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Archive for August 28th, 2012

3-person civil union sparks controversy in Brazil

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A notary in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has sparked controversy by accepting a civil union between three people. Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the man and two women should be entitled to family rights.

She says there is nothing in law to prevent such an arrangement.

But the move has angered some religious groups — and that’s supposed to be sufficient reason for everyone to gt their nickers bunched.

The three individuals, who have declined to speak to the press, have lived in Rio de Janeiro together for three years and share bills and other expenses.

Ms Domingues says they have already opened a joint bank account, which is also not prohibited by any law…

Nathaniel Santos Batista Junior, a jurist who helped draft the document, said the idea was to protect their rights in case of separation or death of a partner…

Ms Domingues, who is based in the Sao Paulo city of Tupa, said the move reflected the fact that the idea of a “family” had changed…”We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything.”

“For better or worse, it doesn’t matter, but what we considered a family before isn’t necessarily what we would consider a family today…”

It matters not that such arrangements are perfectly legal in other cultures – as are most permutations of multiple partner arrangements someplace or other.

All that interests me is getting the religious sheriff out of the way of people deciding how to live their lives in peace without bothering anyone else. So far, we know we can count on “the religious” to disturb that peace.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm

NYC Police protocol questioned after 9 bystanders shot

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The encounter was breathtakingly brief: a surveillance video showed a gunman outside the Empire State Building on Friday pulling a pistol, pointing it at two police officers, their firing at him and his falling to the sidewalk.

All the yelling and cries of pain occurred out of camera view, just north of where the gunman, Jeffrey T. Johnson, collapsed and died: nine bystanders were struck, cradling bloody arms or lying on the sidewalks and curbs.

The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, confirmed on Saturday that all nine were wounded by police bullets, bullet fragments or shrapnel from ricochets. Mr. Kelly also confirmed that the shooter, Mr. Johnson, never fired another shot after killing a former co-worker, Steven Ercolino, moments earlier…

It was the second time in two weeks that police officers fired fusillades on the crowded streets of Midtown — 28 shots fired between the two episodes — and with it, there were once again questions of police protocol in urban settings. In the first shooting, no bystanders were struck when officers fired 12 shots at a man with a knife just south of Times Square…

In many police shootings, stray shots are almost inevitable; a study based on New York’s annual firearms discharge reports indicated that officers hit their targets 34 percent of the time…

The patrol guide, the department’s manual, states that officers should not fire their weapons when, “in their professional judgment, doing so will unnecessarily endanger innocent persons.”

Of the nine bystanders wounded, at least two remained hospitalized in stable condition on Saturday…

Most folks understand the danger of the job. Most folks can see the difficulty of getting into a shootout with a suspect in a heavy duty urban situation. That doesn’t excuse the overkill we see again and again, with dozens of wild shots.

RTFA for anecdotal tales of other shootouts in NYC, decisions offered by the city that sometimes make sense, sometimes nothing but covering blue butt.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Soldiers in Obama assassination plot vowed they were “giving the government back to the people!”

New details are emerging about the four U.S. soldiers accused of plotting to assassinate President Obama and overthrow the U.S. government.

The bizarre story began unfurling on Monday after Pfc. Michael Burnett, dressed in his Army uniform, testified in a southeast Georgia court against his fellow militia members. Prosecutors accused the group F.E.A.R. (Forever Enduring Always Ready) of buying $87,000 worth of assault rifles, bomb materials, and semiautomatic weapons in a plot to bomb a park in nearby Savannah, poison apple orchards in Washington state and blow up a dam with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the government and killing Barack Obama. The group also stands accused of murdering former U.S. soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend Tiffany York after they learned of the group’s plans.

In a plea bargain, Burnett plead guilty to manslaughter and illegal gang activity on Monday in connection with Roark and York’s murder…

The four U.S. soldiers implicated in the crimes, Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, Sgt. Anthony Peden, Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Burnett, are all active members of the U.S. Army. According to Burnett, the group’s rationale behind killing the president was “to give the government back to the people,” according to CNN….The Associated Press reports that the group courted current and former soldiers “who were in trouble or disillusioned.” Prosecutors said they had no idea of the size of F.E.A.R.’s membership…

The alleged ringleader of F.E.A.R. is Pvt. Aguigui, who funded the militia with $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the death of his wife just one year ago. Aguigui called himself “the nicest coldblooded murderer you will ever meet,” according to a video interview with military investigators…


Aguigui as a page at 2008 Republican Convention

…According to Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson, the military has an ongoing probe within the Criminal Investigative Division but no one else is being tied to the crimes at this point, according to Larson. Apparently, Burnett pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to testify against the three other soldiers in order to avoid a death sentence.

Nope. It can’t happen here, right?

The plot ain’t nothing new. A similar plot was uncovered against FDR in the US military in the 1930′s. The storyline worked for a pretty good movie thriller in “Seven Days in May”.

Rightwing nutballs find our military a fruitful hunting ground for the disaffected and unemployable.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Top 10 Dumb Crooks

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Click on the photo to view the Top 10 dumb crooks

As providers of high-security solutions around the world, understanding the criminal mindset is part of our job description. But every once in awhile, we find proof that there’s just not much to understand. Here are the stories of The 10 Stupidest Criminals and their Stupid Crimes that are just too bizarre not to be true…

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Written by Ed Campbell

August 28, 2012 at 10:00 am

Want to know when political ads are lying – and who paid for them? There’s an app for that

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What if every political ad came with a “truthiness” disclaimer? That’s essentially the goal of the Super PAC App, a new project from former students at MIT’s Media Lab.

Their free iPhone app…listens to political advertisements on television and matches the ad’s audio waves against a database — much like the Shazam app identifies music. It then tells the app’s user who paid for the ad and how much they’re spending on the campaign before pointing them to nonpartisan sources — PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and others — to try to verify the ad’s claims.

The app is free of advertising and is funded in full by a grant from the Knight Foundation, according to Dan Siegel, one of the app’s co-creators.

The fact-checking process is especially important this year, said Siegel, because Super PACs for the first time can spend unlimited funds on presidential campaign ads. In recent weeks TV airwaves in battleground states have been full of ads making negative claims about both President Obama and his rival Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee…

Useful, in your own mind – and you can dazzle your peers with information and understanding which runs counter to the very premises of American politics.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

20 reasons not to attack Iran

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Qader truck-mounted cruise missile

Although I believe it would be idiotic for any country to wage war with Iran, one cannot rule out the possibility. Here are 20 reasons why a military attack on Iran is a bad idea:

First, Iran has become the leading country in the Muslim world advocating for an end to nuclear weapons by religiously committing itself against weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Iranian Supreme Leader issued a Religious Decree, or Fatwa, that forbids the production, stockpiling and use of all WMDs.

Second, the IAEA in the past decade, following more than 4,000 inspection hours, frequently and constantly has declared that there is no evidence of diversion in Iranian nuclear activity toward building a weapon.

Third, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has maintained that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, has not made the decision to build them and is not on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. The international community also accepts this conclusion…

Ninth, there is no doubt that in case of any strike, Iranians of all political stripes would rally around the flag to defend their land, integrity, identity, and rights, and to resist security threats.

Tenth, President Obama’s effort to improve relations with the Muslim world is one of the most important U.S. foreign policy objectives. This was highlighted in his June 4, 2009 Cairo speech, calling for a “new beginning” between the United States and Muslims. Any strike on Iran by the U.S. or Israel would revive anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world and even other parts of the globe…

Thirteenth, America’s standing in the Middle East is already under mounting strain on multiple fronts. The political order in a number of “pro-American” Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Lebanon is shifting away from the United States. In the event of an attack on Iran, this trend will accelerate and may shift the balance of influence and power more toward Tehran.

Seventeenth, Israel is already isolated. A war with Iran would worsen this situation and further strain both U.S. and Israeli relations with countries in the region.

Eighteenth, even if Israel takes unilateral military action, the U.S. would be considered complicit in the attack, and its assets, bases and personnel would be targeted by the Iranian retaliation.

Nineteenth, an Israeli or U.S. strike could dramatically widen the diplomatic split between the United States and Russia, China, and Non-Alignment Movement countries and may even create divergence with European and regional allies, reminiscent of tensions over the Iraq war.

Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. From 1997 to 2005, he was the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council; from 2003 to 2005, he served as spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union.

RTFA for all 20 reasons. I displayed some of the most important – IMHO.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 28, 2012 at 2:00 am

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