team of eight U.S. soldiers, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Afghan officials in Ghazni with a highly sophisticated, heavy M-4 gun in Ghazni when they went to question her. Surprisingly though, it’s Aafia who ended up with two gunshot wounds, inflicted point blank. None of the officials she allegedly attacked sustained any injuries or wounds.

Last week, after months of courtroom drama and charade of a trial, Aafia was convicted of attempted murder and attacking U.S. soldiers and FBI officials with a deadly weapon.

Continue reading

Manifesto of Joe Stack

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?”  The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time.  The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken.  Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it.  I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head.  Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy.  Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all.  We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers.  Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”.  I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood.  These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

Continue reading

Report to Congress about the USA PATRIOT Act

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, released a new report Report to Congress on Implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

This report details “Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001.”

Interpol adds suspected Dubai assassins to most wanted list

Interpol added the 11 suspected assassins allegedly responsible for last month’s Dubai assassination of a Hamas strongman to their most wanted list, Haaretz learned on Thursday.

The individuals who were charged by Dubai police as responsible for the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh were tagged with “Red Notices,” according to the Interpol’s official website.

The website also specifies that Interpol chose to publish the photos of the suspected assassins since the identities the perpetrators allegedly used were fake, using fraudulent passports to aid them in accomplishing their aim.

Also Thursday, the Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said Interpol should issue a warrant to help locate and arrest the head of Israel‘s spy agency Mossad if the organization was responsible for the killing of a Hamas militant in Dubai.

In comments to be aired later on Dubai TV, Khalfan Tamim called for Interpol to issue “a red notice against the head of Mossad … as a killer in case Mossad if proved to be behind the crime, which is likely now.”

Earlier, an article published in an Emirati newspaper reported that Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said he is 99 percent sure Israel was involved in Mabhouh’s January killing.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers