What is psychology? If asked it can be thought to be the study of the human mind, an exploration of all that is possible and all that is impossible for a single human to accomplish. It can also be exploration of self, of self awareness and the infinite that is the thought process.

So what is psychology? It is not the ability to read the thoughts of others, to sense the underlying feelings of others and it is not the ability to talk someone out of any mental disorder. Rather it is to complete and change the understanding of any situation you are put it and self relate thus improving the situation.

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." -Voltaire


Joey Ying
Studying Clinical Psychology/ Autism at CUNY Queens College
19
reblogged 16 hours ago
31
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

More than three weeks after Israel launched its latest assault on the Gaza Strip, and with no durable truce on the horizon, the situation in Israel/Palestine has descended into new and uncharted horrors. What began as a brute incursion by Israel, accompanied by a hail of Hamas rockets, has exploded into something shockingly worse: a bloodletting that, as The Nation went to press, had killed more than 1,200 Palestinians and fifty-six Israelis and pummeled Gaza into a landscape of human despair. Meanwhile in the West Bank, where thousands of Palestinians have poured into the streets for the largest protests in years, Israeli soldiers have responded with live ammunition; ten Palestinians were killed in a four-day period. And in Israel, where an empowered far right is ascendant, nationalist mobs have attacked Palestinian and Jewish antiwar protesters on several occasions.

The widening gyre of violence is terrible news for the entire region, but for none more than the 1.8 million Palestinians trapped in the battered sliver of the Gaza Strip. There, the “precision” bombs of the Israeli military have obliterated entire families of twenty and thirty; young boys have been blown apart while playing soccer on a beach; and whole neighborhoods have been leveled by the overwhelming Israeli firepower. The United Nations has estimated that as many as 74 percent of the Palestinians killed in Gaza have been civilians, with an average of one child dying every hour during one particularly bloody two-day stretch. With the borders closed and even UN schools under attack, there is simply no place for Palestinians to flee to.

“They told us it was safe,” Hussein Shinbari told Nation contributor Sharif Abdel Kouddous after the UN school in Beit Hanoun, where Shinbari’s family had taken shelter, was struck by a blast that killed sixteen people. (Israel has denied responsibility for the fatal strike.) Shinbari was the only one of his family who survived.

In the face of such horrors, the world’s increasingly alarmed top diplomats have taken to hopscotching the globe, hoping to patch together a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, as they have during the past two Gaza conflicts, in 2008–09 and 2012. “In the name of humanity, the violence must stop,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon implored on July 28. Yet with nothing but a string of failures to show for their efforts—most notably, a proposal hammered out by Secretary of State John Kerry for a seven-day trial truce, during which both sides could work out a permanent one—the situation in Gaza continues to unravel.

“We must be prepared for a prolonged campaign,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced just days after rejecting the Kerry effort.

There are any number of reasons these overtures have failed, leaving Kerry and his international cast of diplomats flailing in the wings. Certainly the leaders of both Israel and Hamas are dug in—caught in fantasies of regime change, collective punishment and security, in the case of Israel; survival, resistance and revenge, in the case of Hamas. That the countries negotiating on their behalf barely get along themselves has not helped matters. As The New York Timessummarized: “The United States does not deal directly with Hamas. And the countries with the closest ties, Qatar and Turkey, have fraught relations with Egypt, whose cease-fire plan has provided the broad framework for Mr. Kerry’s efforts.”

Just as debilitating has been the skewed nature of the cease-fire process itself: the attempt to frame a flagrantly asymmetrical conflict between occupier and occupied as a fight between equals, and, further, to place a highly biased superpower in the position of lead broker. Even now, as Israel has deployed its powerful military to flatten parts of Gaza, American leaders, from the president to Congress, have lined up to affirm Israel’s “right to self-defense.” And in a blunt display of support for impunity, the United States provided the sole opposing vote on a UN Human Rights Commission resolution to investigate violations of international law—including possible war crimes— committed in the occupied Palestinian territories during the present onslaught.

Recently there have been signs of a shift, however fractional, at the highest levels, as Kerry and, to a lesser degree, President Obama have expressed frustration with Israel’s shattering disregard for Palestinian lives. “Palestinians need to live with dignity, with some freedom, with goods that can come in and out,” Kerry said in a statement that presaged the draft cease-fire he submitted on July 25. That draft enraged Israeli leaders, who refuse to even contemplate lifting the seven-year siege of Gaza. But as Kerry flew home with the tailwinds of defeat at his back, it was clear that the United States is a long way from using the most powerful arrows in its quiver: the threat of withdrawing all or part of its annual $3 billion in military aid to Israel.

The failure of the cease-fire proposals have left a void where impunity continues to flourish. Yet the diverse and humane currents of international civil society have been responding, issuing demands Washington is too timid to make. This includes the sixty-four Nobel laureates and public figures—among them Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky—who have called for an international arms embargo on Israel. They include legal experts like John Dugard, Noura Erakat and Peter Weiss, who have demanded an end to Israel’s collective punishment in Gaza and the beginning of “procedures to hold accountable all those responsible for violations of international law.” They include Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, which has been tireless in defending Palestinian rights, and J Street, which is pressing for an end to the siege of Gaza. And they include the Palestinian civil society groups that have been steadfast in calling for nonviolent resistance by means of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Together these actors are sketching out a blueprint, at once necessary and aspirational, to end the crisis. Although they may not agree on every point, their calls form the outline of a just resolution: an immediate end to Israel’s siege and bombing of Gaza; cease-fire monitors to hold the parties accountable; investigations into war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas; and an end to the great sin of the occupation.

All of these recommendations face massive obstacles, and they will never happen until Israel, the United States and Hamas are pushed to enact them. But as the cycle of impunity continues, the demands of civil society are the Palestinians’—and Israelis’—best hope.

Source: The Editors of The Nation

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31
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A Palestinian man holds a girl injured in an Israeli shelling at a UN-run school sheltering Palestinian refugees. (Reuters, Finbarr O’Reilly)

Khan Younis and Beit Lahia, Gaza—Hussein Shinbari is the only member of his family that survived the attack on a United Nations school in Beit Hanoun on Thursday. He is covered in blood. His undershirt, his pants and his hands are all stained a deep red.

After Israel launched its ground invasion into Gaza last week, the Shinbari family left their home in the northeastern town close to the Israeli border and sought shelter at the nearby school. “They told us it was safe,” Hussein says, sitting on the ground by the morgue of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia.

More than 1,500 displaced Palestinians were staying at the school. The conflict has caused unprecedented massive displacement in Gaza, forcing over 140,000 people to seek shelter in more than eighty UN shelters.

On Thursday afternoon, the people in the Beit Hanoun school were told they were being transferred to another area, away from the shelling and clashes on the streets outside. According to multiple survivors, they were instructed to gather their scant belongings and assemble in the schoolyard to await buses that would take them to another shelter.

At around 2:30 pm a barrage of artillery shells crashed into the school, according to witnesses. At least sixteen people were killed and more than 200 wounded, many of them women and children. Hussein lost his mother; his stepmother; his 16-year-old brother, Abel Rabo; his 12-year-old sister, Maria; and his 9-year-old brother, Ali.

“I was the only one who walked out,” Hussein says. He helped carry his dying family members to the ambulances that eventually arrived. “I’m not asking Hamas or Fatah for anything,” he says. “I only have God left.”

The Israeli military says Hamas was firing rockets from Beit Hanoun and that it had told the Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, and the Red Cross to evacuate the school. Yet UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness says the UN had asked the Israeli military for a lull in the fighting to allow for an evacuation but did not hear back. Gunness says precise coordinates of the shelter had been formally given to the Israeli army. The attack marked the fourth time a UN facility has been hit by Israel since the conflict began on July 8.

“These people had no place to go. They are very poor, so they sought the protection of the United Nations,” says Dr. Bassam al-Masry, the head of the orthopedic department at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, whose house is adjacent to the school in Beit Hanoun. “Today they were shelled. Why?”

The hospital is filled with heart-wrenching scenes. Men and women being carried in on stretchers. People rushing through the halls with wounded children in their arms. It is unbearably hot and humid. In one corner, six women gather in a knot of grief, sobbing and holding each other. One of them collapses in shock.

Inside the morgue a baby is brought onto the wooden examination table. She is about 1 year old. She looks unharmed, except when her head is turned to reveal that a small chunk of her neck is missing. The other bodies lie in the refrigerated morgue drawers cocooned in bloodied white shrouds. Only their faces are uncovered.

“We thought the school was safer than our house,” says 32-year-old Monther Hamdan. He is lying on a cot with a wounded leg and grasps his father’s hand as he speaks. All thirteen members of his family were injured in the attack. They arrived at the school three days ago. “The tank shells fell like rain.”

The attack on the UN school came on one of the bloodiest days of the conflict. Approximately 120 Palestinians were killed yesterday, bringing the death toll in Gaza to nearly 800, the vast majority of them civilians, including at least 190 children, according to the Health Ministry. Over a two-day period, a child was killed every hour in Gaza. More than 5,100 have been wounded.

The level of violence has escalated significantly since Israel’s ground invasion last week. Calls for a cease-fire seem to have had the opposite effect. A three-kilometer buffer zone has been declared by Israeli military, equivalent to 44 percent of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces have pushed in from the border backed by tanks and a continued assault from the air. Thirty-two Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

In southern Gaza, the Israeli military dropped leaflets warning residents to evacuate areas east of Khan Younis. “The Israeli Defense Forces are not targeting any of you,” it says. “If you follow directions, the IDF will not hurt any of you, the civilian population.”

Testimonies by the residents of the town of Khuzaa, one of the Palestinian residential areas closest to Israel, belie that claim. They describe a nightmarish ordeal trying to escape the Israeli invasion. Multiple witnesses say they were prevented from getting out by Israeli tanks and troops, that Israeli forces fired on ambulances and that the dead and wounded were left behind in the streets.

“There was no mercy,” says Wael Abu Irgala, a 24-year-old resident of Khuzaa. “We saw things you couldn’t imagine.”

Wael says the Israeli military began indiscriminately shelling Khuzaa on Tuesday at around sunset. By 1 am, Israeli troops began knocking on doors and shouting out taunts to the residents inside, calling for the men of the houses to come and face them, says Wael’s aunt Asmaa. The next morning Wael and Asmaa and hundreds of the town’s residents tried to evacuate, but it would be another twenty-four hellish hours before they made it out.

Town residents gathered on Wednesday morning and held up white flags as they walked. Two handicapped girls were being pushed in wheelchairs. Without warning, an Israeli tank stationed on the main road opened fire, shooting bullets into the crowd. The residents fled in panic. The man pushing one of the wheelchairs was shot, leaving the handicapped girl alone on the street.

“There were wounded on the ground and we couldn’t save them,” Wael says. “They would shoot anything that moved.”

Many people were injured in the attack and a number sought refuge at the house of a local doctor, Kamal Gedeih. He tended to the injured with very basic first aid supplies, including Wael’s other aunt, who was shot in the stomach.

Multiple calls were made to local hospitals, human rights organizations and the Red Cross, pleading for help in escaping the conflict, but no one came.

In the afternoon, an airstrike hit the yard of Gedieh’s house where the doctor’s brother was filling up water bottles for the people inside. It took him ten minutes to die. Another fifteen minutes later, a shell smashed into the side of the building. Gedieh himself was injured along with several others.

Wael and Asmaa decided to leave the doctor’s house and took their wounded relative, who was shot in the stomach, and other family members with them. They ended up finding a basement where dozens of other residents were seeking shelter. They spent the night there. There was no water, food or electricity. Several people collapsed from exhaustion.

The shelling and bombardment continued throughout the night. On Thursday morning, they decided to try and make their way out again. They walked in a group with their hands in the air. Some carried white flags.

“We didn’t expect to get out alive,” says Asmaa. “We walked for five kilometers waiting for death.” She says Israeli troops on tanks and deployed in the streets were blocking all the main roads. They gestured which direction for them to go. The relative with the stomach wound had to be half-carried the entire way.

In the assault, the town had been demolished. “We found a burning land, we didn’t know the streets or the houses of our own neighborhood,” Asmaa says. “It looked like a different world, empty of people.”

They finally made it out to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis late Thursday morning.

The scene at the hospital is one of chaos and overcrowding. People fill the corridors. The wounded are ferried back and forth. One man follows two corpses being carried into the morgue. He is holding a bright blue plastic bag. In it is all that remains of one of his relatives.

“This was the worst night in this hospital,” says Dr. Jamal al-Hams, the director general of the hospital. He says at least twenty-one people are dead and 150 injured. “The fridges are full and there’s nowhere to put the bodies.”

Multiple medical workers and witnesses say the Israeli military did not allow ambulances to enter Khuzaa during the brutal assault.

“There are many wounded still inside. They are calling us and we can’t get to them,” says Dr. Wissam Nabhan at the European Hospital in eastern Khan Younis. Nabhan says he took four ambulance trips on Thursday morning to try to evacuate people, and every time he came under fire from the Israeli military.

“This was a massacre of the people of Khuzaa.”

Source: Sharif Abdel Kouddous for The Nation

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31
Jul
fotojournalismus:

A Palestinian man photographs a fire in Gaza’s main power plant following an overnight Israeli airstrike south of Gaza City on July 29, 2014. Gaza’s only power plant destroyed in Israel’s most intense air strike yet — at least 100 Palestinians killed and media outlets, mosque and refugee camp all targeted (Oliver Weiken/EPA)

fotojournalismus:

A Palestinian man photographs a fire in Gaza’s main power plant following an overnight Israeli airstrike south of Gaza City on July 29, 2014. Gaza’s only power plant destroyed in Israel’s most intense air strike yet — at least 100 Palestinians killed and media outlets, mosque and refugee camp all targeted (Oliver Weiken/EPA)

via/source ♥ 308 notes
reblogged 16 hours ago
31
Jul
rtamerica:

White House accidentally leaks post-9/11 CIA torture report findings
When the CIA first began using its controversial interrogation and detention methods after the September 11th attacks, it reportedly declined to tell the Secretary of State and other American ambassadors about its actions.
The revelation comes from the Senate’s still-unreleased report scrutinizing the United States’ post-9/11 interrogation techniques, and first came to the public’s attention Wednesday when the White House unintentionally emailed a document detailing the findings to an Associated Press reporter.
The report – parts of which could be declassified by the White House in the coming days – also apparently found that some of the ambassadors who were briefed on the CIA’s activity were told not to notify their superiors in the State Department. One congressional official confirmed to the AP that these findings are documented in the Senate’s report, while a former CIA official said then-Secretary of State Colin Powell may not have known about the agency’s techniques when they first started using them.

rtamerica:

White House accidentally leaks post-9/11 CIA torture report findings

When the CIA first began using its controversial interrogation and detention methods after the September 11th attacks, it reportedly declined to tell the Secretary of State and other American ambassadors about its actions.

The revelation comes from the Senate’s still-unreleased report scrutinizing the United States’ post-9/11 interrogation techniques, and first came to the public’s attention Wednesday when the White House unintentionally emailed a document detailing the findings to an Associated Press reporter.

The report – parts of which could be declassified by the White House in the coming days – also apparently found that some of the ambassadors who were briefed on the CIA’s activity were told not to notify their superiors in the State Department. One congressional official confirmed to the AP that these findings are documented in the Senate’s report, while a former CIA official said then-Secretary of State Colin Powell may not have known about the agency’s techniques when they first started using them.

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31
Jul
via/source ♥ 57 notes
reblogged 16 hours ago
31
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The news: Israeli units attacked Gaza’s only power station, burning large sections of it to the ground. It made for a dramatic picture in Gaza, one that some on social media said looked like actual hell on Earth.

The bombing appears to have cut off both electricity and water sanitation for most of the Palestinian territory’s 1.8 million residents. According to the Washington Post, the damage will take months to repair and has left almost all of Gaza, including some hospitals, without utility access. Six of eight remaining power connections from Israel have been severed by the fighting.

But that’s not all. Later, an Israeli tank attack on a UN school killed at least 15 Palestinians, even though Gaza residents were told to seek safety there. Israel accuses Hamas of using schools as bases to launch rockets.

Here’s what you need to know: The death toll in the Gaza Strip soared past 1,200 Tuesday, with whole neighborhoods reduced to rubble as constant bombing killed as many as 100 Palestinians. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israel Defence Force’s campaign in Gaza would be “prolonged,” hinting that the Israeli invasion has taken on new objectives, Gazans cowered in fear from some of the most intense bombings yet seen in the area. 

The United Nations estimates that 70-80% of the dead are civilians. An additional 7,000 have been wounded. In short, the situation in Gaza is getting much worse very quickly.

Dozens of other attacks ravaged whole neighborhoods, with ferocious strikes targeting senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh’s residence, Hamas’ al-Aqsa TV headquarters, a finance building and several local mayors’ homes. Gaza City’s al-Amin Mohammed Mosque, which sits across the street from a house owned by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, was blown apart. Hamas and Israel blamed each other for shells which exploded in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing at least 10 people.

Bombs also fell near areas where international journalists were housed.

time lapse video appears to show an entire Gaza neighborhood totally annihilated after an hour of sustained airstrikes.

On the Israeli side, the threat of rockets sent some in Tel Aviv scrambling for bomb shelters. Bands of Hamas militants are somehow still finding their way through tunnels leading under the border. Five Israeli soldiers were killed in gun battles with one such infiltration force, bringing the total number of soldiers dead to 53. The IDF’s official propaganda channel has turned up the rhetoric, offering prayers to slain heroes and providing daily updates on the number of targets bombed.

Meanwhile, Hamas distributed some chilling propaganda of its own: A video of the tunnel attack, which appears to show the deaths of some of the five soldiers killed.

A ceasefire has so far failed to develop, with both Hamas and Israel blaming each other.

Why you should care: While the rest of the world appears pretty shocked by the images coming out of Gaza, most Israelis either aren’t shocked or accept them as the cost of dismantling Hamas. The Washington Post reports between 87% and 95% of Israeli Jews generally support continuing the operation, while four out of five oppose a unilateral withdrawal. Hamas’ merry band of fanatics remains obstinate despite horrifying losses in manpower and resources. As of now there doesn’t seem to be a short-term impetus for either side to change the course of the ongoing conflict, which means continued devastation of this scale is sadly likely.

Source: Tom McKay for World.Mic

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31
Jul
teavibes:

msannthropic:

death-limes:

venipede:

osteophagy:

endcetaceanexploitation:

Washoe was a chimp who was taught sign language.
One of Washoe’s caretakers was pregnant and missed work for many weeks after she miscarried. Roger Fouts recounts the following situation:
"People who should be there for her and aren’t are often given the cold shoulder—her way of informing them that she’s miffed at them. Washoe greeted Kat [the caretaker] in just this way when she finally returned to work with the chimps. Kat made her apologies to Washoe, then decided to tell her the truth, signing "MY BABY DIED." Washoe stared at her, then looked down. She finally peered into Kat’s eyes again and carefully signed "CRY", touching her cheek and drawing her finger down the path a tear would make on a human (Chimpanzees don’t shed tears). Kat later remarked that one sign told her more about Washoe and her mental capabilities than all her longer, grammatically perfect sentences." [23]
Washoe herself lost two children; one baby died shortly after birth of a heart defect, the other baby, Sequoyah, died of a staph infection at two months of age.

more about Washoe:
after the death of her children, researchers were determined to have Washoe raise a baby and brought in a ten month chimpanzee named Loulis. one of the caretakers went to Washoe’s enclosure and signed “i have a baby for you.” Washoe became incredibly excited, yelling and swaying from side to side, signing “baby” over and over again. then she signed “my baby.”
the caretaker came back with Loulis, and Washoe’s excitement disappeared entirely. she refused to pick Loulis up, instead signing “baby” apathetically; it was clear that the baby she thought she was getting was going to be Sequoyah. eventually Washoe did approach Loulis, and by the next day the two had bonded and from then on she was utterly devoted to him.
*information shamelessly paraphrased from When Elephants Weep by Jeffrey Masson.

Even more interestingly, after Washoe and Loulis bonded, she started teaching him American Sign Language the same way that human parents teach their children language. It only took Loulis eight days to learn his first sign from Washoe, and aside from the seven that his human handlers learned around him, he learned to speak in ASL just as fluently as Washoe and was able to communicate with humans in the same way she could.

now if y’all don’t think this is the tightest shit you can get outta my face

reblog for the commentary

The captains omg

teavibes:

msannthropic:

death-limes:

venipede:

osteophagy:

endcetaceanexploitation:

Washoe was a chimp who was taught sign language.

One of Washoe’s caretakers was pregnant and missed work for many weeks after she miscarried. Roger Fouts recounts the following situation:

"People who should be there for her and aren’t are often given the cold shoulder—her way of informing them that she’s miffed at them. Washoe greeted Kat [the caretaker] in just this way when she finally returned to work with the chimps. Kat made her apologies to Washoe, then decided to tell her the truth, signing "MY BABY DIED." Washoe stared at her, then looked down. She finally peered into Kat’s eyes again and carefully signed "CRY", touching her cheek and drawing her finger down the path a tear would make on a human (Chimpanzees don’t shed tears). Kat later remarked that one sign told her more about Washoe and her mental capabilities than all her longer, grammatically perfect sentences." [23]

Washoe herself lost two children; one baby died shortly after birth of a heart defect, the other baby, Sequoyah, died of a staph infection at two months of age.

more about Washoe:

after the death of her children, researchers were determined to have Washoe raise a baby and brought in a ten month chimpanzee named Loulis. one of the caretakers went to Washoe’s enclosure and signed “i have a baby for you.” Washoe became incredibly excited, yelling and swaying from side to side, signing “baby” over and over again. then she signed “my baby.”

the caretaker came back with Loulis, and Washoe’s excitement disappeared entirely. she refused to pick Loulis up, instead signing “baby” apathetically; it was clear that the baby she thought she was getting was going to be Sequoyah. eventually Washoe did approach Loulis, and by the next day the two had bonded and from then on she was utterly devoted to him.

*information shamelessly paraphrased from When Elephants Weep by Jeffrey Masson.

Even more interestingly, after Washoe and Loulis bonded, she started teaching him American Sign Language the same way that human parents teach their children language. It only took Loulis eight days to learn his first sign from Washoe, and aside from the seven that his human handlers learned around him, he learned to speak in ASL just as fluently as Washoe and was able to communicate with humans in the same way she could.

now if y’all don’t think this is the tightest shit you can get outta my face

reblog for the commentary

The captains omg

via/source ♥ 225,262 notes
reblogged 16 hours ago
31
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Over the weekend, a 17-year-old girl attending a rowdy Keith Urban concert outside of Boston broke away from her friends with a man she’d just met. Minutes later, the man was sexually assaulting her out in the open as more than a dozen passersby watched, with some even taking cell phone videos.

The girl met 18-year-old Sean Murphy at the concert, and after the two began kissing, he led her away. According to multiple outlets, what happened after that sounds like a shitshow nightmare.

As the two began having sex, a small crowd gathered around to watch, some patrons really classing up the joint by taking pictures and video with their phones. When a female bystander asked the girl “do you want this?”, she said “no,” and according to witnesses, broke free from Murphy and ran away. The girl found her friends, who took her to the police. The police, in turn, locked all the concert attendees inside the outdoor amphitheater as they searched for Murphy, who witnesses say was on his cell phone with his parents, telling them that he had “messed up.” According to the police report, he was drunk on Jack Daniels, like the alcohol is some sort of magical rape tonic that turns normal dudes into rapists. The last time I drank Jack Daniels, I had a headache the next day. Did zero raping.

Murphy’s attorneys say the act was consensual and “regrettably public.”

Even without the sexual assault, Urban’s concert was already a certified clusterfuck, as 50 attendees were arrested for over imbibing and 46 were treated for “alcohol related illnesses.”

Source: Erin Gloria Ryan for Jezebel

UPDATE (7/31/2014 12:36 AM): Below is more information about the rape, and a picture of the rapist, 18-year-old Sean Murphy, who was arrested & charged with sexual assault, courtesy of Global Grind

Sean-Murphy-300x247

A Boston man has been arrested after allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl in front of concertgoers at a Keith Urban country music show in Mansfield, Mass. this weekend.

Sean Murphy, 18, was charged with sexual assault after raping the teenager in front of fans who told authorities they didn’t realize what they were witnessing.

From CBS:

The incident began when a witness approached an officer to report a possible rape on the front lawn of the venue, according to a Mansfield Police statement. According to a police report, a witness told an officer she approached the female who was on the ground and asked her if the “event” was consensual. She allegedly told the witness “no.”

Then the witness, “saw the female break free and run.” Police, in their statement, said a witness pushed the suspect off of the victim. The suspect then fled into the crowd.

Patrons brought the victim to get help and reunite her with her friends, according to the police statement.

After receiving a description of the suspect from witnesses, police closed the venue’s gates and searched for Murphy. He was found, arrested and taken into custody.

Witnesses say more than a dozen people looked-on, taking photos. Police are processing those photos as evidence, according to their Facebook post.

Murphy told police it was consensual. According to the police report, Murphy “stressed that he did not force himself on her.”

The rape occurred on the same day that dozens of concertgoers at the show were arrested or treated for alcohol consumption and poisoning.

SOURCE: CBS | PHOTO CREDIT: Mansfield Police

This post will be updated when necessary & when new updates are available. 

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31
Jul
america-wakiewakie:

Instead of asking where is Palestinian Gandhi let us stand with Palestinian Resistance | AmericaWakieWakie
“The war neither began with us nor is it going to end with our lives.”
— Bhagat Singh
On April 13, 1919, in violation of a British colonial ban on meetings or gatherings, peaceful protestors assembled in Punjab, India to object to the recent killing of nearly 30 Indians in a previous protest. Unprovoked and without warning, colonial forces arrived and opened fire on tens of thousands of unarmed, defenseless Indians, mostly Sikhs, indiscriminately killing 379 men, women, and children. An estimated 1,200 were wounded.
The onslaught known today as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, or the Amritsar massacre to Punjabi natives, is said to have lasted 20 minutes. Yet, despite its brevity, for the move to action it spurred throughout colonial India it remains a seminal event in the fight for Indian independence. One man, 12 year old Bhagat Singh, was especially moved. The massacre planted in Singh’s young mind a longing for the freedom of his people that would propel him forward by any means necessary.
Eventually he would be hung by British colonial authorities for his propensity to fight brutal occupation with every method employed against the Indian people. In the wake of his death, for the majority of the world who does not know or care about the necessity of armed struggle, he has been forgotten. His story, and those like his, has been put on the back-burner while men like Gandhi have been memorialized as the embodiment of what oppressed peoples should do when faced with a conscienceless occupier. 
Such is not far from the expectation of Palestinians in the wake of decades of Israeli apartheid and occupation: In one form or another the question has been asked, “Where is Palestinian Gandhi?”
Though, even if ridiculously, it could be speculated as to where Palestinian Gandhi might be — a thought to be revisited later — we ought to ask why anybody would pose this question at all. The reality is asking this question is a sinister method of delegitimizing Palestinian armed resistance and self-defense. It is a tactical ploy to remove the focus from the violence Israel continues to perpetrate against Palestinians in order to place the impetus for peace solely on those suffering most. It is, in its purest form, victim blaming. And it has been incredibly effective.
Gandhi: A Myth to Which We May Not Want to Aspire
“In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience.”
— Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
Nonviolence played a significant role in Indian independence, absolutely; but the premise that under the tutelage of Gandhi it was the premier force driving the nation toward liberation is a cherry-picked version of history. It downplays into nothingness the fact that the post-WWII crown could no longer maintain the brute force and financial obligation needed to run a global empire. Indigenous American scholar Ward Churchill in Pacifism as Pathology dismantled the myth that nonviolence effectively acted alone or in a vacuum unto itself:
“…Gandhian success must be viewed in the context of a general decline in British power brought about by two world wars within a thirty-year period. Prior to the decimation of British troop strength and the virtual bankruptcy of the Imperial treasury during World War II, Gandhi’s movement showed little likelihood of forcing England’s abandonment of India. Without the global violence that destroyed the Empire’s ability to forcibly control territories (and passive populations), India might have continued indefinitely in the pattern of minority rule marking the majority of South Africa’s modern history, the first locale in which the Gandhian recipe for liberation struck the reef of reality. Hence, while the Mahatma and his followers were able to remain “pure,” their victory was contingent upon others physically gutting their opponents for them.”
At best Gandhi worship ignores — at worst it erases — the revolutionary actions of people like Bhagat Singh and others who galvanized the resistance movement in colonial India. It removes the context of fear created by armed struggle, a reversal of the fear that underpinned British control of a country where Brits were enormously outnumbered. George Orwell, the famous author of 1984, as a former officer in the Indian police noted:
“Gandhi has been regarded for twenty years by the Government of India as one of its right-hand men… It was always admitted in the most cynical way that Gandhi made it easier for the British to rule India, because his influence was always against taking any action that would make any difference. The reason why Gandhi when in prison is always treated with such lenience, and small concessions sometimes made when he has prolonged one of his fasts to a dangerous extent, is that the British officials are in terror that he may die and be replaced by someone who believes less in “soul force” and more in bombs.”
The material and philosophical reality of nonviolence is one of insufficient means dictating for itself an impossible end. The sectarian nature by which many proponents of Gandhian doctrine preclude or lambaste the use of armed resistance only helps doom a people’s fight for liberation because it effectively counteracts any positive gain they together might achieve. A truly encompassing liberatory praxis must recognize the use of armed resistance as a legitimate and necessary method of achieving liberation. The dismantling of the Gandhi myth is therefore of primary importance in attaining such a praxis.
But what about Gandhi the man himself, his political doctrines aside? Recently feminist writer and activist Arundhati Roy shared her own criticisms of the late nonviolent leader, saying:
“The story of Gandhi that we have been told, is a lie. It is time to unveil a few truths, about a person whose doctrine of nonviolence was based on the acceptance of a most brutal social hierarchy ever known, the caste system. Gandhi believed that a scavenger should always remain a scavenger. Do we really need to name our universities after him?”
There are, of course, more critical views of Gandhi’s personal habits — his methods for testing his resolve for celibacy for instance — but at the core of his legacy lies an irrational, one-sided lore of a man whose message and methods were inadequate, however helpful,  and whose moral character was as flawed as anyone else’s. The real reason Gandhi is lauded while revolutionaries like Singh are diminished has more to do with what we do not know and why we are not taught it than with what we think we know.
In other words, if we were taught the truth that armed resistance does bring about significant change, we might be inclined to try it.
Reclaiming Resistance from Israel’s Tactical Propaganda
“Respect existence, or expect resistance.”
— CrimethInc.
Knowing the pitfalls of Gandhi’s character/nonviolence, that in reality his methods could only be successful when buttressed with armed resistance and the bankrupting of Britain’s military and financial prowess, why would anybody ask “Where is Palestinian Gandhi?” Well, it’s pretty simple really: If people buy into the idea that there ought to be a Palestinian Gandhi to do what the myth of Gandhi dictates, then if no Palestinian is successfully doing it the rest of the world can continue to blame Palestinians for Israeli initiated violence instead of holding Israel accountable.
More importantly, if Palestinians deviate from the doctrine of nonviolence and endorse armed resistance, Israel can portray itself as victimized, or at least only retaliating in an “equally” matched conflict. This is tactical propaganda. If looked for, it is openly visible in the current struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Mainstream media has constantly berated fighters in Gaza for using armed resistance in the face of overwhelming occupation. A principle mechanism of this berating has been the method of blaming-both-sides equally, regardless of the lopsided causalities of Israel’s current and past military offensives. Hamas, an entity ironically helped to prominence by Mossad as a counterweight to the PLO, has been dubbed the central objector to proposed ceasefires by Israel, Egypt, and humanitarian agencies despite the fact that Israel has far more frequently been the provocateur. After Hamas does reject any ceasefire terms, the question of Palestinian Gandhi is mouthed ad nauseam.
But there can be no great peace negotiator when every ceasefire calls for the continuation of Palestinian oppression. Such proposals are not negotiations — they are the demands of a wolf clothed in the rhetoric of the sheep to elicit international sympathy. Palestinians know this, and by majority they have claimed acceptance of such a ceasefire would be a condition of living death.
In the film Rang de Basanti,a historical fiction of Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ revolutionary actions, a group of young friends retrace and relive the struggle for Indian independence. In the course of their reenactment they discover the corruption of their own government through the death of a loved one and come to understand Singh’s motivations for armed struggle. When they attempt to nonviolently challenge the corruption that led to their friend’s death, they are met with brutal repression, another of them having been beaten into a coma.
They assassinate the Defense Minister of the Indian government, the man responsible, in response. As the Indian government attributes the assassination to terrorists, effectively martyring a corrupt official, in their last act the group seizes a radio station to finally tell the truth about the corruption they acted against. They, like Singh, willingly die for the people they love.
Whether or not their actions were warranted they did something far too many have not: They realized that in order for nonviolence to work, those trying to kill you have to care about you.
Israel’s Zionist government does not care about Palestinians. The so-called terrorism Israel says it is fighting, in reality, is the armed resistance created by the terrorism it commits. If Israel were really concerned with the alleged “terrorism” of Hamas, its most prudent action would be to immediately cease participating in the terrorizing of Palestinians. Such is the nature of cyclical violence, but by no means is it equivalent when one party has the 6th most powerful military in the world and the backing of United States military power while the other has rocks and homemade rockets. 
But this is at the core of asking “Where is Palestinian Gandhi,” to delegitimize Gazan resistance by decoupling the material reality of occupation from the right to self-defense. Jeff Sluka captured it well in National Liberation Movements in Global Context:
“The condemnation of liberation movements for resorting to… armed struggle is almost invariably superficial, hypocritical, judgmental, and unfair and tends strongly to represent another example of the generalized phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” The violence of the situation, the per-existing oppression suffered by those who eventually strike back, is conveniently ignored. The violence of the oppressed is a form of defensive counter-violence to the violence of conquest and oppression. In no armed national liberation movement I know of in history has this not been the case.”
After decades of war on Palestinians, Israel has threaded through itself a clearly defined and widely endorsed, yet often unarticulated, acceptance of violent oppression. It is a fully rationalized phenomenon for its government, with full confidence of Israeli Zionists and their sympathizers abroad, to carry out odious acts of state-sanctioned terrorism against Palestinians. Yet when those murdered, so clearly revealed in the scope of recent events, grow weary enough to fight against occupation, their resistance is totally fetishized, their humanity dehumanized. 
As in the lived and cinematic experience of Singh’s life, getting past the Gandhi myth is essential to understanding the material reality of what is happening on the ground in Gaza today. This understanding must lay bare the conditions of occupation, colonization, and apartheid. When we fully grasp this we ought to remember a people’s natural right to armed resistance. Blaming Palestinians for fighting oppression from a racist, Zionist government is outright victim-blaming. It makes us tools of oppression.
If we really must ask “Where is Palestinian Gandhi,” we should realize they likely are buried under the rubble of an Israeli missile.
(Photo Credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA & AmericaWakieWakie)

america-wakiewakie:

Instead of asking where is Palestinian Gandhi let us stand with Palestinian Resistance | AmericaWakieWakie

“The war neither began with us nor is it going to end with our lives.”

— Bhagat Singh

On April 13, 1919, in violation of a British colonial ban on meetings or gatherings, peaceful protestors assembled in Punjab, India to object to the recent killing of nearly 30 Indians in a previous protest. Unprovoked and without warning, colonial forces arrived and opened fire on tens of thousands of unarmed, defenseless Indians, mostly Sikhs, indiscriminately killing 379 men, women, and children. An estimated 1,200 were wounded.

The onslaught known today as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, or the Amritsar massacre to Punjabi natives, is said to have lasted 20 minutes. Yet, despite its brevity, for the move to action it spurred throughout colonial India it remains a seminal event in the fight for Indian independence. One man, 12 year old Bhagat Singh, was especially moved. The massacre planted in Singh’s young mind a longing for the freedom of his people that would propel him forward by any means necessary.

Eventually he would be hung by British colonial authorities for his propensity to fight brutal occupation with every method employed against the Indian people. In the wake of his death, for the majority of the world who does not know or care about the necessity of armed struggle, he has been forgotten. His story, and those like his, has been put on the back-burner while men like Gandhi have been memorialized as the embodiment of what oppressed peoples should do when faced with a conscienceless occupier. 

Such is not far from the expectation of Palestinians in the wake of decades of Israeli apartheid and occupation: In one form or another the question has been asked, “Where is Palestinian Gandhi?”

Though, even if ridiculously, it could be speculated as to where Palestinian Gandhi might be — a thought to be revisited later — we ought to ask why anybody would pose this question at all. The reality is asking this question is a sinister method of delegitimizing Palestinian armed resistance and self-defense. It is a tactical ploy to remove the focus from the violence Israel continues to perpetrate against Palestinians in order to place the impetus for peace solely on those suffering most. It is, in its purest form, victim blaming. And it has been incredibly effective.

Gandhi: A Myth to Which We May Not Want to Aspire

“In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience.”

— Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)

Nonviolence played a significant role in Indian independence, absolutely; but the premise that under the tutelage of Gandhi it was the premier force driving the nation toward liberation is a cherry-picked version of history. It downplays into nothingness the fact that the post-WWII crown could no longer maintain the brute force and financial obligation needed to run a global empire. Indigenous American scholar Ward Churchill in Pacifism as Pathology dismantled the myth that nonviolence effectively acted alone or in a vacuum unto itself:

“…Gandhian success must be viewed in the context of a general decline in British power brought about by two world wars within a thirty-year period. Prior to the decimation of British troop strength and the virtual bankruptcy of the Imperial treasury during World War II, Gandhi’s movement showed little likelihood of forcing England’s abandonment of India. Without the global violence that destroyed the Empire’s ability to forcibly control territories (and passive populations), India might have continued indefinitely in the pattern of minority rule marking the majority of South Africa’s modern history, the first locale in which the Gandhian recipe for liberation struck the reef of reality. Hence, while the Mahatma and his followers were able to remain “pure,” their victory was contingent upon others physically gutting their opponents for them.”

At best Gandhi worship ignores — at worst it erases — the revolutionary actions of people like Bhagat Singh and others who galvanized the resistance movement in colonial India. It removes the context of fear created by armed struggle, a reversal of the fear that underpinned British control of a country where Brits were enormously outnumbered. George Orwell, the famous author of 1984, as a former officer in the Indian police noted:

“Gandhi has been regarded for twenty years by the Government of India as one of its right-hand men… It was always admitted in the most cynical way that Gandhi made it easier for the British to rule India, because his influence was always against taking any action that would make any difference. The reason why Gandhi when in prison is always treated with such lenience, and small concessions sometimes made when he has prolonged one of his fasts to a dangerous extent, is that the British officials are in terror that he may die and be replaced by someone who believes less in “soul force” and more in bombs.”

The material and philosophical reality of nonviolence is one of insufficient means dictating for itself an impossible end. The sectarian nature by which many proponents of Gandhian doctrine preclude or lambaste the use of armed resistance only helps doom a people’s fight for liberation because it effectively counteracts any positive gain they together might achieve. A truly encompassing liberatory praxis must recognize the use of armed resistance as a legitimate and necessary method of achieving liberation. The dismantling of the Gandhi myth is therefore of primary importance in attaining such a praxis.

But what about Gandhi the man himself, his political doctrines aside? Recently feminist writer and activist Arundhati Roy shared her own criticisms of the late nonviolent leader, saying:

“The story of Gandhi that we have been told, is a lie. It is time to unveil a few truths, about a person whose doctrine of nonviolence was based on the acceptance of a most brutal social hierarchy ever known, the caste system. Gandhi believed that a scavenger should always remain a scavenger. Do we really need to name our universities after him?”

There are, of course, more critical views of Gandhi’s personal habits — his methods for testing his resolve for celibacy for instance — but at the core of his legacy lies an irrational, one-sided lore of a man whose message and methods were inadequate, however helpful,  and whose moral character was as flawed as anyone else’s. The real reason Gandhi is lauded while revolutionaries like Singh are diminished has more to do with what we do not know and why we are not taught it than with what we think we know.

In other words, if we were taught the truth that armed resistance does bring about significant change, we might be inclined to try it.

Reclaiming Resistance from Israel’s Tactical Propaganda

“Respect existence, or expect resistance.”

— CrimethInc.

Knowing the pitfalls of Gandhi’s character/nonviolence, that in reality his methods could only be successful when buttressed with armed resistance and the bankrupting of Britain’s military and financial prowess, why would anybody ask “Where is Palestinian Gandhi?” Well, it’s pretty simple really: If people buy into the idea that there ought to be a Palestinian Gandhi to do what the myth of Gandhi dictates, then if no Palestinian is successfully doing it the rest of the world can continue to blame Palestinians for Israeli initiated violence instead of holding Israel accountable.

More importantly, if Palestinians deviate from the doctrine of nonviolence and endorse armed resistance, Israel can portray itself as victimized, or at least only retaliating in an “equally” matched conflict. This is tactical propaganda. If looked for, it is openly visible in the current struggle for Palestinian liberation.

Mainstream media has constantly berated fighters in Gaza for using armed resistance in the face of overwhelming occupation. A principle mechanism of this berating has been the method of blaming-both-sides equally, regardless of the lopsided causalities of Israel’s current and past military offensives. Hamas, an entity ironically helped to prominence by Mossad as a counterweight to the PLO, has been dubbed the central objector to proposed ceasefires by Israel, Egypt, and humanitarian agencies despite the fact that Israel has far more frequently been the provocateur. After Hamas does reject any ceasefire terms, the question of Palestinian Gandhi is mouthed ad nauseam.

But there can be no great peace negotiator when every ceasefire calls for the continuation of Palestinian oppression. Such proposals are not negotiations — they are the demands of a wolf clothed in the rhetoric of the sheep to elicit international sympathy. Palestinians know this, and by majority they have claimed acceptance of such a ceasefire would be a condition of living death.

In the film Rang de Basanti,a historical fiction of Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ revolutionary actions, a group of young friends retrace and relive the struggle for Indian independence. In the course of their reenactment they discover the corruption of their own government through the death of a loved one and come to understand Singh’s motivations for armed struggle. When they attempt to nonviolently challenge the corruption that led to their friend’s death, they are met with brutal repression, another of them having been beaten into a coma.

They assassinate the Defense Minister of the Indian government, the man responsible, in response. As the Indian government attributes the assassination to terrorists, effectively martyring a corrupt official, in their last act the group seizes a radio station to finally tell the truth about the corruption they acted against. They, like Singh, willingly die for the people they love.

Whether or not their actions were warranted they did something far too many have not: They realized that in order for nonviolence to work, those trying to kill you have to care about you.

Israel’s Zionist government does not care about Palestinians. The so-called terrorism Israel says it is fighting, in reality, is the armed resistance created by the terrorism it commits. If Israel were really concerned with the alleged “terrorism” of Hamas, its most prudent action would be to immediately cease participating in the terrorizing of Palestinians. Such is the nature of cyclical violence, but by no means is it equivalent when one party has the 6th most powerful military in the world and the backing of United States military power while the other has rocks and homemade rockets. 

But this is at the core of asking “Where is Palestinian Gandhi,” to delegitimize Gazan resistance by decoupling the material reality of occupation from the right to self-defense. Jeff Sluka captured it well in National Liberation Movements in Global Context:

“The condemnation of liberation movements for resorting to… armed struggle is almost invariably superficial, hypocritical, judgmental, and unfair and tends strongly to represent another example of the generalized phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” The violence of the situation, the per-existing oppression suffered by those who eventually strike back, is conveniently ignored. The violence of the oppressed is a form of defensive counter-violence to the violence of conquest and oppression. In no armed national liberation movement I know of in history has this not been the case.”

After decades of war on Palestinians, Israel has threaded through itself a clearly defined and widely endorsed, yet often unarticulated, acceptance of violent oppression. It is a fully rationalized phenomenon for its government, with full confidence of Israeli Zionists and their sympathizers abroad, to carry out odious acts of state-sanctioned terrorism against Palestinians. Yet when those murdered, so clearly revealed in the scope of recent events, grow weary enough to fight against occupation, their resistance is totally fetishized, their humanity dehumanized. 

As in the lived and cinematic experience of Singh’s life, getting past the Gandhi myth is essential to understanding the material reality of what is happening on the ground in Gaza today. This understanding must lay bare the conditions of occupation, colonization, and apartheid. When we fully grasp this we ought to remember a people’s natural right to armed resistance. Blaming Palestinians for fighting oppression from a racist, Zionist government is outright victim-blaming. It makes us tools of oppression.

If we really must ask “Where is Palestinian Gandhi,” we should realize they likely are buried under the rubble of an Israeli missile.

(Photo Credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA & AmericaWakieWakie)

via/source ♥ 430 notes
reblogged 22 hours ago
30
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The resolution authorizes Boehner to challenge Obama in court for exceeding his authority by unilaterally delaying deadlines under Obamacare. Although he has said he’ll target the one-year delay of the health care reform law’s employer mandate penalties, the text of the GOP resolution gives the Speaker room to legally challenge implementation tweaks to other provisions of the law.

"This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. It’s about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold," Boehner said. "Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built?"

The move comes as Boehner feels elevated pressure to wage new battles against Obama from confrontation-hungry conservatives. It’s a politically awkward one for his party given that Republicans despise the employer mandate, and have voted to eliminate and delay it. Republican aides say they chose the issue for legal reasons as they think it gives them the best chance of victory in court.

"Republicans want to sue the president for not enforcing a law they want to repeal," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). "It is wrong. It is a waste of time. It is a waste of money. It is a distraction from the important issues so important to our people. This lawsuit is nothing more than a partisan bill to rally the Republican base."

Democrats are aggressively fundraising off the planned lawsuit, portraying it as a precursor to impeachment. They’ve boasted about raising millions of dollars from donors recently over the two issues. Boehner has repeatedly insisted he has no plans to impeach Obama, describing it as a Democratic “scam.” The White House responds that House Republicans were discussing the issue long before Democrats mentioned it, and that GOP leaders also vowed they wouldn’t shut down the government before that happened last fall.

Boehner faces an uphill battle in court. The first big question is whether he can achieve “standing” which requires proving a material injury to the House. Legal experts say that’s a very difficult task because no lawsuit emanating from members of Congress against the president has ever achieved standing in court. The next question, if the courts grant standing, is whether the lawsuit has merit to succeed. Republicans may have better luck on this question, experts say, as Obama’s unilateral decision to delay a statutory deadline is arguably problematic from a legal standpoint.

Progressives and some conservative legal minds warn that if the lawsuit succeeds, it would declare open season for the executive and legislative branches to sue each other over any legal disagreement and empower judges to resolve such disputes.

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reblogged 22 hours ago
30
Jul

karenhurley:

This flower shaped confetti contains flower seeds that grow into wildflowers. It is hand made and biodegradable so it leaves no waste. Via

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reblogged 22 hours ago
30
Jul

america-wakiewakie:

'World stands disgraced' as Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15 | The Guardian 

Death toll now more than 1,300 after three weeks of fighting.

United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday.

At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the attack was “outrageous and unjustifiable” and demanded “accountability and justice”. The UN said its officials had repeatedly given details of the school and its refugee population to Israel.

Fighting in Gaza continued through the day despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire called by Israel from 3pm. A crowded market in Shujai’iya was hit in the late afternoon, causing at least 17 deaths, including a journalist, and injuring about 200 people, according to Gaza health officials. They said people had ventured out to shop in the belief a ceasefire was in place. Witnesses said several shells struck as people were running away. Israel said rockets and mortar shells continued to be fired from Gaza.

At the UN school the first shell came just after the early morning call to prayer, when most of those taking shelter were asleep, crammed into classrooms with what few possessions they had managed to snatch as they fled their homes.

About 3,300 people had squashed into Jabaliya Elementary A&B Girls’ School since the Israeli military warned people to leave their homes and neighbourhoods or risk death under intense bombardment. Classroom number one, near the school’s entrance, had become home to about 40 people, mostly women and children.

As a shell blasted through the wall, showering occupants with shrapnel and spattering blood on walls and floors, Amna Zantit, 31, scrambled to gather up her three terrified infants in a panicked bid for the relative safety of the schoolyard. “Everyone was trying to escape,” she said, clutching her eight-month old baby tightly. Minutes later, a second shell slammed through the roof of the two-storey school. At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Most were women or children.

(Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA & Lefteris Pitarakis/AP, respectively)

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reblogged 1 day ago
30
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Prosecution Witnesses (Since 1st Day of Trial)

Witness #1 – Monica McBride

Witness1-Monica McBride

Monica McBride is Renisha McBride’s mother. She testified as the first witness in Day 1 of the trial. Monica testified that Renisha who was 19 at the time she was killed was working at Ford temporary staffing and that she lived with her mother. She also stated that she came home from work on November 1, 2013 around 10:40 p.m. She said her mom (Renisha’s Grandmother) was asleep and Renisha was home at the time. She testified that when she got home Renisha was sitting at the dining room table, charging her phone and watching TV. She “fussed” at Renisha because the dishes were piled up and the house was not neat. She stated that Renisha did not appear intoxicated to her but that she also did not get close enough to Renisha to smell alcohol on her. She said she went upstairs to change her clothes and when she came downstairs, Renisha was gone as was the white Taurus. She said her daughter would drink socially, but she didn’t see evidence that her daughter had been drinking earlier. She said she didn’t make attempts to call her daughter once she saw she was gone because she assumed she had gone to the store and would be right back. The following day (Sunday November 2, 2013) police notified Monica that her daughter was no longer alive.

Witness #2 – Amber Jenkins

Witness-Amber Jenkins

Amber Jenkins testified she was Renisha’s best friend. They had been friends since middle school. She doesn’t remember how she and Renisha first communicated on Nov. 1, 2013. Said it could have been a call or a text. Amber stated that at about 4 or 5 p.m. Renisha invited her to come over to her house for cards and dominos. Amber has previously testified at the preliminary hearing that she met up with Renisha at about 6 p.m. and left around 8 or 9 p.m. She also originally stated that she (Amber), her boyfriend and his friend were supposed to go to McBride’s house, but the men decided not to go. Jenkins testified that McBride was going to go to “the spot,” which Jenkins said is the weed house and that Amber did not drink anything prior to arriving at Renisha’s home but she did smoke weed. Jenkins said she started smoking at at about noon or 1 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2013 and was smoking it throughout the day. Amber attested that she hung out with Renisha on Nov. 1, 2013 and that they were playing drinking games. They drank half a bottle of a fifth of New Amsterdam vodka and smoked about three blunts. Amber affirmed Renisha was being uncooperative and wouldn’t play the game how she was supposed to and a disagreement ensued. Amber states that Renisha has always been a sore loser and Amber left.  Jenkins stated that she never talked to McBride again that night.

Witness #3 – Carmen Beasley

Witness-Carmen Beasley

Carmen Beasley’s husbands car was the one Renisha McBride crashed into that evening. Beasley testified she was at home when she heard someone hit her husband’s car. She said she looked outside and called 911. Beasley stated she saw someone get out of a vehicle and walk toward Warren. When she looked out of her home, she saw a white Taurus. Beasley says she called 911 because she felt it was an emergency situation. In the 911 call, Beasley tells the 911 operator that someone ran into her husband’s car and walked away from the scene. Beasley said that after she saw the person come back toward the car, Beasley got her husband. And stated that the night of the accident, the white vehicle, a Taurus, was partially in her driveway and partially on the sidewalk. Beasley attested that when she came out of her home, she spoke with the woman, later identified as Renisha McBride and that she asked the woman if she was OK. “She said, ‘Yes, I just need to go home.’ Renisha then walked away from the screne for a second time. Beasley stated that McBride attempted to start her car and said she asked her if there was someone she could call. She said Renisha told her she didn’t know where her phone was. Carmen noticed there was blood on Renisha’s right hand because Renisha had her hands on both sides of her head. Carmen stated she was hurt and she should call EMS. Beasley called for an ambulance, while Renisha sat in the driver’s seat of her car. (the airbag in the car had been deployed) This was the second phone call Carmen Beasley made to 911. This time she told the 911 operator that the woman was bleeding and appeared to be drunk and didn’t appear to know where she was. Beasley testified she told McBride an ambulance was on its way, McBride told her she needed to go home and eventually walked away again for a third time.

Witness #4 – Ruben Gonzalez

Witness-Ruben Gonzalez

Ruben Gonzalez is a corporal with the Dearborn Heights Police Department. He testified that he was working road patrol from 6:45 p.m.-6:45 a.m. on Nov. 1, 2013. He Stated he received a call from dispatcher at about 4:43 a.m. about a caller who had shot someone, who was lying on a porch. Gonzalez stated he saw a shotgun inside of Ted Wafer’s home. He said he did not see any weapons outside of the home and that Wafer was cooperative. He testified that he was the one to put Ted Wafer in the back of the police car. He did not handcuff him, but Wafer was not free to leave. He was being detained. Gonzalez said he drove Wafer to the police station and turned him over to the detective bureau.

Day 1 of Trial Ends.

Day 2 of Trial Begins.

Witness #5 – Rory McManmon

Witness-Rory McManmon

Rory McManmon is a sergeant with the Dearborn Heights Police Department. McManmon was the first officer on the scene at Wafer’s home after the shooting occurred. McManmon stated he received a police run on Nov. 2 at approximately 4:43 a.m, says it was cold and rainy. He testified that when he pulled up to Wafer’s home that morning and started to approach the house, it appeared the front door was ajar. As he approached, Wafer exited the home through the side door of the home and walked out to the sidewalk. He asked Wafer what happened and where the gun currently was. He is asked about the audio from the police car and he testified that he keeps the microphone in his pocket. The scout car video is mounted on the windshield on the inside of the police vehicle. Video and audio from a police scout car presented. An officer can be heard telling Wafer to “come over here” and ask where the gun is. Wafer tells police that the gun went off. “I didn’t know there was a round in there,” Wafer said. In the video, Wafer can be heard telling police that it looked like the person on his porch was maybe “a neighbor girl.” & you can hear Wafer ask who would be knocking on his door at 4:30 a.m.. He states “Someone trying to get in”. McManmon said police had secured the area so no one could walk into the crime scene but that he doesn’t recall any police tape being put up.

Transcript from the scout car of Sgt Rory McManmon:

Transcript from scout car Sgt Rory McManmon was the first officer to arrive

Witness #6 – Syphonia Page

Witness-Syphonia Page

Syphonia Page was witness to Renisha McBride crashing her car. At about 1a.m. on November 2nd, 2013, Page testified, she was in her vehicle in her driveway preparing to leave when she saw a white car run into her neighbor’s car and then a tree. She said she saw a woman walking toward an alley. Page says she called 911 because the woman was leaving the scene and not listening to her. In the 911 call, Page said there was an accident “and the guy walked away from the car.” She then can be heard saying: “Are you OK ma’am? You know what, she a young girl and she’s drunk.” Syphonia said she told police the woman had on blue jeans, t-shirt and a jacket. Page testified that the woman said “she just wanted to go home.” and that the woman left the scene of the accident and walked toward Warren and made a left turn. She said the woman was not cussing or being belligerent. Page testified she did not notice any injuries on the woman. She stated she could not remember seeing blood on the side of McBride’s head (she initially stated this to police as it is in the police report) Page said the woman was “disoriented.” And she can’t say whether the woman was drunk. “She was babbling.” Page testified that the woman got something out of her car after the accident, but she doesn’t know what she got.

Witness #7 – Paris Pace

Witness-Paris Pace

Paris Pace testified that she was sitting in her car outside of her boyfriend’s house, waiting for him to get home from work. She said she saw a white Taurus turn onto Bramell. She said it was driving fast for a residential street. She stated that the vehicle was driving faster than 25 mph. The car swerved and hit the car parallel to her car. She recalled a woman got out of the vehicle. She said she thought the woman was 19 or 20 years old. Pace attested that the woman involved in the accident had gotten out of her car and walked toward Warren. Pace she asked the woman if she was OK and she nodded her head to indicate yes. “She walked back and forth a few times,” Pace testified. She said the last time she saw the woman, she was on the scene. She indicated that there wasn’t anything unusual about the McBride’s walk. “She didn’t look injured.” She stated McBride got in her car on the driver’s side and closed the door. Pace said the woman appeared to be staggering. Defense attorney Mack Carpenter asked Pace to physically demonstrate how the McBride was staggering. People in the courtroom gasped at this request. Pace did not offer Renisha her cell phone, but said she did call police afterward.
***side note***

After Paris Pace testified she then went home and went on twitter and began discussing the case with several people as she did not like the information that was apparently posted regarding her. She made what seemed to be several racially fueled tweets. She also “favorited” and “retweeted” the following tweets:

Paris Pace Tweet - 1

Paris Pace Tweet - 4

Paris Pace Tweets

When several people voiced concerns about her clear bias she made her profile private then eventually deleted it. It has been implied copies of the tweets were sent to the defense but I have not confirmed.

Witness #8 – Valentine Peppers

Witness-Valentine Peppers

Valentine Peppers is a Dearborn Heights 911 dispatcher. On Nov. 1, 2013 going into the early morning hours of Nov. 2, 2013, Peppers said he was dispatching for Dearborn Heights. He is the dispatcher that took Theodore Wafer’s call stating he shot someone. When Theodore Wafer and Valentine Peppers’s got disconnected from the original call. Valentine called Wafer back. There is no recording of the second call.  During the initial first call, which was recorded, Wafer can be heard telling the dispatcher (Peppers): “I just shot somebody on my front porch with a shotgun banging on my door.” When the dispatcher asks Wafer what city he is in, Wafer can he heard saying, “Thank you.” Peppers said the caller disconnected. Peppers testified that he advised the caller (Theodore Wafer) to leave the gun safely on the floor and talk with the officers arriving at the scene. Peppers stated that calls are prioritized and that a home invasion is a high-priority call.

Witness #9 – Tim Zawacki

Witness-Tim Zawacki

Tim Zawacki is a Dearborn Heights police officer. Zawacki said he does basic evidence work for the Dearborn Heights police department. He said he made entry into Theodore Wafer’s home through the side door. A shotgun was on the floor he affirmed. Zawacki was shown photographs on the stand that included shots of:

  • Renisha McBride on the front porch of Wafer’s home, on her back with a gunshot wound to her face.
  • A shotgun inside of the front door
  • Renisha McBride on her back laying on the front porch
  • The screen door which has a hole in it
  • Theodore Wafer’s Bedroom
  • Miscellaneous items in Theodore Wafer’s house
  • A bathroom
  • A possible gun case for the shotgun,
  • An closet door
  • A chair with a sleeping bag on it
  • A TV
  • Living conditions in the house
  • The kitchen perspective
  • Renisha McBride’s feet, showing a torn boot

Witness #10 – Mark Parrinello

Witness-Mark Parrinello

Mark Parrinello is a Dearborn Heights Police Corpal. He testified that he did not take fingerprints at the scene. He also said that Renisha McBride’s driver’s license and $56 were recovered from her. He also said the screen in the door was partially in the track and partially out. The following evidence photos were shown:

  • A hooded sweatshirt
  • A black shirt
  • Jeans with a belt
  • A woman’s undergarments
  • White socks
  • Black boots with a rip in the sole

Parrinello testified that he went to a tow yard, where he recovered a cell phone from Renisha McBride’s car. Photos of Renisha McBride’s vehicle are were shown. One showed extensive damage to the front passenger side of the white Taurus. An image of the interior of the car shows the airbag that deployed from the steering wheel. A possible small blood drop is shown on the driver’s side door. Another was of a view from inside of Renisha McBride’s car, showing the cracked windshield underneath the rear view mirror. Parrinello testified that he swabbed suspected blood spots in Renisha McBride’s car. Parrinello testified that he went to collect the front frame door from Wafer’s home on November 11th, 2013. 9 days after the incident occurred. The screen door was taken off the frame and placed in Wafer’s basement (It’s assumed Wafer at some point had done this himself) Parrinello testified he was able to see through the peep hole. The defense has stated the peephole glass was broken. Parrinello testified he was not at the scene on Nov. 2, 2013. A major factor in the cross examination by defense attorney of Parrinello was in regard to evidence being collected in a timely fashion and the issues that could arise should you wait as long as Dearborn Police did to collect evidence. Parrinello said contamination “could jeopardize a case.” Parrinello said a crime scene would be secured by making sure no one enters into the crime scene and to make a log of whoever does enter the crime scene. Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter asked if there was a crime scene log. Parrinello testified that he didn’t do one. Parrinello testified that he had to go take maggots out of McBride’s clothing he testified that this was due to a transfer from deer meat at the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. After court was over for the day, a reporter called the medical examiner’s office to inquire about the maggots and deer meet. Mary Mazur, Who is a spokesperson for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office, stated: “I have been assured there was no deer meat in the medical examiner’s office that day, The only time we have bodies of animals is when they are brought in retrieve a bullet or something related to a crime and that’s usually like a dog or something.” Mazur said flies can be attracted to any bodily fluid and could have lain eggs on the clothing articles at any point after her death. The mystery of the maggots still remains.

Day 2 of the trial ends.

Day 3 of the trial begins.

Witness #11 – Davonta Bynes 

Witness-Davonta Bynes

Davonta Bynes was a friend and co-worker of Renisha McBride’s. Bynes testified that he knew Renisha as “Nisha.” He said he talked to McBride on Oct. 31, 2013 and asked her to pick him up. Bynes testified that he and McBride talked by phone as well as texted. Bynes stated that McBride did not pick him up from work. He had plans to see her at Nov. 1. He said he was having a small gathering at his house. At that time last year, he was living on West Warren between Southfield and Evergreen. Texts between Renisha and Davonta were shown in court. In the texts, Bynes asked McBride where she ways. She wrote “East right now.” Bynes said they talked around 10-11 p.m. that evening. He thought she had been drinking because she was slurring. “She sounded like she was having a good time,” Bynes testified. He also stated Renisha had never been to his house before. Bynes testified that McBride asked him what his address was. The text dialogue was as follows:

Bynes: “Im at home”

McBride: “Which is where?”

Bynes: “Faust and West Warren”

Bynes: “Damn u not cummin”

McBride: “ill try”

Bynes: “I really want to see”

He said he never heard from her again after that. Bynes testified that he tried to contact McBride the next day, but she never responded. He also testified when he was texting with Renisha McBride, he didn’t know her last name. During cross examination defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter shows texts (with timestamps) between Bynes and McBride. They are as follows:

November 1st, 2013

Bynes:     6:13 p.m.  Texts Renisha and asks where she is.

McBride: 6:14 p.m. -“East right now”

Bynes:     6:16 p.m. – “How long u goin to b that way”

McBride: 6:49 p.m. – “not to long where you gone be”

Bynes:     6:50 p.m. – “I’m at home”

McBride: 6:52 p.m. McBride write “Which is where.?”

Bynes:     6:54 p.m. – “Faust and West warren”

McBride: 7:02 p.m. “U get my “

McBride: 7:41 p.m. – “I wanna see you too”

Bynes:     7:42 p.m. – “Bring that ass to me”

Bynes:     10:12 p.m. – “What happened to u bringing yo ass to me.”

Bynes testified that he had a phone conversation with McBride around 10 p.m. on Nov. 1. He said he was trying to give her directions to his house, he never wound up seeing her. Bynes testified that McBride sounded very drunk. He said she worried someone had slipped something into her drink.

Witness #12 – Ray Murad

Witness2-Ray Murad

Ray Murad lives on West Outer Drive. He testified that the night of November 2nd, 2013 it was rainy and windy. A map of the area of W Outer Drive and Dolphin St. was shown. Murad lived at the corner of Dolphin and W Outer Drive. Murad testified that in the early morning hours of November 2nd, 2013 he was in his home office, which is located in the rear of his house. The office has windows. Murad testified that he heard some noise so first he looked out the window and then he went outside to check on his cars. He said he didn’t see anything outside of his house. Once he went back into his home he heard a gunshot 10 or 15 minutes later. “I was sitting in the office, so it was pretty close to me,” Murad testified. Murad testified that he knows Wafer, who he identified as his neighbor. Murad testified that, from his office, he couldn’t see the front porch of Wafer’s home. He did testify that for two or three minutes prior to the gunshot he did not hear anything.

Witness #13 – Kevin Lucidi

Witness3-Kevin Lucidi

Kevin Lucidi is an employee with the Michigan State Police and is a traffic crash reconstructionist. Lucidi testified he was involved with investigating a traffic crash on Bramell near Warren.That is where McBride struck a parked car. Lucidi testified that he was contacted by Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark on November 11th, 2013. Lucidi testified he visited the scene on November 12th, 2013 and examined the two vehicles involved. On November 14th, 2013 he took measurements at the scene. Lucidi testified that there was a gouge along the curb edge and on sidewalk there was scraping into the driveway, a tree also had fresh damage on it. The range of speed that Renisha McBride’s Taurus was traveling was 31-43 mph, Lucidi testified.

Witness #14 – Wade Higgason

Witness4-Wade Higgason

Wade Higgason is a detective and cell phone forensic examiner. He testified that Renisha McBride’s cell was phone damaged. Higgason also testified about going through a phone and getting screen shots of text messages. (Majority which the judge has ruled are inadmissible)

*not sure what the point of this witness was

Witness #15 – Stan Brue

Witness5-Stan Brue

Stan Brue is a special agent with the ATF, and an expert in cell phone records. Brue testified about how they receive information from cell phone companies. He stated the following: Every phone has to communicate with a tower to make a call, it’s done with radio frequency. Based on the parameters of the network determines which cell site that phone will utilize, Brue testified. He helped track where Renisha McBride’s phone had been the evening of November 1st,2013 as well as the early morning of November 2nd, 2013. Brue testified that no calls were made from McBride’s phone from outside the area of her home until approximately 12:35 a.m. on November 2nd, 2013. Brue identified five calls utilizing a cell site near Renisha McBride’s home from 9:42 p.m. through 10:03 p.m on the evening of November 1st, 2013. At 12:35 a.m McBride received an incoming call, It hit on a cell site near the Southfield Freeway. At about 12:56 a.m., McBride was in an accident on Bramell near Warren. He said that at 12:59 a.m.„ McBride received a call. The call had a six-second duration. There was no way to tell if McBride answered that call. At 8:46 a.m. on November 2nd, 2013, McBride’s phone receives an incoming call which interacted with a cell site in the area of the tow yard DPD uses. Brue testified that text messages don’t have cell tower information. He also confirmed he did not call any of the numbers on the call logs. Brue testified that there is a lot of information after the crash, he stated the crash was at 12:56 p.m. There is a six-second incoming call at 12:59 p.m., he said. Brue testified that there is no way to determine whether a conversation took place. At 3:13 a.m. there was an incoming call to McBride’s phone, Brue testified. He said the call was nearly two minutes. Brue testified that based on the raw records, that call was forwarded to voicemail. Brue testified he did not listen to the voicemail left at 3:13 a.m. At 9:49 p.m., McBride made a nearly 5-minute outgoing call to her father, Brue testified.

Witness #16 – Cyndi Maxwell

Witness6-Cyndi Maxwell

Cyndi Maxwell is a Dearborn Heights police corporal. She also works within the crime lab. Maxwell testified that she received three latent lifts. A latent lift is a piece of hard plastic to lift off impressions from a surface. Maxwell testified that one lift is an impression. There is no ridge detail, she described it as a smudge. Maxwell said the second latent print is consistent with the size of the last joint of a finger. It could have been made by a finger, she said, but it is very smudged. The third latent print has a cross-hatch type of pattern. Maxwell testified she doesn’t know where from Wafer’s home the print was taken. Reading information that is with the print, Maxwell testified that it says side door right side panel. Maxwell testified that the print does not have ridge detail, which would be seen in a finger or palm print. She also confirms no one asked her to identify the print. Carpenter is asking whether the weather could impact the ability to lift prints. Maxwell testified it could. She also testified that normally police would not wait days to lift. In this case, they waited NINE days.

Witness #17 – Jennifer Rizk

Witness7-Jennifer Rizk

Jennifer Rizk is a Forensic Scientist for the Michigan State Police. Part of her job is analyzing impressions. Rizk testified that she received three print lifts from doors, a screen door insert and a CD with 18 images. Rizk attested that a “questioned” impression is one of unknown origin. In this case, she received three lifts that had a questioned impression. Rizk testified that the first print was a questioned impression and did not have any qualities similar to the screen door. The second lift was also eliminated for having been made by the screen door and the third lift, was also eliminated for having been made by the screen door. In regard to lift #3, Rizk testified that the patterns she saw could have been produced by the screen door insert that was submitted to her. Rizk testified on collection methods for lifting a footwear print.

Witness #18 – Alison Riviera-Papillo

Witness8-Alison Riviera-Papillo

Alison Riviera-Papillo is a Michigan State Police crime lab employee. She specializes body fluid ID and DNA. Riviera-Papillo testified that she received a known blood sample from McBride and swabs with suspected blood.

**again not sure what the point of this witness was

Witness #19 – Heather Vitta

Witness9-Heather Vita

Heather Vitta is a forensic scientist and supervisor in crime lab in biology. She is an employee with Michigan State Police. Vitta testified that she received a known blood sample from McBride, a buccal swab from Wafer and possible blood stains. As per Vitta’s testimony, Blood stains, taken from McBride’s car and Wafer’s home, matched Renisha McBride.

Day 3 of the Trial and Witnesses has Concluded.

Day 4 begins Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 9:00am EST

This list will be updated as new witnesses take the stand.

Witness #20 – James Bivens Jr.

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James Bivens Jr. is the chief of the criminal investigation division for Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office

Witness #21- Shawn Kolonich

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MSP Det. Sgt. Shawn Kolonich testified as forensic firearms expert.

Witness #22 – Stephen Gurka

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30
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Original Post

In 2006, Michigan adopted the “Castle Doctrine” which loosely means a “man’s home is his castle and he has the right to defend it”. The law is found in MCL 780.951. The Law states (in part):

(1) Except as provided in subsection

(2), it is a rebuttable presumption in a civil or criminal case that an individual who uses deadly force or force other than deadly force under section 2 of the self-defense act has an honest and reasonable belief that imminent death of, sexual assault of, or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another individual will occur if both of the following apply:

(a) The individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used is in the process of breaking and entering a dwelling or business premises or committing home invasion or has broken and entered a dwelling or business premises or committed home invasion and is still present in the dwelling or business premises, or is unlawfully attempting to remove another individual from a dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle against his or her will.

(b) The individual using deadly force or force other than deadly force honestly and reasonably believes that the individual is engaging in conduct described in subdivision (a).

So what does this mean? It means you no longer have to retreat from your own home and you no longer have to worry about the person breaking into your home suing you if you use deadly force. The law creates a presumption that you can use deadly force if you have an honest a reasonable belief that you are in danger of,

1) Imminent death;

2) Great bodily harm; and/or

3) Sexual assault to yourself or another person.

If another person is breaking into your home or business, or unlawfully trying to remove you from your home, you can use deadly force. However there are some constraints and the presumption will not apply in these circumstances:

1) Someone who has a legal right to be in the dwelling or business and there is no a PPO or other protective order against that person

2) The individual removed or being removed from the dwelling, business premises, or occupied vehicle is a child or grandchild of, or is otherwise in the lawful custody of or under the lawful guardianship of, the individual against whom deadly force or force other than deadly force is used.

3) You are in the commission of a crime yourself.

4) Law enforcement who enter your premises in the performance of his or her official duties.

5) Your spouse, former spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, former girlfriend/boyfriend, baby momma/baby daddy, resident or former resident, and the person using deadly force has a history of domestic violence as the aggressor.

If none of the 5 above constraints apply, then you will have the benefit of the doubt in a court of law . That means the prosecutor will have to show evidence that you were not in fear of imminent death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault. Remember, you must actually believe any of these three threats exist and it must be reasonable under the circumstances. That means a jury could decide, after hearing all the facts, what a reasonable person would have done in your situation. This is why it is important to present the facts carefully to a jury.

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29
Jul

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Rosemary’s Baby it ain’t.

Rather than being on a mission to impregnate someone with the devil’s spawn, the Satanic Temple is attempting to use the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision to opt out of a law they don’t agree with on the basis of religious conviction.

The Satanic Temple announced on Monday that “informed consent” abortion laws — which require doctors to give state-mandated information that can be inaccurate or misleading to women seeking abortions in an effort to provide a “balanced” perspective — violate the temple’s religious philosophy.

“The Satanic Temple believes that the body is inviolable subject to one’s own will alone,” the group’s website says. “We strive to make all decisions regarding personal health based on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others.”

The temple published its medical exemption letter online for any woman seeking an abortion in a state that mandates biased counseling to use.

The Hobby Lobby decision could help Gitmo detainees. Read more here.

This Satanist group isn’t fighting to conduct human sacrifice, eat babies, or whatever it is people think Satanists do. The Satanic Temple is a sort of opposition group that mobilizes “politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty” across several campaigns that include the right to same-sex marriage, women’s rights, and even a Protect the Children Project that seeks to use a similar religious exemption to ban corporal punishment in schools.

But critics, like the Anton Lavey-founded Church of Satan, suggest that the Satanic Temple is merely a prank. Last year, Church of Satan Magus Peter Gilmore wrote (without naming the Satanic Temple outright) that the group’s “public stunts” were obnoxious and made devoted Satanists “look as ridiculous as the theist belief systems that are being mocked.”

To be fair, the Satanic Temple isn’t the first self-professed Satanist group that Gilmore has dissed: he’s written public kiss-offs to just about every other Satanist group he calls “Pretenders to the Throne.”

Whether the Satanic Temple is a prank perpetrated by hired actors, a sincere church, or a genius PR spin on a political collective, they get attention. And in the case of the informed-consent abortion laws, they appear ready for the fight.

“All women who share our deeply held belief that all their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption whether they are members of the Satanic Temple or not,” Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves said in the temple’s press release.

Can corporations find God? Supreme Court justices seem to think so. Read more here.

The Hobby Lobby ruling determined that a corporation, in addition to religious organizations, can cite deeply held convictions in order to circumvent federal law. In that case, the business owner — an evangelical Christian — didn’t want to pay for a select group of birth control methods he considered to be abortifacients.

Greaves claims that the temple has “tens of thousands” of members, based on how many people have signed up online. But Greaves stressed that the exemption letter was vetted by attorneys and stands as a viable option for anyone looking to opt out of biased counseling before abortion.

“We realize that people have a knee-jerk reaction to Satanism, and a lot of people who share our believes aren’t comfortable identifying with it,” Greaves told VICE News. “So we’re putting it out there. We can offer this exemption in general to people who aren’t required to identify as Satanists on those grounds.”

Greaves identifies as an atheist, and doesn’t believe in “a personal Satan or a personal God.” The Satanic Temple mission statement says, “The mission of the Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice.”

Anyone who agrees with the seven basic tenets of the Satanic Temple, according to Greaves, can argue that they have a legal right to opt out of informed consent abortion laws. “Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world,” goes one tenet. “We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.”

Senate Democrats want to crush the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. Read more here.

The Center for Reproductive Rights lists thirty-two states with biased counseling lawsmandating that women seeking abortion must receive information designed basically to change her mind. In some states, the law even mandates that a woman be told there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, even though the National Cancer Institute and theAmerican Cancer Society have stated that there is no link.

Texas has one of the strictest state anti-abortion counseling policies in the nation: all abortion providers are required to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking abortion, show her the ultrasound images and provide a full “medical description” of the images, make her listen to the fetal or embryonic heartbeat if there is one, tell her there’s a link to breast cancer, and then make her wait 24 hours until she can come back for the abortion procedure.

Attorney James MacNaughton, who represents the Satanic Temple, told VICE News that the abortion debate has long been divided along two lines: the religiously opposed, and those who seek abortion rights based on personal liberty under the law. But The Satanic Temple seeks to change that.

“The legal debate over abortion has a religious component. Many of the activities and laws around abortion are based on the sincerely held belief that life begins with conception,” MacNaughton said. “What’s been missing from that debate is that some people don’t believe life begins at conception. There are people who believe that the tissue of an embryo or a fetus is not a human life subject to protection under the Constitution.”

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision relied heavily on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 law that was designed to protect the practices of religious groups as they might conflict with the law.

Oklahoma school’s ‘Hobby Lobby Bible curriculum’ raises bias concerns. Read more here.

The primary case behind the RFRA the Hobby Lobby decision was Employment Division v. Smith, a case in which two members of a Native American church sued after being fired when their employers found out they’d ingested peyote during a religious ceremony. Though peyote is a Schedule I controlled substance, the court found that its longstanding ceremonial use allowed for some exemptions from its illegality.

“Religion is an exercise of faith,” MacNaughton said. “You don’t have to be a member of the Satanic Temple to hold these religious beliefs. You can hold these beliefs in the name of whatever denomination you choose… and [the courts] have to take that seriously.”

Beyond the legal standing of religious beliefs, though, what the Satanic Temple’s challenge highlights most is the perceived disparity between deeply held religious convictions and deeply held convictions, period. For Greaves, the same conviction cited in the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision should apply regardless of where that belief comes from.

“If you’re going to say that because you don’t believe in a personal God or a personal Satan, that you’re deeply held belief is meaningless, that makes no sense,” said Greaves. “You’re privileging a superstition.”

It isn’t the first time Greaves and the Satanic Temple have piggybacked on a Christian legal victory to make a point about equality of conviction. This January, the temple announced their plan to install a Satanic monument on the Oklahoma statehouse lawn, rattling local politicians.

VICE published the first photos of the horned, winged Baphomet statue this May. The monument, still in production, is a response to a 2012 installation of a controversial Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol.

“I think they’re trying to get our goat,” Oklahoma state representative Paul Wesselhoft told the local KFOR station. “What will disqualify them has really nothing to do with Satan, as such. It’s that it has no historical significance for the State of Oklahoma.” Wesselhoft went on to claim that because the Ten Commandments were “the earliest laws we have” and “at the Capitol, what we do is make laws,” the Christian monument had historical significance.

The Satanic Temple filed a formal application with the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission for the monument to be placed next to the Ten Commandments statue, but the state has suspended the issuance of any monument permits until a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of the Satanic Temple is settled.

Source: Mary Emily O’Hara for VICE News

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