Brain to Brain Communications Arrives

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Just wow...

Miguel Nicolelis built the brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup.
What's he working on now?
Building ways for two minds (rats and monkeys, for now) to send messages brain to brain. Watch to the end for an experiment that, as he says, will go to "the limit of your imagination."

Cindy Jacobs

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Celebrated false prophet.


Crosby Body of Work

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On Capital Punishment as Revenge

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culheath replied #14.4

In reply to:Patter13 #14.3

....what's wrong with revenge?

Excellent question.

Revenge is the desire to get even when someone does you wrong. It's natural to feel angry, to say "I'm not going to let that a-hole get away with this," whatever "this" is.

However, revenge reduces you to your worst self, puts you on the same level with those spiteful people we claim to abhor.

Most - not all - murders after all are emotional outbursts and acts of revenge against the victim in the first place.

Additionally, studies have shown that revenge increases stress and impairs health and immunity and rarely brings closure.

Revenge is primal survival, compassion is social survival and the means by which we evolved the ability to create civilization and an escape from base instinct.

Sure, if someone hits you with a stick, you have the impulse to hit them back...which is, however, the basis for feuds and wars. It's the cyclic senselessness of the Hatfields and McCoys or the Catholics and Protestants or the Sunnis and the Shiites.

So if we can recognize the irrationality of those types of revenge, why not with the revenge embedded in capital punishment? Compassion is the human ability to break those cycles and it is caused by secretion of a brain produced hormone called oxytocin.

Compassion is not some bleeding-heart-liberal mindset, it is an evolved chemical system that allows for higher problem solving and soical interaction for a species. It is an evolved survival mechanism.

Psychopaths, people incapable of empathy or compassion, have been shown to genetically lack it.

To thrive personally and as a species, we must resist this predictable lust for revenge, and seek to right wrongs more positively. This doesn't make you a pushover; you're just refusing to act in a tediously destructive way antithetical to ever finding peace.

As Confucious says, "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."


Parkland Baptist Church

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I found this Jan 18th sermon by Pastor Jim McKinney revelatory.

Five Reminders for the Weak and Strong

In the Company of Preachers

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The full Obama 2015 SotU Address

MLK Day Celebration POV

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Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

Speaking of MLK

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Politicians are such opportunists, aren't they?

Sen. Rand Paul:
Break Down the Wall That Separates Us From the 'Other America'

We need to notice and be aware of the injustices embedded in our criminal justice system

In his 1967 address to Stanford University, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of two Americas. He described them as, "two starkly different American experiences that exist side by side."

In one America, people experienced "the opportunity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in all its dimensions." In the other America, people experienced a "daily ugliness" that dashes hope and leaves only "the fatigue of despair."

The uneasy coexistence of the two Americas is brought to bear by the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Although I was born into the America that experiences and believes in opportunity, my trips to Ferguson, Detroit, Atlanta, and Chicago have revealed that there is an undercurrent of unease.

Congressman John Lewis, who heroically marched in Selma, still sees two Americas. He writes: "One group of people in this country can expect the institutions of government to bend in their favor, no matter that they are supposedly regulated by impartial law."

The other group: "[C]hildren, fathers, mothers, uncles, grandfathers . . . are swept up like rubbish by the hard unforgiving hand of the law. They are offered no lenience, even for petty offenses, in a system that seems hell-bent on warehousing them by the millions . . . while others escape the consequences of pervasive malfeasance scot-free."

We need to notice and be aware of the injustices embedded in our criminal system. However, we shouldn't be misled to believe that excessive force is the norm, not the exception. I believe that most police are conscientious and want only to provide safety for us.

The blame should be directed to the laws and the politicians who order police into untenable positions, that insist on "taking down" someone for selling a couple of untaxed cigarettes.

Our pursuit of justice should not obscure the fact that on many occasions, good people do step forward to find justice.

This past fall, Helen Johnson was desperate to feed her two daughters and their small children who had gone two days without food. When she got to the store, she discovered that the $1.25 she had was not enough to buy eggs. She was a mere fifty cents short, so she stuffed the eggs in her pocket.

Helen didn't even make it out of the store before the police were notified.

When Police Officer William Stacy arrived, something special happened. Instead of handcuffing Helen and taking her to jail, he used discretion and compassion to mete out justice. He warned Helen not to steal again and he bought her the eggs himself. Helen saw Officer Stacy again on Thanksgiving Day. He delivered a truckload of groceries to Helen's home. Her grandchildren were overjoyed and proclaimed that they had never seen so much food in all their lives.

It isn't hard to find injustice around us, but we must not let injustice smear the good deeds that do occur everyday.

I am optimistic, but peace will only come when those of us who have enjoyed the American Dream become more aware of those who are missing out on the Dream.

The future of our country will be secure when we break down the wall that separates us from "the other America."

Let's commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King by uniting the two Americas into one: an America that includes justice for one, and justice for all.

The Other Pipeline You Should Worry About

Dan Kaufman

While the ire of environmental activists remains fixed on the Keystone XL pipeline, a potentially greater threat looms in the proposed expansion of Line 61, a pipeline running the length of Wisconsin carrying tar sands crude. The pipeline is owned by Enbridge, a $40 billion Canadian company, which has been responsible for several hundred spills in the past decade, including one in 2010 near Marshall, Mich., reportedly the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in American history.

oil_monster.jpgEnbridge is seeking to increase Line 61's capacity threefold, making it a third larger than the projected Keystone XL. The last real line of defense against this expansion is an obscure zoning committee in Dane County, Wis., which is scheduled to meet on Jan. 27 to decide whether to attach conditions to Enbridge's permit for a new pump station. Voting to do so would risk a lawsuit from Enbridge, which maintains that the county has no legal right to impose such conditions.

While the fight over Keystone XL has involved millions of dollars in advertising, the arrests of many activists outside the White House and the direct engagement of President Obama, Enbridge's plans have received little national attention. This is a glaring example of how environmental policy with transnational impacts can be pushed at the state level without attracting great scrutiny.

Line 61, built in 2007, moves 400,000 barrels of tar sands and lighter conventional crude oil a day from Superior, Wis., in the state's far north, to refineries in Metropolitan Chicago or, through a network of connecting pipelines, to the Gulf Coast. Enbridge wants to increase that, in stages, to 1.2 million barrels per day.

Despite this enormous change in capacity, Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources has mandated just a single public hearing. That hearing, held last year, was for an air quality permit and was devoted solely to the impact of constructing storage tanks in Superior. The D.N.R. maintains that a 2006 environmental assessment addresses concerns over the safety of Line 61's expansion.

That analysis took place four years before Enbridge's largest spill, in July 2010, which flooded the Kalamazoo River near Marshall with more than 840,000 gallons of tar sands crude and cost the company $1.2 billion to clean up. The cost exceeded the cap on Enbridge's liability insurance by nearly $600 million. (The company paid the difference.)

The Marshall spill demonstrated how much more destructive tar sands crude spills are compared with spills of lighter crude. To move through a pipeline, tar sands ore needs to be mixed with chemical solvents. When the spilled mixture was exposed to air, the chemical components, including carcinogenic benzene, separated and released toxic gases, which forced many people to evacuate their homes. Meanwhile, the heavier tar sands sank, which required a destructive dredging of the Kalamazoo River.

Although Enbridge completed the cleanup effort last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency asserts that oil remains in the Kalamazoo River. In a scathing 2012 assessment of the Marshall spill, the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency tasked with investigating pipeline accidents, detailed unconscionable lapses in Enbridge's response.

Religion is an intellectual, some say spiritual, endeavor. Add politics and you get genocide as commandment from the god passed on by the lucky priests, some magicians, some clerical politic workers, some tithe collectors. Power and politics fueled by nothing more than cultural habit and sometimes imagination.

People who do not ever let go of the control of the nature of their faith in order to enlarge their view.
Having faith in your faith to a degree where outside or even internal criticism is allowed to generate temporary doubt as an exercise in keeping potential zealotry in check.
To get caught up in insults as though your god is quite capable of dealing with whatever might be slung.

God --any god-- does not require it's adherents to play defense for it. What god would be offended by the thoughts or insults of non-believers? It would simply be regarded as self-defeating ignorance.

...Like the church...

Like a cop
Like a mother
You want me to be truthful
Sometimes you turn it on me like a weapon though
And I need your approval

An Important Question on Satire

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Where's the line between satire and intolerance?

While celebrities and people across the world are saying "Je Suis Charlie," a counter-movement has emerged questioning the line between satire and intolerance. How far can satire push before it's no longer creating commentary and instead ridiculing a group?

Diss of the Day

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skrekk replied 38 minutes ago


comment author avatar

In reply to:honestdebate #13.1

You liberals and progressives don't seem to mind that in the Muslim culture, kind of ironic and hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

Muslim culture? LOL.....pretty much all the irrational bigotry and patriarchy which has ever existed in US law comes from Christianity, not Islam. If anything Islam simply adopted the nuttier aspects of Christianity and Judaism, like the practice of stoning which was introduced by Jewish converts in the 8th or 9th century.

In fact the Christian Taliban in America shares many of the same misogynistic, homophobic and patriarchal values as ISIS and the Afghan Taliban. You guys are a great deal surprise that your sharia laws derive from the same Abrahamic root as theirs.

It was you American Christians who enacted coverture laws so a married woman couldn't own property in her own name and everything she owned before marriage became the property of her husband. You Christians are the nuts who said it was OK in all 50 states for a man to rape his wife....a law which didn't even begin to change until the mid 1980s. You Christians are the nuts who passed rather bizarre sodomy laws to control private consensual relationships. And it's you nutball Christofascists who enacted bans on mixed-race marriage and same-sex marriage. In each and every case you guys defended those sharia laws with your Christian bible-babble.

The Humanity of Selma

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Film director Ava DuVernay, nominated for a Golden Globe for the critically-acclaimed "Selma," joined host Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday for an extensive and amazing interview..

I just finished watching the movie, incredible in the magnitude of its humanity and depth..

I wept, rejoiced and then wept some more.

It's an historical perspective illuminating both facts and truth. It reveals who we were, who we are and who we can become as human beings. It's probably the most elevating work of art I will witness for some time to come.

A Brilliant Move by Obama

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Obama proposes free community college

By Suzy Khimm


President Obama has proposed making two years of community college free for all students who qualify.

"Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everyone who's willing to work for it," Obama said in a video announcement on Facebook. The president will officially unveil the program at a community college in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday.

To qualify for the program, "students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program," the White House said. The administration estimates that the program would help about 9 million students, saving the average full-time student about $3,800 per year.

The federal government will cover "three-quarters of the average cost of community college," and states that choose to participate will have to cover the remainder, the administration said. To be part of the program, the community colleges will be required to offer credits that can transfer to public four-year colleges or workforce training programs with high graduation rates.

On a press call on Thursday, White House officials declined to elaborate on how the program would be paid for or how much it would cost, saying that the details would be in the president's forthcoming budget, which is expected to be released in early February.

"This is the moment that is equivalent to the moment that we made high school universal," White House policy director Cecilia Munoz said. She pointed out that Tennessee's GOP Gov. Bill Haslam had passed a similar bill providing free tuition for students in his state.

"It is not a partisan proposal," she said. In order to become reality, though, Congress will have to approve the plan.

In reply to:Sockratees #2.1

The fact is that you and other police haters don't like authority.

The last thing I am is a cop hater. I have several LEO friends the majority of whom regret the rogues in their midst. I respect authority when it deserves it and not when when it proves itself unworthy.

It's a personality defect. You need to see a psychologist and get help for it.

Here's a mirror... use it your advantage.

The officers are only doing what they are paid to do. You prefer anarchy?

Nothing to me is more onerous than a person granted authority who then abuses it. In personal relationships or public ones nothing is more important to the order of things than trust. It is the basis of contracts and social interactions of any sort and once broken, very hard to redeem.

When an individual policeman breaches the public trust it should be dealt with by the department in order to preserve the public trust invested in people who are given great powers and latitude of action (including lethal capacity) over citizens. What will lead to the anarchy you fear is NOT dealing with such breaches of trust.

Cover ups and acquiescence to bad police behavior destroys the integrity of the whole department and basically ruins the contract between the empowered people and those who grant that power.

If the police are experiencing a lack of trust from the public it is not because it has developed out of whole cloth or a tiny set of incidences. If the police want to regain public trust they are going to have to deal with the rogues among them and bring to task. That is the job of the mayor and other officials charged with regulating and oversight of the department. The cops who turned their backs on the mayor are demonstrating that he is doing his job as well as signifying their own disrespect for the public trust contract.

Word with the Chomnsk

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Starting the Year Right

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The Red Army Choir, which was formed in in 1939 to lift the morale of the exhausted troops, carries on its proud tradition of stirring cover versions with a rendition of Pharrell Williams hit Happy

The NYPD versus Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Relations between Mayor de Blasio and the police reached a new low over the weekend at the funeral for a slain officer - but it's not the first time the NYPD has taken on political leaders.

The New Robber Barons

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and the use of language framing as a weapon to pull off their thievery.

We've just watched the Senate and the House -- aided and abetted by President Obama -- pay off financial interests with provisions in the new spending bill that expand the amount of campaign cash wealthy donors can give, and let banks off the hook for gambling with customer (and taxpayer) money.

What happened in Washington over the past several days sounds strikingly familiar to the First Gilded Age more than a century ago, when senators and representatives were owned by Wall Street and big business. Then, as now, those who footed the bill for political campaigns were richly rewarded with favorable laws.

Bill's guest this week, historian Steve Fraser, says what was different about the First Gilded Age was that people rose in rebellion against the powers that be. Today we do not see "that enormous resistance," but he concludes, "people are increasingly fed up... their voices are not being heard. And I think that can only go on for so long without there being more and more outbreaks of what used to be called class struggle, class warfare."

Steve Fraser is a writer, editor and scholar of American history. Among his books are Every Man a Speculator, Wall Street: America's Dream Palace and Labor Will Rule. His latest, The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power, will be published early next year.

The Interview

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the-interview.jpg ...terrible movie...both

What is more powerful or effective than letting the world know that Kim has a butt hole?

Not much.

It's downloadable here as a torrent:

Sermonette #222

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The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

HLC Ready to Turn Back On

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...This TIme at Double the Energy


CERN's Large Hadron Collider will be turned back on in March and a few weeks later will start smashing sub-atomic particles together again at nearly double its previous power, helping scientists hunt for clues about the universe.

The world's biggest particle collider, located near Geneva, has been undergoing a two-year refit and work is now "in full swing" to start circulating proton beams again in March, with the first collisions due by May, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on Friday. "With this new energy level, the (collider) will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries," CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us."

CERN's collider is buried in a 27-km (17-mile) tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border at the foot of the Jura mountains.

The entire machine is already almost cooled to 1.9 degrees above absolute zero in preparation for the next three-year run.

The first run, carried out at lower power, led in 2012 to confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson particle, which explains how fundamental matter took on the mass to form stars and planets. That discovery was a landmark in physics but there are still plenty of other mysteries to be unraveled, including the nature of "dark matter" and "dark energy."

Men : Hyuk

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Hold my beer and watch this! Study supports 'male idiotic theory'

Maggie Fox


One hitched a shopping cart to the back of a train and was dragged to his death. Another opened his own letter bomb. British researchers say it's no coincidence that both were men.

They're putting forward the "male idiot theory" --the hypothesis that men are far more likely to do dangerously stupid things than women are. It's the "hold my beer and watch this" school of behavior.

To prove their theory, Dennis Lendrem of Newcastle University and colleagues analyzed winners of the "Darwin Awards" -- tongue-in-cheek "awards" given to people who kill themselves doing something stupid --and found men won almost 90 percent of the awards from 1995 to 2014.

"This finding is entirely consistent with male idiot theory (MIT) and supports the hypothesis that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things," Lendrem's team say in their report published in the deliberately facetious issue of the British Medical Journal.

"Winners of the Darwin Award must eliminate themselves from the gene pool in such an idiotic manner that their action ensures one less idiot will survive. This paper reports a marked sex difference in Darwin Award winners: males are significantly more likely to receive the award than females."

The researchers took a look at what might account for the male dominance of life-ending moronic stunts. Alcohol may play a role, they said.

Anecdotal data support the hypothesis that alcohol makes men feel 'bulletproof' after a few drinks, and it would be naïve to rule this out," they wrote.

"For example, the three men who played a variation on Russian roulette alternately taking shots of alcohol and then stamping on an unexploded Cambodian land mine. (Spoiler alert: the mine eventually exploded, demolishing the bar and killing all three men.)"

Lendrem's team said they were setting out to test their theory "in a Christmas party setting".

The Truth from a Former Cop

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Former St. Louis cop alleges racism on the force

Chris Hayes speaks with a former St. Louis police officer about the now-infamous testimony from Witness #40 and the "lack of integrity" he sees in the system.

Torture Report ala Maddow

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The most comprehensive take on the topic so far

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

the rest of the show with more segments on Torture report

This post originally ran on Juan Cole's Web page.

Outgoing House Intelligence Committee head Mike Rogers (R-MI) was on Candy Crowley's "State of the Union" on Sunday, speaking against releasing any details concerning

CIA use of torture in the period after the September 11 attacks


The Senate report is due out this week and is already the object of a Karl Rove style disinformation campaign by former President George W. Bush and others.  The report apparently alleges that there were black torture cells inside the Central Intelligence Agency of which Bush and other high officials were kept ignorant.  They are attacking this report on this relatively minor issue (whether or not the relevant CIA units told their superiors everything) as a way of taking the focus off the torture assembly line run by the United States of America for a while.  They may also be running interference for Dick Cheney, who may well have ordered the torture and in a just system would be in jail for that and numerous other crimes.

Rogers has never shown the slightest interest in upholding the US constitution or in upholding the rights of those falsely arrested or otherwise wronged by the Federal government.  He is now turning his television notoriety as a politician into a career in talk radio, competing with Rush Limbaugh.

When Crowley asked him about the report, he replied that "foreign governments" had warned the US that its release would cause violence.

Please note that when Hosni Mubarak, then president of Egypt, warned Rogers in 2002 that invading Iraq would "create a thousand Bin Ladens," Rogers did not evince the slightest interest in avoiding a massive violent reaction to that policy.  So apparently he feels that there are times when it is worth it to risk violent reactions overseas, i.e. when concerns the illegal invasion and occupation of another country (from which perhaps people in Rogers' circle or campaign contributors benefited?).

Since Rogers's Iraq War has already stirred up most people in the Middle East against the US, so that the main guerrilla movement that grew up to oppose Rogers' policies, ISIL, is routinely beheading Americans, that cow is rather out of the barn.

Rogers goes on to compare the Senate report on CIA torture to the Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006, suggesting it holds similar potential for provoking violence.  (Rogers is going to give Limbaugh a run for his money!)  I think we may just dismiss this comparison as silly.  The torture report will embarrass the US intelligence services, not insult Muslims' sacred figures.

Rogers then takes another tack.  "What good," he asks, "will come of this report?"  He says there was a Department of Justice investigation (is that like the grand juries in New York and Ferguson?  Who exactly was indicted?) 

He then says that the torture program was ceased while Bush was still president, and that Congress has taken action to stop torture.  Then he says President Obama issued an executive order halting it. 

But why did Obama have to stop something that wasn't going on?

Again, this line of argument is what magicians call misdirection.  That the torture at some point stopped does not relieve the government of accountability for it before the people.  Laws were broken, despite what lying liars like John Yoo were happy to tell the Bush administration.

The 8th Amendment to the US constitution (yes, it is as important as if not way more important than the 2nd) specifies that no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted on prisoners held by the Federal government. Repeatedly waterboarding someone, making them think they are drowning, is both cruel and unusual.  Waterboarding is torture according to the Convention against Torture, i.e. in international law.  A form of it was practiced by the Roman Inquisition and during WW II by Imperial Japan (which the US rather minded at the time).  The mealy-mouth fascists who opine that combatants out of uniform may be tortured in US law are just making stuff up.  Those who deny that waterboarding is torture are just engaging in a form of lying.  Nor does waterboarding appear to be the only torture technique resorted to.  As for defenders of torture, they should be careful.  One conclusion of the Nuremberg trials is that you can be tried for advocating war crimes.

Rogers in the end asks what good will come of our knowing the truth.  All the actions he says were taken, however, were taken by a narrow circle of high officials.  We don't even know whether all the people's representatives on the Hill have been allowed into the charmed circle of torture cognoscenti.  The people rule in a democracy, and the people have been neither informed nor involved.  Moreover, in a democracy, officials are held accountable for crimes committed while in office.

Finally, while it is nice of Obama to issue an executive order, his executive order can be overruled by the next president, and the next chair of the intelligence committee might believe in torture (who knows, maybe this one does).  Only by having the graphic details of what was done become public can we hope to have a more permanent legislative and judicial reform.

I am not antipathetic to the intelligence officials who faced the problem of destroying al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks.  In fact, I flew off to Washington through much of the zeroes to give talks to US government personnel of a whole range of agencies on how to fight al-Qaeda, and feel solidarity with those who did their best to understand and combat the monsters.

But I categorically deny that any crucial information was derived from torture.  And I point out that a crucial bit of disinformation was arrived at that way- Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi under repeated waterboarding told the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda in the use of chemical weapons at Salman Pak.  That completely false and indeed ridiculous allegation, taken seriously by Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and W., was an impetus or at least a pretext for a disastrous war.  This disastrous intelligence failure derived from the very torture that Mike Rogers doesn't want us mere plebes to know about.

We need to know about it.  Who knows, maybe future voters will even vote for people who stand for the Constitution and a rule of law rather than for a national security Nomenklatura (the old Soviet-style closed elite of apparatchiks) invested in using the techniques of our dictatorial enemies instead of those of a democracy.

Maniac Cleveland Police Chase Video

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63 police cars and 137 shots later, each unarmed person chased solely for speeding dead from over 20 upper torso and head shots

No problem, some will claim...just how it is.

Keepin It Real, Keeping It Raw

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