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damnedifIknow

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Member since: Sat Jun 23, 2012, 06:03 PM
Number of posts: 3,183

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Pope Francis Smacks Churches: “If You Don’t Help the Poor and Needy, then Pay Taxes Like a Business”

With Pope Francis coming to the United States just a little over a week away, he has sent a very clear message to churches that use their tax-exempt status as a way to exploit their property for economic gain. Some churches are refusing to accept refugees into the buildings they own, instead preferring to use it to make money on rentals.

“Some religious orders say, ‘No, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests and support ourselves that way, or make money,'” said Pope Francis. “Well, if that is what you do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”

The practice of renting space in religious buildings is very common in Europe. The philosophy behind it, that Pope Francis describes, could very well undermine what many televangelists do in the United States. Rather than practicing their religion, these charlatans run lean businesses and make fat profits. If the church isn’t engaged in the business of the Church, as Pope Francis explained, then it’s time for them to pay their fair share of taxes!

Demonstrating that he follows his own words, the Vatican is taking in two refugee families, who will remain “as long as the Lord wants.”

http://ringoffireradio.com/2015/09/pope-francis-smacks-down-churches-if-you-dont-accept-refugees-then-pay-taxes-like-all-busines/

Suspended deputy at center of excessive force investigation, federal lawsuits

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -

Broward Sheriff Deputy Gerry Wengert once starred on a reality TV show called "Unleashed: K-9 Broward County," but now he's playing the lead role in two federal lawsuits and a State Attorney's Office investigation, all involving alleged excessive force and hard-to-watch injuries.

Wengert was suspended in July for his actions in a case involving Robert Arciola, whose face is shown grotesquely swollen in his mug shot after Wengert admittedly struck him repeatedly after a February aggravated assault arrest.

Wengert wrote in reports that when he decided to replace Arciola's handcuffs, the suspect struck him in the chest, forcing Wengert to punch him twice in the face. But another deputy present later came forward claiming that Wengert was in the wrong, prompting the investigation and the suspension of Wengert and three other deputies who were there when Arciola was injured.

*And then there was the criminal charges, filed by BSO, that he improperly sicced a dog on a teenager who had a run-in on the road with his girlfriend and then lied about the incident in reports. When he was acquitted by a jury, he was reinstated and put back on the road. A BSO spokeswoman said that without a conviction the agency had no grounds to terminate him.

But Brill alleges in his lawsuit that Israel is culpable for allowing Wengert to remain on the force.

"This man has no right to be wearing that badge," said Brill. "This man has no right to be calling himself a law enforcement officer and running the streets the way he has. It’s despicable."

Warning graphic photos: http://www.local10.com/news/suspended-deputy-at-center-of-excessive-force-investigation-federal-lawsuits/35340586
Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Sep 18, 2015, 11:27 AM (5 replies)

Robbie Tolan’s Police Brutality Case Might Be Precedent-Setting — But So What?

When the U.S. Supreme Court revived Robbie Tolan’s lawsuit against the Bellaire police officer who shot him on December 31, 2008, many legal observers were stunned.

The High Court had unexpectedly decided to weigh in on whether lower courts had rightly thrown out Tolan’s lawsuit against Bellaire Police Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton, who shot Tolan in the chest on his parents’ front lawn as he returned home from an early-morning run to Jack in the Box with his cousin. Tolan was unarmed. In a unanimous ruling, the justices said that lower courts hadn’t given adequate consideration to Tolan’s claims against Cotton, who, due to another officer’s error (following Tolan’s car into his parents’ neighborhood and mistakenly punching Tolan's license plate into his computer with one number off), believed he was responding to a potential stolen vehicle.

When Cotton arrived at the scene as backup, another officer already had Tolan and his cousin face down on the ground at gunpoint. According to the Tolans, Cotton then proceeded to get into a verbal altercation with Marian Tolan, Robbie’s mother. They claim Cotton physically grabbed Tolan’s mother (which he admitted to in a deposition) and then slammed her into a garage door with such force she fell to the ground (which Cotton has denied) when she wouldn’t stop arguing that the car was theirs, that this was their home, and that police had to be mistaken. They claim that, when Robbie Tolan pushed his chest up off the ground to look at Cotton and say, “Get your fucking hands off my mother,” the officer turned, pulled his pistol, and shot at Tolan three times, striking him once in the chest.

*But when it comes to police shootings, even cases that set precedent don’t always succeed at trial. After a six-year legal battle and a successful trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, Robbie Tolan signed a settlement agreement with the officer that shot him just as the case was set to go to trial on Tuesday. According to that agreement, Cotton and the Bellaire Police Department will admit no wrongdoing, and the City of Bellaire will pay Tolan just $110,000, a sum that is certainly eclipsed by the cost of litigating a case like Tolan’s for six years.

Sgt. Cotton, instead of being reprimanded in any way, was promoted to lieutenant by the Bellaire Police Department, on which he still serves."

http://www.houstonpress.com/news/robbie-tolan-s-police-brutality-case-might-be-precedent-setting-but-so-what-7769001
Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Sep 16, 2015, 06:03 PM (1 replies)

Texas principal sends awful letter to parents after Ahmed Mohamed was wrongfully arrested

Fourteen-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested this morning for bringing a clock to school, after his teacher and police confused it for a bomb. While charges were eventually dropped, the school district issued a memo to parents stating that it succeeded in its goal of keeping students safe. That memo fails to acknowledge that it confused an incident ultimately fueled by Islamophobia for a legitimate one, instead showing the school trying to hide behind the reasonable aim of taking school security seriously.

In a memo sent to parents, MacArthur High School principal Dan Cummings states that the local police responded to a suspicious-looking item on campus. That item turned out to be a clock Mohamed invented for class. Despite the confusion and subsequent media fiasco, parents are now urged to take this opportunity to go over the Student Code of Conduct, as bringing dangerous items to school is strictly prohibited."

Read letter here: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/16/9337857/ahmed-mohamed-texas-school-district-letter
Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Sep 16, 2015, 03:43 PM (37 replies)

Photo of Sickly Polar Bear Signals Tragedy Ahead in Arctic Sep 15, 2015



A viral photograph taken of an emaciated polar bear is significant due to where the image was snapped, according to wildlife experts.

The extremely thin bear was spotted by photographer Kerstin Langenberger off the Barents Sea on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, which was once home to a thriving population of polar bears, but is now monitored by researchers who have observed extraordinary loss of sea ice due to global climate change.

Geoff York, senior director of conservation for Polar Bears International, spent 14 consecutive seasons out on the sea ice, and has been studying the Arctic and its wildlife for two decades. He told Discovery News that he has seen other similar photos recently of polar bears in terrible condition.

*Loss of sea ice is currently the greatest in the Barents Sea area, York explained, where the summer ice-free period is now 20 weeks longer than when records began in 1979."

http://news.discovery.com/animals/endangered-species/photo-of-sickly-polar-bear-signals-tragedy-ahead-in-arctic-150915.htm
Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 15, 2015, 10:09 PM (7 replies)

Can Bernie Sanders Play in the South?

GREENSBORO, N.C. — “You all—did I get that right?” Bernie Sanders paused to wonder, mid-spiel. Then he corrected himself: “Y’all.”

“I’ll learn,” the Vermont senator promised to affectionate laughs. It was a perfect encapsulation of the challenge Sanders faces. Having gone from a fringe candidate to a serious contender for the Democratic nomination—leading Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire and gaining on her nationally

Of course, the fact that he doesn’t do the things normal candidates do is what excites his fans, thousands of whom came to the Greensboro Coliseum to see Sanders Sunday night. They came from Durham and Salisbury, Winston-Salem and Walnut Cove, filling the venue to capacity.

“Bernie is the only one who I feel is honest,” said Erik Olson, wearing a Mondale/Ferraro shirt, even though he admitted he was too young to have cast a ballot for that ticket. “He’s one of the few senators who is not a millionaire. Why else would he be doing this if he didn’t believe it?”

As a measure of his commitment, Olson had left a four-day-old son at home with his wife and driven an hour to attend the rally. (“I owe her big time.”)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/north-carolina-feels-the-bern/405127/
Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 15, 2015, 01:53 PM (21 replies)

Can Bernie Sanders Play in the South?

GREENSBORO, N.C. — “You all—did I get that right?” Bernie Sanders paused to wonder, mid-spiel. Then he corrected himself: “Y’all.”

“I’ll learn,” the Vermont senator promised to affectionate laughs. It was a perfect encapsulation of the challenge Sanders faces. Having gone from a fringe candidate to a serious contender for the Democratic nomination—leading Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire and gaining on her nationally—Sanders doesn’t cater to audiences with the smooth pandering and ersatz accents that more traditional politicians do. But if he is to convert his momentum into a nomination, he’ll have to learn to connect to people in places like the purple state in the South, and, in particular, to the black voters who form the Democratic Party’s backbone across the region.

Of course, the fact that he doesn’t do the things normal candidates do is what excites his fans, thousands of whom came to the Greensboro Coliseum to see Sanders Sunday night. They came from Durham and Salisbury, Winston-Salem and Walnut Cove, filling the venue to capacity.

*It seemed like an unusually committed and excited crowd for this stage in a primary, especially in a state that may not play a major role in deciding the nomination.

Bernie is the only one who I feel is honest,” said Erik Olson, wearing a Mondale/Ferraro shirt, even though he admitted he was too young to have cast a ballot for that ticket. “He’s one of the few senators who is not a millionaire. Why else would he be doing this if he didn’t believe it?”

As a measure of his commitment, Olson had left a four-day-old son at home with his wife and driven an hour to attend the rally. (“I owe her big time.”)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/north-carolina-feels-the-bern/405127/
Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Sep 15, 2015, 01:40 PM (3 replies)

How Far We Have Fallen

Donald Trump's candidacy shows how ignorant and illiterate the American political system has become.

It has been a long and sad evolution. Once upon a time, especially in the earliest days of our republic, presidents were at least presumptively learned. Arguably, Thomas Jefferson, who had based his Declaration of Independence on a genuinely intimate familiarity with Locke, Vattel, Hobbes, Grotius, Rousseau and Montesquieu, was the most learned of all.

One of the announced candidates, Donald Trump, even takes an evident pride in his deep historical illiteracy. After all, Trump chastises us daily, he is very rich, and knows how to make enviably lucrative deals in real estate.

That should be evidence enough. Nothing else needs to be asked, we are warned. After all, no billionaire could be a buffoon. And any billionaire will viscerally understand world politics. So: Just shut up and sit down.

[SEE: Editorial Cartoons on the 2016 Presidential Elections]

Why do we accept this crude and injurious public behavior? Why do we now expect so very little from a major presidential aspirant? How have we managed to stray so completely from maintaining even embarrassingly low intellectual standards for our presidential candidates?

*In our sullied national politics of abundantly veneered résumés and blatant half-truths, whenever a popular candidate's spoken words seethe with an evident worthlessness, the crowd rushes to applaud. Mixing desperation with a self-imposed absence of memory, it generally nods approvingly, en masse, and then, after indelicately consuming even more chili, more hot dogs, and more chicken wings, solemnly swears to celebrate American exceptionalism. A bit later, in what would seem a largely involuntary obeisance to contemporary America's most deeply-rooted political beliefs, the people begin to anesthetize themselves yet again, ingloriously, this time with huge mountains of drugs, and with vast oceans of alcohol.

Is this any way to choose an American president? Is this a suitable American electorate from which to draw upon? Once upon a time, Jefferson had argued that democracy must rest upon a informed and responsible citizenry. Shall we now simply discount such clear advice altogether?

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2015/09/14/from-thomas-jefferson-to-donald-trump-how-far-we-have-fallen?int=a39d09&int=a60d09
Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 14, 2015, 09:22 PM (31 replies)

Missouri Teen Named First-Ever Transgender Homecoming Queen at Her High School

A Missouri teen made history this weekend as a Kansas City high school's first-ever transgender homecoming queen.

"To have my students and friends vote for me just really makes me feel welcomed and loved for who I am," Landon Patterson, a senior at Oak Park High School, told Fox 4KC

Patterson, who transitioned into a woman this year, told the station that although she was born a boy, she has identified as a girl for as long as she could remember. She said she has dreamed of walking in the homecoming court since her freshman year.

On Saturday, her dream came true.

The journey to homecoming queen was a surprising one for Patterson. Last month, her classmates surprised her with the news that she had been nominated for the title,

Now, Patterson is living out who she truly is and on Saturday gave a piece of advice to those like her.

"Be you!" she said, according to the station. "Life is too short, you just have to embrace who you are."

http://www.people.com/article/landon-patterson-transgender-homecoming-queen-high-school

Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Sep 14, 2015, 08:40 PM (2 replies)

The Stop Mass Incarceration Nework

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) exists to stop the slow genocide of mass incarceration and all its consequences; racial profiling, a legal system that disproportionately impacts Blacks and Latinos, the police murder of our children, the criminalization of a generation, discrimination, widespread torture in prisons and treating those formerly incarcerated as less than full human beings. SMIN was initiated in 2011 by Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix. SMIN is determined to bring forth a movement of millions of people, from all walks of life, in steadfast resistance to the New Jim Crow and we will not stop until mass incarceration and the police murder of Black, Latino and other oppressed peoples stops.

We refuse to accept the non-indictments in the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and many, many others across the U.S. These police murders and the non-indictments are declarations that police can wantonly kill Black and Brown people and that Black and Brown lives do not matter. NO MORE! THIS MUST STOP NOW! Everybody striving for these same objectives should join SMIN. Organizations should affiliate as this is a national network – it’s wide open for every person and every organizations involvement and contribution."

We are initiating an effort to accelerate the movement to stop the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality; and the racially biased policies and practices of the police, the courts and the U.S. legal system; and to support prisoners’ human rights, and of the formerly incarcerated. We call on all to join us."

http://stopmassincarceration.net/

Posted by damnedifIknow | Sun Sep 13, 2015, 11:41 PM (2 replies)
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