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Meanwhile, in Jesusland....


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reality
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« Reply #150 on: August 01, 2015, 07:29:32 pm »

Nice looking piece of kit...probably quite handy in the event that you want cause harm to something Wink
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« Reply #151 on: August 01, 2015, 08:34:40 pm »


Fortunately, even the Nats aren't silly enough to spend the huge amount of money the stupid Jesuslanders are spending on these aeroplanes.

I guess when Donald Trump becomes the next President of the USA (there are enough dumb retards in Jesusland silly enough to make it happen), he'll be able to bankrupt the country indulging in yet more warmongering and creating even bigger bogeyman than ISIS in the process.

Americans can be really STUPID & DUMB, eh?
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« Reply #152 on: August 01, 2015, 08:43:46 pm »

well...i guess..it is a democracy...so they will get what the majority want...just like here Wink


..another win for democracy...long may it last Grin
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« Reply #153 on: August 05, 2015, 06:54:00 pm »


from Mansfield News Journal....

Prison drone dropped heroin, marijuana and tobacco

By LOU WHITMIRE | 4:40PM EDT - Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A drone flew over Mansfield Correctional Institution last week while inmates were in the recreation yard. It dropped a package containing drugs and tobacco.
A drone flew over Mansfield Correctional Institution last week while inmates were
in the recreation yard. It dropped a package containing drugs and tobacco.


MANSFIELD, OHIO — The package dropped by a drone at Mansfield Correctional Institution last week contained 144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana, and 6.6 grams of heroin, according to JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Last week, the Mansfield News Journal reported a drone flew over MANCI but few details were released as to whether any contraband was dropped or found.

The incident occurred at 2:33 p.m. on July 29th according to information the News Journal received on Monday from the spokeswoman.

A drone may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in its embedded systems working in conjunction with GPS. Drones have most often been associated with the military but they are also used for search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting, among other things.

More recently, the unmanned aircraft have come into consideration for a number of commercial applications. In late 2013, Amazon announced a plan to use drones for delivery.

Last year, the Mansfield post of the Ohio Highway Patrol stepped up efforts to watch and catch criminals in the act of throwing contraband over a prison fence.

According to the ODRC, on July 27th a fight broke out on the north recreation yard, and corrections officers Jade Wojciechowski and Melinda Hane called for assistance and gave orders for the inmates to stop fighting. Other inmates on both north and south recreation began running in the general direction of the fight. The officers then used pepper spray to control the fight and ordered all inmates to get on the ground. The inmates complied and remained on the ground as other staff responded.

All inmates (approximately 75 on north recreation and 130 on south recreation) were removed from the recreation yards to the gyms, where they were strip searched, run through the cell sensor, and clinic checked. The nine fighters were placed in solitary confinement status. There were no injuries to any staff or inmates, according to a report from ODRC.

Upon reviewing the cameras, it was determined that a drone passed over the recreation yards immediately before the fight began. Further investigation revealed the drone dropped off a package intended for an inmate. The package was picked up on the north recreation yard, setting off a fight. The package was then thrown over the fence to the south recreation yard, according to ODRC.

Smith could not confirm the incident was gang related.

The Mansfield patrol on Monday received a report of a drone flying in the vicinity of MANCI and Ohio 13 North by Cyclops Field. A dispatcher said the report could not be confirmed.


Related news story:

 • Drone flies over MANCI rec yard with inmates outside (Thursday, July 30, 2015)


http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2015/08/03/manci-drone-followup/31078367







from The Telegraph....

Drone drops drugs into Ohio prison yard

Fight breaks out among prisoners over
heroin, marijuana and tobacco delivery.


12:10AM BST - Wednesday, 05 August 2015

A Drone dropped package at Mansfield Correctional Institution on July 27th. — Photo: FOX28.
A Drone dropped package at Mansfield Correctional Institution on July 27th. — Photo: FOX28.

A DRONE dropped a package of drugs into a US prison yard while inmates were outside, sparking a fight, prison officials said.

The package was dropped on July 27th at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio, creating a new front in the war on drugs in prison.

It contained almost a quarter of an ounce (7 grams) of heroin, over 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana and more than 5 ounces (140 grams) of tobacco, JoEllen Smith, a spokeman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told the Mansfield News Journal.

Ms Smith said there have been other instances of drones breaching security and the agency is taking steps to increase awareness and improve drone detection.


A Drone dropped package at Mansfield Correctional Institution on July 27th. — Photo: FOX28.
A Drone dropped package at Mansfield Correctional Institution on July 27th. — Photo: FOX28.

According to the department, video footage showed the drone over recreation yards immediately before a fight began. An investigation determined the drone dropped a package intended for an inmate on the north recreation yard, and it was thrown over a fence to the south recreation yard.

Two corrections officers called for assistance and ordered the inmates to stop fighting, according to the department. They used pepper spray to control the fight.

About 75 inmates in the north recreation yard and 130 on the south recreation yard were strip-searched, run through a cell sensor and checked by a clinic.

The nine people involved in the fight were placed in solitary confinement. No staff members or inmates were injured, the department said.

Last year, the Mansfield post of the Ohio Highway Patrol increased efforts to watch and catch criminals who throw contraband over prison fences.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11784042/Drone-drops-drugs-into-Ohio-prison-yard.html
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« Reply #154 on: August 05, 2015, 09:22:25 pm »

We in NZ are much better...we dont allow drugs in our prisons Wink
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« Reply #155 on: August 05, 2015, 09:27:21 pm »


Neither do Americans.

It's only a matter of time before a drone bombs Hawke's Bay Regional Prison, or Rimutaka Prison, or other similar correctional establishments with drugs.

Jeeezus, you're a stupid clown.
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« Reply #156 on: August 05, 2015, 10:16:53 pm »

...unless of course you happen to be in a high security serco prison...then all drugs are freely available Wink
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« Reply #157 on: August 14, 2015, 10:53:55 am »


..just ban guns Wink


Armed Offenders Squad cordon off Timaru street
 An armed officer searches a property on Evans St in Timaru.
An armed officer searches a property on Evans St in Timaru.

Gunshots were reported by neighbours as five police cars and an Armed Offenders Squad carried out an arrest warrant in Timaru.
Evans St in Timaru was cordoned off between Newman St and Luxmoor Rd.

Resident Dylan Bennet said he heard what sounded like two shots being fired.

He lives next door to the house on 114 Evans St.

Bennet, who has lived at the property since March, said the Armed Offenders Squad "camped out" the back of his house this morning before going on to the property.

He said the police have been at the scene for two hours and have mostly been talking to the people inside the property.

A neighbour believed one or more residents of the house were gang affiliates.

An unmarked police car took one person away from the house.

Nine armed offenders squad police officers have left the Evans St house. The cordons are no longer in place.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Warner said they were looking for someone specific.

Ad Feedback

"It is in relation to a specific address and public are not in any danger. It involves one house."

 - Stuff
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« Reply #158 on: August 15, 2015, 10:25:54 am »

Editorial: Republicans must attack Trump now

5:00 AM Saturday Aug 15, 2015
International Politics US Presidential Election... United States
No one expects 'The Donald' to be President, but his rivals might be better to go for him now before he spoils his party's chances.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking in Phoenix. Photo / AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking in Phoenix. Photo / AP
Donald Trump, who was not much more than a big name in New York until this week, has become a presence everywhere. His name was invoked in our Parliament on Tuesday when Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson put down Winston Peters as "the Donald Trump of New Zealand politics who wants nothing more than a cheap headline".

Was that fair to "the Donald", as New Yorkers call him?

Whatever motivates Mr Trump to seek the United States presidency it must be more than attention-seeking. Just about everything he says or does with his money receives inordinate attention in the US media for no other reason than he is an outsized personality with ostentatiously bad taste in everything from hotels to haircuts.

Now he is bringing his gross tendencies to the political stage and it will be interesting to see how long he can survive.


The first serious poll taken since the Republican candidates' debate on the Fox Network last weekend found him still in the lead. His support seems not to have suffered from his aggressive attitude to a woman on the debate panel when she questioned his attitude to women, or the deeper hole he dug for himself later when he referred to blood coming from her "wherever".

Some of those who find his obnoxiousness entertaining must be giving him a vote in opinion polls but even they probably will hesitate to give him the vote that counts. The interesting question is, how much damage will he do to the Republican Party in the meantime?

None of the candidates on stage with him last weekend knew what to do about him, even though he alone had raised his hand when they were asked whether they might run independently if they did not get the party's nomination.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who looks the likely nominee at this early stage, said nothing against him until well after the debate. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who appears to have what it takes, remained silent.

They all seemed much more haunted by Hillary Clinton, who may be the Democrats nominee next year. Mr Trump is said to be a financial contributor to Mrs Clinton's campaigns, but that probably means little. He told the debate he also donated to some of his rivals on stage and they looked sheepish.

All of them have a long way to go even to reach the first primaries in the new year. Right now their campaigns all need to raise money, all except Mr Trump obviously. He will be enjoying himself immensely, saying what he likes, causing offence, poking fun at political correctness because he alone can afford to.

But finally elections are always about judgment. People generally vote for candidates whose judgment is sound. Platforms, policies, promises quite rightly count for less than what a candidate says and does in response to challenges and difficulties that arise in an election campaign.

The US presidential election campaign seems to get longer every time it comes around.
Mr Trump's ego and bank account might last the distance but nobody seriously expects him to be the next President. If he runs as an independent, at most he could spoil the Republicans' chances. Since they would need to attack him at that point, they might do better to go at him now.

- NZ Herald
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« Reply #159 on: October 03, 2015, 03:50:45 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Taking photos on train tracks: ‘A mistake you can't undo’

By DAN MORSE | 7:00AM - Friday, October 02, 2015

John De Reggi and Natalie Crim, moments before DeReggi, was struck and killed by a train. He and his girlfriend, Crim, had come to the scenic spot in Boyds, Maryland. — Photograph: Courtesy of Crim Family.
John De Reggi and Natalie Crim, moments before DeReggi, was struck and killed by a train. He and his girlfriend, Crim,
had come to the scenic spot in Boyds, Maryland. — Photograph: Courtesy of Crim Family.


SARAH AND NATALIE CRIM had just taken 35 photographs on the train tracks. The 16-year-old twins stepped off and looked at the screen on Sarah's 35mm camera.

Several pictures caught their eyes.

One showed Natalie holding hands with her 16-year-old boyfriend, John De Reggi. Another showed Sarah, the sun lighting up her hair, with John striking a skateboarding pose atop a rail. As the sisters clicked through images, John stayed on the rail, holding his balance.

Behind the teenagers, less than a mile away, Amtrak's Capitol Limited was heading toward them at 76 miles per hour.

What happened moments later — a train looming, startled people who had been taking photos — has become a deadly phenomenon nationwide. John, a well-liked high school junior in Maryland, became the fifth person this year killed while taking photos or videos on train tracks in the United States.

It's not just kids taking photos. Professional photographers like to pose high school seniors on tracks to evoke moving on in life. Brides and grooms seek similar shots. Parents even take photos of their toddlers on the rails.

“People always think they have time to get away. That's a mistake you can't undo,” says Marc Orton, director of visual communications for the Norfolk Southern Railway.

In his six years at that position — where, among other duties, he coordinates safe photo shoots near tracks for the company's marketing — Orton has seen a growing number of portraits taken by the public on tracks.

“It's an alarming and growing trend,” says Aaron Hunt, spokesman for another large railroad company, Union Pacific.

In Boyds, in Montgomery County, Martland, where John De Reggi was killed three weeks ago, Carl Hobbs regularly sees photographers on tracks behind the small engineer repair shop he owns. “There are people taking pictures all the time,” he says.


Natalie Crim and John De Reggi, both 16, walking on train tracks in Boyds, Maryland, on September 14th, 2015, moments before an Amtrak train came up behind them. John was struck and killed shortly after this photo was made. — Photograph: Courtesy of Crim Family. John De Reggi, 16, walking on train tracks in Boyds, Maryland, on September 14th, 2015, moments before an Amtrak train struck and killed him shortly after this photo was taken. — Photograph: Courtesy of Crim Family.
LEFT: Natalie Crim and John De Reggi, both 16, walking on train tracks in Boyds, Maryland, on September 14th, 2015, moments before an Amtrak
train came up behind them. John was struck and killed shortly after this photo was made. | RIGHT: John De Reggi, 16, walking on train tracks
in Boyds, Maryland, on September 14th, 2015, moments before an Amtrak train struck and killed him shortly after this photo was taken.
 — Both photographs: Courtesy of Crim Family.


Indeed, while John, Natalie and Sarah were taking photos, another trio of teenagers was doing the same thing about 150 feet away. One of those three, Jeremy Sprites, 16, says he has taken photos on active tracks more than 30 times. “A lot of kids at my high school do it.”

Natalie and Sarah go to Clarksburg High School, where they are honor roll students and play varsity field hockey, and where this year Sarah signed up for a photography class. One of her first assignments: Take a series of photos that would illustrate pushing forward in life. The twins had been on the tracks before and said in an interview that they felt they would be safe.


The industry's alarm

For as long as there have been trains and cameras, people have been taking photos near tracks.

But recognizing that appeal, the railroad industry is increasing efforts to tell teenagers and professional photographers that shooting photos on the tracks is not only dangerous but illegal trespassing.

In June, Union Pacific pushed out jolting, animated videos over social media showing teens posing for photos on roads. In one, set on a country highway, an 18-wheeler comes up suddenly from behind; in another, it's a city bus that swoops in.






Why, the videos ask, would students who wouldn't feel safe taking senior-year photos in the middle of a road think it was fine on railroad tracks?

This month, Operation Lifesaver, a railroad group, will host a Web-based seminar with the Professional Photographers of America to discuss the dangers of track photography and explore safer alternatives. Operation Lifesaver regularly mails letters to professional photographers whose track pictures show up on the Internet. The group will roll out its own public service announcements this year.

While the Federal Railroad Administration keeps track of how many pedestrians are killed by trains, it doesn't break out what they were doing when they were hit. But the FRA, Hunt, Orton and others in the industry say photography on tracks is a growing problem.

Part of the reason, they say, is the constant photo-sharing over the Internet — meaning images that once would have been tucked away in physical albums are now zipping around, planting ideas for similar shots. And with so many cellphone cameras, there are simply more people taking more photos of everything.

“This is a trend that seems to be going in the wrong direction,” says Travis Campbell, a locomotive engineer in Idaho.

During a decade operating freight trains, Campbell says, he has come up on people taking photographs more than 50 times. Sometimes it's people on the tracks who rush out of the way. Other times they remain next to the tracks, cellphone in hand, to snap a selfie with the blurring train behind them.

The risk, often lost on otherwise careful people, is high: The selfie-takers don't realize that trains extend several feet beyond the rail. And those on tracks don't realize that a train moving at 70 mph is covering the distance of a football field every three seconds.

“All reason and logic,” Campbell says, “seems to go out the window when people get around train tracks.”


A compelling setting

The romance and history of trains make for compelling photographs.

Earlier this year, in Hartford, Wisconsin, Mike Daly's wife Roxanne gave him a surprise Father's Day gift: A professional photo shoot on the tracks, complete with a Batman costume for him and a Robin outfit for their 15-month-old son, Finn. Roxanne positioned herself across the tracks, as if she were tied down and Mike and Finn were rescuing her. The photographer also got shots of Finn, seated by himself, on the tracks.

The images went viral on the Internet — and suddenly the Dalys were vilified. “I get where they were coming from,” Daly says, “and I'd certainly not advise people do it.”

But he said he has no regrets, and one of the photos of all three on the tracks hangs in the family's living room.


Trever Yakich poses for senior high portraits in Grand Rapids, Michigan. — Photograph: Courtesy of Sesi Lee Cnossen.
Trever Yakich poses for senior high portraits in Grand Rapids, Michigan. — Photograph: Courtesy of Sesi Lee Cnossen.

Three years ago, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, high school student Trever Yakich wanted a senior photo that played off images in a music video for the song “Long Black Train”. He enlisted his cousin, professional photographer SesiLee Cnossen, to take photos of him on rail tracks — playing his guitar while seated, playing his guitar while lying on his back across the track, head resting on one rail, feet on the other. “I didn't feel that nervous,” Yakich says.

Cnossen did and tried to get off the tracks within a few minutes. She says now she tries to take her track photos on abandoned tracks.

Newly engaged couples also are posing on tracks. In Boise, Idaho, Logan and Justin Weis commemorated their 2013 engagement with photos next to the city's historic depot. “It was an image of us walking down a path together,” Justin says. He says he felt safe because the few trains he'd seen passing through downtown Boise were going slow.


Couples like Justin and Logan Weis, shown here to in Boise, Idaho, like to pose for photos on tracks to signify taking a journey together. — Photograph: Courtesy of Anna Gorin.
Couples like Justin and Logan Weis, shown here to in Boise, Idaho, like to pose for photos on tracks to signify taking a journey together.
 — Photograph: Courtesy of Anna Gorin.


Photographer Anna Gorin, who took the shots, pitches the location for high school seniors. “A great moving-toward-the-next-phase-of-life feel, very appropriate for graduation,” she writes on her Web site.

Last year, high school senior Chloe Krishnek arrived at the tracks with her parents. But there was already a photo shoot underway, so they moved to tracks nearby that are not in use. Even on the active set of tracks, though, Gorin said the slow speeds of the trains make her feel safe. “You definitely have to take into consideration where the tracks are,” she said.

Getting ready for work last year in Virginia, Norfolk Southern's Orton found himself drawn to a beautiful story on TV about a family in Georgia. Their 12-year-old daughter suffers from mitochondrial disease, which saps people of energy, and when her father danced with her on a stage, holding her as they twirled, the footage was bounced around the world.

Midway through the piece, a family photo was posted: Eight people on railroad tracks, including the girl in a wheelchair and two other young children — a sight that shocked Orton. After getting to work, he asked a Norfolk Southern police officer to call the photographer.

On the other end of the line was Maggie Culver of Studio ME Photography, who thought she'd taken precautions. Not visible in the photo was a road crossing, a few feet in front of the wheelchair. “If we hear anything, grab the kids and go,” she had told the family.

“Did you know it was illegal to be on the tracks?” the officer asked, according to Culver.

“No, I didn't,” she said.

She listened to him explain the dangers, how fast trains can appear. She took the photos off her Web site and has since urged photographers online not to use tracks, she says.

“You can get the same safe effect from a fence line or a dirt road,” Culver said.


‘Faster than I thought’

Two sets of tracks set out from Washington D.C., head northwest into Montgomery County through Boyds and pass the historic Lander Lock House on the C&O Canal. Pepper Scotto is a docent at the lock house, and on Saturday, September 12th, she looked out to the tracks and saw a man getting ready to take pictures of four young children, including one no older than 3 who was picking up rocks and throwing them.

“You really need to get off the tracks,” Scotto recalled yelling.

The man ignored her. She walked closer to him, took out her phone and threatened to call the police.

The man reluctantly left the tracks, leading the children to a small parking lot nearby. Moments later, an Amtrak train flew by.

“That really goes a lot faster than I thought,” the man said.

It was about 15 miles away, in Boyds, that Sarah Crim, Natalie Crim and John DeReggi arrived on Monday, September 14th.

Earlier, in Sarah's photography class, students had been asked to study a long quote from a marketing campaign by the computer company Apple highlighting famous geniuses willing to stand out and challenge the status quo: Bob Dylan, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein and others.

“They change things,” Apple extolled. “They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.”

Sarah and her classmates were asked to create images that illustrated the quote.

She, her sister and John got to the tracks about 4:30 p.m. A commuter train passed, heading northwest. “Okay, I guess it's clear for us to go now,” Natalie said.


John De Reggi, a gregarious and adventurous high-school senior, loved riding long skateboards near his home in Boyds, Maryland. — Photograph: Courtesy of Christine De Reggi.
John De Reggi, a gregarious and adventurous high-school senior, loved riding long skateboards near his home in Boyds, Maryland.
 — Photograph: Courtesy of Christine De Reggi.


Though just 16, she and John were very much in love. A year earlier, after they started dating, Natalie arrived home to flowers in her bedroom. John had given them to Sarah and asked her to put them there. “You seemed like you were having a bad day today,” a note he'd written said. “I hope this makes it better.”

The three walked toward the tracks, stopping for photos just before they got to them. John, as usual, was enjoying the moment. He seemed like someone, Natalie always thought, who woke up happy and spent the rest of his day that way. They made their way to the tracks, starting to walk northwest as they took more photos. Above them the sky was a clear blue. Behind them, all around, were towering trees, some starting to change color but still thick with leaves that muffle sounds.

Natalie and Sarah paused, stepped off the tracks, and looked at the photos they'd taken. Suddenly, from behind, they heard a sound and turned around.

“Guys, there's a train,” Natalie said.

She looked to the tracks. Saw her boyfriend — shocked, panicked, not immediately processing which way to jump.

“John!” she screamed.


Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

• Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at The Washington Post in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/taking-photos-on-train-tracks-a-mistake-you-cant-undo/2015/10/02/99769f94-6218-11e5-9757-e49273f05f65_story.html
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« Reply #160 on: October 03, 2015, 07:04:54 pm »

..more kiwi's choosing reality...  Tongue

Richard Dawkins suspects religion 'dying' in NZ

4:52 PM Saturday Oct 3, 2015

Richard Dawkins has become a controversial figure because of his views on religion. Photo / Supplied

Evolutionary biologist and writer Richard Dawkins says he suspects religion is "dying" in New Zealand and that's a good thing for science and education.

"...Science is advancing all time and religion is not, and religion is slowly dying," Professor Dawkins told TV3 show The Nation today.

"It's dying much faster in some countries than others. It's dying very fast in western and northern Europe, I suspect in New Zealand as well."

Prof Dawkins said human understanding of science, and of phenomena such as evolution, improved when religious groups were less influential.

Prof Dawkins is credited for coining the word "meme" in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, and frequently sparked controversy with his outspoken views on religion.


He told The Nation he was especially critical of Islam because the religion had an aggressive agenda.

"Well, Islam is the only religion that's at the moment positively dangerous. It's the only religion that is actually attempting to infiltrate the rest of the world and to take it over and, in some cases, actually by violent means. So I think anybody just looking at the politics of the situation would have to worry about it."

He said 500 years ago, Christianity was similarly dangerous but today its "teeth have been drawn".

Prof Dawkins said on Twitter last week he was considering a visit to New Zealand soon.

- NZME.

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« Reply #161 on: November 03, 2015, 08:48:23 am »


...god botherers do the wrong thing Shocked......nevaaaaaaa Wink

Vatican arrests two people in latest probe of leaked documents

6:46 AM Tuesday Nov 3, 2015

A Spanish priest and an Italian laywoman who had served on a financial reform commission set up by Pope Francis have been arrested in the probe into yet another leak of confidential information and documents, the Vatican said.

A statement from the Holy See's press office said that Vatican prosecutors upheld the arrests of the two, who had been interrogated over the weekend.

It identified the woman as Francesca Chaouqui and the priest as Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda. He is still a Vatican employee. Both of them had served on a now-defunct commission that had been set up by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of his drive to reform the Holy See's finances.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Vallejo Balda is being held in a jail cell in Vatican City. Chaouqui was allowed to go free because she cooperated in the probe, the Vatican said.


Chaouqui "has furnished the maximum cooperation and deposited documents in support of what she declared," her lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno was quoted as saying by the Italian news agency ANSA. Noting that her client was already back home, Bongiorno added "she is sure she will very rapidly clarify her position."

Bongiorno, who successfully won acquittal for Amanda Knox's co-defendant in an internationally watched murder trial, is one of Italy's top criminal lawyers. She didn't immediately answer phone calls seeking further comment.

Chaouqui, on her LinkedIn profile, describes herself as a communications expert who was the only woman, the only under-55-year-old and the only Italian woman on the pontifical commission.

Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic religious movement, expressed "surprise and pain" over Vallejo Balda's arrest. It described him in a statement as belonging to a priestly society linked to Opus Dei, and added it had no information on the case.

"If the allegation turns out to be proven, it will be particularly painful because of the damage done to the church," Opus Dei's statement said.

While Francis is intent on modernizing the Vatican and making its finances more transparent, the arrests were the latest confirmation that scandal and intrigue still swirl, as they have for centuries, through the largely closed world of the tiny city-state's administrative bureaucracy.

Current and past papacy efforts to clean house at the Vatican have sparked resentment and found resistance in the Holy See's entrenched bureaucracy, a perfect combination of factors to foster leaks.

Leaks of confidential documents from Pope Benedict XVI's papers in 2012 led to the arrest and trial of a papal butler and a Vatican computer technician.

"One must keep in mind that the leaking of confidential information and documents is a crime" under a law enacted in the first months of Francis' papacy, the Vatican statement said.

Last week, Italian news reports said the Vatican police were investigating to see who had tampered with the computer of the top Holy See's auditor, Libero Milone, who was appointed a few months ago by Pope Francis.

The Vatican confirmed that there was an investigation into the tampering, but declined to say if that incident was related to the two arrests.

Later this week, two expose books by Italian journalists about the Vatican's finances are being published, and the Vatican on Monday contended that such publications only hamper Pope Francis' clean-up drive.

"Publications of this nature do not help in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather generate confusion and partial and tendentious conclusions," the Vatican said. "One must absolutely avoid the misunderstanding of thinking that's a way to help the pope's mission."

Without specifying if the latest arrests are linked, the Vatican described the books as "fruit of a grave betrayal of the trust given by the pope, and, as far as the authors go, of an operation to take advantage of a gravely illicit act of handing over confidential documentation."

Some Vatican-watchers have theorized that Benedict decided to be the first pope in centuries to resign largely because he was morally dismayed by the leaks and intrigue behind the Vatican's closed doors and felt that in his advancing years, he wouldn't be up to the task of grappling with the scandals.

- AP
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« Reply #162 on: January 10, 2016, 01:50:48 pm »



(click on the picture to read the news story)
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« Reply #163 on: January 17, 2016, 12:38:21 pm »



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« Reply #164 on: January 17, 2016, 01:03:35 pm »

well that is surprising...didnt know Hillary was known for the dexterity of her tongue  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #165 on: January 20, 2016, 12:27:37 pm »

....goog to see that the majority of kiwis want the return to our ports of the American Navy Tongue


Kiwis torn on US ship visits

5:00 AM Wednesday Jan 20, 2016

Defence National United States
Poll shows half happy to see return of American navy but 30% don’t want it back at all.
At the Rimpac exercise in 2010, the New Zealand Navy was left out in the cold while other nations' ships docked at Pearl Harbour. Photo / AP
At the Rimpac exercise in 2010, the New Zealand Navy was left out in the cold while other nations' ships docked at Pearl Harbour. Photo / AP
Half of Kiwis would see a return by the United States Navy to New Zealand ports as a positive move but a large minority don't want their ships back, shows the latest Herald DigiPoll survey.

Prime Minister John Key believes resuming ship visits would be a positive step and extend markedly improved relations between the nations.

"Most New Zealanders can see the relationship with the United States has dramatically improved in recent times," he told the Herald. "A ship visit that is within NZ law would be a positive step."

A total 29.4 per cent don't want a ship to visit at all; 50.2 per cent think it would be a positive move; and 16 per cent displayed a sense of triumphalism by preferring to think it would be a victory for New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy.

The Navy has invited the US Navy, among others in the world, to its 75th birthday celebrations in November and the Pentagon is considering it.


But an acceptance would run counter to the most significant remaining reprisal against New Zealand's anti-nuclear laws.

The US Navy has boycotted NZ ports since 1986 when New Zealand was effectively expelled from the Anzus security pact with the US and Australia.

Reprisals have eased only in recent years. The ban on the US exercising with NZ was lifted only in 2010. But even then the Kiwis were not allowed to dock in naval facilities at Pearl Harbour but had to dock at a civilian wharf. President Barack Obama overturned that particular oddity for the 2014 Rimpac exercise.

Under New Zealand law, ships may visit only if the Prime Minister is satisfied they are not carrying nuclear weapons.

It does not require any confirmation that a ship is not nuclear armed but the US has always considered a visit by one of its ships would breach its policy of neither confirming nor denying whether its ships are nuclear armed.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the 50.2 per cent confirmed that people wanted NZ to have a good relationship with the US. "It is important that we do have a good relationship with them. But what is equally important to New Zealanders is our non-nuclear status. It has defined us as a nation for the past 30 years."

Mr Little believed the almost 30 per cent who did not want the US to visit would be those who, despite any assurances from the Prime Minister, would have doubts about whether any visiting US ship was actually non-nuclear.

He said the three options were not exclusive and there might be people who thought a ship visit was positive, but might doubt an assurance.

US ambassador Mark Gilbert was not available for comment but an embassy spokesperson emphasised other areas of co-operation.

"No decision has been made yet. Our bilateral military co-operation is strong, and we continue to partner in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping support operations. Our relationship with New Zealand ... continues to grow, and we discuss and co-operate on a wide range of issues at the highest levels."

- NZ Herald
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« Reply #166 on: January 20, 2016, 05:14:41 pm »

ahhhhaha..yes...good point..calliope please read at your own risk of  tiredsomeness


TORN? REALLY?

Apparently, according the headline on Audrey Young’s article, Kiwis are “torn on US ship visits”.

Really?


 
Half of Kiwis would see a return by the United States Navy to New Zealand ports as a positive move but a large minority don’t want their ships back, shows the latest Herald DigiPoll survey.

Prime Minister John Key believes resuming ship visits would be a positive step and extend markedly improved relations between the nations.

“Most New Zealanders can see the relationship with the United States has dramatically improved in recent times,” he told the Herald. “A ship visit that is within NZ law would be a positive step.”


A total 29.4 per cent don’t want a ship to visit at all; 50.2 per cent think it would be a positive move; and 16 per cent displayed a sense of triumphalism by preferring to think it would be a victory for New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy.

The Navy has invited the US Navy, among others in the world, to its 75th birthday celebrations in November and the Pentagon is considering it.


If that is “torn” no wonder Labour thinks they are pushing National hard in the polls.

John Key already knew what Kiwis thought; he would have polled on it already. Polling is his not-so-secret weapon as I outlined in INCITE: Politics yesterday.

But seriously, the NZ Herald is being highly deceptive with their headline and the opening paragraph.

Andrew Little, though, tried to have a bob each way:

Labour leader Andrew Little said the 50.2 per cent confirmed that people wanted NZ to have a good relationship with the US. “It is important that we do have a good relationship with them. But what is equally important to New Zealanders is our non-nuclear status. It has defined us as a nation for the past 30 years.”

Mr Little believed the almost 30 per cent who did not want the US to visit would be those who, despite any assurances from the Prime Minister, would have doubts about whether any visiting US ship was actually non-nuclear.

He said the three options were not exclusive and there might be people who thought a ship visit was positive, but might doubt an assurance.

Complete mumbo-jumbo, as is usual from Little. He will likely be criticised by the hard left for wanting a good relationship with the US. I can’t wait for the spluttering blog of hate to decry Little’s position.

The Media party didn’t want this result. It goes against their core beliefs that the USA is evil, and nuclear ships are also evil. That is the reason for the headline, despite the poll numbers.

 – NZ Herald
by Cameron Slater on January 20, 2016 at 4:30pm
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« Reply #167 on: January 24, 2016, 11:50:34 pm »


More runny shit from Cameron Slater.
Man.....somebody sure is rooted-in-the-head believing all of that verbal faeces spouted by Slater....
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« Reply #168 on: April 01, 2016, 02:30:42 pm »


Mark Morford

Amazon hits Peak Sloth, reveals Dash
buttons for Doritos, Red Bull, Slim Jims


By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist | 2:03PM PDT - Thursday, March 31, 2016

Behold! Peak Sloth courtesy of Amazon.You KNOW it's coming to Texas very, very soon. Or maybe it should say “Death Penalty!” Oh wait, they already have that button.
LEFT: Behold! Peak Sloth courtesy of Amazon. | RIGHT: You KNOW it's coming to Texas very, very soon. Or maybe it should say “Death Penalty!”
Oh wait, they already have that button.


GOOD NEWS, BRO! Amazon has your (flabby, malnourished, pre-cancerous) back!

Get this: Bezos & Co. just announced a whole slew of new, entirely silly Dash buttons for the lazy and the perplexed. You ready? Who cares?

You remember Dash buttons? Those wildly ridiculous, individually branded, Bluetooth-enabled micro-devices you stick all over the house — on the dishwasher, the pantry, your kids' faces — to instantly reorder certain “everyday” major-label products (detergent, diapers, fetish porn) with the single press of a button, because you're too lethargic and desperately first-world entitled to actually make a shopping list or get off the couch to take care of your home like a normal human?

I wrote about these nefarious little demons of the apocalypse exactly one year ago, in 2015, when Amazon first unveiled them in a haze of firesmoke and creepy, distant screams. I went so far as to make up a few of (what I thought were) the most ridiculous-seeming buttons Amazon could try out in the future — vodka, bullets, birth control pills.

I was not the slightest bit far from the truth.


This might be my favorite. A bogus “sports” drink, for the hardcore, sweaty athlete who is too lazy and tired to actually go out and buy it in a store. I mean, who has the energy?One button to rule them all.
LEFT: This might be my favorite. A bogus “sports” drink, for the hardcore, sweaty athlete who is too lazy and tired
to actually go out and buy it in a store. I mean, who has the energy? | RIGHT: One button to rule them all.


Thus exclaims the excitable/stoned Amazon press release:

Today Amazon announced it has more than tripled its lineup of Dash Button brands available to Prime members. Now with over 100 Dash Buttons to choose from, Amazon makes it even easier for Prime members never to run out of everyday essentials again.

Representing top-name brands across dozens of retail categories, new Dash Button highlights include Red Bull, Energizer, Illy Coffee, Trojan condoms, Clorox, and many more!

Now, with Amazon Dash, you never have to run out of life's essentials — assuming, of course, your life is one of general abject misery, clinical depression and lots of highly processed, cancerous junk food, insofar as, no matter how much Red Bull you buy or how many bags of Doritos you inhale in a sad, drunken stupor, you only seem to feel more angry, less social, more apt to punch a wall and way too likely to suddenly vote for Trump.


(Note: It is somewhat possible I made up that last paragraph.)


Works exceptionally well in North Carolina.
Works exceptionally well in North Carolina.

Shall we try and be fair? After all, I imagine it to be wonderfully convenient and helpful, if you're a stressed parent, to be able to reorder necessary household goods easily and quickly, as you need them. Exhausted moms need all the help they can get. And of course, it's now an instant-gratification economy. Ultra-convenience is the American way. You know, until it kills us.

Then again, it's sort of bullshit, no? Can you even measure the size of the carbon footprint and the overall waste of human energy required to prep, pack and ship you, say, a few packs of Orbit gum, or a box of Trojan condoms, or a few bags of Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn? (Yes, each has its own button now). From my (very limited, because I don't really care about Amazon or Dash, and neither do you) research, there is no minimum order for Dash buttons. You can probably order a single bag of Xtreme Cool Ranch Doritos and have it shipped to your door tomorrow, and only the gods will look upon you in unabashed disgust. Progress!

Do you feel it, America? We're very close now. We're almost there. We've almost attained Peak Sloth.

For lo, it is now a world where you can sink back into your couch, safe in the knowledge that an unimaginably vast, complex, trillion-dollar network of globally interlinked communication technologies, computer systems, fiber-optic cables and tracking algorithms are right this second joining with highly advanced warehouse robotics and massive amounts of sheer human effort — all of it underscored by a millennia of mind-boggling scientific discovery and advancement — to make sure your pack of gummy, cancer-ready meat-like sticks is sitting on your doorstep mere hours after you drunkenly pressed the Slim Jims button.

Victory! See you in hell.


Mix Red Bull, Doritos and Slim Jims together, and what do you get? that's right: Painful colon spasms.Yes, seriously.Tastes like the future! Also, cough syrup mixed with gasoline and sadness.
LEFT: Mix Red Bull, Doritos and Slim Jims together, and what do you get? that's right: Painful colon spasms. | CENTER: Yes, seriously.
RIGHT: Tastes like the future! Also, cough syrup mixed with gasoline and sadness.


Email: Mark Morford

Mark Morford on Twitter and Facebook.

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2016/03/31/amazon-gets-stoned-reveals-dash-buttons-for-doritos-red-bull-slim-jims
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« Reply #169 on: April 20, 2016, 09:53:01 pm »


from The Washington Post....

The Texas secession debate is getting kind of real

By AMBER PHILLIPS | 2:26PM EDT - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

WHEN Texas Republicans assemble for their state convention next month, it’s possible they will debate whether Texas should secede from the United States.

There's almost no chance Texas Republicans will actually vote in favor of seceding, mind you — not least because most of the party wants nothing to do with this — but the fact we're even mentioning secession and the Texas GOP convention in the same sentence suggests that the once-fringe movement has become a priority for at least some conservative grass-roots Texans.

To be sure, that seems to be a relatively small group. The Texas secession movement says 22 out of the 270 county GOP conventions passed some kind of independence resolution this spring. A party official said he'd be surprised if that were the case, and the Houston Chronicle was able to confirm only 10 counties. But 10 is a lot more than the one county that passed an independence resolution in 2012.

Texas Republicans say these independence resolutions are just a handful of tens of thousands various resolutions to be considered at their convention. But it does seem like the secession movement is growing, or at least organizing, and may have become too big for party officials to ignore.

“It's cropped up in a major way just in this last year,” Paul Simpson, chairman of the Republican Party of Harris County, told the Houston Chronicle.

Here's a rundown of what you should know about it:


First, some history…

Members of the San Antonio Living History Association commemorate the Texas independence battle at the Alamo. — Photograph: Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News/Associated Press.
Members of the San Antonio Living History Association commemorate the Texas independence battle at the Alamo.
 — Photograph: Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News/Associated Press.


Let's boil down Texas history in two paragraphs:

In 1836, a scrappy Texas won its independence from Mexico in a bloody war (Remember the Alamo? See video clip below…). The newly minted Republic of Texas experimented with running itself as its own country before going broke and voting to join the United States.

In 1861, Texans voted to secede and join the Confederacy during the Civil War. When the war was over, the Supreme Court decided — in a case brought by none other than Texas — that states can't secede unilaterally and any attempt to do so will be “absolutely null”.




Here's what modern-day secessionism looks like…

As Texas's earlier history makes clear, a variant of the Texas secession movement has refused to die. It has ebbed and flowed in Texas for the 150 years since. The modern secession movement revved up again in the 1990s under a controversial leader, Richard Lance McLaren, who took a more violent tack to get his point across — including kidnapping. He is currently serving a 99-year prison sentence related to that incident.

The Texas Nationalist Movement took over from there and has advocated a more political approach. It has attempted to get language advocating for secession on GOP primary ballots, and every four years, it's tried to prod a skeptical and reluctant Texas Republican Party to debate secession at its state convention.


So far, things seem to be going according to plan…

Former Texas governor Rick Perry. — Photograph: Julia Robinson/The Washington Post.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry. — Photograph: Julia Robinson/The Washington Post.

At a 2009 rally, then-Texas Governor Rick Perry (Republican) hinted at secession (albeit tongue in cheek; he later made clear he doesn't support the idea). A subsequent 2009 Rasmussen poll found 1 in 3 Texans think their state has the right to secede, but if it were put to a vote, 75 percent of voters would decide to stay with the United States.

Tidbits here and there since Perry's remark hint at a growing movement. After the 2012 presidential elections, the Texas Nationalist Movement reported that its membership had gone up 400 percent and its Web traffic was up 900 percent. Bumper stickers and signs advocating for secession began popping up in the state.

A 2012 WhiteHouse.gov petition to secede earned more than 125,000 signatures and a response from the White House. (The response: “No!”) Last year, the group held speaking tours to try to promote its cause and get a non-binding resolution on the GOP primary ballot.

Today, the movement says it has advocates in most Texas counties and 200,000 members statewide (although those numbers are hard to verify and are just a small percentage of the state's population of 26.9 million).

Which brings us to 2016, when at least 10 Republican county conventions — there are 254 counties in Texas, but some have two conventions — passed some kind of item expressing support for Texas independence or at least for debating it.


Despite Perry's joke, most Texas Republican leaders want nothing to do with this…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott. — Photograph: Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman/Associated Press.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott. — Photograph: Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman/Associated Press.

The reasons are fairly obvious, but we'll spell them out anyway: Texas Republicans think that the secession movement is unrealistic and unconstitutional and that it opens them up to Democratic attacks that they're wasting their time on extreme ideas instead of actually governing the state. (Republicans dominate the state: In the 2014 general election, Republicans swept all 15 statewide races on the ballot and maintained their 16-year winning streak. They also have firm control of both houses of the Texas legislature and all of the state's governing boards.)

Texas Republican leaders would much rather ignore this pesky secession movement. But in recent years they've been forced to deal with it.

This fall, the group tried to get 75,000 signatures to get a secession-related resolution on March's GOP primary ballot. It read: “If the federal government continues to disregard the constitution and the sovereignty of the State of Texas, the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

In December, the state party took matters into its own hands and voted down the idea. The movement doesn't even have “Republican” in its name, one state party official said. Another said he was “sorry we are even having the conversation.”

In return, the secessionists immediately laid the blame at the party's feet: They “are of the same mindset as the bureaucrats in Washington,” the group said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Republican) probably didn't help quell the movement when he called for a constitution of states this January. This is an idea that pops up among Republicans from time to time — Marco Rubio's a fan — to help states regain some of the control from the federal government.

Lubbock County GOP chair Carl Tepper told the Houston Chronicle his county approved a resolution advocating for secession if such a convention fails to fix Texas's problems with the federal government.


So what's going to happen at the state party convention?

The Houston Chronicle's Dylan Baddour wrote that the fact that at least 10 counties are coming to the state convention supporting independence resolutions makes it difficult for party leaders to sweep this under the rug. It's possible there will be some kind of a vote on the floor.

But if it comes to that, party leaders will probably try to keep the vote as quiet and dispense with it as quickly as possible. It almost certainly won't pass, and it almost certainly won't become part of the party's official platform.

Still, it's impressive the secession movement has made it this far. Then again, it's had 150-odd years to practice pitching this.


• Amber Phillips writes about politics for The Fix at The Washington Post. She was previously the one-woman D.C. bureau for the Las Vegas Sun and has reported from Boston and Taiwan.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/04/19/the-texas-secession-movement-is-getting-kind-of-serious
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« Reply #170 on: September 06, 2016, 02:29:48 am »


from the Miami Herald....

He spent a year in jail and lost his business,
but they had the wrong Carlos


By JIM WYSS | 11:36AM EDT - Friday, August 26, 2016

Carlos Ortega was extradited to Florida by mistake. Now U.S. courts say he can't sue to recover legal fees or damages. — Photograph: Jim Wyss/Miami Herald.
Carlos Ortega was extradited to Florida by mistake. Now U.S. courts say he can't sue to recover legal fees or damages.
 — Photograph: Jim Wyss/Miami Herald.


BOGATA, COLOMBIA — Carlos Ortega spent a year in jail, ran up almost $300,000 in legal bills and lost his livelihood — all over a basic transcription error and what his lawyers say was an overzealous South Florida prosecutor.

But even though U.S. courts admitted that they made a mistake when they extradited the 66-year-old Colombian to the United States in 2012 on drug trafficking charges, Ortega is powerless to fix the injustice.

In June, the longtime commercial pilot and aviation expert lost an appeal seeking reimbursement of his legal fees plus damages. The U.S. Court of Appeals threw out the case saying the prosecutor had “absolute immunity”, even though Ortega's lawyers argued that the prosecutor knew Ortega was innocent, hid evidence that would have cleared him and shut down DEA officials who became concerned that they had the wrong man.

“I don't understand how there can be immunity under these despicable circumstances — when they destroy your career completely,” said Ortega, who lost his company while he was in jail. “If I had been guilty of something, then OK, but my case had been dismissed.”

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment for this article, but documents and interviews with Ortega and others shed light on the obscure world of extradition, a system that critics say is riddled with problems.

Ortega's troubles began in October 2011, when Colombian agents came pounding on his door at 4 a.m. and hauled him away in handcuffs. They informed him he was wanted in the United States for selling an aircraft to a drug dealer and they told him they had telephone recordings to back up their claims.


Carlos vs. Carlos

Ortega was well known in Colombia's aviation circles. A commercial pilot for decades, he later became the head of security for the equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration and was someone frequently quoted in the press. In 2004, he started his own company, working as a consultant and airplane broker.

When he was arrested — despite his clean record — Ortega was locked in the extradition ward of the notorious La Picota, a maximum security prison in Colombia's capital designed to hold hardened criminals and drug lords.

A private investigator soon discovered the prosecution's mistake. The target of the wiretap investigation had been recorded speaking to two different men, both named Carlos. One was in Costa Rica and involved in criminal activity. The other was Ortega in Bogotá. Prosecutors were conflating the two men.

The entire case could have been resolved by looking at Ortega's passport (he’d never traveled to Costa Rica), or by double-checking the recording.

“An 8-year-old child could have told you that our voices were completely different,” Ortega said.

Ortega's lawyers and advocates alerted U.S. authorities to the problem in March 2012, five months after the arrest, but they say they were ignored. They also say federal prosecutor Andrea Hoffman covered up the exculpatory evidence.

When the DEA in Bogotá became concerned that they had the wrong Carlos, Hoffman “ordered the DEA agents” to “stand down,” Ortega's lawsuit said. She also directed them “to keep the phone wiretaps that established Mr. [Ortega's] innocence a secret.”

In June, 2012, Ortega was sent to Miami for trial, and that's where the real pressure began. Ortega says that even though prosecutors knew he was innocent they tried to force him to take a plea deal. At one point they told him that if he declared his guilt, he could go home in six months. When he refused, they told him to plead guilty and he could go home immediately.

“I would say 99.9 percent of people put in that situation plead guilty just to go home,” Ortega said. “I would have stayed there my whole life but I was not going to say I was guilty of something I didn't do.”

Last August, as it became clear they had made a mistake, prosecutors dropped all charges and Ortega came home. By that point, however, his life had come apart.

Ortega and his family had amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts to cover legal fees and travel costs, and his consulting company had gone under. Once a successful businessman, Ortega and his wife now live in a rented apartment in Bogotá and rely on their children for support. He was also stripped of his U.S. visa that he'd had for decades.

“I came out of this with nothing,” Ortega said. “Even my pants are borrowed.”


Nine-count complaint

Last year, Ortega sued the United States and Hoffman on a nine-count complaint including false imprisonment, false prosecution, abuse of process and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Though the appellate court noted that Ortega’s “arrest and detention negatively impacted his family life, mental health, credibility, reputation and ability secure employment,” it said the U.S. had “sovereign immunity” and that Hoffman was entitled to “absolute immunity” because the claims arose from “her prosecutorial duties.”

Marcia Silvers, the Coral Gables attorney who handled Ortega's appeal, said the case boiled down to the prosecutor's role. If Hoffman had been considered a “law enforcement” official she could have been held liable.

“Prosecutors frequently direct and supervise investigations. If they … violate defendants' constitutional rights, they should not be afforded immunity,” Silvers wrote in an email. “They should be subject to civil liability for damages, as are law enforcement officers under the Federal Tort Claims Act.”

The case, she said, is unusual because “on appeal, both the government and the defense agreed that Carlos Ortega Bonilla was factually innocent and wrongfully charged. Yet, the appellate court held that the prosecutor had sovereign immunity.”


Whose case?

Felipe De Vivero, Ortega's Colombian lawyer, said the extradition system is something of a “catch 22” for defendants like Ortega. Though he was initially held in Colombia, the charges came from the U.S., and there was no way to challenge the evidence in Colombian courts.

“In Colombia, they say it's not our problem, it's the fault of the United States,” he explained. “And in the U.S., they claim sovereign immunity.”

From 2002 through 2015, the United States extradited 1,878 people from Colombia. So far this year, 67 have been extradited.

In October, the Miami Herald interviewed more than 10 people who are either awaiting extradition or had passed through the system. All claimed they were denied basic rights while being held on U.S charges in Colombia, including running water, sunlight, minimal levels of hygiene, access to medical care and full disclosure of the charges against them.

“Carlos [Ortega] is a hero to so many because he went through the process, stuck to what he knew was right and didn't break down,” said Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, who was detained in September 2015 on allegations of U.S. securities fraud.


Entrepreneur to detainee

Isaza, a dual U.S.-Colombian citizen with real estate investments in the tourist city of Cartagena, was getting off a domestic flight to Bogotá when he was apprehended. He asked to be sent back to New York on the next flight — in handcuffs and under guard if necessary — to fight the charges. Instead, he spent nearly 11 months in Colombian maximum security prisons — where he says he was extorted and abused — before being extradited.

Isaza had no criminal record and was accused of a white collar crime. He had been in the U.S. shortly before his arrest and was planning to be back several days later. By detaining him in Colombia, and putting him in with hardened criminals without an arraignment, he believes U.S. authorities were putting him in harm's way and violated his constitutional rights.

“The entire system is designed to break you down and get you to plead,” he said from New York, where he is under house arrest awaiting trial. “And I think it's set up that way on purpose. Your family is suffering too. You haven't even seen a judge yet but you feel enormous pressure to just accept guilt and go home — irrespective of fact.”

Ortega is bitter about the experience, but he's also philosophical.

“In any war, there will always be innocents who get injured,” he said. “This is a war against narco-trafficking and I'm one of the wounded. It’s like they were trying to bomb the house next door but I got hit by the shrapnel.”

Even so, Ortega said he'd like a public apology.

“But the most important thing,” he said, “is that we have to find a way so that this quits happening.”


http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/colombia/article98056167.html
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« Reply #171 on: September 06, 2016, 02:32:28 am »


I reckon Carlos Ortega would be justified in hiring a hit-man to dish out alternative justice in the form of a few bullets to Andrea Hoffman.

After all, if she is going to lie and hide evidence, then hide behind immunity from being sued, then she deserves to be dealt to in other ways.
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« Reply #172 on: September 13, 2016, 03:30:08 pm »


from the Miami Herald....

A purple-haired grandma lives in a tree house.
Now she's told it has to come down.


By DAVID SMILEY | 7:30AM EDT - Saturday, September 03, 2016

A fight over a tree house has pitted Shawnee Chasser against Miami-Dade's $7 billion county government. — Photograph: Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald.
A fight over a tree house has pitted Shawnee Chasser against Miami-Dade's $7 billion county government.
 — Photograph: Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald.


SHAWNEE CHASSER found a higher standard of living 25 years ago when she moved into a tree house.

Now, she has to come down.

A claustrophobic flower child with purple streaks in her graying curls, Chasser has spent the last year fighting Miami-Dade County over the fate of the wood cottage where she lives, nestled against the forked trunks of an oak and strangler fig in the wooded front yard of her late son's Biscayne Gardens home.

To Chasser, it's a suburban Eden preferable to the walls, windows and air conditioning of a house.

But the county says the open-air chateau was built illegally, is unsafe and must be demolished in the next four months. Chasser — who once marched from California to D.C. as part of an anti-nuclear arms protest — says that will never happen, setting up an only-in-Miami showdown between a $7 billion government and a 65-year-old grandmother who sells bags of organic popcorn at Whole Foods.

“I'm not taking down anything,” Chasser vowed during an interview. “I'll chain myself to that tree house.”

Chasser, who discovered her aversion to indoor living decades ago, has slept in a tree since 1992 after she moved her family back to Miami from California. Her brother, Ray Chasser, built her first abode at the Earth N' Us farm in Little Haiti, where he mounted a shanty on telephone polls and wrapped it around a pithecellobium tree.

Chasser later moved to her son's home on the corner of Northwest 135th Street near North Miami and commissioned a new cottage with curved wooden steps leading around the trees to a second story just large enough to fit a double bed. The ground floor includes a kitchenette stocked with a mini oven and sink, and a tiny, circular living room cooled by a Home Depot ceiling fan. There are family pictures everywhere, books above a desk, and a small couch where a 2-month-old raccoon named “Coonie” sometimes stretches out lazily.




Chasser, who walks around barefoot, says there's no better way to live.

“When I am up in my tree house in thunder, lightning and rain, I am in heaven,” Chasser said. “There's nothing nicer, more spiritual, more wonderful.”

The cottage, which can't be seen from the street, is off to the south side of “Shawnee's Paradise”, on the corner of Be Here Now Street and Joshua's Way, an ode to her late son, who died inside his house in 2009 of a heart attack. The property — recently featured by the Tiny House Giant Journey travel blog — is just under a half-acre of wooded lawn stretched around a man-made pond and waterfall and hiding from its surroundings behind a hedge.

The home belongs to a land trust run by Chasser's daughter. Chasser makes the property available to tenants who want to rent rooms, a mini-camper, or even set up tents in the front yard. It's partly about sharing her simple life, but it helps her pay the bills too, along with proceeds from Shawnee's Greenthumb Popcorn, which she mass-produces and sells in Whole Foods stores around Florida.

But everything changed about a year ago, when someone called 311 to complain that Chasser was running the property like an apartment complex and campground in the middle of a single-family neighborhood. Chasser, who says she's tight with her neighbors, blames a booted tenant. But the unexpected visit from county code enforcement last September jarred her world.

She was issued a citation for illegally running a rooming house and for work conducted at the property without permits, including the pond, fountain, a chickee hut — and the tree house.

“This has got to be my first time ever of somebody living in a tree house,” said Ricardo Roig, Miami-Dade's code enforcement division director and a 26-year county employee.

The county's issue with Chasser's abode isn't specifically that she lives there, Roig said, but that it's unsafe. Roig said South Florida has strict rules about building code because of the frequency of hurricanes, and added that running water and electricity have to be installed with permits and inspections. He said Chasser is welcome to live in a legal tree house, but code and unsafe-structure inspectors looked at the cottage and found it constructed in a way that it can't be brought up to county standards. This week, the county's unsafe structures board agreed and gave her three months to tear the tree house down.


Shawnee Chasser relaxes in her tree house. — Photograph: Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald.
Shawnee Chasser relaxes in her tree house. — Photograph: Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald.

Chasser, who has already paid $3,000 in fines, potentially faces more than $7,000 in additional liens, according to the county.

“They're creating a campground out there. You just can't go into a residential property and start charging outsiders to come in. We've got neighbors who we've got to protect their rights also,” Roig said. “It's just a combination of situations that haven't been well thought out.”

Chasser is incredulous. Her brother's tree house in Miami is treated like a landmark and included in official marketing material from the county's tourism bureau. It also survived Hurricane Andrew.

Chasser says she can't afford to hire an engineer or architect to come help her bring her property up to code. Plus, even if she could, she said, the county tells her she would still have to apply to the zoning department for permission to inhabit the units outside the main home on the property.

But Chasser isn't giving up. The county's unsafe structures board allows for appeals and requests for additional hearings, and she said she’s talking with her attorney, Sheleen Khan, about all her options.

One non-starter: moving. Chasser notes that the bags that carry Shawnee's Greenthumb Popcorn celebrate a certain unusual style of living, and she doesn't want to be guilty of false advertising.

“It says on the back that I live in a tree house,” she said. “So I have to keep living in a tree house.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Related media:

 • VIDEO: She lives in a tree house, but Miami-Dade County says it has to come down

 • Facebook: “Shawnee's Paradise”

 • The Washington Post: ‘I'm not taking my treehouse down’, vows ‘hippie’ woman who has lived in it for 10 years


http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article99662117.html
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« Reply #173 on: October 16, 2016, 10:21:42 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Americans now live in two worlds, each with its own reality

By PHILIP BUMP | 1:18PM EDT - Saturday, October 15, 2016

Donald Trump gestures as he reads from a teleprompter during a speech in Virginia Beach on July 11th. — Photograph: Steve Helber/Associated Press.
Donald Trump gestures as he reads from a teleprompter during a speech in Virginia Beach on July 11th. — Photograph: Steve Helber/Associated Press.

IT IS not true that the 2016 presidential election is being rigged in any meaningful sense of that word. If you extend a definition of “rigged” to include such loose concepts as “members of the political establishment hoping outsiders are unsuccessful” or “campaign operatives using common political practices to improve the chances of electoral success,” then, maybe. But that's not the way that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, means it.



In Trump's estimation, the campaign is rigged in the traditional sense of the expression: nefarious forces are seeking to commit voter fraud in Pennsylvania, the media is conspiring with a wealthy Mexican to make up lies about him, Hillary Clinton is doing the bidding of a cabal of international bankers. On Saturday, he implied that Clinton had been given the questions during the first debate, a laughable conspiracy theory that flourished briefly in the wake of her strong performance on the stage that night. But for Trump, sinking in the polls faster than Clinton is rising, any conspiracy theory that undercuts his opponent is one worth sharing.

His allies and supporters — like Senator Jeff Sessions (Republican-Alabama) and David Clarke, a member of law enforcement in Wisconsin — agree.






The accusations outlined above are false. In-person voter fraud is essentially nonexistent; the idea that New York Times reporters are acting at the behest of a partial stakeholder in their employer is ridiculous; accusations that Clinton is seeking to undermine the United States to the benefit of international bankers is a strain of thought evolved from the worst anti-Semitic claims.

But many Trump supporters think I'm wrong — or intentionally lying as part of that same conspiracy. The beauty of a conspiracy theory is precisely that everything proves it: evidence and the lack of evidence, the latter proving the coverup. At a rally in Cincinnati, Trump fans told reporters from The Boston Globe that they were willing to stake out polling places to root out fraud, that the media was rotten, that the election was rigged.

It's unclear whether Trump is reinforcing existing skepticism about institutions such as the media and the government or whether he's creating new strains. It's probably both. As Wonkblog's Chris Ingraham noted on Saturday, the lack of confidence in traditional institutions has spiked since 2008 — at least among Republicans.




Trump has repeatedly argued that facets of those institutions, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Reserve, are part of the same broad-ranging effort to cause him to lose the election. A new survey from Marketplace and Edison Research indicates that a quarter of Americans agree with him. That's split heavily along political lines, though. Only about 1 in 20 Clinton supporters distrust economic data such as unemployment rates and jobs numbers. Almost half of Trump supporters distrust that data.



That dichotomy suggests that Americans live in worlds rooted in different core truths — and that's what Americans believe is happening. Pew Research asked Clinton and Trump supporters whether they thought that the two political sides agreed generally on basic facts, disagreeing only on how to address the country's problems, or whether each side relied on different basic facts entirely.

More than 80 percent of respondents said it was the latter.




That's the gulf that Trump is both widening and exploiting. It's not hard to figure out why he's happily passing around bad information at this point: The media is reporting on a number of accusations that his 2005 hot-mic comments about groping women were a reflection of what he actually did and not just “locker room talk.” The best way to get people to ignore those accusations is to double-down on their existing skepticism about the media and, ideally, to loop his opponent into that same grand conspiracy. It's not clear how this is a scenario that will propel him to victory in November, but it is clearly a strategy that might, at least, allow him to save face.

The rift in the electorate, though, may end up being a much harder problem to plaster over.


• Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix at The Washington Post. He is based in New York City.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/15/americans-now-live-in-two-worlds-each-with-its-own-reality
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« Reply #174 on: October 17, 2016, 01:28:01 pm »

Reality is this would be over nice and quick

me i hope if all this goes down they let us watch it on tv as i am

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Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
http://www.infowars.com/

AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP

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