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AZ Cop Acquitted for Killing Man Crawling While Begging for His Life

Body camera footage released after jury reaches verdict.

Photo Credit: Mesa Police body camera footage.

Arizona jurors watched the video below, which shows former Mesa, Arizona, police officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford shooting and killing a man who was begging for his life and attempting to follow the officer’s orders to crawl down a hotel hallway.

Yesterday, the jurors found Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter. Do you agree?
(Warning: The video is pretty graphic.)

The incident occurred in January 2016. Daniel Shaver apparently was showing off a pellet gun, and it was visible through the hotel room window. This prompted someone to call to the hotel front desk, which prompted a call to the police.

So it wasn’t unreasonable for police to approach the hotel room thinking the encounter might be dangerous. They knew there was a gun there, and they didn’t know it was a pellet gun. But that video shows some truly baffling decisions by Brailsford that escalated the situation to make it even scarier, not the least of which was that Brailsford’s bluster and open threats of violence made him appear as terrified as Shaver. (CORRECTION: The orders being barked out in the video are not from Brailsford, but by Sgt. Charles Langley, who retired four months after the shooting and defended Brailsford’s actions in court.)

The contents of the body camera footage had been described to the public before, when Brailsford was first charged, but the video itself was withheld until this morning. NBC notes:

The detective investigating the shooting had agreed Shaver’s movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but has said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl.

The investigator noted he did not see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Shaver as he was on the floor.

Forcing Shaver to crawl toward the police like this increased the likelihood that Shaver would lose balance and make wild movements, and Langley’s bizarre orders were probably confusing even to a sober person.

Oh, and here’s an interesting detail from the Arizona Republic:

The judge did not allow jurors to hear about an etching on the dust cover of the rifle Brailsford used to shoot Shaver, which said “You’re f–ked”, because he felt it was prejudicial.

Shaver’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Mesa. Brailsford was fired for poor performance two months after the shooting. Would anybody care to bet that he tries either to get his job back in Mesa or to get a job with another law enforcement agency elsewhere?

This post has been corrected to properly identify that Brailsford was not the officer giving orders in the video.

Source: Arizona Cop Acquitted for Killing Man Crawling Down Hotel Hallway While Begging for His Life – Reason.com

Related: Wife of man killed in Arizona police shooting speaks out – Dec 12, 2017

NYT: Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades

During that time, after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, according to two company officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. Among the recipients, The Times found, were a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and Ms. O’Connor shortly after, according to records and those familiar with the agreements

In 2015, the year Ms. O’Connor wrote her memo, his company distributed “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about campus sexual assault. A longtime Democratic donor, he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in his Manhattan home last year. He employed Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, as an intern this year, and recently helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name …

At Fox News, where the conservative icons Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were accused of harassment, women have received payouts well into the millions of dollars. But most of the women involved in the Weinstein agreements collected between roughly $80,000 and $150,000, according to people familiar with the negotiations…’

Source: Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades – The New York Times

IRS took millions from innocent people due to how they managed their money

Wall St. Cash | Simon Dawson — BLOOMBERG
(Simon Dawson — BLOOMBERG)

’In most cases, the report found, agents followed a protocol of “seize first, ask questions later.” Agents only questioned individuals and business owners AFTER they had already seized their money…’

Continue reading:

“The Internal Revenue Service has seized millions of dollars in cash from individuals and businesses that obtained the money legally, according to a new Treasury Department inspector general’s report …

Simply depositing cash in sums of less than $10,000 was all that it took to arouse agents’ suspicions, leading to the eventual seizure and forfeiture of millions of dollars in cash from people not otherwise suspected of criminal activity …

The report found that in 91 percent of those cases, the individuals and business had obtained their money legally.”

How to secure your browser in 10 minutes for free (and why you urgently need to)

‘Soon every mistake you’ve ever made online will not only be available to your internet service provider (ISP) — it will be available to any corporation or foreign government who wants to see those mistakes.

Thanks to last week’s US Senate decision (update March 28: and today’s House decision), ISPs can sell your entire web browsing history to literally anyone without your permission. The only rules that prevented this are all being repealed, and won’t be reinstated any time soon (it would take an act of congress).

You might be wondering: who benefits from repealing these rules? Other than those four monopoly ISPs that control America’s “last mile” of internet cables and cell towers? … these politicians — who have received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the ISPs for decades — have sold us out.

VPN company Private Internet Access paid $600,000 to run this full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times — even though they would make a ton of money if these rules were repealed. That’s how this CRA is — even the VPN companies are campaigning against it.

…ISPs can now continue doing these things as much as they want…

  1. Sell your browsing history to basically any corporation or government that wants to buy it
  2. Hijack your searches and share them with third parties
  3. Monitor all your traffic by injecting their own malware-filled ads into the websites you visit
  4. Stuff undetectable, undeletable tracking cookies into all of your unencrypted traffic
  5. Pre-install software on phones that will monitor all traffic — even HTTPS traffic — before it gets encrypted. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have already done this with some Android phones …

How VPNs can protect you

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.

  • Virtual because you’re not creating a new physical connection with your destination — your data is just traveling through existing wires between you and your destination.
  • Private because it encrypts your activity before sending it, then decrypts it at the destination.

People have traditionally used VPNs as a way to get around websites that are blocked in their country (for example, Medium is blocked in Malaysia) or to watch movies that aren’t available in certain countries. But VPNs are extremely useful for privacy, too.

There are several types of VPN options, with varying degrees of convenience and security.

Experts estimate that as many as 90% of VPNs are “hopelessly insecure” and this changes from time to time. So even if you use the tools I recommend here, I recommend you take the time to do your homework.

Most VPNs are services that cost money, but the following options are convenient and free to use, with some limited functionality:


Desktop VPN apps

Probably the most secure, trustworthy free VPN you can install (as of when this article was last updated) is ProtonVPN. It’s made by the folks who also make the most secure free email, ProtonMail (which we also highly recommend)

To learn more about why we recommend this stellar VPN, check out BestVPN’s Comprehensive ProtonVPN Review


Mobile Device VPN apps (smartphone, tablet, etc.)

Windscribe – This is our choice for best freemium VPN, since they earn high marks for privacy and give you 10GB free/month. Check out BestVPN’s Review

Opera VPN – While there are definitely better VPNs available, OperaVPN is one of the very few that offer free ulimited bandwitdh. See BestVPN’s Review


Browser-based VPNs

Opera is a popular web browser that comes with some excellent privacy features, like a free built-in VPN and a free ad blocker (and as you may know, ads can spy on you).

Opera’s free VPN service offers a choice of ‘virtual’ country locations to connect through.

I recommend setting the U.S. as your location for Americans, unless you’re quite familiar with the ins & outs of how VPNs work.

Also be advised that you will likely need to disable your VPN in order to use certain websites or apps.

If you just want a secure way to browse the web without ISPs being able to easily snoop on you and sell your data, Opera is a great start. Let’s install and configure it real quick. This takes less than 5 minutes.

Before you get started, note that this will only anonymize the things you do within the Opera browser. Also, I’m obligated to point out that even though Opera’s parent company is European, it was recently purchased by a consortium of Chinese tech companies, and there is a non-zero risk that it could be compromised by the Chinese government.

Having said that, here’s how to browse securely with Opera:

Step #1: Download the Opera browser

Step #2: Turn on its ad blocker by clicking on the Opera menu (upper left) and going to Preferences

Step #3: Turn on its VPN:

That’s it! You can now browse much more privately than you likely had been.

For secure messaging, you may also want to check out Edward Snowden-recommended Open Whisper Systems’ mobile and desktop app called Signal.

Click here for the original article this was excerpted from.

How the Gov’t Ruined U.S. Healthcare and What We Can Do About It

: “#Government’s meddling in the healthcare business has been disastrous from the get-go. Since 1910, when Republican William Taft gave in to the American #Medical Association’s lobbying efforts, most administrations have passed new healthcare #regulations. With each new law or set of new regulations, restrictions on the #healthcare market went further, until at some point in the 1980s, people began to notice the cost of healthcare had skyrocketed. This is not an accident. It’s by design.” Continue reading…

The Reason Health Care Is So Expensive: Insurance Companies

“The thing that few people talk about, and that no serious policy proposal attempts to fix—the arrangement that accounts for much of the difference between #health spending in the U.S. and other places—is the enormous administrative overhead costs that come from lodging health-care reimbursement in the hands of #insurance companies that have no incentive to perform their role efficiently as payment intermediaries…”

Continue reading:

Democrats Now Demonize the Same Russia Policies that Obama Long Championed

Glenn Greenwald: “This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies…

…The most ironic—and overlooked—aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.”

Full article: Democrats Now Demonize the Same Russia Policies that Obama Long Championed

MSNBC Anchor: “Our Job” Is To “Control Exactly What People Think”

During a lively discussion centered on fears that President Trump is “trying to undermine the media”, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski let slip the awesome unspoken truth that the media’s “job” is to “actually control exactly what people think”.

SCARBOROUGH: ‘Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, “Yeah you guys are going crazy. He’s doing—what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do”.’

BRZEZINSKI: ‘Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.’

As grabien points out, the comment failed to raise any eyebrows from her co-panelists. Instead, her co-host, Joe Scarborough, said that Trump’s media antagonism puts him on par with Mussolini and Lenin…

Source: MSNBC Anchor: “Our Job” Is To “Control Exactly What People Think”

Merck Created Hit List to “Destroy”, “Neutralize”, “Discredit” Dissenting Doctors

‘Merck made a “hit list” of doctors who criticized Vioxx, according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors’ names with the labels “neutralise,” “neutralised” or “discredit” next to them.’

Merck made a “hit list” of doctors who criticized Vioxx, according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors’ names with the labels “neutralise”, “neutralised” or “discredit” next to them.

According to The Australian, Merck emails from 1999 showed company execs complaining about doctors who disliked using Vioxx. One email said:

We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live …

The plaintiffs’ lawyer gave this assessment:

It gives you the dark side of the use of key opinion leaders and thought leaders … if (they) say things you don’t like to hear, you have to neutralise them … It does suggest a certain culture within the organisation about how to deal with your opponents and those who disagree with you.

The Australian:

The court was told that James Fries, professor of medicine at Stanford University, wrote to the then Merck head Ray Gilmartin in October 2000 to complain about the treatment of some of his researchers who had criticised the drug.

“Even worse were allegations of Merck damage control by intimidation”, he wrote, … “This has happened to at least eight (clinical) investigators … I suppose I was mildly threatened myself but I never have spoken or written on these issues.”

The allegations come on the heels of revelations that Merck created a fake medical journal — the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine — in which to publish studies about Vioxx; had pop songs commissioned about Vioxx to inspire its staff, and paid ghostwriters to draft articles about the drug.

Source: Merck Created Hit List to “Destroy”, “Neutralize” or “Discredit” Dissenting Doctors – CBS News