Daily Archives: February 13, 2017

Anti-Trump Swedish Government Accused of Hypocrisy for Kowtowing to Iran – Heat Street

Posted: February 13, 2017 at 9:51 am

The government of Sweden has been accused of hypocrisy for attacking Donald Trumps stance on womens rights but rolling over for the oppressive regime in Iran.

Female ministers in Sweden who claim to run a feminist government gloried in viral fame earlier this month for Trump over his executive order restricting funds to pro-abortion groups.

After Trump was slammed for signing the order surrounded by men, Swedish officials staged an all-women photo as a smug rebuke to the White House.

However, just weeks later they have been accused of double standards for sucking up to Iran when they demanded government visitors wear the hijab a symbol of female oppression during a trade visit.

Swedish trade minister Ann Linde was photographed in a veil in Tehran, alongside female officials and journalists, who all had to do the same thanks to Irans Islamic modesty laws.

Activists in the country said the incident shows that Sweden is happy to put economic advantage ahead of womens rights when it suits them.

The My Stealthy Freedom campaign which records how Iranian women are arrested and beaten upby police for wearing the wrong clothes released a statement condemning the Swedish authorities:

The criticism was taken up by Swedish politicians, who attacked their government for abandoning its principles.

Amineh Kakabaveh, a Swedish MP of Iranian descent, said: Iranian women are fighting to not wear the veil. Then the feminist government representatives go and put on the veil instead taking a stand.

An article by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladetreported that the dress of Swedish female visitors was closely policed when they came on the visit.

It said: During the visit President Hassan Rouhanis staff went round the female journalists and ensured that they wore a tightly concealing shawl.

Even women from the Swedish government received instructions.

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Do we have a legitimate government? – Altoona Mirror

Posted: at 9:51 am


Feb 13, 2017

Prior to last years election, supporters of Hillary Clinton worried that Donald Trump and his supporters might not accept Hillary Clintons victory as legitimate. It never occurred to them that the shoe might soon be on the other foot. Shortly after it became apparent that there would be no Clinton victory party, many of her supporters instantly switched gears and began to question the legitimacy of Trumps victory.

No matter how much it angers some people, though, Donald Trump is the duly elected President of the United States. Still, there is a much more fundamental question about the legitimacy of the government he leads. Its has nothing to do with who won the election.

Over the past four decades, American government has been completely transformed by the growth of the Regulatory State. Most governing decisions are now made by distant bureaucrats with little input from Congress. Courts rarely provide any checks and balances giving executive branch officials free reign to interpret laws according to their own preferences and agendas.

An unaccountable government, insulated from the public and their elected representatives, threatens the very legitimacy of a democratic political system, according to Yale Universitys Jonathan G.S. Koppell. The Regulatory State is not merely unconstitutional; it is anti-constitutional, adds Boston University Law Professor Gary Lawson. The Constitution was designed specifically to prevent the emergence of [these] kinds of institutions.

By placing its faith in unaccountable government officials to pick winners and losers, the Regulatory State is a rejection of the core American values of freedom, equality and self-governance. This hostile takeover of Americas government did not happen by accident or misunderstanding. Its architects did not misunderstand the Constitution, explains Lawson. They understood it perfectly well. They just didnt like it.

Lacking Constitutional authority, the Regulatory State might conceivably claim legitimacy by appealing to the higher values expressed in the Declaration of Independence. But that great document says clearly that governments can derive just authority only from the consent of the governed.

The Regulatory State fails on that front as well. During the entire four decades of its existence, there has never been a time when a majority of Americans trusted the federal government (other than a brief blip immediately following 9/11). The longer that people have lived under the regulatory regime, the less they support it. Over the past decade, the number trusting the federal government to do the right thing most of the time has fallen to 25 percent or less.

The Regulatory State, therefore, can claim no legitimacy from either the Constitution or the Declaration. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office and who controls Congress, it is an illegitimate form of government. It gives far too much power to the president, a fact that instills tremendous fear of oppression among those who support the losing candidate.

Its time to re-establish a legitimate government in America and restore our national commitment to freedom, equality, and self-governance. That means forcing the bureaucracy to live within our Constitutional system of checks and balances. Its the only way to ensure a bright future for our nation. Its also the only way to ensure that, regardless of who wins an election, all Americans can enjoy the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

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Organize to defeat Trump’s Muslim ban – Fight Back! Newspaper

Posted: at 9:51 am

Commentary by Danya Zituni |

February 12, 2017

Minneapolis protest against Trump’s Muslim ban. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Tampa, FL – On Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States which bars entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries regardless of whether they have valid visas, green cards or refugee status.

This is a racist attack that specifically targets the people of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. These same countries in the Middle East and Africa have been subjected to the terror of U.S. wars, bombings and economic sanctions for decades. With military bases in foreign lands, armed personnel in 130 countries, and a military budget larger than the next ten governments combined, the U.S. ruling class maintain a worldwide empire of oppression that is constantly at war.

Sovereign governments that dare not bow to U.S. political and economic domination are punished with crippling sanctions as a form of collective punishment against civilians, and are targeted for brutal overthrow through direct invasion or proxy groups. Sanctions on Iran alone have resulted in massive inflation and 40% of the entire population in poverty, while the total death toll from ten years of the U.S.-led War on Terror is estimated at 2 million lives, according to a study from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Trumps executive order calls for a review of the visa and refugee programs arguing numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since Sept. 11, 2001. But why should people perceive foreign-born terrorists as grave domestic threats when the FBI continually manufactures its own plots? In 2012, Petra Bartosiewicz in The Nation reviewed the post-9/11 body of terrorism cases and concluded that nearly every major post-9/11 terrorism-related prosecution has involved a sting operation, at the center of which is a government informant. Many informants are incentivized by money, and can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment. The U.S. government provides the weapons, suggests the targets, and entraps Muslims to justify their War on Terror.

The billions invested yearly by the U.S. government into racist state repression and genocidal wars for corporate profit could instead be used to finance and improve education, health care, people’s rights and welfare. However, it is not in the interests of bank-bailing and investor-driven politicians to make such radical changes a reality. Only through organizing independent of the political establishment controlled by and built for the rich can oppressed people harness and exercise our collective power as a conscious and united force to demand change. Through coordinated action we are saying that there can be no business as usual until our demands are met, and that the ruling class who own everything in society cant actually produce anything or make schools run without subservient students or workers.

A federal judge issued a temporary halt on Feb. 4 against the Muslim ban after tens of thousands of people protested in airports, communities and campuses across the country. Around 1000 Yemini owned stores closed for eight hours on Feb. 2 in the city of New York. Grassroots, mass-based organizations such as Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) have continued to organize and raise demands for sanctuary campuses and cities. The Council on American and Islamic Relations (CAIR) has engaged in a legal battle with the Trump administration over the ban.

Additionally, one of the biggest victories for Muslim communities recently was the dismantling of a long existent bi-partisan Muslim registry called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). NSEERS devastated our communities, alongside aggressive FBI surveillance and vicious entrapment. Thousands of families were torn apart, jobs were lost; some communities never fully recovered. Only after 14 years of almost constant organizing by groups such as Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) was it successfully dismantled.

The lesson of our recent victories, and nearly every historic struggle that won people’s basic rights under this system, is that we need to build organizational power opposed to both parties of the capitalist 1% and their oppressive policies. Organizing paves the way for people to learn through struggle the necessity of organization as a means to protect their rights and welfare, a lesson we must consistently summate when educating our communities about their rights.

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Duterte militarises the war on drugs in the Philippines – World Socialist Web Site

Posted: at 9:50 am

By Dante Pastrana 13 February 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month ordered the suspension of police involvement in his brutal war on drugs that has left thousands dead throughout the country. All units of the Anti-Illegal Drug Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were ordered dissolved and the PNPs Operation Tokhang (Knock and Plead), a campaign of house visits and intimidation of those accused of illegal drug activity, was put on hold.

The pullback of the police by no means indicates the end of Dutertes war. It portends an even greater escalation. Vowing to continue the offensive until the end of his term, Duterte called on the military to take the front line. This will widen and deepen the violence being inflicted on the working class and the poor.

Duterte is not only militarising his war on the poor, conducted on the pretext of the anti-drug crusade. He has also moved to resurrect the hated Philippine Constabulary, the military apparatus of domestic repression, created by the United States during its colonial rule in the country and used by former President Ferdinand Marcos to implement martial law.

Duterte is proposing to make this section of the military responsible for continuing the program of state-sanctioned vigilante killings. This is a marked development in Dutertes own rapid drive toward dictatorial power and direct military rule.

The sidelining of the Philippine police followed the exposure last month of police involvement in the abduction and murder of Jee Ick Joo, a South Korean businessman. Jee was seized last October from his home in Angeles city, two hours from Manila, the countrys capital, by a PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Group unit under the guise of an anti-illegal drug operation.

On the same day, Jee was brought to Camp Crame, the PNP national headquarters, where he was strangled. The unit demanded and received $US100,000 in ransom for the by-then deceased Jee, and then, even more brazenly, demanded an additional ransom of nearly $100,000 more.

Three other South Koreans have since come forward claiming that they have also been accused of illegal drug activity by police, detained, beaten up and forced to cough up large sums of money for their release.

The toll of the war on drugs has been horrendous. Since Dutertes assumption of office, 7,080 people have been killedof that number, 2,555 by the police and 4,525 by death squads. Underscoring the intimate connection between the police and the death squads, following Dutertes orders, extrajudicial killings dropped sharply, from over 30 deaths a day to one a day.

On January 31, Amnesty International released a report on its latest investigation into the killings. Entitled, If you are poor you are killed: Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines War on Drugs, the report states:

Police officers routinely bust down doors in the middle of the night and then kill in cold blood unarmed people suspected of using or selling drugs. In several cases documented by Amnesty International, witnesses described alleged drug offenders yelling they would surrender, at times while on their knees or in another compliant position.

They were still gunned down. To cover their tracks, police officers appear often to plant evidence and falsify incident reports.

According to the report, the killings have engendered an economy of death, where the police and the death squads are provided financial incentives for each death. It states:

A police officer with more than a decade of experience on the force, and who currently conducts operations as part of an anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila, told Amnesty International that there are significant under-the-table payments for encounters in which alleged drug offenders are killed.

This source said the police are paid by the encounter The amount ranges from 8,000 pesos ($US161) to 15,000 pesos ($302) That amount is per head. So if the operation is against four people, thats 32,000 pesos ($644) Were paid in cash, secretly, by headquarters Theres no incentive for arresting. Were not paid anything.

In addition, Amnesty International recounts strong evidence of state authorities paying off assassins to carry out drug-related killings. Two individuals paid to kill alleged drug offenders told Amnesty International that their boss is an active duty police officer; they reported receiving around 10,000 pesos ($201) per killing.

The Amnesty report points to the class character of the war on drugs. Those killed are overwhelmingly from the urban poor. Many were unemployed and lived in informal settlements or squatter communities.

The killings mean further misery for already impoverished families, at times compounded by police officers stealing from them during crime scene investigations. A woman whose husband was killed said the police took goods she sold on commission, money she set aside for the electric bill, and even new shoes she bought for her child.

The targeting of the poor is no accident. Intensifying inequality is fuelling deep social tensions and unrest, with brutal repression the only answer of the Filipino ruling class.

The more than a decade of economic growth recorded for the Philippines has been built on the backs of the working class and the poor. In 2014, out of a population of 100 million, 50 people held over $74.2 billion in assets, equivalent to 25.7 percent of the 2014 gross domestic product. Their wealth increased $8.45 billion from the previous year, cornering 51 percent of economic growth for 2014.

This obscene level of wealth is a product of the export of cheap labour around the world and the brutal exploitation of even cheaper labour locally. Over 2.4 million workers are abroad as overseas contract workers, joining more than 8 million Filipino economic migrants. These overseas Filipinos, enduring long hours, low wages and few chances to visit family, sent back $29.1 billion last year.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the minimum daily wage in Manila is barely $10 and in the provinces, as low as $5 a day.

While huge wealth is being accumulating at one end of the social scale, more than 26 million people are living below the poverty threshold of a monthly income of $184. Of these, more than 12 million people are living in extreme poverty on less than $128 a month and could not even meet their basic food needs.

Amid growing social inequality and massive poverty, the Philippine ruling class is preparing to use the state apparatus and associated vigilantes to intimidate and suppress any opposition by the working class and the poor. That is the significance of Dutertes anti-drug war and his assumption of increasingly draconian powers.

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After war on drugs, it’s ‘war vs illegal gambling’ for PNP – Rappler

Posted: at 9:50 am

The PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group will be the lead unit in the anti-gambling campaign

Published 2:00 PM, February 13, 2017

Updated 2:00 PM, February 13, 2017

NEW TARGET. PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa orders a ‘war against illegal gambling.’ File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines After being booted out from President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will now be entering a “war against illegal gambling.”

“The bottomline is the national advocacy to rid the country of all forms of illegal gambling activities that contribute to moral decay and provide an economic support system that sustains other forms of illegal activity,” PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said in a statement on Monday, February 13, a few days after Executive Order (EO) No. 13, which seeks to “intensify” the government’s efforts against illegal gambling, took effect.

“Based on our own experience, illegal gambling activities, if left unchecked, breed corruption and may mutate into other forms of organized crime, including drug-trafficking, illegal vices, money laundering, and kidnapping,” said Dela Rosa.

He added: “By this pronouncement, the PNP is hereby declaring war against illegal gambling.”

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will be taking the lead in implementing the EO on behalf of the PNP, Dela Rosa said.

Other government agencies involved include the National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

It isn’t the first time that Dela Rosa has announced the PNP’s plan to curb illegal gambling. Back in August, when the war on drugs was in its early stages, Dela Rosa said illicit gambling would be next once they were finished targeting illegal substances.

But those announcements were made months before the PNP’s abrupt exit from the war on drugs on Duterte’s own orders.

The President, whose anti-drug campaign was a major campaign promise in 2016, ordered a stop to all police anti-drug operations after it was revealed that cops from the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) allegedly kidnapped and killed a South Korean businessman.

Duterte also ordered the disbandment of all AIDG units. The President said then that the PNP was “corrupt to the core.”

‘Double barrel’ vs illegal gambling

Dela Rosa said that even before the EO was signed by Duterte, the PNP had already created a “double barrel” plan for illegal gambling similar to their plan for the war on drugs.

The PNP’s approach to the drug war involved two facets “high-value targets” such as drug lords, and “Oplan TokHang” which targeted “street-level” drug personalities.

“TokHang,” however, has been criticized for supposedly violating human rights. It has also been allegedly used by police as a smokescreen for illegal activities.

The Court of Appeals recently issued a permanent protection order for an alleged TokHang survivor and victims’ families in Payatas, Quezon City.

Dela Rosa said the PNP initially planned to create an “Oplan TokHang” for gambling, but he added that they would “abide [by] the provisions of the Executive Order.” Rappler.com

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Unnecessary fighting south of the border: Mexico should ask Trump to pay for the drug war – Salon

Posted: at 9:50 am

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Attention deficit disorder isnt usually a welcome presidential attribute, but Mexicans can be thankful that Donald Trump has temporarily shifted his focus away from their country to pick fights instead with Iran, the European Union, China, California and the U.S. media.

The last time Trump addressed Mexico, right after the election, the peso fell 17 percent. Within days of his inauguration, Trump demanded that Mexico pay for a border wall, prompting cancellation of his planned summit meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pea Nieto.

As former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhanlamented, it took only one week of bilateral engagement between the new U.S. administration and Mexico to throw the relationship into a tailspin. That relationship would be better if Trump had stuck to theview he expressedin November 2015: I dont care about Mexico, honestly. I really dont care about Mexico.

Someday soon, however, Trump will rediscover his interest in Mexico, and relations will likely suffer again. But Mexico need not take his abuse lying down. As the buyer of more than aquartertrilliondollars in U.S. exports the second largest market in the world for U.S. goods Mexico has some leverage if Trump tries to play rough with tariffs and trade.

And if Trump persists in sending a bill to Mexico City for his wall, Pea should seriously consider sending a bill in return to Washington to pay for the U.S. drug war.

The high cost to Mexico of the U.S. drug war

For years now, Mexico has paid an extraordinarily high price in lives and social disruption for Washingtons insistence that North Americas drug problem be tackled south of the border, where the drugs are grown and transported, rather than primarily in clinics and halfway houses at home to treat the medical and psychological issues of users.

Successive administrations, starting with President Richard Nixon, have demanded tough border controls, aerial spraying programs and DEA-backed anti-cartel operations in Mexico. All their efforts and sacrifices have been for naught. U.S. residentscurrentlyexport up to $29 billion in cash to Mexican traffickers each year to buy marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin.

Forcing that trade underground has taken a terrible toll on Mexico in terms of violence, corruption and social upheaval. Since 2006, when President Felipe Caldern ordered his military to join the war on drug traffickers, Mexico has lost about200,000 livesand 30,000 more have disappeared,dwarfingthe civilian death toll in Afghanistan and Iraq over that period.

The majority of them were victims of criminal organizations, but human rights organizations also reportsoaring rates of human rights violations, including torture and killing, committed by security forces.

The2016 Global Peace Index, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace, estimates the total cost of violence in Mexico at $273 billion, or 14 percent of GDP, with no end in sight.Direct fiscal costsof fighting the war on crime were about $32 billion in 2015 alone. Yet the United States has contributed only about $2.5 billion since fiscal 2008 to Mexicos drug war, under the so-called Merida Initiative.

Mexicos pain shows no signs of easing. The New York Timesreportedin December that Mexico suffered more than 17,000 homicides in the first 10 months of last year, the highest total since 2012. The relapse in security has unnerved Mexico and led many to wonder whether the country is on the brink of a bloody, all-out war between criminal groups, it said.

Time for an alternative

In his last phone call with Mexican President Pea,Trump reportedly complained, You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have to be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out. According to one disputed account,Trump threatenedto send U.S. troops south of the border if Mexico doesnt do more to stop the drug problem.

Pea can continue to do Washingtons bidding,ensuring his political demise, or he can challenge Trump by asking why Mexico should fight North Americas drug war on its own soil and at its own expense. If he goes the latter route, hell have plenty of good company.

Former heads of state from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, along with other distinguished members of theGlobal Commission on Drug Policy, have called for normalization of drugs eliminating black markets and incentives for violence by legalizing individual possession and cultivation of drugs while instituting public health regulations. They note that such programs have succeeded admirably in Portugal and the Netherlands at reducing both the criminal and public health costs of drug abuse.

The harms created through implementing punitive drug laws cannot be overstated when it comes to both their severity and scope, they assert in their 2016 report, Advancing Drug Policy Reform. Thus, we need new approaches that uphold the principles of human dignity, the right to privacy and the rule of law, and recognize that people will always use drugs. In order to uphold these principles all penalties both criminal and civil must be abolished for the possession of drugs for personal use.

Support for decriminalization is growing in Mexico, where the supreme court in 2015approvedgrowing and smoking marijuana for personal use. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox nowadvocateslegalizing all drugs over a transition period of up to a decade.

Jorge Castaeda, a former Mexican foreign minister, recentlyopined, Mexico should take advantage of Californias decision to legalize recreational marijuana. Regardless of Mr. Trumps victory, the approval of the proposition in the United States most populous state makes Mexicos war on drugs ridiculous. What is the purpose of sending Mexican soldiers to burn fields, search trucks and look for narco-tunnels if, once our marijuana makes it into California, it can be sold at the local 7-Eleven?

Criticsrightly point out that what works in the Netherlands wont necessarily solve Mexicos problems. Its powerful drug gangs have diversified into a host of other violent criminal enterprises. They control territory, intimidate or corrupt law enforcement, and kill with impunity. Legalizing drug sales wont end their criminal ways, but it could erode their profits and let police focus on universally despised crimes with direct victims murder, kidnapping, extortion and the like.

As Mexican journalist Jos Luis Pardo Veirasremarkedlast year, Decriminalizing drug use will not fix a deeply rooted problem in this country, but it will allow Mexicans to differentiate between drugs and the war on drugs, between drug users and drug traffickers. This is the first step in acknowledging that a different approach is possible.

As for Trump, let him build his wall and see if that keeps out all the drugs. If not, maybe by then Mexico will be able to offer some useful advice on how to fight the drug problem not with guns, but with more enlightened policies.

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Scary graph shows how Australians are the biggest losers – NEWS.com.au

Posted: at 9:50 am

Australians are losing big on pokies. Picture: Marc McCormack

WERE supposed to be the lucky country, but a scary graph proves Australia is a nation of losers.

Gambling has become so prevalent in the Great Southern Land that weve taken out the dubious gong of the nation with the highest losses per capita, dwarfing the casino hub of Singapore.

An analysis by The Economist reveals that Australians lose more per person than any other country in 2016, an average $1292 ($US990) thats averaged out across the population, not just gamblers.

Australia, you are the biggest loser. Picture: Economist.comSource:Supplied

By comparison, the United States home to the glittering punters paradise of Las Vegas lost less than half that amount.

To the general public, Australia hardly leaps to mind as a gambling hotbed, yet industry insiders know it is far and away their most lucrative market, the Economist reported.

Its analysis is based on data from H2 Gambling Capital (H2G), a consultancy, which found that Australias betting losses per resident adult were about double the average in other Western countries.

And the reason? Pokie machines.

The losses from the ubiquitous gaming machines found in pubs and clubs across the nation are bigger than the total per capita gambling losses of nearly every other country represented largely because of Australias permissive bet limit rules, which allow punters to lose up to $1498 ($US1150) an hour.


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States are gambling with law enforcement safety | TheHill – The Hill (blog)

Posted: at 9:50 am

On Thursday, President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump could find Latino support on infrastructure Texas Dem: Natural barriers a challenge to border wall plan How Trump is achieving Reagans peace through strength approach to foreign policy MORE signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Justice to implement a plan to stop crime and crimes of violence against law enforcement officers.

The order instructs the department to pursue appropriate legislation…that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officers. That recommended legislation could include defining new crimes of violence and establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for existing crimes of violence.

The order also directs a thorough evaluation of all grant funding programs currently administered by the Justice Department. About the order, President Trump said Its a shame whats been happening to our great — truly great — law enforcement officers, the president said at the signing. Thats going to stop as of today.

While all law enforcement line-of-duty deaths are tragedies requiring swift legal response, Floyds death draws attention to a dangerous discrepancy that directly conflicts with the White Houses efforts to protect those who protect us.

The dangers of working in law enforcement, both in policing as well as corrections, have been nationally recognized and codified with the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004, a federal law enacted by President George W. Bush that allows “qualified law enforcement/corrections officers” and “qualified retired law enforcement/corrections officers” to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions.

Some states, however, choose to get around this law by classifying the members of corrections and certain law enforcement agencies outside the scope of the act. This creates a discrepancy as to what a corrections officer, peace officer, or law enforcement officer is from one jurisdiction to another; which puts officers and those they serve at significant risk.

For example, both state and municipal Corrections Officers in New York and New Jersey are classified as peace officers (law enforcement) in their respective state codes, and have standardized training necessary to comply with LEOSA. Meanwhile, right across the borders of Pennsylvania and Delaware, Corrections Officers are still considered guards in the eyes of state law; as they are in many southern states.

Not only does this hinder the professionalism and retention of corrections officers, but restricts men and women who have exactly the same jobs as their counterparts across the Delaware River from the same protections afforded to them under LEOSA, potentially endangering their lives. LEOSA states that any sworn law enforcement officer (with the authority to make arrests) in active service, and any retired officer serving a total of ten years service as sworn law enforcement has the right to interstate firearms carry.

Instead of embracing this law, numerous agencies have created elaborate ways to circumvent it. For example, a myriad of agencies refuse to issue retired identification cards to members who leave after the ten year requirement, giving those members no way to prove they are LEOSA eligible.

Even more of an outrage is that numerous police and corrections agencies will not arm or train their officers with respect to their titles. In New York, numerous police agencies within the city are unarmed despite their state authority as peace officers to make arrests. This includes the NYC Hospital Police, who polices a city hospital system in where violent crime victims are taken, drug-seeking behavior is manifested; City University Public Safety and NYPD School Safety officers; among many others. Surely, the murder of Hospital Police Officer James Low in 1999, the presence of gangs in schools and threat of active shooter incidents demonstrate the need for uniformed, sworn law enforcement officers to be armed and operated professionally.

Unfortunately many local political leaders ignore best practices in public safety. This extends beyond New York, where even the Philadelphia School Police; in one of the most violent public school systems in America, are unarmed and have no arrest authority.

Local powers that be continually reject request from officers unions to train and equip them properly. For some jurisdictions, this is merely a budget issue, where agencies dont want to increase the salaries, training and equipment funding to make these officers safe. Some, especially in educational environments, however highlight a disturbing politicization in where leaders have expressed that arming school police results in a ludicrous pathway to corrections because the mere presence of firearms on campus, even on the hip of a uniformed law enforcement officer, creates the feeling that kids are in jail. Meanwhile, officers and kids are at risk from armed criminals because they are not equipped to intervene in an attack.

If states would simply invest in professionalism and training; they can move toward standardization. In 1994, six years before being appointed Police Commissioner, NYPD Detective Bernard Kerik was appointed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani to the New York City Department of Correction as the director of Investigations and by 1998 he was appointed as the Commissioner of the department.

As Corrections Commissioner, Kerik was responsible for the creation of the Total Efficiency Accountability Management System, the development of a nationally-recognized gang intelligence unit and database, and a reduction of inmate violence by a whopping 93 percent from 1995 to 1999.

Similarly, overtime spending decreased 45 percent from 1995 to 1999 and the uniform sick rate dropped for the same period by 25 percent; all during a period in NYC history when the inmate population rose by 25 percent. What Kerik showed the national corrections and law enforcement communities was that when you train, equip and manage corrections officers like professional law enforcement officers; facilities will operate accordingly saving both the lives of officers and inmates alike.

For an off-duty Pennsylvania Corrections Officer to be arrested in front of his family for carrying a weapon across the bridge in New Jersey because Pennsylvania classifies corrections officers differently than New Jersey does is legally unfair and puts officers at risk. For a school police officer in Philadelphia, PA to be completely unequipped and without authority while school police officers in rural Clarksdale, Mississippi are sworn and armed makes no sense; as the value of our childrens lives is no more valuable in Mississippi as it is in Pennsylvania or New York.

While our President and federal lawmakers have been diligent in their efforts to protect law enforcement; they need to legislate a standard for the authority and use of force capabilities of what a law enforcement officer is. If states like Delaware were to follow the best practices of New York and professionalize their corrections department; then they can honor the life of Sgt. Floyd by protecting the safety of their officers and preventing future loss of life.

A. Benjamin Mannes is a national subject matter expert in public safety and regular contributor to The Hill. He serves as a member of the Pierce College Criminal Justice Studies Advisory Board in Philadelphia and is a governor on the executive board of InfraGard, the FBI-coordinated public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection. His writing has appeared in the Washington Times. Follow him on Twitter @PublicSafetySME

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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Football’s gambling problem: You better, you better, you bet – Football365.com

Posted: at 9:50 am

Date published: Monday 13th February 2017 1:50

Ave a bang on that.

Sky Bet used to have It matters more when theres money on it for their advertising tag line, as though football couldnt satisfy you in itself, and you needed some sort of additional fix to make it matter, to make it enjoyable, to briefly thaw out your frozen soul. It always seemed a pernicious statement, speaking of dull, pointless lives, needing the adrenalin of the threat of money loss or, less likely, the glory of money won.

Who wants to buy into that? As it turns out, a lot of people. Why? Because we live in desperate times, and desperate times lead to desperate lives.

Ave a bang on that.

Although I dont gamble, I do know how addictive gambling is. Eight years ago this month, me and my missus rented a house in Las Vegas for five weeks. We were doing quite well at the time, or at least, we had access to a giant f*ck-tonne of credit. Back then, we were dedicated boozers, and we soon worked out that you got free drinks in most casinos if you sat at a poker machine and pushed enough money into it. Like so many before us, we thought we could balance gambling losses out against free drink. But of course, no matter how much we drank, we couldnt quite manage it.

Like Jonny Wong, we knew we could never win, we were just trying to lose a little more slowly. We could no more hold on to our money than grab mercury. And it went on like this for 36 days. We just couldnt stop. As we drank more and more free liquor, we lost more and more money, but kept pumping more and more in to try and stem the losses. A few big wins deluded you into feeling you were getting close to even. You werent.

So we dug ourselves a 35,000 hole and jumped into it, drunk and screaming wildly into the infinite black velvet desert night sky. Climbing out would take years.

Now looking back, it feels like it was one long period of psychosis (and not just because Winty and the boy Tyers, formerly of this parish, were also there). We shouldve realised that being fully paid-up members of the If A Thing Is Worth Doing Its Worth Over Doing Club, gambling would get its hooks into us and would only let us go once it had cleaned us out, stripped us naked, and left us on our knees in the desert, with only a loaded pistol as a way to solve our problems.

Losing money whilst pished on free tequila and gin feels perversely like a win, especially when youre from a poor background, when in reality, youre just a big fat loser. Yet it was so compulsive.

And because I felt its lure so strongly, I worry about gambling being so pervasive in our football lives. Games arepreceded and followed by TV ads for betting companies. Ten Premier League clubs are sponsored by international gambling firms. The second, third and fourth tiers of English league football are all sponsored by Sky Bet. Listen to talkSPORT and theyre giving you in-game and half-time odds, telling you how much you could win if x,y, and z happens. The same goes for TV: up pops Ray Winstone with pre-match and half-time suggestions for bets to place and encouragement to feel that you are master of your domain; a betting overlord, traversing the globe in search of profit.

Ave a bang on that.

At every single football ad break, the first ad is always for gambling. Betfred, BetVictor, Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power, Unibet, which is now pitching for the educated middle-class male market (its always aimed at men, it seems) or Coral, with the fat bloke and the blonde woman and that is just a small selection. Theres all those heinous, Ladbrokes Life ads where they try to establish different characters, such as Generous John and The Professor, who just look like idiots that have a horrible existence, their pain only numbed by lager and gambling.

Lad Broke, indeed. Ave a bang on that.

Gambling is a terrible addiction which can ruin lives every bit as comprehensively as any drug you can mainline. And like a confection designed to melt at just the right temperature in your mouth, to make it so deliciously compulsive that you will overindulge, the betting industry knows just how to press our psychological buttons, even offering up ready-made excuses for your losses. The Ladbrokes Life caption, for example: When you win, its skill, when you lose its bad luck.

Wheres the fun in form?, says one of the characters from the Ladbrokes Life adverts. When you know, you know you knowyou know?

This is what we really know: you will lose. Now or tomorrow or later. You will lose. You are, or you will be, a loser.

Ave a bang on that.

Anywhere from 0.5% 3% of the population of Europe has a gambling problem and an addicts most favoured sort of betting is spreadbetting, the exact sort of betting pushed most at us football viewers.

This isnt a harmless bit of fun, even if Kammy does look good dressed as a woman. In fact, its so not a harmless bit of fun, that the industry has had to pretend to care about its punters welfare with vacuous advice such as When the fun stops, stop. Well, frankly, if the fun has stopped, that advice is already too late. Youve already got a problem.

Please bet responsibly, says Ray, which is just as pointless as please drink responsibly on a bottle of vodka. People without a problem dont need telling; people with a problem cant take the advice.

Its just PR. Its faux caring from a vampiric industry.

Ave a bang on that.

Betting used to be something you had to enter a bookies to do. You had to brave the smoke-filled, gadgee crowds to put your money down. Now, its intentionally been made so easy to lose your money that you hardly notice its even happened.

At least in Vegas you know youre on a Fear and Loathing, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test in a Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. You know its not normal life and that this is one big freak out which will end. Yet football betting has deliberately become unremarkable through its persistent omnipresence, the encouragement to gratuitously lose your money made standard, as though its just a natural part of life.

Ave a bang on that.

What is this doing to the quality of all our lives, whether we do or dont gamble? Do the grubby, downmarket values not cheapen all of us? Can we not raise our eyes to the sky and stop staring at the soul-sapping smartphone odds? Are we not about better things than winning or losing money? Surely there are plenty more fulfilling intellectual and emotional stimuli available, without pretending that pointlessly throwing money away is fun.

At least in Vegas we were being social it involved attractive waitresses in skimpy clothing. We laughed, we had the time of our lives, we rocked. By contrast, football betting on a phone seems a desperate, solitary, sad little habit carried out in a Wetherspoons with the piercing screams of a hen party from Seal Sands as a soundtrack.

Compulsive gambling, like compulsive drinking, is clever. It sneaks up on you, tells you youre having a good time, tells you anyone who says you arent is part of the bleeding heart, PC, bedwetter, hand-wringing, do-gooder nanny state. You havent got a problem, or at least not a problem that one more big bet or one more bottle wont fix.

Ave a bang on that.

Thats why footballs addiction to betting is so dangerous. It has put gambling front and centre, has encouraged and completely normalised extreme behaviour, marketing it away as just a bit of fun and banter, as all the while it drums up huge profits by preying on the vulnerable and the poor. This will have actively provoked and fed many thousands of peoples addictions, making their lives worse and worse. And that isnt just pain the gambler alone endures.

When the fun stops, stop? Well, the fun has stopped, but there seems no stopping the takeover of football by the gambling industry, and thats to the benefit of no-one except those who feast on the profits it carves out of its low rent, shallow, debased culture, and still, more importantly, carves mercilessly out of human misery.

Get yer mobile out.

Time to cash out.

Lets all ave a bang on that.

John Nicholson

If gambling is a problem in your life, Gamcare can help you.

This week Johnny goes all Butch. Oooh, get him. No, not like that. My word, it’s Ray, young man.

John Terry thinks the ‘best’ footballers should not have to take full coaching courses. Oh dear…

This week Johnny goes all Oirish, so he does, and wonders if Richard Dunne is the victim of a nuclear explosion.

Club managers ‘rest’ players because they don’t really care if theyre knocked out. It’s as simple as that.

This week Johnny goes dahn sarf to the Romford manah, my son. Its only that fackin Ray Parlour, geezer.

Not for his poorer, later albums. Our Johnny is in philosophical mood after Wayne Rooney’s record…

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Football’s gambling problem: You better, you better, you bet – Football365.com

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AFL: Geelong’s Harry Taylor questions ‘worrying’ effects of gambling advertising on children – ABC Online

Posted: at 9:50 am

Updated February 13, 2017 19:57:16

Geelong defender Harry Taylor has become the second high-profile AFL player to raise concerns about the prevalence of gambling advertisements, saying he is worried about the impact it has on children.

“I’ve got three kids at home and when my eldest can name a lot of the ads on TV, that is a bit of a worry,” the 204-game veteran said.

“[It’s] certainly something that we need to keep talking about and educating people about.”

Taylor’s comments follow Western Bulldogs defender Easton Wood, who posted his views on Twitter last Friday, saying gambling advertising was “out of control”.

“The obvious issue here is the effect this has on children every time we pull on the boots,” he said.

“The big question is do we think the normalisation of gambling particularly to kids is acceptable in this day and age?”

Taylor said education was vital.

“It’s not as simple as just cutting them [betting companies] out of the AFL, I certainly understand that,” he said.

“But more education around gambling in general is a really, really important part of what our society and AFL players need.”

The league currently has a sponsorship deal with Crownbet worth about $10 million a season, while other bookmakers pay broadcasters millions for advertising.

The ABC’s Media Watch program last year reported the AFL’s broadcast partner, Channel 7, aired 21 gambling advertisements on Grand Final Day in 2016.

Gambling researcher Dr Charles Livingstone from Monash University said the players concerns were well-founded.

“Gambling advertising reaches an awful lot of young people and it also induces young people to think gambling has become part of the game and you can’t really be a good supporter unless you’ve had a punt on the game,” he said.

“That’s very dangerous the more you bet, the more exposure you have to gambling, the greater the risk you’re going to end up with a gambling habit.”

He said players speaking out could be a catalyst for the AFL responding to the issue.

“What they’re calling out is the hypocrisy of the league in promoting gambling on the one hand, but then saying to the players that they need to be careful about it.”

An AFL spokesman said the league had done what it could by curbing advertising at venues, but said TV advertising was a matter for the Federal Government.

Last week, the Government knocked back a push from Labor and cross-bench MPs to phase out gambling advertisements in live sport.

A statement from the Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, said the Government was aware of community concern about the issue, but shifted responsibility onto the broadcasters.

“Broadcasters have a responsibility under the co-regulatory framework to ensure that their advertising meets community expectations,” it said.

Topics: gambling, community-and-society, australian-football-league, sport, geelong-3220, melbourne-3000, footscray-3011

First posted February 13, 2017 19:44:29

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AFL: Geelong’s Harry Taylor questions ‘worrying’ effects of gambling advertising on children – ABC Online

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