Stephen King

Springville Police release name of home burglary suspect that was shot, killed

Utah Husband/Father Shoots and Kills Home Invader with 9mm Handgun


When was the first time I noticed the perfume? Oh yes. I was sitting on the library.

She leaned over his right shoulder so he could see her breasts and feel the warmth of her body. The bubble gum smell envolved him.

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Dogville Lars Von Trier

Dogville is a 2003 Danish avant-garde drama film written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Chloë Sevigny, Paul Bettany, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier, Ben Gazzara and James Caan. It is a parable that uses an extremely minimal, stage-like set to tell the story of Grace Mulligan (Kidman), a woman hiding from mobsters, who arrives in the small mountain town of Dogville, Colorado, and is provided refuge in return for physical labor. Because she has to win and retain the acceptance of every single one of the inhabitants of the town to be allowed to stay, any attempt by her to have her own way or to put a limit on her service risks driving her back out into the arms of the criminals. Although she has no power in herself, her stay there ultimately changes the lives of the local people and the town in many ways.

The film is the first in von Trier’s projected USA – Land of Opportunities trilogy, which was followed by Manderlay (2005) and is projected to be completed with Washington. The film was in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival[2] but Gus Van Sant‘s Elephant won the award. It was screened at various film festivals before receiving a limited release in the US on March 26, 2004.

Since its release, critics’ reception for Dogville has been polarized. Some have branded it as pretentious or incomprehensible, while others have labeled it a masterpiece. As part of the 2012 Sight & Sound polls, six critics and three directors named it one of the best films ever made.[3]

Texa’s police

There has been a spate of events where police in Texas overplays the use of force against upper-class non-white teenagers. Most recently, Mohamed, a 14 year old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was taken into police custody when he brought a homemade digital clock to school to impress the teachers.

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The case of the 14-year old wunderkind put in handcuffs is making national news, highlighting how racism and Islamophobia are breeding hysteria even in our schools. It’s also spotlighting boneheaded behavior: instead of apologizing to Ahmed, his school dug in and defended the arrest and suspension of their award-winning engineering student.

Support for Ahmed is surging. The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed (https://twitter.com/hashtag/IStandWithAhmed?src=hash) is trending, and President Obama just tweeted “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” to the star student! His school needs apologize now, or fire the principal if necessary. Sign and share ASAP:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/istandwithahmed/?tnJLaib

Ninth grader Ahmed Mohammed has a passion for robotics and engineering. He builds things all the time. On Sunday he made a clock and took it to show his engineering teacher at school on Monday. Another teacher saw it, said it looked like a bomb from the movies, convened a group of teachers to interrogate him, and called the police. They handcuffed Ahmed and took him to jail where he was fingerprinted, had his mug shot taken, and interrogated without a parent — against the law. Would a Texas student named Brad or Amy have received the same treatment?

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Regardless of  whether  the school’s actions of taking the clock for a bomb and calling the police were paranoiac or due-diligence, the police had no grounds to arrest and handcuff a 14 year old in school without contacting his parents first and assessing the situation properly. The kid did not treat anyone and only showed the clock to a teacher, that assumed without other cause than racial profiling, that it was a bomb. The police knew that the device was NOT a bomb since they interrogated the child for over an hour and charged him with faking a bomb, despite the fact that he always described the device to everybody as a digital clock.

In June 2015, In McKinney, Texas, police broke a local pool party on Friday night, like if it were a burglary of some sort, harassing black kids, but leaving white ones alone, as if they were invisible. A situation between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn’t do anything. So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders. In particular, a police officer put a 13 year old girl face down in the floor for no reason at all. The officer was placed on administrative leave after being filmed aggressively handcuffing, and then pulling a weapon on, a group of black teens.

The harsh treatment of teens that are handcuffed while involved in non-aggressive normal day-to-day activities contrast with the treatment given thugs actually involved in murder and a shoot out at a mall.

Police in Waco charged 170 people with organised crime in what could potentially represent the largest mass arrest on a capital charge in American history. The gangsters were arrested and charged in connection with a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, which left nine dead and 18 injured. However, if one looks at pictures of the arrest, he gangsters were not even handcuffed.

el ocaso de los libros

José Mendiola 19/06/2012

El suave tacto del papel y el aire que nos mece en el paso de las páginas podrían ser en unos años un reducto para los incondicionales del formato. Los libros electrónicos van poco a poco abriéndose camino en un mercado que cada vez apuesta con más firmeza hacia los nuevos formatos. De hecho, el primer punto de inflexión llegó a mediados de 2011, cuando el coloso Amazon, la mayor tienda on-line del mundo, confirmó que ya vendía más ebooks que libros en papel, consolidando un producto del que muchos auguraron un negro futuro. Pero uno bien podría argumentar que el dato de la firma de Jeff Bezos, pese a ser significativo, estaba limitado a las cifras de ventas de un solo comercio. Sin embargo, la Association of American Publishers acaba de confirmar que las cifras de ventas avanzan tozudas hacia una hegemonía de los libros electrónicos frente al papel, y se cobran la primera víctima en Estados Unidos: ya se venden más ebooks que libros con tapa dura, el primer ‘enemigo’ derribado por este formato.

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Corporations

Corporations had been viewed as artificial persons for millennia, the debate over whether they should be afforded the same rights as humans had been raging long before the United States created, or the14th Amendment was adopted. The degree of permissible government interference in corporate affairs was controversial from the earliest days of the nation.

With the Industrial Revolution, the favored form for large businesses became the corporation as a mechanism to raise the large amounts of investment capital. The Civil War accelerated the growth of manufacturing and the power of the men who owned the large corporations. Businessmen such as Mark Hanna, sugar trust magnate Henry O. Havemeyer, banker J. P. Morgan, steel makers Charles M. Schwab and Andrew Carnegie, and railroad owners Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould created corporations which influenced legislation at the local, state, and federal levels as they built businesses that spanned multiple states and communities. After the adoption of the 14th Amendment in 1868, there was some question as to whether the Amendment applied to other than freed slaves, and whether its protections could be invoked by corporations and other organizations of persons.

Corporations as legal entities have always been able to perform commercial activities, similar to a person acting as a sole proprietor, such as entering into a contract or owning property. Therefore corporations have always had a ‘legal personality’ for the purposes of conducting business while shielding individual shareholders from personal liability (i.e., protecting personal assets which were not invested in the corporation).

Corporate personhood is the legal concept that a corporation may be recognized as an individual in the eyes of the law. This doctrine forms the basis for legal recognition that corporations, as groups of people, may hold and exercise certain rights under the common law and the U.S. Constitution. The doctrine does not grant to corporations all of the rights of citizens. In Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania – 125 U.S. 181 (1888), the Court clearly affirmed the doctrine, holding, “Under the designation of ‘person’ there is no doubt that a private corporation is included [in the Fourteenth Amendment]. Such corporations are merely associations of individuals united for a special purpose and permitted to do business under a particular name and have a succession of members without dissolution.”[2] This doctrine has been reaffirmed by the Court many times since.

As a matter of interpretation of the word “person” in the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. courts have extended certain constitutional protections to corporations. Opponents of corporate personhood seek to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit these rights to those provided by state law and state constitutions.

The basis for allowing corporations to assert protection under the U.S. Constitution is that they are organizations of people, and the people should not be deprived of their constitutional rights when they act collectively.[5] In this view, treating corporations as “persons” is a convenient legal fiction which allows corporations to sue and to be sued, provides a single entity for easier taxation and regulation, simplifies complex transactions which would otherwise involve, in the case of large corporations, thousands of people, and protects the individual rights of the shareholders as well as the right of association.

Generally, corporations are not able to claim constitutional protections which would not otherwise be available to persons acting as a group. For example, the Supreme Court has not recognized a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for a corporation, since the right can be exercised only on an individual basis.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, upholding the rights of corporations to make political expenditures under the First Amendment, there have been several calls for a U.S. Constitutional amendment to abolish Corporate Personhood, Ralph NaderPhil Radford and others have argued that a strict originalist philosophy should reject the doctrine of corporate personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment.

A central point of debate has been what role corporate money plays and should play in democratic politics. This is part of the larger debate on campaign finance reform and the role which money may play in politics.

The corporate personhood aspect of the campaign finance debate turns on Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010): Buckley ruled that political spending is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech, while Citizens United ruled that corporate political spending is protected, holding that corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech. Opponents of these decisions have argued that if all corporate rights under the Constitution were abolished, it would clear the way for greater regulation of campaign spending and contributions. It should be noted, however, that neither decision relied on the concept of corporate personhood, and the Buckley decision in particular deals with the rights of individuals and political committees, not corporations.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), (Docket No. 08-205), is a US constitutional law case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations,associations, or labor unions. The conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”).[2] In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a July 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The lower court held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][3] The Supreme Court reversed, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.

In Citizens United the Court confidently declared, “We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” And for skeptics who thought otherwise, the Court provided this additional assurance: “The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

In 2012 the Justices overturned a century-old Montana law that prohibited corporate spending in Montana state’s elections.

On march 2014 the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius. These two consolidated cases concern Obamacare’s “contraceptive mandate”—the requirement that businesses offering their employees health insurance must provide plans that cover all federally-approved contraception methods at no extra cost to their employees.

Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties are both owned by Christians who believe that some of those contraceptive methods are tantamount to abortion, because they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. The owners seek an exemption to the contraceptive mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a statute that Congress passed almost unanimously in 1993. This says that “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability”, unless the law is the least restrictive way to further a compelling state interest.

To summarize, the US judiciary thinks that corporations should have speech rights because they are basically associations of people. This view overlooks the fact that corporations are instruments with a very specific purpose, to make money.  In fact, many social ills created by corporations stem directly from corporate law. The law actually inhibits executives and corporations from being socially responsible. A provision in corporate law says the purpose of the corporation is simply to make money for shareholders. Every jurisdiction where corporations operate has its own law of corporate governance. But remarkably, the corporate design contained in hundreds of corporate laws throughout the world is nearly identical. That design creates a governing body to manage the corporation, usually a board of directors, and dictates the duties of those directors. In short, the law creates corporate purpose. That purpose is to operate in the interests of shareholders.

While it is true that what guide corporations  is the human activity of their executives, boards of directors, managers and employees, all the human emotional factors of the people in the corporation pass through a “filter” created by the basic rule of maximizing profit. Small family business might show some correlation between their behavior and the values of the shareholders. But the modern large corporation, the one that we, the people, the flesh and blood people, should consider, is an amoral entity, i.e., not governed by human moral values. It lacks guilt for what it does, or empathy for those it harms.  A corporation  can function beyond the natural limits that govern humans. A corporation doesn’t die with its originator. Corporations can’t feel pain [source: Hartmann]. The law pertain to control people trough force and coercion.. For example, our prison system is designed to incarcerate the human body. You can’t imprison a corporation. One might give corporations the rights of a human being, but not similar responsibilities.

 

Nonetheless, corporations are at their most nefarious as a living entity, bound on survive and thrive at all cost. The modern corporation is particularly dangerous because of its great concentration of money, power, and political influence–which it uses freely to reach its goals.

 

Even more, if it is granted that corporations reflect the interest and values of their owners, and there are a few extremely wealthy and powerful, that gives this few undue advantage to impose their interests on the majority.

It is a fact of life that the winner of elections for public office, specially the presidency, can be predicted on the bases of the amount spends on the campaigns.  The news media coverage in the United States is of very low quality, heavily biased towards the interests of the plutocracy. Extending the rights and prerogatives of big corporations is in practice the end of democracy.

 

In 2010, after the Supreme Court declared that corporations have the same rights as individuals when it comes to funding political campaigns, Murray Hill took what it considers the next logical step: declaring for office.

“Until now, corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence-peddling to achieve their goals in Washington,” the candidate, who was unavailable for an interview, said in a statement. “But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves.”

William Klein, a “hired gun” who has been enlisted as Murray Hill’s campaign manager, said the firm appears to be the first “corporate person” to run for office and is promising a spirited campaign that “puts people second, or even third.”

A stunt, but how far should the corporate personhood metaphor go?

Tráfico de Armas

La circulación de armas en R.D. Congo y en los Grandes Lagos siguen siendo una plaga. Existe una red de tráfico que viola el embargo ; tráfico que constituye una de las causas principales de los conflictos en RDC y en la región. Este comercio macabro alimenta perfectamente a mucha gente. El Grupo de investigación e información sobre la paz y la seguridad, GRIP, instalado en Bruselas, acaba de publicar un informe abrumador, firmado por Georges Berghezan, que afirma que esta situación persiste a pesar de todas las resoluciones de la ONU. Apunta directamente a Rwanda, Libia y a países del este de Europa, sin olvidar a los antiguos beligerantes de la guerra de agresión de 1998-2003 en RDC. De pasada, se detiene en las rivalidades y bazas regionales e internacionales entre Francia y EE.UU, para explicar justamente las razones de la ineficacia del embargo, tantas veces violado. En el momento en que en Goma se reflexiona sobre la paz, seguridad y desarrollo en los dos Kivu, este informe, publicado el 3 de diciembre de 2007 sobre la red de tráfico de armas, es oportuno.

Dará motivos para que los participantes reflexionen y no se paren en un examen superficial de la situación. El informe constituye una verdadera invitación para que vayan al fondo de los asuntos, ya que, una vez más, la RDC está en el centro de intereses regionales e internacionales. El informe del GRIP afirma que el trafico de armas hacia el este de la RDC no ha cesado, al menos hasta agosto de 2007, tanto por vía naval como aérea, con la bendición de numerosos Estados, tanto africanos como europeos y americanos. A pesar de las resoluciones de la ONU, el tráfico hacia Ituri y los Kivu ha gozado de buena salud. GRIP cita los informes de expertos de la ONU que denunciaron en varias ocasiones la violación del embargo, indicando nombres y apellidos, movimientos armados, países concernidos. Desdichadamente no se ha adoptado sanción alguna. La plaga persiste y cuasa víctimas, desestabiliza la región, sin que diversas iniciativas de paz aporten una solución duradera.