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Norway Police Haven’t Killed In A Decade – What The U.S. Needs To Learn

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Photo credit: Toni Kaarttinen Photography

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As a child, I was appalled by many of the events that I read about in my history books. The civil, social, and economical injustices confused and angered me. I felt for the millions of people who were victims of such wrongdoings, yet grateful for the ones who risked their lives to make our world, and my home, the United States, a more peaceful place.

As an adult, I can’t help but feel like my home has taken so many steps backward.

Despite the fact that it’s 2016, it’s hard not to turn on the news, flip through Facebook, or look at your phone’s news apps without being informed of yet another police shooting. Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly two each week.

In 2016, police have killed more than 130 black people, according to a project by the Guardian. Just this past Monday, Korryn Gaines became the 9th black woman killed by police this year.

Police murder people on a daily basis in the United States, of all races, too.

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While the FBI gathers some data on fatal shootings, police forces don’t have to provide it, and, in fact, only some of them do. But the Washington Post wanted numbers, and so they began tracking civilian deaths.

“We looked at the FBI database, since that was the official government accounting for things. And saw that over the past decade, the average number of shootings that they counted was about 400. By the end of last year, we had almost 1,000 fatal shootings that we had captured,” explains Kimberly Kindy, an investigative reporter at the newspaper.

She continues: “What we didn’t know though, of course, as we went into this year and did it a second year was – was last year a normal year? Is 990 people being killed by police in a single year about what you would expect year in and year out?” Kindy says that, so far, 2016 is on track with 2015.

“In fact there’s been an increase, a 6% increase in fatal shootings when we compare the first six months of last year to the first six months of this year… So that’s about three people are dying a day, who are being fatally shot by officers.”

With police murdering civilians on a daily basis in the United States, it’s important to take a look at what is happening in other countries. In Norway, for example, newspapers aren’t trying to track down who’s been killed in 2016, 0r 2015. That’s because police haven’t killed anyone in nearly a decade.

The country’s government provided a recent report that shows police in Norway are much less likely to draw their weapons on suspects, and even less likely to actually pull the trigger. In fact, the report even noted that Norway’s police only fired their guns in two situations last year, with neither resulting in a fatality.

The biggest reason for Norway’s extremely low statistics here is simple: the police officers rarely have guns on them. This allows them to deal with and resolve conflicts without escalating it to an unnecessary death out of fear, confusion, or power.

This is far different from how police are trained in the U.S. As opposed to beginning with questions, they are told to shoot first, and figure the rest out later. They are programmed to believe every civilian is a potential criminal or attacker, but this is counterproductive, and neither keeps the peace nor offers safety. Immediate violence is simply not the answer.

For example, Dale Brown of Detroit’s “Threat Management Center” has provided a means for avoiding guns at all costs, and showing just how valuable this mentality can be. Since police in certain areas of Detroit don’t answer 911 calls, Dale Brown decided to start taking those calls himself, and had to solve these crimes without succumbing to violence, since, if he did so, he would actually be held accountable for his actions.

Check out his work in the video below to gain a different perspective on how police can better protect civilians and themselves:

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Some Cities Now Threatening Jail Time & Fines For Kids Over 12 Who Go Trick-Or-Treating

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Some cities in Virginia have reminded the public of the laws associated with Halloween night. Children over 12 caught trick or treating can be fined or receive jail time.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we robbing the innocence of children and their fun with laws like this? Is this truly a law we want to have in place? Will it lead to even more liberty loss? Are these laws a result of the fact they are happening in 'The Bible Belt' of America?

Halloween has adapted over the ages from once being an ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year) to being ‘Christianized’ in the west as a time that begins the three day observance of All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’) and All Souls’ Day, that dates between October 31st to November 2nd. This trifecta is a time intended to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints, and all faithful departed Christians.

Of course today, most in society have strayed far from the intended traditional sense of the day to a more commercialized, fun having approach.

We now choose to participate in Halloween as a family friendly time, dressing up and going door-to-door in our neighbourhood and accepting candy, otherwise known as trick or treating. Aside from the chemicals laden in the candies that are dished out, this time of the year can be pretty harmless for a child, given they are accompanied by an adult and not trotting around in a dangerous area.

Times, Laws, & Guidelines For Halloween in Hampton Roads Virginia

HrScrene is a website considered to be a hub for the people who reside in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia that keeps residents up to date on any happenings in local cities or important information news and even information. Earlier this month, hrScene notified Virginia of the local guidelines that residents are expected to abide by on the night of Halloween.

Each of the nine city’s guidelines explicitly state that no child above the age of 12 is allowed to participate in trick or treating and that no child can trick-or-treat after 8pm. A child of 13 years of age is allowed to accompany a ‘younger child’ but cannot participate in anything remotely similar to trick or treating, including dressing up if you’re living in Newport News,

Sec. 28-5. – Prohibited trick-or-treat activities.

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(a) If any person beyond the seventh grade of school or over twelve (12) years of age shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting any parent, guardian or other responsible person having lawfully in his custody a child twelve (12) years old or younger, from accompanying such child who is playing “trick or treat” for the purpose of caring for, looking after or protecting such child. However, no accompanying parent or guardian shall wear a mask of any type.

In Portsmouth, if any child under the age of 12 is out trick-or-treating after 8pm, they can be guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor, a fine of not more than $500, while most of the other city’s will delve out a class 4 misdemeanor, a fine of no more than $250.

(b) If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he shall be guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.

In the City of Hampton, on the night of October 31st, if you’re under the age of 18 it is considered unlawful to be out past 10pm an in some cases 11pm.

It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of fourteen (14) years to be present on any street, road, alley, avenue, park or other public place in the city, or in any vehicle operating or parked thereon, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by his/her parent or guardian or unless such minor is on an emergency errand or legitimate business directed by his parent or guardian or is engaged in a lawful employment or going directly to the place of such employment or returning directly to his place of residence from the place of such employment.

It shall be unlawful for any person over the age of thirteen (13) years but under the age of eighteen (18) years to be present on any street, road, alley, avenue, park or other public place in the city, or in any vehicle operating or parked thereon, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by his/her parent or guardian or unless such minor is on an emergency errand or legitimate business directed by his parent or guardian or is engaged in a lawful employment or going directly to the place of such employment or returning directly to his place of residence from the place of such employment.

Perhaps one of the worst city codes is that of Chesapeake, if you’re over 12 years old and/or 12 years old and still trick or treating after 8pm, you can potentially be confined in jail for up to six months.

Sec. 46-8. – Trick-or-treat activities.
(a) If any person over the age of 12 years shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00 or by confinement in jail for not more than six months or both.

(b) If any person shall engage in the activity commonly known as “trick or treat” or any other activity of similar character or nature under any name whatsoever after 8:00 p.m., he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10.00 nor more than $100.00 or by confinement in jail for not more than 30 days or both.

If you’d like to read the full list, click here.

Will This Actually Be Implemented?

Naturally, this information has a lot of parents and other young adults rearing in confusion. Since when was a 13 year old not considered a child, or even a 16 year old for that matter? Who decided that it was unacceptable for young people to participate in the most known Halloween tradition of trick or treating?

In my first year of college, a friend and I decided that instead of going to a party the night of Halloween, that we could instead go trick or treating. We threw together some form of a costume and trotted from door to door and were always met with happiness. We assumed this was because we were adults, not a likely sight to see on a doorstep reciting, “trick or treat!”

In none of the codes does it include what would happen in a scenario where a teenager with an intellectual or developmental disability went trick or treating. It also doesn’t mention whether a minor is expected to have a form of ID on them. Does this put children at risk of being interrogated and being fearful of law enforcement rather than allowing for a child to get a sense of community by witnessing their town coming together to celebrate Halloween?

Law enforcement of York County assured a mother who recently moved to the area that they will not be arresting anyone the night of Halloween, further confirming the lunacy of these laws.

I decided to question why these laws would be implemented to begin with. Virginia does fall into the ‘Bible Belt’ an “informal region in the Southern United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics. Christian church attendance across these denominations are generally higher than the nation’s average,” according to Wikipedia’s definition. Christians seem to be divided when it comes to whether or not they should celebrate Halloween,  but Thessalonians explicitly states,

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

And then I thought to myself, well, perhaps these areas are considered ‘unsafe’ and known for teenagers wreaking havoc on the night of October 31st.

According to the article These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Virginia For 2019, published October 11th 2018, 3 of the 9 cities enforcing these laws (Portsmouth, Norfolk, Newport News) are considered ‘dangerous’. The basis of criteria they used to determine which city was most dangerous was violent crimes per capita and property crimes per capita.

Portsmouth made the top of the list by being number 1 with property crimes and number 2 with violent crimes. But when it comes to the night of Halloween, the worst they’ll give out to a child trick treating after 8pm or one trick or treating over the age of 12 is a class 3 misdemeanour.

The worst penalty, in my opinion, is that of the city of Chesapeake. The law suggests a child could actually go to jail if they don’t abide by the codes being enforced which would lead me to assume it’s probably not a safe place to live except that this article, Is Chesapeake Virginia A Safe Place To Live? actually uses the word ‘boring’ to describe the nature of the town, or more so, fighting that notion.

The Takeaway

The issue isn’t so much about these ordinances but rather what route our youth are being led to. Media today is exposing our children to a world that is hyper-sexualized and overtly emotional. The internet often pokes fun at millennials with memes giving examples of how awkward they were when they were 12 or 14, and how today’s youth is skipping that stage and going right into adulthood.

We don’t have to look hard to see how the innocence of a child is being hijacked by societal ‘norms.’ These codes being enforced is alarming because it’s exposing how obvious this governmental objective truly is. Should we have to fight for children to be children? Halloween is just the beginning and it’s up to us on whether not we’d like to participate in the robbing of our children’s innocence.

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A Jury’s $289 Million Verdict Against Monsanto Might Be Overturned By The Judge

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit alleging glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. He ended up winning and was awarded nearly $300 million. Now, the judge is threatening to overall the decision made by the Jury.

  • Reflect On:

    How can corporations like Monsanto and government regulatory agencies constantly approve products that an uncountable amount of research and science has shown is harmful to human health as well as the environment.

Not long ago, school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson became involved in the very first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. The case made global headlines when the jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers. We’ve seen the same issue with similar substances like DDT, which was sprayed for years before it was finally banned decades ago. The unfortunate thing is that DDT is still highly present in the environment and in our soil, and is a catalyst for many diseases. Are we seeing the same thing with Glyphosate?

The court ended up awarding $39 million in compensation and $250 million in punitive damages. It’s also vital to mention that Monsanto, now a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

Grounds For Reversal?

Now, just two months after jurors made the decision in favor of Johnson, who is dying of cancer, the judge suddenly has an issue with the amount and might overrule the decision. Again, Johnson is one of the thousands of cancer patients that are taking Monsanto to trial. The judge is apparently calling for a new trial, and she has now granted Monsanto a request for a JNOW on a tentative basis. A JNOW is a judgement notwithstanding the verdict. This is basically when a judge in a civil case overrules the jury’s decision.

This is extremely confusing, isn’t it? What prompted the judge to do this, and did Monsanto have anything to do with it? And even if the judge denies Monsanto’s request to drop the $250 million fine, the Court would grant a new trial on the grounds of ‘insufficiency of evidence’ to justify the award for punitive damages–this after the evidence was found to be quite sufficient at the time.

Even the jurors are speaking out, according to CTV news:

Jurors who found that agribusiness giant Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer contributed to a school groundskeeper’s cancer are urging a San Francisco judge not to throw out the bulk of their $289 million award in his favour, a newspaper reported Monday.

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Stock Drop

Shares in Bayer, which bought Monsanto as mentioned earlier, dropped immediately after the original decision and hasn’t risen since. It’s still trading at approximately 30 percent below its pre-verdict value. The statement given by Bayer after the initial decision does its best to restore confidence in their product:

The jury’s decision is wholly at odds with over 40 years of real-world use, an extensive body of scientific data and analysis…which support the conclusion that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe for use and do not cause cancer in humans. (source)

This statement strongly goes against the statements made by thousands of scientists across the world.

“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014) article ID 179691

Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate rose 1500% from 1995 to 2005, and that 100 million pounds of glyphosate is used every year on more than a billion acres. (Cherry, B., “GM crops increase herbicide use in the United States,” Science in Society 45, 44-46, 2010) (source)

Years Of Activism

The alarming thing is that for decades, scientists, activist groups and environmental/health awareness groups have been creating awareness and presenting the science explaining how and why Monsanto’s glyphosate (the main ingredient in their Roundup herbicide) causes cancer, among other diseases. Despite the fact that this has been happening for years, the political stranglehold these corporations have on governmental regulatory agencies has prevented this information from being taken seriously.

If the truth was widely known it would result in an unfathomable drop in profit for Monsanto’s products which contain glyphosate, but mostly in North America. Many countries have completely banned the ingredient and other Monsanto products, due to clear links to diseases like cancer and kidney disease, for example. In fact, most of the products manufactured by Monsanto and other giant North American biotech companies are completely banned and illegal in many other countries.

It makes you wonder how such a substance can go through the review process, whatever it is, and still be approved for use. Monsanto has been sued many times; in fact one lawsuit unearthed documents showing how Monsanto misled regulators and scientists to speed up approval for the development of genetically modified foods. You can read more about that here. So, the science itself becomes subject to fraud when power and money are applied. Roundup herbicide is over one hundred times more toxic than regulators claim. And a new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International showed how Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation. You can read more about that here.

We are talking about clear hormone disrupters and clear catalysts for cancer. Decades of science and scientific fraud that’s been exposed has forced the World Health Organisation, a major hub of the establishment that seems to regulate the shady industry of health, to finally admit that glyphosate, like cigarettes, processed foods and meats, is carcinogenic.

Clear Injustice

This judge’s reversal will end up having enormous financial and reputational repercussions for the corporation, and it seems obvious that she has been influenced by power and money. The truth is, if you take the scientific evidence, as well as clear evidence of scientific fraud and corruption by these corporate and government agencies (who are constantly in collusion with one another), there is no jury on the planet that would not reach a guilty verdict. That’s because the evidence is quite clear, which is why if this decision was going to be reversed, it would have to be the Judge over-ruling the jury’s decision.

This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto’s products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion.”  Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the organic consumers association

At the end of the day, we are the ones using these products and we are the ones voting with our dollar. That being said, it completely goes against our free will and interests for products to be approved that are obviously completely unsafe. It’s unfortunate that those who choose not to use these products or be near them, still end up with it in our system. The fact that Monsanto can still somehow fight this and provide evidence means our work is not yet done.

The Takeaway

The work of many brave activists has brought awareness to the severe health risks of glyphosate and Roundup, but to honor all their efforts we must continue to spread awareness about these corporate crimes until the time comes when these chemicals have been removed from all corners of the Earth.

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The Man The CIA Wants You To Forget

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Former LAPD Narcotics Detective and whistleblower Michael Ruppert spent years speaking out against the CIA for allegedly running drugs throughout the USA. He was found dead in 2014 by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we continue to give credibility to agencies like the CIA who have been caught abusing their power time and time again? Who's watching the watchers? What can we do to better protect whistleblowers when they come forward?

Michael C. Ruppert was an ex-LAPD Narcotics Detective and whistleblower who came out against the CIA in the late 70’s. He claimed they tried to enlist him in protecting and helping to facilitate their drug running practices. When Ruppert declined involvement and came forward he said he was threatened, wrongly discredited, and even shot at, but that didn’t stop him from speaking up.

“I will tell you, director Deutch, that as a former LosAngeles police narcotics detective that the agency has dealt drugs throughout this country for a long time.” – Michael C. Ruppert

At a now infamous town hall hearing in LA, he faced off against the chief of the CIA with a packed room of people from the South-Central area cheering him on from the crowd. It was not only the unlawful behavior Ruppert wanted to expose, but also the incredible hypocrisy of the CIA and the LAPD for bringing cocaine and other drugs into the community, and then locking up small-time drug dealers and users.

These imported drugs were ripping apart communities with widespread effects like addiction, increased crime and gang activity, overdose deaths, and many incarcerations that broke up families leading to cycles of crime that spanned generations. You can see the video of the emotional town hall meeting below.

He Didn’t Stop There

Michael Ruppert spent most of his life trying to expose criminality at the highest levels. Tackling everything from the peak oil crisis to the military industrial complex. He also believed that 9/11 was allowed to happen by the Bush administration.

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” 9-11 was a predictable event and it was motivated precisely and solely by Peak Oil and nothing else.” – Michael C. Ruppert (source)

Ruppert became a published author and gained more notoriety for his controversial book “Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.”  That ended up inspiring the eye-opening documentary “Collapse”, which is a worthwhile watch to start understanding the deep levels of corruption and cover-up that has been taking place around the globe.

No matter your thoughts on the legitimacy of Ruppert’s claims, it’s clear he wasn’t afraid of taking on the Goliaths of the world but for doing so was branded by many throughout the mainstream media as a wild conspiracy theorist.

“All corporate-owned and publicly-traded media is our first and foremost immediate enemy.” Michael C. Ruppert

Redemption?

It’s 1996 and in comes Gary Webb. A very well respected Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who begins investigating the ties between leaders of the Nicaraguan Contra Rebel organizations and the CIA. Webb wrote a 3 part investigative series that got published in the San Jose Mercury News. This caused a public uproar, especially from people in poorer communities where the crack-cocaine epidemic was destroying families.

The publicity from Webb’s scathing piece of journalism against the CIA is what allowed Ruppert the chance to finally be heard on a larger scale, and Webb’s conclusions even launched a federal investigation into the issue. While many people believed him, Gary Webb ended up losing his publisher, getting smeared all over the mainstream news for exaggerating and was even called an outright liar. Alongside Ruppert, Webb was outspoken in saying there was massive media manipulation around the issue.

“The government side of the story is coming through the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post. They use the giant corporate press rather than saying anything directly. If you work through friendly reporters on major newspapers, it comes off as The New York Times saying it and not a mouthpiece of the CIA.” – Gary Webb (source)

Tragic Ending

Gary Webb was found dead in his home in 2004 with two gunshot wounds to the head. His death was ruled a suicide but there is still some speculation considering the fact that it’s uncommon for a person to pull the trigger twice in a suicide but to be fair it has happened in the past. There was a suicide note and his wife has stated he was depressed for a while about no longer being able to get a job at any major newspaper.

An eerily similar fate was met by Michael Ruppert. He was found dead in his home in 2014 with one gunshot wound to the head. He also left a note and his death was ruled a suicide. Just like Webb there was mystery around Ruppert’s official story, some believe it was a hit for saying too much or that maybe he was onto another big story, some believe the suicide was staged and he went off the map to get a fresh start, and others take the story at face value and think that maybe he’d just had enough of fighting, of always looking over his shoulder. As a man that spent his life questioning the mainstream narrative, it seems fitting that many conspiracy theories have formed around his death.

The Takeaway

If you check out the video above you can hear from Michael Ruppert himself about some of his story and see him in action at the town hall meeting where he challenged the CIA. His question to the chief is a powerful one, asking if he comes across information of illegal activity but it’s classified, will he report it?

Are these organizations we give the power to enforce the law and/or to protect us above the law? Are there circumstances where illegal activity by some organizations is justified, say if the information is a threat to public safety? Why could none of the CIA’s internal investigations find any hard evidence of the claims against them? Who’s watching the watchers? One of the final sentences of Ruppert’s suicide note reads:

“I do this for the children, may it bring love and light into the world.” – Michael C. Ruppert (source)

That seems like a cause that we can all get behind. Working together to build a world worth leaving to future generations. Let’s leave it better than we found it, I know we’re capable of it. Whether you agree with Michael Ruppert’s beliefs or not we can learn from him because I feel that he was trying to do just that, leave the world a better place. Love and light!

A Quick Important Notice:

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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