Bring a friend over the border! Both of you can sell your blood.

❝ Every week, thousands of Mexicans cross the border into the U.S. on temporary visas to sell their blood plasma to profit-making pharmaceutical companies that lure them with Facebook ads and colorful flyers promising hefty cash rewards.

❝ The donors, including some who say the payments are their only income, may take home up to $400 a month if they donate twice a week and earn various incentives, including “buddy bonuses” for recruiting friends or family. Unlike other nations that limit or forbid paid plasma donations at a high frequency out of concern for donor health and quality control, the U.S. allows companies to pay donors and has comparatively loose standards for monitoring their health.

❝ The U.S. is the largest supplier of blood plasma in a $21 billion global market…The border clinics are the most productive, according to internal…documents obtained by ARD [German TV]. While most U.S. centers receive around 1,000 paid donations a week, centers at the border count more than 2,300. The documents show that border centers also rank highest in donor frequency; they top of list of centers with customers who donate 75 times or more per year.

But, then, you would expect a leech like Trump to be aiding bloodsuckers profiting from poor migrants.

Toxic plume of pollution from military base poisoning groundwater, dairy farm…and more


Click to enlargeDon J. Usner/Searchlight New Mexico

Art Schaap and some of 4,000 dairy cows on his farm in Clovis, New Mexico. He has to kill all of them.

❝ For months, Clovis, New Mexico, dairy farmer Art Schaap has been watching his life go down the drain. Instead of selling milk, he is dumping 15,000 gallons a day – enough to provide a carton at lunch to 240,000 children. Instead of working 24/7 to keep his animals healthy, he’s planning to exterminate all 4,000 of his cows, one of the best herds in his county’s booming dairy industry.

The 54-year-old second-generation dairy farmer learned last August that his water, his land, his crops – even the blood in his body – were contaminated with chemicals that migrated to his property from nearby Cannon air force base…

❝ “This has poisoned everything I’ve worked for and everything I care about,” Schaap said. “I can’t sell the milk. I can’t sell beef. I can’t sell the cows. I can’t sell crops or my property. The air force knew they had contamination. What I really wonder is, why didn’t they say something?”

❝ There is plenty the air force could have said. It has for decades been aware that PFAS chemicals are toxic to humans, animals and the environment. By 2000, industry scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency had meticulously documented that they persist in the environment for millennia. They are linked to cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease, lowered immunity and high cholesterol, among other serious health problems.

They have poisoned the groundwater at 121 military bases across the US…

Read the stinking details. Please. The Pentagon, Federal Government, State Governments – have all known about the danger and like all tidy criminals didn’t do a damned thing about it. Civilians, urban and rural alike, have had to sue the military every time this crap comes up to get any compensation.

The ideology of a permanent warfare state demands that civilians matter least, the military and whatever they say they need is the highest priority in these United States.

Teen bloodied by mystery sea creatures in Australia

❝ A teenager who went for a swim at a Melbourne beach and emerged with his feet covered in blood has stumped marine experts.

❝ Sam Kanizay’s legs felt sore after playing a game of football on Saturday, so he decided to soak them at the beach. About 30 minutes later, the 16-year-old walked out of the water with his feet and ankles covered in what looked like hundreds of little pin holes that were bleeding profusely. Upon returning home, his parents promptly took him to the hospital.

❝ Kanizay’s father, Jarrod, said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries. So Jarrod went back to the beach the following night with a pool net full of meat and captured the animals he believes could have been responsible. He took a video of dozens of the tiny bug-like creatures chomping on the chunks of meat.

“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he said.

Eeoouugh!

Thanks, Mark and Justin

Alabama has a vampire judge


Give blood or go to jail – Alabama

Judge Marvin Wiggins of Marion, Alabama, is offering destitute people who owe court fees a dangerous choice: donate blood, or risk going to jail. According to audio posted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, recorded in September on the day of a blood drive, Wiggins allegedly told those with fines: “If you do not have any money, and you don’t want to go to jail – you can give blood today”, adding: “consider that a discount”.

Wiggins’s choice is a terrible, likely unconstitutional and ethically dubious proposition, which could have potentially mortal consequences for the public blood supply. This kind of rampant capitalism, in which a local court essentially says: ‘value will be extracted from you, akin to squeezing blood from a stone’ is a barbaric violation of the rights of the poor…

Keep in mind that a 1983 supreme court case, Bearden v Georgia, prohibits judges from “imprisoning people who are too poor to pay their legal debts”. This still happens, sadly, even though the Bearden ruling effectively made debtors prisons illegal. While judges are allowed to mandate alternatives to incarceration for indigent debtors, such as performing community services, biomedical ethicists would probably say forcing them to give up their blood under threat of imprisonment doesn’t fly.

The Southern Law Center has filed an ethics complaint against Judge Wiggins for enacting “a violation of bodily integrity”, and the New York Times quotes a medical ethicist calling this plan “wrong in about 3,000 ways”.

Not that reason, rationality or American constitutional law has any resemblance to governance in the Confederacy.

Sabotage conviction overturned against nun and her fellow activists


Click to read our post at the time of their original arrest

An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who splashed blood on the walls of a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium — exposing vulnerabilities in the nation’s nuclear security — were wrongly convicted of sabotage, an appeals court has ruled.

At issue was whether Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed injured national security when they cut through several fences to break into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July 2012. A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that they did not.

Once there, the trio had hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

“If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons … the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend,” the opinion says.

“But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage.”

The court upheld a less serious conviction for injuring government property. An attorney for the three, Bill Quigley, said he hopes they will be re-sentenced to time served and released from prison, where they have been since being convicted in May 2013. Rice was sentenced to nearly three years; Walli and Boertje-Obed are each serving sentences of just over five years…

The three spent two hours inside Y-12, including in the most secure part of the plant. In the aftermath of the security breach, federal officials implemented sweeping changes, including a new management team and a new defense security chief to oversee all of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s sites.

So, for all his “God bless the United States of America” – our commander-in-chief has failed to convict three Christians for behaving like really old-time Christians.

For all the bible-thumping, preaching the gospel of hate, fear of the dignity of women, self-titled fundamentalists in and out of Congress have a chance to stand in awe of three simple religious folk who act like the savior they believe in – instead of kneeling before the altar of nuclear war.

The kind of Christians I wouldn’t mind sharing a jail cell with. And often did back in the day when more of them marched for peace and justice – instead of obedience, theocracy and imperial war.

41 people charged in phony dead deer insurance scam

imitation deer

Forty-one people are facing charges in an elaborate insurance fraud scheme that used dead deer to fake car accidents.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia say that Ronald Galati Sr. ran a $5 million scam out of his auto body shop, reports The Associated Press.

Galati allegedly coached customers to claim they’d struck a deer rather than a car. That way, insurance companies would consider them “no fault” accidents and pay the claims without raising the customers’ premiums.

Deer blood, carcasses and fur were found in the back of his shop to use as props.

Prosecutors say that Galati’s wife, son and daughter, several insurance adjusters, tow truck drivers, a city official and a police officer were also charged.

I wonder if they ever used parrots?

Restaurant owner splatters rat in front of health inspectors – WTF?

chutney express

There’s a rat in the kitchen what am I going to do? It is the question no self-respecting take away owner ever wants to find themselves asking – not least during a food hygiene visit from the local environmental health inspector.

But unfortunately for the proprietor of the New Chutney Express in Tooting, south London, the decision to fix that rat left him with a £20,000 fine and costs as well as a pool of blood on the floor.

In shocking scenes inspectors from Wandsworth Council were left recoiling in horror as Rajakumar Rajalingam killed a rodent in front of them. And despite his best efforts to quell the untimely infestation, officers watched as more rats appeared…

Rajalingam admitted a string of food hygiene breaches and a trading standards offence at Kingston Crown Court last week. Passing sentence the judge described the takeaway owner’s actions as “disgraceful”…He added he had “brought the restaurant business into disrepute” and put the “public at risk of serious illness”…

Rajalingam, who had previously faced legal action from Wandsworth Council in 2007 for selling counterfeit champagne, was also fined £5,000 for selling fake Jacob’s Creek wine in his shop.

The council’s spokesman on consumer protection Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This was a shocking catalogue of hygiene and food safety breaches. These premises were in a truly appalling state and posed an unacceptable danger to public health.

This dude should be put out of business. At a minimum, if there’s an organization that represents residents and businesses in the community they should come together and make all aware of the dangers he represents.

One of the best things our local newspaper offers is a weekly listing of health inspections at restaurants.

The growing black market for body parts in Europe

Belgrade, Serbia — Facing grinding poverty, some Europeans are seeking to sell their kidneys, lungs, bone marrow or corneas…This phenomenon is relatively new in Serbia, a nation that has been battered by war and is grappling with the financial crisis that has swept the Continent. The spread of illegal organ sales into Europe, where they are gaining momentum, has been abetted by the Internet, a global shortage of organs for transplants and, in some cases, unscrupulous traffickers ready to exploit the economic misery.

In Spain, Italy, Greece and Russia, advertisements by people peddling organs — as well as hair, sperm and breast milk — have turned up on the Internet, with asking prices for lungs as high as $250,000…

Organ trafficking is a growth industry,” said Jonathan Ratel, a European Union special prosecutor who is leading a case against seven people accused of luring poor victims from Turkey and former communist countries to Kosovo to sell their kidneys with false promises of payments of up to $20,000. “Organized criminal groups are preying upon the vulnerable on both sides of the supply chain: people suffering from chronic poverty, and desperate and wealthy patients who will do anything to survive.”

The main supply countries have traditionally been China, India, Brazil and the Philippines. But experts say Europeans are increasingly vulnerable.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 kidneys are illegally sold globally each year, according to Organs Watch, a human rights group in Berkeley, Calif., that tracks the illegal organ trade. The World Health Organization estimates that only 10 percent of global needs for organ transplantation are being met…

RTFA. Anecdotal evidence is offered that puts the lie to officials who say this couldn’t possibly be happening in their nation.

History would agree. There is a market for poor people selling their blood in practically every nation in the world. Why act surprised over newer technology, tidier methods enabling the sale of sought-after, more valuable bits of the human body?

The numbers of poor people ain’t exactly diminishing in Europe – or elsewhere in the Industrial West for that matter.

Arrests for Saint Death ritual human sacrifices in Mexico

Police in northern Mexico have arrested eight people for allegedly killing two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman in ritual sacrifices. Prosecutors in the state of Sonoru say the alleged suspects belong to the cult of La Santa Muerte, or Saint Death.

Jose Larrinaga, a spokesman for Sonora state prosecutors, said the victims’ blood was poured around an altar to the saint, which is depicted as a skeleton holding a scythe and clothed in flowing robes.

The cult, which reveres death, has been growing rapidly in Mexico among drug traffickers and criminals in recent years, but there have been no confirmed cases of human sacrifices in the country…

Authorities began investigations after 10-year-old Jesus Octavio Martinez Yanez was reported missing on March 6 by his stepfather. Investigations led authorities to an apparent altar site in the Sonora city of Nacozari, about 110km south of Douglas, Arizona.

Larrinaga said the arrests were made after tests by forensic experts on Thursday found blood traces spread over 30 square meters there…

Those arrested included Silvia Meraz and her son Ramon Palacios, who allegedly killed the victims.

Speaking to reporters, she said: “We all agreed to do it. Supposedly she [one of the victims] was a witch or something.” She did not respond to questions about the boys’ killings.

Often, reasonable educated people find the rituals and trappings of religion simply laughable. A sensible reaction to a serious look at what people truly believe will result from prayer, tithing, repeating gestures leftover from trying to scare away things that go boomp in the night while a frightened and ignorant clan huddles in their cave. But, no unusual stretch of the imagination is needed to extend belief in, say, transubstantiation — partaking in the body of Christ, cripes! — into an act of human sacrifice.

It happens all the time and usually results in an arrest of some singularly demented individual like Jeffry Dahmer. That something similar can move to become a public cult, growing along with parallel hero worship of the leaders of drug gangs speaks volumes about a massively ignorant population accustomed to being led at the local level by a broad hierarchy of superstition.

Don’t kid yourself that Americans are above this, that it can’t happen here.

Blood of Pope John Paul II goes on display this weekend – WTF?

Blood taken from Pope John Paul II before he died is to go on display at his beatification on Sunday.

One of four small vials of blood removed from John Paul during his final days will be used, the Vatican said in a statement…

More than 50 heads of state and several hundred thousand pilgrims are expected to travel to Rome for the beatification, a step before full sainthood.

After the death of John Paul, two of the vials of blood were given to the late pope’s private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, now archbishop of Krakow, Poland. The other two – one of which will be used for Sunday’s beatification – were left in the care of nuns at the Vatican’s Bambin Gesu hospital.

The vial will be placed in a “precious reliquary” prepared specially for the occasion by the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations.

After being extracted, the blood was mixed with an anti-coagulant in the container to ensure it remained liquid.

“The blood and hair, these are from of the pope’s body, so these are relics of the first degree,” Cardinal Dziwisz told AFP.

Remind me some time how organized religion is supposed to be more sophisticated and advanced than primitive shaman in some remote society without a written language or history.

Seems to me – laying out pomp and circumstances with leftover bits and pieces of a corpse is reasonably backwards. What body parts do we get to worship next?