Why Michael Brown’s Killer Would Have Been Acquitted

Conflicting witness accounts and ambiguous physical evidence provide plenty of room for reasonable doubt by Jacob Sullum – Given the contested circumstances of Michael Brown’s death, it is understandable that many people were dismayed by a grand jury’s rejection of criminal charges against the police officer who shot and killed the unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer. But if Darren Wilson had been indicted, he almost certainly would have been acquitted, precisely because important details of his deadly encounter with Brown are hard to pin down. This much is undisputed: A little after noon on August 9, Wilson saw Brown walking with a 22-year-old friend, Dorian Johnson, in the street and told them to use the sidewalk instead. Johnson said they had almost reached their destination, and Wilson passed them but moments later backed up his police SUV, stopping right next to Brown. There followed a struggle in which,...

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How Western Intervention Fuels ‘Terrorism’

by Gwynne Dyer – “We will not be cowed by these sick terrorists,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron after ISIS produced a grisly video of the mass beheading of Syrian captives by foreign jihadis who allegedly included British fighters. “We will not be intimidated,” said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper after the recent attacks in Montreal and Ottawa. As if the purpose of terrorist attacks in Western countries was to cow and intimidate them. You hear this sort of rhetoric from Western leaders all the time, but Harper went further, and demonstrated exactly how they get it wrong. “ will lead us to… redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores. They will have no safe haven.” Sound familiar? Sure enough, there are now half...

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Industry Groups Are Freaking Out About Obama’s New Smog Pollution Rule

by EMILY ATKIN – The Environmental Protection Agency issued a new draft proposed rule on Tuesday to tighten already-existing restrictions on ground-level ozone pollution, the main ingredient of urban smog. Under the draft proposal, states would be required to lower the level of ozone pollution allowed to be in the air. Right now, the current standard is 75 parts per billion, and the new rule would change that to somewhere between 65 to 70 parts per billion. The rule would require some states with bad pollution to expand their ozone pollution monitoring, and require improvements to systems that notify the public when their air quality is at an unhealthy level. The EPA predicts this will do wonders for public health and, by extension, the economy. Scientists say that ground-level, or “bad” ozone is a pollutant with significant health risk, with the potential to reduce lung function and aggravate asthma, especially in...

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Denver Police Busted Trying To Destroy Video Evidence Of Beating Pregnant Woman (VIDEO)

by NATHANIEL DOWNES – Levi Frasier was driving along in Denver not too long ago when he came across two police officers attacking David Nelson Flores on the ground. Being a concerned citizen, he began to videotape the officers on his tablet computer as they pummeled the prone man, demanding drugs from him. When Flores’ 7-month pregnant wife, Mayra Lazos-Guerrero, came up asking them to stop, an officer swept out her feet, dropping her to the ground, enabling them to pummel her as well as her husband. The police claimed that Flores had swallowed a white sweatsock – clearly denoting that he was a drug kingpin and therefore deserved summary punished without need for a court of law to them. When they finally stopped beating on the couple, they charged Flores with resisting arrest and two drug charges, despite no drugs being found on him. Guerrero was charged with obstruction,...

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Pat Robertson On Ferguson: Police Abuse Of Blacks Is ‘Thing Of The Past’ (VIDEO)

by FRANK MINERO – Televangelist Pat Robertson, host of “The 700 Club,” isn’t one of America’s great thinkers. During Wednesday’s broadcast, he once again demonstrated a lack of capacity for rational thought. While offering his opinion on recent protests in Ferguson, Robertson affirmed that African Americans have indeed been discriminated against for decades. He acknowledged that “there’s no question” black Americans have experienced police brutality. However, according to Robertson, “the abuses of the past are pretty much a thing of the past.” According to RightWingWatch.org, Robertson was commenting about nationwide protests in response to a grand jury refusal to indict white Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson shot and killed an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, on August 9 of this year. The televangelist didn’t stop there. He blasted “the Al Sharptons of the world and other racial agitators” for ‘falsely’ portraying events in Ferguson as a call for social...

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The First Trailer for the New Star Wars Trilogy Is Here and It’s Great

by Peter Suderman – The first film in the new Star Wars trilogy, The Force Awakens, won’t be about for another year, but you can see the trailer today. It’s got rolling droids, Storm Troopers, X-Wings, and a nifty new lightsaber. It’s great. Really, really great. Watch it below: Low-flying X-Wings on a misty river. Yes. I’ve been somewhat skeptical about this project. Another trilogy? By J.J. Abrams? The same guy whose last film was an awful Star Trek reboot sequel? But I’m slowly being won over. NWF Daily NewsI suspect part of the reason is that, in contrast to the last Star Wars trilogy, the filmmakers and producers are actually paying attention to the audience this time around. They’re aware that the prequels were poorly received, and that fans are skeptical. Part of that is the transition in creative leadership. The prequels were made by George Lucas, the creator of...

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‘Fabulous’: Court Throws Out 100+ Arrests at Tar Sands Protest on Burnaby Mountain

Injunction boundaries around construction site are re-established with proper GPS coordinates, but court win comes as boon to campaigners committed to fighting pipeline by Jon Queally – More than one hundred people who have been arrested over the last week during dramatic protests against a tar sands pipeline on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia had their civil contempt charges thrown out by a Canadian court on Thursday, giving a legal boost to the movement that says it will continue to fight the dirty energy project by the Kinder Morgan corporation. As the Vancouver Observer reports: SFU molecular biology chair Lynne Quarmby beamed widely as Justice Austin Cullen announced at the B.C. Supreme Court that Kinder Morgan’s request to extend the injunction date would be rejected, and said all charges of civil contempt for protesters arrested so far on Burnaby Mountain would be thrown out. “It’s fantastic!” Quarmby said, moments after the judge announced his decision....

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Abortion: A Quick Example to Show How Easy it is to Win Even Emotionally Charged Conversations

by akadjian – Here in Cincinnati we’ve been engaged in a fight to not become the largest metropolitan region (2.1 million people) in the country without an abortion clinic. When someone posted an update about the fight to one of our local politics forums, it attracted comments like the following painting right-to-lifers as “pro baby”: With language like this, the issue is politically charged to say the least. Most people are afraid to even respond because they know they’re going to be accused of “baby killing”. What I want to demonstrate is that it’s not that difficult to win conversations on abortion (and other highly charged conversations) if you understand what the opposition is trying to do and if you’re willing to try a slightly different approach. Here’s another conservative commenter: Here, the conservative commenter goes further and names the baby killers as “cultish progressives” in an attempt to provoke. He...

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Is Walmart the World’s Worst Corporation?

by John Logan, Truthout | Op-Ed – That was the question posed last week by Public Eye, a counter-event to the World Economic Forum, as it sought a worthy winner for its “lifetime achievement award.” For sure, Walmart – which has already won a Public Eye award in 2005 for labor rights violations in its global supply chain – faces stiff competition in the online poll. Among the other outstanding nominees for the world’s worst corporation are Goldman Sachs, Chevron, Dow Chemical and Union Carbide. Walmart’s impeccable credentials for the world’s worst corporation were covered last week by Truthout. The company denies a living wage, full-time work, predictable scheduling and employment security to its global workforce of 2.2 million people. It drives down wages and labor standards in its enormous global supply chain, most notably in the Bangladesh textile industry and the Thai shrimp industry. Walmart’s contempt for the...

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Incorrect Instructions, Witness Intimidation, And More Found In Ferguson Grand Jury Documentation

by NATHANIEL DOWNES – The case of the Ferguson grand jury continues unravelling around prosecutor Bob McCulloch. According to one of the deputy prosecutors working under McCulloch, Kathi Alizadeh, they had several issues in getting witnesses against Wilson to appear in court. Some of them have frankly said there is no way I’m coming in, no way I’m going to testify. But if you knock on the door and nobody answers, we have no right, you know, to kick in the door. This is an odd statement, for the prosecution actually does have the right to do so under the power of subpoena. Many states prohibit violent entry for it, but aggressive serving methods are often employed in issuing subpoenas, up to and including the use of deputized officers of the court who have wide latitude in delivering them. Something is horribly amiss. And once you give into the witness statements,...

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Pressured by Big Utilities, ‘Sunshine State’ Ends Solar Incentive

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch – Florida‘s official state nickname is “The Sunshine State.” But the state is doing its best to make that title seem ironic. With its legendary sunny climate, it’s perfectly positioned to generate much of its power from solar energy and help address climate change — something it’s particularly vulnerable to, given its exposure to rising sea levels and hurricanes. But yesterday its regulatory Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 3-2 to give in to utility industry pressure to eliminate its solar installation incentives and to weaken its clean energy standards by slashing its energy efficiency programs. “State regulators on Tuesday approved proposals to gut Florida’s energy-efficiency goals by more than 90 percent and to terminate solar rebate programs by the end of 2015, giving the investor-owned utilities virtually everything they wanted,” wrote Tampa Bay Times reporter Ivan Penn. “It’s not the direction I want to go in,” said commissioner Lisa Edgar,...

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Putting ‘Health Above Polluters,’ EPA Proposes New Ozone Limits

By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – In a bid to protect public health and reduce the smog pollution that’s been linked to respiratory problems, asthma attacks, and cardiovascular damage, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday unveiled new air quality standards for ozone—though some suggested they might not go far enough. Ground-level ozone forms when emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds “cook” in the sun from sources like vehicles, factories, power plants, and certain fumes from fuels, solvents and paints. People most at risk from breathing air containing ozone include people with asthma, children, older adults, and those who are active or work outside. The EPA’s proposal would strengthen air quality standards to within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb); the EPA said it will take comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. The agency last updated these standards in 2008, setting them...

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Why Don’t Americans Save Their Money?

We must kill Social Security in order to save retirement by Veronique de Rugy – One-third of Americans have nothing saved for retirement, according to a study published in August by the financial data aggregator Bankrate. That grim factoid joined a growing chorus of reports highlighting Americans’ dismal savings habits. In 2013, the National Institute of Retirement Security (NIRS) determined that 84 percent of Americans are falling short of “reasonable” retirement savings targets. Data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reflect a similar trend, and a recent PBS poll found that 92 percent of Americans believe we face a retirement crisis and that government should act now. The reality is not quite as grim as these reports suggest. The American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew Biggs took a hard look at the NIRS numbers and concluded that “the substance of the NIRS study should give pause to anyone considering drastic...

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Torture Report: Mark Udall’s Historic Moment to Rescue CIA Oversight

by Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed – “Time Is Running Out on the CIA Torture Report,” National Journal reports: Backroom negotiations over the release of a long-delayed Senate report on the George W. Bush administration’s use of so-called “enhanced interrogation” practices are again hitting a wall. The Senate is set to adjourn in mid-December, but Feinstein can still hold off on submitting the report until the start of next year by obtaining a consent agreement that would allow her to file when Congress is not in session. But the extension would only give Feinstein a few weeks of extra daylight. The current Senate will formally expire at noon on Jan. 3. The continued fraying of negotiations has some suggesting that the White House might be intentionally stalling, in hopes that it can run out the clock on the report’s release, especially with...

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Uproar as Tony Blair Given ‘Global Legacy’ Award From Renowned Charity

‘We consider this award inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values,’ charge Save the Children staff by Sarah Lazare – International charity Save the Children is facing uproar, including from internal staff, for granting the “global legacy award” to former UK Prime Minister and Iraq War architect Tony Blair. The award was given to Blair by the U.S. arm of the organization at a gala in New York City last week. Save the Children, which claims “protecting children from harm” as a key mission, lauded Blair for his alleged role heading anti-poverty initiatives at the 2005 Group of Eight summit in Scotland and for his “continued commitment to Africa.” The move unleashed a torrent of criticism, including a petition, with over 90,000 signatures so far, calling on Save the Children to revoke the award on the basis that Blair is seen by many as “the cause...

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Walmart Still Dodging $7K Fine For 2008 Black Friday Trampling Death (VIDEO)

by FRANK MINERO – On Black Friday in 2008, an employee named Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death at the Long Island Walmart. A mob of deal-crazed shoppers tore the doors from their hinges, rushed inside, and trampled him to death in the process. Damour had only worked for the big box retailer for one week prior to his death. Kimberly Cribbs of Queens witnessed the chaos and The New York Times reported her experience, “When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” Ms. Cribbs said. “They kept shopping.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Walmart a paltry $7,000 for Damour’s death. As we approach the six year anniversary of this completely unnecessary tragedy, Walmart has still not paid the fine. According to The Huffington Post, their avoidance is clearly not about money....

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All Aboard: Japan’s Maglev Train Hits 500 km/h

By Nick Lavars, Gizmag – The Central Japan Railway Company has whisked passengers along a section of track at up to 500 km/h (311 mph) during testing of the Shinkansen maglev train. The BBC reports that one hundred wide-eyed train enthusiasts were onboard the train’s first manned voyage, with trials to continue over eight days. Japan’s famed bullet trains travel at speeds of around 320 kmh 200 (mph). But these may soon be left in the wake of the record-breaking levitating Shinkansen, which uses the force of electromagnets for propulsion and to hover above the track. The benefits of these super fast, friction-free train systems have been explored for several years. China’s state-owned press agency reported in 2012 that the China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation Limited, the country’s largest rail vehicle maker, built a train inspired by an ancient Chinese sword capable of hitting 500 km/h (311...

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Being Black, the Real Indictment in Ferguson and the USA

Now that the grand jury has returned with their decision on the extrajudicial killing of Michael Brown, we should be reminded that even though Darren Wilson was not indicted, Blackness was certainly indicted by the grand jury. by William C. Anderson, Truthout | News Analysis – Darren Wilson is free and the police continue to be empowered to kill with impunity. Blackness was found guilty yet again, as witnessed by the many Black slain and their stories. The color some of us carry around can exact a death sentence at a moment’s notice. Ever since the formation of the world’s greatest empire, Black people have been the eternal scapegoat for all that’s been wrong. Our blood waters the roots of war. There is nothing that can be expressed but grief, anger and frustration at the depraved patterns of this consistently immoral farce that calls itself the “criminal justice system.”...

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Bible Class Created By The President Of Hobby Lobby Gets Rejected By School District

by JOE FLETCHER – The Mustang public school system in Oklahoma has decided to cancel its plans to conduct a bible course created by Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green. The class was approved last April by the school board as an elective class. The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Staff Attorney, Andre Seidel, wrote a letter to the Oklahoma school district urging them to not approve the class due to a lack of objectivity in the curriculum. “I am amazed that any school district would think this is appropriate for public schools,” Seidel said in a press statement. “This just confirms the suspicions we had about the class last year. Clearly, Hobby Lobby and the Greens are trying to convert children to their particular brand of Christianity. There is nothing scholarly, fair or balanced about the curriculum.” “In summary, the topic of a Bible course in the Mustang School District is...

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In Praise of Russell Brand’s Sharing Revolution

For all of Brand’s joking and braggadocio, a sagacious theme runs through his new book: that a peaceful revolution must bring about a fairer sharing of the world’s resources, which depends upon a revelation about our true spiritual nature. by Adam Parsons – The political conversation on sharing is growing by the day, sometimes from the unlikeliest of quarters. And at the present time, there is perhaps no-one calling louder for a new society to be based on sharing than Russell Brand, the comedian-cum-activist and revolutionary. It is easy to dismiss much of Brand’s polysyllabic and self-referential meanderings, as do most of the establishment media in the USA and Britain, but this only serves to disregard his flashes of wisdom and the justified reasons for his popularity. His latest book is clearly not meant to be taken entirely seriously as a roadmap to “systemic change on a global scale”, hence the...

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