Ottawa’s bylaw department conducting review after officer punched Black man in park – CTV News

TORONTO -- Ottawas bylaw department is conducting an internal review after an officer punched a Black man in the face during a physical distancing crackdown in a city park.

Obi Ifedi told CTV News that back in early April, he was in the closed park with his daughter when the officer began clearing it out during a physical distancing crackdown spurred by COVID-19. He said he felt singled out for a ticket among the many people in the park who were trying to leave.

He said; Okay then, I'll just write you a ticket. What's your name, what's your name sir? I said: 'I'm not giving you my name, I've done nothing wrong,' Ifedi said.

Soon after, Ifedi said two police officers were called in and he ran out of fear.

I ended up across the street ... a bylaw guy tackles me to the ground (and) punches me to the face, he said.

Ifedi was left with a bruised lip and more than $2,000 in fines from the city bylaw officer.

In an email to Ifedi, Ottawa police said they investigated the incident and the officer in question did commit an assault while you were on the ground by striking you in the face.

The officer, however, was not charged for the incident but it was instead decided that pre-charge diversion was the best path forward for the officer, which typically includes counselling or community service.

Ifedis lawyer David Anber called this move rare.

Diversion is diverting something away from criminal justice system, most of the time that's done at the stage after charges are laid," he said. "When it's done in those situations, it's done for charges that are 'victimless crimes.'

The citys By-Law & Regulatory Service initially denied any wrongdoing from the officer, but are now conducting an internal review of the incident, which could result in a range of penalties, including the dismissal of the bylaw officer.

Still, Ifedi is more concerned that his daughter had to witness what happened.

I worry about her future, he said. I cry a lot about this at home I laugh because I'm really damaged inside.

Ifedi also wonders what might have happened had he fought back.

Imagine if we both punched each other, who would get the short end of the stick? he said. I would get the short end of the stick, because he's an enforcer. I'm a civilian and I'm Black.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Ottawa's bylaw department conducting review after officer punched Black man in park - CTV News

Pervert drove missing teen 200 miles to his home after filming her in shower – Mirror.co.uk

A pervert who drove a teenage girl he met online 200 miles to his home in County Durham had filmed her in the shower when she was 15, a court heard.

Police went to Philip Olivers house in Bowburn, Co Durham, to find a 16-year-old girl who was missing from home.

The 40-year-old claimed their relationship was friendship rather than sexual but evidence seized from his computers proved otherwise, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Officers discovered a video of the girl, taken when she was 15 years old, in which she was having a shower as Olivers reflection could be seen in the mirror filming her.

The former IT specialist could be heard encouraging the girl to touch herself intimately and said, No judge will take you away from me.

A search of six electronic devices revealed a folder with the teenagers name, containing other indecent images.

Officers also found messages between them showing he had sent her pornographic images, the court heard.

And they discovered 491 Category A indecent still images, and 24 moving images, across six different devices, with some of children as young as two years old.

Oliver has now been jailed for almost three years after pleading guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, three counts of making an indecent image of a child, one each of possessing a prohibited image of a child and possessing extreme pornography, and one of distributing an indecent photo of a child.

In mitigation, David Lamb said that when Oliver first met the girl on an adult chatroom, he initially thought she was 18 years old.

Mr Lamb told the court Oliver suffers from mental health issues and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Sentencing Oliver, Judge Ray Singh told him, You made arrangements to collect her and take her to your home in Bowburn - a significant distance.

She was found at your home address. You told police you had had previous communication with her and she seemed to be having a difficult time at home and didnt want to return home, so you collected her.

You confirmed to police you knew her age and used the words shes now turned 16.

You have described the relationship as friendship rather than sexual, but that was incorrect.

Judge Singh said conversation between Oliver and the girl in the video implied they had had intercourse, but added, I dont sentence you on that basis.

He told Oliver: You knew what you were doing was wrong. You said, no judge will take you away from me, confirm your age is 16. You were aware she was 15.

On the indecent images, the judge said: These are not victimless crimes - children are distressed in these images.

The hunger and appetite from people like you fuels that trade.

It is wrong to describe it as pornography - it is child sexual abuse.

Oliver, of Bowburn, was jailed for 32 months and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

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Pervert drove missing teen 200 miles to his home after filming her in shower - Mirror.co.uk

The Problem of Racial ProfilingWhy it Matters and What Can be Done About it – Reason

The killing of African-American George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the resulting protests have called new attention to a longstanding issue with American law enforcement: widespread racial profiling. In this post, I would like to consider why racial profiling is a serious problem, why it's so hard to end, and what nonetheless can be done to reduce it.

As I use the term, racial profiling denotes a situation where law enforcement officers treat members of one racial group worse than they would be treated in the same situation if they belonged to another group. If a police officer stops, searches, or arrests a black person when a white person in the same situation would be left alone, that's a case of racial profiling. By no means all cases of abusive police behavior qualify as racial profiling. As Jason Brennan and Chris Surprenant describe in a recent book, American police too often use excessive force in cases involving white officers and white suspects, where race, presumably, is not an issue. Even abuses involving minority civilians are not always a result of racial profiling. The wrongdoing officers may sometimes be "equal-opportunity" practitioners of police brutality, who would have done what they did regardless of the suspects' race.

Ending racial profiling would not end all abusive law enforcement behavior. It wouldn't even end all abuses where minorities are victims. But racial profiling is a serious problem nonetheless. It causes real suffering, it's unconstitutional, and it poisons relations between law enforcement and minority communities.

I. Why Racial Profiling Matters

Though racial profiling is far from the only flaw in American law enforcement, it is nonetheless widespread. A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found that 59% of black men and 31% of black women say they have been unfairly stopped by police because of their race. Their perceptions are backed by numerous studies including many that control for other variables, including underlying crime ratesshowing that police often treat blacks and Hispanics more harshly than similarly situated whites.

Almost every black male I know can recount experiences of racial profiling. I readily admit they are not a representative sample. But as a law professor, my African-American acquaintances are disproportionately affluent and highly educated. Working-class blacks likely experience racial profiling even more often.

If you don't trust studies or survey data, consider the testimony of conservative Republican African-American Senator Tim Scott, who has movingly recounted multiple incidents in which he was racially profiled by Capitol police. Even being a powerful GOP politician is not enough for a black man to avoid profiling. Or consider the the experiences of right-of-center Notre Dame Law School Dean Marcus Cole. Scott and Cole are not easily dismissed as politically correct "snowflakes" who constantly see racism where none exists.

Most cases of racial profiling do not result in anyone being killed, injured, or even arrested. The police unfairly stop, question, or otherwise harass a minority-group member. But they then let him go, perhaps with a traffic ticket (if it was a vehicle stop). Conservatives are not wrong to point out that the average black person is far more likely to be killed or injured by an ordinary criminal than by a police officer.

But that doesn't mean that racial profiling is trivial or insignificant. Even if one isolated incident might qualify as such, it is painful and degrading if the people who are supposed to "protect and serve" you routinely treat you as a second-class citizen merely based on the color of your skin. And it gets worse if it isn't just about you, because your friends and family get the same treatment.

It is also painful and scary to know that, while racial profiling usually doesn't lead to injury or death, there is always a chance that such an incident could horrifically escalate. When a black man encounters a cop, he often has to worry that the officer might kill or injure him even if he did nothing wrong. Such fear is far less common for whites.

Widespread racial profiling also poisons relationships between police and minority communities. If you (with good reason) believe that cops routinely discriminate against your racial or ethnic group, you are less likely to cooperate with them, report crimes or otherwise presume they are acting in good faith. That creates obvious difficulties for both police and civilians.

Curbing racial profiling should be a priority for anyoneincluding many conservatives and libertarianswho believe government should be color-blind. I have long argued that anyone who holds such viewsas I do myselfcannot tolerate ad hoc exceptions for law enforcement.

If you truly believe that it is wrong for government to discriminate on the basis of race, you cannot ignore that principle when it comes to those government officials who carry badges and guns and have the power to kill and injure people. Otherwise, your position is blatantly inconsistent. Cynics will understandably suspect that your supposed opposition to discrimination only arise when whites are the victims, as in the case of affirmative action preferences in education.

Finally, you have special reason to condemn racial profiling if you are a constitutional originalist (as many conservatives are). Today, most cases under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment involve challenges to the constitutionality laws and regulations that discriminate on the basis of race, or are motivated by such discrimination. But the original meaning of the Clause was centrally focused on unequal enforcement of laws by state and local governments, including the police. That happens when authorities enforce laws against some racial or ethnic groups differently than others, treating some more harshly and others more leniently based on their group identity.

Racial profiling is a paradigmatic example of exactly that problem. Where it occurs, victims are denied equal protection because the very officials who are supposed to provide that protection instead treat them more harshly than members of other groups.

II. Why Racial Profiling is Hard to Combat

While racial profiling is a serious problem, it's also a very difficult one to curtail. One reason why is that it's often hard to detect. With many types of illegal discrimination, the perpetrators leave a record of their decision-making process that can then be assessed by investigators or used as the basis for a lawsuit. In many, perhaps most, racial profiling cases, the relevant decision was made on the fly by a single person, or a small group. There is no record to refer to, and the officer can easily offer a benign explanation for his or her actions. Indeed, sometimes the officer himself won't know for sure whether he would have done the same thing if the race of the civilian involved was different. That makes racial profiling hard to address by using many of the traditional tools of anti-discriminitaion law, including lawsuits targeting specific discriminatory actions.

An additional problem is that racial profiling isn't always the result of bigotry, defined as hatred of a given minority group. Some officers really are awful bigots. But many, probably most, who engage in racial profiling are not. They are instead acting on the basis of what economists call "rational stereotyping." Police know that members of some racial or ethnic groups, particularly young black males, have relatively high crime rates compared to members of most other groups. In situations where they have little other information to go on, police therefore view members of these groups with heightened suspicion, and as a result are more likely to stop them, search them, arrest them, or otherwise take aggressive action.

If the officers who profiled Senator Tim Scott had known he was a senator, they would likely have left him alone. But all they knew just from seeing him was that he was a black male, and that led them to believe he was statistically more likely to be a threat than a woman or a member of some other racial group might be.

Racial disparities in crime rates have a variety of causes, including a long history of racism, and flawed government policies of many types. But there is little the average cop on the beat can do to alleviate these causes. He or she instead may focus primarily on the resulting differences in crime rates.

The fact that such behavior is "rational" in the sense used by economists does not make it right. Rather, this is just one of a number of situations where rational decision-making by individuals can lead to a harmful systemic outcome. Racial profiling resulting (in part) from rational stereotyping may be efficient from the standpoint of individual officers trying to cope with uncertainty under pressure. But it harms innocent people, and poisons police-community relations in the long run.

But the fact that racial profiling may often be rational makes it more difficult to root out. Police, after all, are far from the only people who use rational stereotyping as a way to cope with limited information. People of all races and walks of life routinely do so in a wide range of contexts. If you come to a party where you don't know anyone, there is a good chance you will make snap judgments about who to try to talk to, and that those judgments may be influenced by stereotyping based on appearance, including race and gender.

Jesse Jackson, the first prominent African-American presidential candidate, once said "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then (I) look around and see someone white and feel relieved." Jackson was relying on rational stereotyping: a white person (at least on that particular street) was statistically less likely to be a robber than an African-American.

The point here is not that rational stereotyping by Jackson or by a party-goer is the moral equivalent of racial profiling by police. Very far from it. The latter is far, far worse, because it causes vastly greater harm and injustice. Rather, these examples help us recognize that rational stereotyping is not confined to bigots, that it is very common human behavior, and that it is therefore very hard to avoid.

When we ask police officers to suppress their instincts and avoid racial profilingas we should!we are also asking them to exhibit a level of self-control that most of us often fall short of. The demand here goes well beyond simply asking them to avoid being bigoted thugs. It's asking them to refrain from using a decision-making heuristic that even otherwise well-intentioned people may often resort to.

III. What Can be Done.

While curbing racial profiling is difficult, it is not impossible. Many of the policy reforms that can curtail police abuses more generally will also indirectly reduce racial profiling. Abolishing or limiting qualified immunity can incentivize police to reduce abusive behavior of many kinds, including that which stems from profiling. Police who know they can be sued for wrongdoing are likely to be more careful about racial discrimination. Curtailing the War on Drugs and other laws criminalizing victimless offenses can eliminate many of those confrontations between police and civilians that are especially prone to racial bias. The same goes for curbing the power of police unions, which protect abusive officers of all types, including those who engage in racial discrimination.

If racial profiling is hard to detect, we can at least impose serious punishment in cases where it does get detected. If officers know that racial discrimination is likely to land them in hot water, they may try harder to avoid it, even if the chance of getting caught in any one incident is relatively low.

Perhaps the lowest-hanging fruit is getting rid of the policy under which the federal government explicitly permits the use of racial and ethnic profiling in the enforcement of immigration law in "border" areas (which are defined broadly enough to include locations where some two-thirds of the American population lives). This is by far the most extensive example of openly permitted racial discrimination in federal government policy. The Obama administration decided to let it continue, and Trump has perpetuated it as well. If we are serious about ending racial discrimination in law enforcement, it needs to go.

Laws and incentives are important. But ending racial profilinglike other forms of invidious discriminationalso requires cultural change. Survey data indicate that most white police officers believe current law enforcement practices treat blacks fairly (though the same polls show most minority officers disagree). Many of these officers probably believe racial profiling is justified, or at least defensible under the circumstances police face on the job. That needs to change.

History shows that progress against prejudice and discrimination often depends on changing social norms, as much as on laws. When I was growing up in the 1980s, it wasin most placessocially acceptable to display open bigotry against gays and lesbians. People routinely used words such as "fag" and "homo" as insultseven in liberal Massachusetts (where I lived at the time). People who behave that way today would be socially stigmatized in most settings, even though such expressions remain legal. The stigma is one reason why such behavior is a lot less ubiquitous than it used to be.

Police work is one of the relatively few settings in which widespread racial discriminationof a certain typeis still considered socially acceptable. If that changes, the behavior itself is likely to change, even if it remains difficult to challenge through formal legal processes. Consider what might happen if police officers known to engage in racial profiling were stigmatized by their peers or by respected authority figures in their communities. In that world, racial profiling would probably still exist; but it would likely be a good deal less common.

I don't have any brilliant suggestions for bringing about such a change in social norms. But history shows it can be done, and the issue is one that deserves more consideration by those with relevant expertise.

In sum, racial profiling is genuine problem that deserves to be taken seriously. There is no simple solution to it. We probably can't get rid of it entirely. But much can be done to make it less widespread than it is today.

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The Problem of Racial ProfilingWhy it Matters and What Can be Done About it - Reason

When will prosecutors identify and compensate overseas victims of corruption? – The FCPA Blog

Identifying and compensating overseas victims of corruption is a major challenge that prosecutors have yet to adequately address. AsJeffrey Kaplan recently discussed in a post for the FCPA Blog, when corruption is treated as victimless, it may allow those involved in the crime to feel comfortable with their participation.

Despite an undeniable rise in the global will to prosecute international corruption and overseas bribery, seldom do law enforcement agencies return funds to the victims of the corrupt scheme. In 2011, the United Kingdom introduced criminal infractions with the adoption of theBribery Act. However, since its enactment, prosecutors have only sought 33 million ($40 million) in compensation from a total of 602 million ($736 million) secured through sanctions or settlements, representing less than 6 percent of the total sum levied. Why has there been so little compensation to those directly affected?

Our recent fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of Congo clearly demonstrates thedevastating impactof corruption on the lives of tens of thousands of local residents directly affected at just one cobalt mine the KMT mine (now called Metalkol RTR) in Kolwezi, a rich copper and cobalt tailings site considered one of the crown jewels of Congos mining assets.

The abrupt closure of the KMT mine in 2009 due to corruption resulted in 700 workers losing their jobs and corresponding benefits, and severely affected an estimated 32,000 Congolese residents who were deprived of clean drinking water, and plagued with ongoing air and water pollution, sickness and a lack of education opportunities.

These are the types of victims of corruption that law enforcement agencies should identify and seek to compensate. There may be an opportunity for the Serious Fraud Office to assist the Congolese victims. The closure and subsequent acquisition of the KMT mine is reportedas being part of the SFOsinvestigationinto Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), one of the SFOs longest-running cases. In January 2020, the first group of 16 Congolese residentsstepped forwardas potential victims in the case.

In overseas cases, compensation orders may present an ethical problem. The prosecuting country can appear to be enriching itself while providing little to those enduring the repercussions of corruption. This issue was debated by world leaders at the International Anti-Corruption Summitof 2016in which the UK pledged not only to expose, pursue and punish those involved in corruption but also to compensate overseas victims of corruption and return stolen assets.

In 2018, the UK adopted the General Principles to compensate overseas victims (including affected States) in bribery, corruption and economic crime cases(theCompensation Principles) in answer to that commitment. The principles are progressive in establishing that UK law enforcement agencies shall identify overseas victims in all relevant cases and consider compensating them by using whatever legal mechanisms are available.

The Compensation Principles are a promising step forward, but they lack a comprehensive definition of overseas victims. To date, affected states are the primary recipients of the minimal funds being returned, as opposed to affected communities or individuals. While in some cases the state might be the appropriate recipient of such funds, in other cases it is not.

For example, where senior members of the government played a direct role in the corruption, not only is there a significant risk that the funds might be re-corrupted, it also sends a message that those responsible can act with impunity. In addition, by not directly compensating individuals or communities harmed by corruption, access to remedy is weakened. It risks creating a two-tier system between overseas victims of corruption and victims of other crimes.

Law enforcement agencies like the SFO should deepen their understanding of the victims of overseas corruption, quantify the harm and loss caused, and find the best legal avenues for compensation. Not doing so will render the Compensation Principles meaningless and the fight against corruption less effective and less fair.

The full RAID report can be viewed here.

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When will prosecutors identify and compensate overseas victims of corruption? - The FCPA Blog

Operation Unhappy Meal: How the FBI trapped the million-dollar McDonalds Monopoly cheats – The Independent

Everyone thought you never had a chance to win the McDonalds Monopoly game, says James Lee Hernandez, but you never really knew why. Hernandez, who, along with Brian Lazarte, wrote and directed HBOs six-part true-crime docuseries McMillions, now knows exactly why.

From 1989 to 2001 in the US, the fast food chains promotional competition, in which customers would collect Monopoly-style pieces which could be exchanged for prizes worth up to $1m, was hijacked by a mysterious crime ring. FBI investigators believe that almost every person who came forward to claim a high-value prize during those years was part of one giant scheme to defraud the game.

McMillions airs in the UK on Wednesday on Sky Documentaries, and tells the story of the Monopoly scam through extensive interviews with the perpetrators and investigators. It harkens back to growing up during the time of this thing, the heyday of this game, through the Nineties, says Hernandez. Brian and I both grew up during this time. My first job when I was 16 years old was at McDonalds.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The story begins midway through, in an FBI field office in 2001, as rookie investigator Doug Mathews settles into the bureaus branch in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an office with a reputation as a sleepy hollow, where big, headline-grabbing cases seldom reared their heads.

At the time, the Jacksonville office was primarily focused on investigating healthcare fraud. On a whim, Mathews, who claimed he was bored to death with this healthcare garbage, chased up a lead scrawled on a Post-It Note: a tip-off claiming that the lucrative McDonalds Monopoly game was rigged.

FBI agent Doug Mathews was at the heart of the investigation into the fraud (HBO/Sky UK)

Digging into the claim, the FBI worked out that three of the games winners, who claimed to have chanced upon the winning Monopoly pieces, were related. After determining that McDonalds werent just rigging the game themselves, the bureau began an elaborate investigation that involved wiretaps, informants and even an undercover sting operation, which is thrillingly recreated in what is perhaps the series best sequence.

We had really never seen anybody show the FBI in a light that really, truly represents them, Lazarte says. Its always the FBI finds one clue, they make one phone call, and they know everything. No! Its a series of people working together to make this case happen.

Through their wiretap, the Jacksonville FBI recorded conversations between the competition winners and mutual third parties, known as recruiters. Patterns emerged. Several of the suspects made reference to a figure known only as Uncle Jerry, whom the Feds soon identified as the schemes ringleader.

As McMillions painstakingly details the FBIs search for Uncle Jerry, we are afforded an intimate look at the human side of the bureau, the conflicting personalities that were thrown into the mix. Everyone has seen movies about federal officers, FBI agents, federal prosecutors, said Hernandez. Usually theyre just robots with suit jackets.

Meeting people, and meeting Mathews, and seeing what goes into an actual FBI investigation taking this really small kernel of information and exploding it into a huge case was fascinating to us.

Mathews, in particular, is a jovial personality with a childlike grin; the antithesis of what FBI agents are supposed to be. Early in McMillions, he describes his partner and superior, Rick Dent, as having about as much personality as this piece of wood right here, tapping on his desk. The series creators say that the humour was in-built; the story couldnt have been told any other way.

We always liked the idea of letting funny characters be funny. Were not making fun of them; were just letting them be who they are, Lazarte says, adding that they chose to lean into the levity in every instance we could.

Eventually, the FBI succeeded in tracking down Uncle Jerry, and obtained enough evidence through the wiretaps to press charges. Warrants were handed down, criminal proceedings were initiated. The trial began in a flurry of press attention, on 10 September 2001. By the next day, the Twin Towers had fallen, McDonalds had vanished from the headlines entirely, and the FBI was a completely different place.

Before 9/11, says Lazarte, these are white collar crime agents. Theyre busting insurance fraud, theyre busting wire fraud and bank fraud. These are the crimes that are important: making sure that people arent getting defrauded. The McDonalds Monopoly case comes in, and it seems important because its a large fraud thats nationwide. But immediately, when 9/11 happened, the lens completely changes. All of a sudden, FBI agents are full force becoming anti-terrorism agents.

They rightfully just shifted gears and something like the McDonalds Monopoly game doesnt seem so bad any more. Thats a big reason why people dont even know about it, because the news completely focuses for the next year or more on the fallout of 9/11.

The investigation which FBI agents had jokingly called Operation Fallen Arches and Operation Unhappy Meal before settling on Operation Final Answer no longer seemed like a career-defining case, even though, by this point, investigators had exposed ties to the Italian mafia, and had indicted more than 50 people. The 9/11 terrorist attacks seem to reinforce the idea that defrauding Ronald McDonald was, ultimately, pretty low-stakes stuff.

One of the coveted winning Monopoly game pieces (HBO/Sky UK)

But, insists Lazarte, the severity of the crime shouldnt be undersold. People assume that this was a victimless crime, he says. Stealing from a major billion-dollar corporation, you wont hurt anybody youre just cheating at the game. But the actions that all these people participated in had a dramatic effect: on their own lives, on the relationships of those people, on their job opportunities. Theyre forever painted as federal criminals as a result of this greed.

Despite McMillions extensive interview footage the six-episode structure allows ample time to conduct a deep dive into the investigations more charismatic personnel there are some voices missing from the finished product. For some, this is because they are no longer alive; others simply refused to participate, such as the taciturn, very gracious, very private FBI agent Rick Dent.

McMillions untangles its mystery slowly, leaving you guessing until the very end. How did the winning pieces make their way into the hands of the mafia? Who tipped off the FBI in the first place? Where did all the money go? Who was Uncle Jerry? Hernandez and Lazarte comprehensively, and patiently, answer most of the questions, leaving just enough room for a bit of speculation. As Hernandez points out: Sometimes, the legend is better than the real thing.

The story of the Monopoly scam is a tale of human fallibility, of weakness and manipulation, but the McMillions directors retain some sympathy for its perpetrators. You could easily villainise them, but then you realise they were just opportunists, says Hernandez.

McMillions is airing on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV on Wednesday 27 May at 9pm

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Operation Unhappy Meal: How the FBI trapped the million-dollar McDonalds Monopoly cheats - The Independent

McMillions takes us into the heart of the McDonald’s Monopoly scandal – but whose side are we on? – inews

CultureThis is surely almost a victimless tale - a bit of harmless fraud which mainly impacted McDonald's executives

Thursday, 21st May 2020, 4:43 pm

Can a story ever be too good for documentary? The McDonalds McMillions case is one of the great modern frauds, an almost-victimless tale to warm the heart of everyone who hears it except perhaps McDonalds executives and a few innocents who were unwittingly caught up in a federal crime.

Over an astonishingly long period, between 1989 and 2001, a disgruntled ex-cop called Jerome Jacobson defrauded Ronald & Chums of many millions of dollars through the chains popular Monopoly promotion, in which diners would collect prize tokens attached to McDonalds packaging.

The scheme was ingenious. As the head of security for Simon Marketing, the company that ran the Monopoly game, Jacobson was charged with transporting the winning tokens. They were kept in a secure briefcase, and in theory Jacobson was accompanied at all times by a McDonalds accountant.

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But their work involved lots of flights within the US. While they waited for their flights to be called, Jacobson would excuse himself to use the bathroom and take the briefcase with him. In the cubicle, he would swap the winning tokens for non-winning ones. Then he would sell on the tokens for a percentage of the winnings, at first to family and friends, then later to an expanding ring of criminals.

Between 1995 and 2000, he and his accomplices won almost every top prize in north America, including cash and sports cars, to a value of $24m. More than 50 people were convicted. Youd need a heart of stone not to laugh, and I write as someone who played McDonalds Monopoly a lot between 1995 and 2000.

The story begs for the screen treatment. Jacobson was convicted on 10 September 2001, so the news was buried by other events. It only came to wider attention after a Daily Beast article in 2018. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are said to be working on a film.

In the meantime, we have McMillions, a six-part HBO documentary that retells the story through interviews with some of the people involved and anonymous reconstructions. Its well made, but it suffers from its angle of approach.

Our eyes and ears are the FBI agents and McDonalds employees who set about uncovering the scam.

Except for the most egregious crimes, it always feels a bit iffy to find ourselves on the cops team. When the victim is a multibillion-dollar hamburger corporation, it rankles. Theres a reason Oceans 11 takes the side of the robbers, and one rarely sees Robin Hood told from the Sheriffs point of view.

We long to know what makes the fradster tick

Documentaries with difficult or ambiguous subjects work best when we see both sides. The most gripping moments in Ken Burns epic documentary about the Vietnam War were the interviews with the Viet Cong soldiers. Burns criticised The Last Dance, ESPNs recent documentary about the Chicago Bulls, for complicity with its main subject, Michael Jordan.

The hole at the heart of McMillions is Jacobson himself. We long to know what made him tick.

As with the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? scam, there were questions about whether a crime was being committed, especially by the people who bought the winning tickets. Is it a federal fraud, or just canny players discovering a few tricks against McDonalds? The brilliance of James Grahams Quiz was to present the Ingrams, Chris Tarrant and the ITV executives as rounded human beings without passing judgement.

A documentary without the Ingrams wouldnt have been half as interesting. When it comes to recounting real-life events, sometimes only drama will do.

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McMillions takes us into the heart of the McDonald's Monopoly scandal - but whose side are we on? - inews

End Taxation by Prosecution – Yahoo News

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A sk most people what prosecution has to do with taxes, and youll be lucky to get an answer this side of Al Capone. Admittedly, other than the occasional tax cheat, the two do not appear to have much in common. So it may come as a shock to learn that local governments across this country not only expect prosecutors to generate revenue but also rely on them to make ends meet. It is taxation by prosecution, and it needs to stop.

The first half of this tax plan is as audacious as it is straightforward. Nobody wants a criminal record, let alone to find themselves in jail for any stretch of time. Meanwhile, every state has dozens of low-level, victimless crimes on the books think driving with a suspended license and disorderly conduct that prosecutors regularly get rid of without a conviction or public fanfare.Savvy government budget officials put two and two together and saw an opportunity to raise revenue.

The result is a network of fees in which defendants pay for the privilege of prosecutorial forbearance. One of the most common methods entailspayingto take part in a diversion program that erases the criminal charges. At hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the cost of such programs often far exceeds anything reasonably attributable to whatever services or programming the individual is required to complete. Plus,in many instances, prosecutors dismiss charges outright on payment of court costs or other colorfully named fees without the need for the defendant to take further action.

Those whose crimes or pocketbooks do not allow for such forbearance simply hit the other side of the revenue-generation buzzsaw. Plea bargains and sentencings generally lack the implicit financial quid pro quo present in diversion or dismissal. But the government nevertheless manages to insert money into the equation by attaching an assortmentof fines and fees to virtually every conviction. And, just like that, a prosecution can become profitable.

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Which does not, on its own, push these fines and fees into the realm of taxation. Monetary sanctions have a legitimate place in the criminal-justice system. Appropriately used, they can deter and make amends for wrongdoing. Indeed, to the extent that individual prosecutors think about fines or fees, these considerations tend to be the reason why. But an insatiable revenue motive has long since surpassed criminal-justice concerns for officials with the power to set fines and fees.

How do we know that money rather than justice is the aim? The government does a woefully inadequate job of hiding its intent. InOklahoma, for example, the legislature deliberately underfunds its district-attorney offices, counting on prosecutors to collect as much as half their operating budget through diversion and other fees.Other statessever the connection to the justice system entirely, using the money from fines and fees to supplement general funds and pay for other parts of the government.

This form of taxation in all but name does not work well for anyone involved. The sizable number of Americans charged with these low-level, irregularly enforced offenses end up paying costs that bear little relation to their transgressions. Prosecutors feel budget pressures that add uncertainty to long-term planning. This can stymie prosecutorial goals by reducing defendants ability to participate in effective diversion programs or get their lives back on track after a conviction. Even the officials responsible for these costs can become trapped, waryof adjusting laws and priorities in ways that undermine the often unnecessary enforcement of the low-level crimes that shore up so many budgets.

It is not too late for jurisdictions to pull themselves out of this quagmire. Whatever revenue they can raise in this manner is just not worth the costs. Instead, legislators and other officials in charge of budgets must downsize these fines and fees so that they once again reflect the needs of justice rather than those of government coffers.

Honest tax policy may force tougher discussions of government priorities and spending, but constituents deserve no less. And, in the end, if officials cannot make the case to fund the criminal-justice system at its current dimensions, then perhaps its time to cut it down to size along with the hidden taxes that support it.

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End Taxation by Prosecution - Yahoo News

‘We are sorry for the hurt caused to you’; Scouting Ireland issue apology to abuse victims – Echo Live

SCOUTING Ireland has issued an "organisational apology" to the victims of sex abuse in scouting circles.

This morning, the chairman of Scouting Ireland, Adrian Tennant, issued the apology, saying: "As Chairperson of the Board of Scouting Ireland, as an adult volunteer and as a father, I wish to make an organisational apology to the victims and survivors of historical sexual abuse in Scouting who were failed."

He continued: "On behalf of Scouting Ireland, I unreservedly apologise to you. We are sorry for the hurt caused to you and the legacy of that hurt which many of you still live with today.

"We know we cannot take away that hurt. But we do want you to know that you have been heard. We want you to know that you are believed. We want you to know that we will support you.

The apology comes as garda in Cork are preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions following the arrest in February of an elderly man, following complaints of abuse in scouting circles in Cork, made by more than 20 men over a 30-year period.

In December 2018, Scouting Ireland revealed that it had been made aware of 212 known and alleged perpetrators and of 317 alleged victims, over the last 70 years" in scouting circles across the country.

This morning's apology accompanies a report on Scouting Ireland's handling of abuse allegations.

Safeguarding expert Ian Elliott compiled the report, Historical Sexual Abuse in Scouting: A Learning Review.

In his conclusion, Mr Elliott said: "Any objective examination of the evidence presented to this Review, would lead to the conclusion that scouting failed to protect vulnerable young people and allowed risky individuals to operate for too long a period.

"There was a reluctance to hold people to account and to recognize the reason why the organisation existed at all which is to serve the needs of young people in a positive way."

Mr Tennant said: "This Learning Review is a milestone in Scouting Irelands determination to search for the truth.

"It exposes past failings, particularly in our legacy organisations.

"It enables us to learn from an appalling backdrop of abuse which was ignored and unfortunately, in some cases, actively covered up."

He added: We are determined that there is no place in Scouting for anyone who, by design or by omission, harms a child. Cronyism, looking away and covering up are not victimless crimes. They are enabling actions.

"We pledge to adopt and deliver the Learnings and Recommendations of this Report. It is a light pointing into a very dark corner but it is also a beacon for the standards, culture and structures we must have, and which must be resourced to ensure that Scouting is a safe place for young people.

* The Scouting Ireland Helpline is open Monday Friday 9.30am 5.00pm. Freephone 1800 221199 (ROI) and 00353 87 0934403 (NI).

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'We are sorry for the hurt caused to you'; Scouting Ireland issue apology to abuse victims - Echo Live

Somerset Churches Trust continues fight to prevent lead theft from church roofs – Somerset County Gazette

NUMEROUS Somerset churches have had alarm installed as a charity continues to fight against a wave of lead thefts from church roofs in Somerset.

The Somerset Churches Trusts (SCT) campaign to stop lead thefts from churches has now ended but help is still available from a national scheme.

SCT trustee Chris Hawkings led the pioneering project, which was launched in March 2018.

The partnership used SCTs existing grant giving scheme to distribute funds to mainly rural churches in Somerset to enable them to install roof alarms.

Mr Hawkings said: The campaign had received wide publicity when it was launched including an item on the BBC Points West, local radio and newspapers across the county.

He added: The 30,000 Allchurches Trust fund, topped up by our own funds, has seen some 23 churches benefit from grants to install roof alarms, latterly providing up to 2,500 towards the cost of fitting alarm systems.

Now, as well as running schemes in conjunction with a range of dioceses and local historic churches trusts, Allchurches Trust welcomes applications direct from churches. You can find out more at http://www.allchurches.co.uk/roofalarmgrants .

SCT chairman, Dr Axel Palmer, said: Rural churches which have stood for 900 years are having their lead roofs stripped.

"This is serious and organised criminality where entire roofs are being stolen. These are attacks on our national heritage with a significant impact on victims and village communities.

These are not victimless crimes they go to the heart of rural communities and their dedicated parishioners.

"Thats why we were pleased to trial these grants in our county and are delighted that Allchurches Trust is now making the scheme available nationally.

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Somerset Churches Trust continues fight to prevent lead theft from church roofs - Somerset County Gazette

Over Ten People Exercise Right to Assemble at NH State House in Violation of Governor’s Order – Free Keene

by Ian | Apr 1, 2020 | Civil Disobedience, Concord, Cool, Corruption, Free Concord, Haters, Hypocrisy, Issues, Living Free, National, New Hampshire, News, Noncooperation, Outreach, Personal Freedom, Photos, Police, Politics, Republicans, Response, Social, Update, Victimless Crimes |

Over a Dozen Heroically Attended the Right to Assemble Event Today, April 1st in Concord

Donning masks from V for Vendetta, more than a dozen activists gathered at the New Hampshire state house in Concord today in violation of HIS EXCELLENCY governor Chris Sununus order banning assembly of over ten people. Not only did the police who passed by the event today use their discretion and ignore the event, one Concord police officer even waved to the group, suggesting that he also supported the human right to assemble. While responses from passing motorists varied, the majority were positive, including thumbs-ups, honks, and waves. Negative responses included middle fingers, shaking heads, a thumbs-down, and verbal quarantine shaming. Of course, any protest for any topic always elicits negative responses and this one was not unusual.

Curiously, the only media who bothered to attend was an independent videographer who interviewed me and NH republican primary challenger to the incumbent governor Sununu, Nobody. After standing by Main Street for over an hour holding signs like, Social Distancing is Fear, Not Love and Assembly is a Human Right, we took a group photo by the statue of General John Stark. Stark is known for creating the saying from which New Hampshire selected its state motto:

Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils.

Stark is likely rolling in his grave now with Sununu following obediently along with other tyrannical state governors and issuing approximately two dozen emergency orders in the last few weeks, destroying the freedom to do business and the freedom to assemble. While Sununu has not gone as far as some of his counterparts, he is nonetheless presiding over a tremendous increase in authoritarianism as well as economic destruction.

Protestors hold signs and socialize next to Concords Main Street.

Thankfully, Sununu wont be unchallenged in this years election. Nobody of Keene has thrown his hat into the ring as Sununus thus-far lone republican primary challenger for governor. Heres a recent Boston Globe story that features Nobody and mentioned todays event at the state house.

Activists joined Nobody from across New Hampshire and even as far away as Western Massachusetts to hold signs and violate social distancing rules that are driving people nationwide to suicide from lack of human contact and job losses. Recent news has shown suicide hotline calls are well above normal levels in many places across the United States.

There may indeed be a nasty virus out there. How much worse it is than the flu, which kills tens of thousands in the United States each year, remains to be seen. Fearmongering media and politicians benefit when they ramp up fear in the population. However, the decision on how to handle possible risks in life should be up to the individual, not lying, power-seeking politicians and bureaucrats. Freedom is better than safety or the illusion of safety, especially when the cost is your liberty. Once the government goons take more freedom, dont expect to ever get it back.

That said, many motorists in Concord seem to be on the side of freedom, and there were a surprising amount of people on the roads, getting life done. Kudos to the police for ignoring the peaceful event. The next Nobody-led assembly event in Concord is the annual 4:20 cannabis smoke out on 4/20, and for the only time in 2020. Hope to see you there! Nobodys campaign website is ElectNobody.com.

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Over Ten People Exercise Right to Assemble at NH State House in Violation of Governor's Order - Free Keene

Southern Indiana women seek strong leadership in the White House – Newsandtribune

EDITORS NOTE: Part of an ongoing series, Pulse of the Voters, highlighting whats on the minds of voters leading up to the 2020 presidential election. To read prior stories, go online to http://www.newsandtribune.com. To participate or comment, email newsroom@newsandtribune.com.

SOUTHERN INDIANA On Jan. 16, 2020, Indiana voted to ratify the 19th Amendment which allowed women the right to vote. In August of that year, the state became one of 36 to do so.

As the state celebrates this important centennial anniversary and as the nation gears up for a pivotal presidential election in November, many Southern Indiana women plan to exercise the right afforded to them long ago. Here are four of their stories.

As a Republican who works in a field assisting children and families, 52-year-old Ann Carruthers said she often tries to marry conservatism with social work when looking at the issues. The New Albany resident said she tends support things that look to help empower people and strengthen the community.

Nationally, I think leadership is something we really have to focus on in this upcoming election, she said. To be able to elect a leader who can actually navigate challenges as well as empower communities and utilize others ...I think that is when you [see] true leadership.

Sellersburg resident Missy Smith, 39, said social justice issues are very much at the forefront with her.

Smith works as assistant manager for healthy families, a child abuse neglect and prevention program through New Hope Services. She spends much of her free time in activism, for the LGBT community with the Floyd and Clark Stonewall Democrats (FLARK) and through anti-racism efforts at her church, Highland Baptist. She also does social media work and writes for The Resistance Prays, a group which embodies the idea that the left also has a voice when it comes to faith.

The right has done a very good job for a long time of monopolizing the idea that if you are a Christian and you are a good American, you are a Republican, she said. So we push that is not the case.

Smith said she doesnt see that most of the national Republican platforms line up with her spirituality, while Democratic ideals do.

Caring for the least of us, caring for the poor, caring for those often robbed of voice, she said. On the left we see people who fight to give voice to the voiceless.

Republican voter Fanny Grubbs, 64, said she looks this year to support right-to-life efforts as well as immigration and healthcare reform. Shes a Jeffersonville resident and vice president of the Clark County Republican Women.

Grubbs said when it comes to immigration, she wants to see tighter controls, not just at the Southern border, but also along the Northern border and at shipping ports in other areas.

I think it would help with the drug issue if we had more control over the borders, she said, adding she believes an influx of undocumented immigrants can also put a financial strain on the system.

And we need to make sure the immigration laws are the same for everyone maybe make it a little bit easier to come into the country, but come in legally.

Grubbs said she feels health care in America has taken a hit since the Affordable Care Act was first introduced during Barack Obamas administration, although she said there are parts she agrees with such as that a person should be able to switch insurance companies and not be denied due to a pre-existing condition.

We need to have more free market for health care, she said. Our costs for insurance was much less when we had free market.

Patty Singh, a 69-year-old retired database manager living in Jeffersonville and a Libertarian, said shes interested in seeing drug and prison reform, as well as changes in U.S. foreign policy.

She believes that marijuana legalization should have happened long ago, and if it had, would keep many nonviolent people charged with victimless crimes out of prison.

With foreign policy, she believes the nation should adopt more of an isolationist policy as existed in the 1950s and 1960s, and not get so involved in other nations wars and conflicts.

There are places where we just dont belong, she said. We shouldnt be policing the world. We should be offering help and aid where we can, but our troops and military is in places it shouldnt be, these Middle Eastern wars, it just doesnt make any sense to me.

Early on, Smith supported Democratic Primary candidate Pete Buttigieg for president; she liked his financial plans and online presence, and as an Indiana resident and gay man, he had checked the boxes for her.

Then, as we realized he wasnt speaking to issues and shortcomings within the black community, I got very nervous, she said. Smith then moved her support to Elizabeth Warren, and said she was heartbroken when Warren dropped out of the race.

I was super impressed with her understanding, her plans, her grasp on the issues, her intelligence, Smith said. She was a woman who stood her ground and had been doing this for a really, really long time, and giving voice to the voiceless.

Now, Smith is supporting Bernie Sanders, and most of the people she knows are, too. She said although shes disappointed to see the Democratic race again come down to two older white men which has historically been the case with presidential candidates she will support the one who gets the Democratic nomination.

Grubbs, a Republican, said even before Donald Trump was first elected, she had believed the U.S. needed a president like him. She said hes lived up to what she hoped to see, and she intends to support him for re-election.

Before he was elected, I always said we needed somebody who was a businessman and we needed a strong leader that once he makes a decision, hes made it, she said. I have completely backed him on how his administration handles our country. I think hes doing a great job; I really dont think theres anything I wish hed done a different way.

As for the Democratic presidential candidates, Grubbs said she would be terrified if Sanders were to be elected, as hes too far left. She said she also worries about Bidens physical and mental health.

To me, whenever you vote for him, you better look at who his running mate is because that may be who youre actually voting for, she said. He was a good vice president as long as someone else was leading; I dont think hes a leader.

Carruthers said she also intends to support Trump if things continue as they have.

If he, as a leader, continues to surround himself with the right people and look at those who can help move his agenda in a positive way, most definitely I would be supporting him, Carruthers said.

But she also feels that Biden has a likely shot at the Democratic nomination and could give Trump competition, especially if Biden chooses a woman as his running mate.

I just really think the role of a woman is going to be important, Carruthers said. There is no question that our country needs strong women today and tomorrow.

And although Singh said she typically supports the Libertarian candidate, she may vote for Biden if it means it could help him beat Trump.

[Trump has] kind of talked a good game, but every time I see him on television, its just garbage coming out of his mouth, Singh said. Hes arrogant, I think he feels like he can do anything he wants to do.

To me, he hasnt done anything and I think hes hindering more than hes helped anything.

When it comes to how the Trump administration has addressed COVID-19, Carruthers and Grubbs say he has done a good job. The disease caused by the novel coronavirus had as of press time Monday infected more than 140,000 people in the U.S. with more than 2,400 deaths.

I think this has been somewhat challenging for everyone being that this was not something that you could necessarily prepare for, Carruthers said. Having to navigate a task force with the proper strength probably was challenging in knowing who would bring the right skills to the table to help us get through this...

But Smith and Singh say a late response time and lack of tests has put the country behind where it needed to be to handle the virus.

I am completely appalled by Trumps response to a global crisis, though I am not surprised, Smith said. This man has put ego and greed ahead of the people his entire tenure; I dont know why I expected more at the moment.

Regardless of their candidate, the four expressed hope that whoever is elected in November can help heal some of the rifts in the nation.

I think its probably going to be a very tough election and I just hope that it doesnt divide the country even more, Grubbs said. I hope that whoever is running, both of them try to bring everyone together so that more people will be satisfied with whoever is elected.

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Southern Indiana women seek strong leadership in the White House - Newsandtribune

Off-road motorbike seized by cops just minutes after upset resident reported it to police – The Northern Echo

POLICE officers seized an off-road motorbike claimed to have been tearing around an estate just minutes after an upset resident had reported it to police.

Officers were on patrol in the Grindon area of Sunderland when they were approached by an elderly man who appeared distressed.

He told officers that he was increasingly frustrated by motorcycle-related anti-social behaviour in the area and said his wife, who has a long-term health condition, could not cope with the noise in the street.

After reassuring the pensioner, officers took down details of a blue-and-white motorcycle that had reportedly been tearing around the estate and bringing misery to many residents.

Minutes later while carrying out inquiries, the officers spotted a motorbike matching the description provided by the man and decided to follow its movements. They later saw the rider stop, get off and push the vehicle into an address nearby.

After carrying out checks, it was established the vehicle was not insured. The bike was subsequently seized by police and a 31-year-old man is due to be summonsed to court for driving offences.

Neighbourhood Inspector Marie Pollock, of Northumbria Police, said: This was a case of good old-fashioned policing with officers acting on their instinct after they were made aware of concerns from a member of the public.

After taking down the details, they then followed their nose and spotted a motorbike matching the description given by the concerned resident. It was soon ascertained the rider had been travelling without insurance and the bike was subsequently seized.

We understand the distressing and detrimental effect that anti-social behaviour can have on the communities we serve, and thats why through Operation Brimstone, officers are actively targeting motorbike-related disorder and taking these vehicles off our streets.

We have dedicated patrols in place in hotspot areas to tackle this type of criminality, and I would like to reiterate that this is far from a victimless crime the actions of a minority who tear around on these bikes can make the most vulnerable in our society feel intimidated and frightened.

As a result, we will continue to carry out a range of enquiries to keep our communities safe from motorbike-related crime and ensure anyone found responsible is dealt with swiftly.

If you see any off-road riders or vehicle-related crimes happening in your area, please get in touch with us. We also want to hear from anyone who believes they know where these bikes are being stored overnight.

Anyone with information, or who is concerned about this type of criminality in their area, is asked to get in touch with via Northumbria Police's Tell Us Something or Report an Incident page on our website.

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Off-road motorbike seized by cops just minutes after upset resident reported it to police - The Northern Echo

Watch now: These people’s lives are ruined – The Outline

Back in 2016 another lifetime ago when Donald Trump was somehow the Republican presidential nominee and his campaign was regularly manifesting hitherto unimaginable incidents of bravura stupidity, I acquired the regrettable habit of comparing every new thing in the news cycle to a rejected George Saunders draft. I regret this comparison not because it was inaccurate, but because making it more than once suggested disbelief at how dumb and contemptuous the world seemed to have gotten, long after the state of affairs had morphed into a new normal demanding different paths of contemplation beyond I cant believe how dumb and contemptuous this is.

Because while Trump may have acted as an accelerant for this cultural buffoonishness, he was also an accurate reflection of his times, too. No subject of recent cultural fascination has seemed to me as nakedly Trumpian as Tiger King, a new Netflix documentary about Joe Exotic, a gun-toting, gay, polygamist tiger enthusiast jailed for allegedly ordering a hit against a rival in the big-cat world. Exotic was a well-known oddball in Oklahoma for years, but he accrued new showmanship and boldness just as Trump was running for president. Like the once-future president, Exotic is a narcissist skilled in the practice of stirring up shit in order to collect power, and when his financial empire is threatened by his rival, a self-described animal rights activist named Carole Baskin, he heads down a very dark road that culminates in his own poorly disguised incrimination.

Tiger King is, frankly, out of control. The first unspoilable show, The Ringers Jason Concepion wrote breathlessly last week. You actually cant describe it enough to spoil it. Because it only takes a little bit of time to see for yourself there are just seven episodes, and each is around 40 minutes I will not try. The short of it is this: Exotic and Baskin, along with another dodgy big-cat zoo owner named Doc Antle, are locked in a death embrace, fated to war with each other over which is the proper way to promote ones love for tigers through any means possible. The first three episodes are stacked with so many narrative twists, fascinating visual details, and jaw-dropping interviews that to look away for any 10 seconds risks missing something unmissable.

Its not that the main characters, who come off as endlessly duplicitous and outlandish, are skilled at lying marvel at how Baskin not-so-effortlessly parries the ongoing accusations that she had a former husband killed and fed to tigers, which is not even the craziest thing that happens here. But they cant stop lying, and so the only way to counterpoint their claims is to layer their testimony with those of more clear-headed outside sources (co-workers, investigators, victims) in order to gesture at its falseness. It turns out theres no law against low-grade deceit, and certainly nothing mandating the deceivers to feel any shame or remorse. The show cant help but pathologize a bit again, this is a documentary about a gun-toting, gay, polygamist tiger enthusiast but its primary method is to heap bullshit on top of bullshit until you cant help but go, My God, look at these assholes, a reaction thats helped make Tiger King a viral hit.

More and more these days we see TV and movie producers drawing inspiration from intellectual property that already exists, whether its a comic book or New Yorker story. In the way that certain lucky novelists could depend on their books being optioned to deliver a payday their publishers could not, the same is now true for magazine writers, podcast hosts, personal essayists, memoirists, et al who may find their projects rewarded with not only a meaty screenplay option agreement, and orders for more iterations as well. Joe Exotic was the subject of a 2019 New York story, a 2019 podcast, and now this Netflix documentary. But we are not done with him: Last fall, a deal was signed to make a fictionalized version spawned from the podcast, with Kate McKinnon signed on to play Baskin. A territory battle over who gets to play Exotic between Hollywoods most plausibly scummy actors is ongoing.

Tiger-mania is poised to run off the rails. For one, Tiger King already watches like a mockumentary. But the dramatic arc is less compelling than its details, and the series settles somewhat when it begins to focus exclusively on Exotics transgressions. The story, while still wild, slowly winnows down until it becomes a fairly standard crime drama, albeit one in which a man rhapsodizes about his dead lovers balls at their funeral. Reducing all of this to a conventional narrative in different forms isnt impossible, but it just cant be as vivid or as absorbing as the sprawling version, which explains Hollywoods interest.

Documentarians dont always sidestep the predictable inclination to leave us chewing on some thematically poignant conclusion, and thankfully Tiger King withholds the heavy hand. Partly because there isnt much there: Though it avoids voyeurism when talking to the people whose lives were permanently altered by the main characters (often for the worst), Tiger Kings thesis doesnt go much further than My God, look at these assholes. The fundamental point, hammered over and over again, is how unbelievable it is that any of this happened, which should not be a surprise to anyone paying attention to the world. That it is a surprise suggests that too many people, including myself, are still adjusting to the state of new American nonsense, which has been with us long before Trump.

One recent highlight of Vices documentary-style programming is Dark Side of the Ring, a limited series exploring the seedy truth behind several of pro wrestlings most notorious and tragic sagas. Perhaps the most horrendous story in pro wrestlings century-plus history is recounted in the two-part premiere of Dark Side of the Rings second season, which debuted last week to instant buzz. The premiere tells the story of Chris Benoit who, from the mid-80s to the mid-00s, was regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. Benoits seamless and dynamic mastery of the brutal choreography that constitutes a dramatic wrestling match was peerless. While he wasnt a brilliant personality like Hulk Hogan or the Rock, which is typically how wrestlers become famous, Benoits performance in the ring both looked and felt real, which is no easy accomplishment in an art form where that looks phony is an evergreen putdown.

In 2007, when his career was presumed to be on the downswing, Benoit murdered his wife Nancy, who was also his manager, and his seven-year-old son Daniel before hanging himself. A medical autopsy revealed his brain displayed a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), likely brought on by the dozens of concussions (and hundreds of subconcussive impacts) he suffered over his career. He was also taking an unhealthy amount of steroids, and the combination of bodily traumas and personal depressions his best friend, the wrestler Eddie Guerrero, had recently died led him to a place where he researched how to effectively brutalize his wife, son, and himself. The resulting scrutiny of industry practices that led to his diminished health, as well as the diminished health of many other wrestlers who died prematurely, pushed World Wrestling Entertainment to adopt a stringent steroid policy. Whether out of good taste or self-preservation, they simultaneously erased Benoits name and record from its archives youll never hear him mentioned on WWEs official programming despite his definitional role in wrestling history.

Benoits many wrestling accomplishments of course pale in comparison to the fact that he brutally murdered his family and subsequently died by suicide.As his surviving friends and relatives (including David Benoit, his son from his first marriage) attest, it was completely inconceivable that the elder Benoit could commit such an act of pure evil, which is why theyve spent the 13 years since the incident trying to grapple with it. To watch this bear out in the documentary reveals the events are still raw: Nearly all the interview subjects admit theyre still trying to work out exactly what happened, if not literally then emotionally.

Professional wrestling is an art form and business built on lying, so it isnt very surprising to recognize wrestling personalities, even when sober and emotional, occasionally exaggerate and dramatize things. For the most part, its essentially harmless: One example in the show is wrestler Chris Jerichos assertion, during a monologue about how Nancy Benoits achievements should be lauded, that as a pro-wrestling manager, she created the role, she perfected the role, and then when she stopped doing it, the role basically disappeared. This is just not true there were many pro-wrestling managers before her, and many after but its a victimless lie meant to make everyone feel better and the type of statement that goes unchallenged throughout the documentary, as the producers consistently allow the wrestlers to declare themselves moral and factual authorities.

On the one hand, this bullshitting mildly undercuts the documentarys gravitas, as once you pick out one lie you cant help but wonder what else is storytelling. But this conscious narrative-shaping contrasts explicitly with the unvarnished emotions of the non-wrestlers, such as David Benoit and Nancys sister Sandra Toffoloni, who speak with traumatized honesty. Sandra, more than most, had a firsthand view of her sisters relationship with her murderer, and she reflects on what she couldve done to stave off disaster with the quiet sadness of someone whos gradually learned to forgive herself for not doing enough. Its impossible to conceive the pain of learning your father murdered your brother and surrogate mother, and the most affecting moment is when David, upon recounting the last trip he took with his family before their death, breaks down and is unable to keep going. Their candor is such that despite the credulousness of the producers, the documentary achieves a few brief moments of realness, all of the crimes titillations aside. Thats no easy thing to do when dealing with professional wrestling.

By default, Dark Side of the Ring comes off more amateurishly than Tiger King many of its events do not exist in recorded form and are instead re-enacted by actors with accompanying voiceover. One of the most amazing things about Netflixs documentary is how much actual footage it incorporates; there were apparently no fewer than three camera crews from various projects rolling on Joe Exotics property at all times over several years, along with expansive surveillance footage and plenty of homemade footage created by the documentarys more paranoid characters, yielding a rich and detailed narrative full of things to tweet about.

Yet I found the Benoit documentary ultimately more compelling. His crimes were far more shocking and devastating than anything that happens in Tiger King, and the attempt to process the banality of what he did rather than sensationalize it yields a believable conclusion. In Tiger King, we dont hear enough from the people whose lives were ruined by Exotic, Antle, and Baskin, and how they have managed to survive; instead were left with the unavoidable American truth that behaving ridiculously is the easiest way to make people keep their eyes on you.

I wanted to know more about Saff, an employee of Exotics who lost his arm in a tiger attack, and seemingly performed more emotional work to work through exactly what the hell happened here than all of Tiger Kings main characters combined. Its certainly the ridiculousness thats made Tiger King such a viral hit, while one refrain I heard around the Benoit documentary is that its simply too depressing to consider right now. But if reality resists all our grand theorizing, which all the evidence indicates it does, I personally find hope in the people forced to work it out nonetheless.

Jeremy Gordon is deputy editor of The Outline.

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Watch now: These people's lives are ruined - The Outline

On the front line in the battle against Swindon’s shoplifters – Swindon Advertiser

HIGH above the Brunel Centre CCTV operators sit in front of a wall of computer screens.

Each of the 21 screens shows a different view of the Swindon shopping centre, beamed from one of the 70 odd cameras installed in and around the Brunel. The camera feeds are shared to Swindon Borough Councils own CCTV hub at Waterside, Cheney Manor.

CCTV operator Yvonne Booth has been doing the job for 11 years.

I love my job, she beams. When I first went in there they said I was going to be pretty rubbish. The opposite was true and over the years she has caught hundreds of shop thieves.

Shes part of the town centres effort to counter the shoplifters.

Those on the front line meet regularly at inSwindons Fleming Way offices. The 14 people at the briefing include police officers, inSwindons street team and representatives from the towns bigger shops.

For PC Paul Bezzant, beat manager for the town centre, and street team manager Kev Saunders its a chance to brief stores on the latest prolific offenders, court results and anti-social behaviour.

When the Adver joined the Tuesday meeting the hot topics included wheelie-pulling youngsters and a prolific shoplifter due before the magistrates that morning.

One security guard told the Adver: Were more aware of the problems now. Another added: It doesnt go away, but we seem to be keeping on top of it.

Meeting over, Kev Saunders and PC Bezzant head over to the state-of-the-art CCTV room at the top of the Brunel Centre.

The pair have known each other for years. Kev said: Ive worked in the town centre for 17 and a half years. I started at Millets, the camping shop.

They used to give me a radio to stand at the front and meet-and-greet. I sort of fell in love with security there.

I did security for 15 years before I came over to this job.

PC Paul Bezzant and Kev Saunders in The Brunel

Shops were changing their ways. For me, my passion was detaining shoplifters, getting them arrested and dealt with. Policies with shops changed and it was all about deterring. It killed the joy out of my job a bit.

When this role came up with inSwindon it was a chance to support the town with my wealth of knowledge of all the shoplifters I know.

All the shops in the town centre as well as outlets like the Orbital and Greenbridge are covered by the business improvement districts DaySafe system a radio network that connects shops, council CCTV operators and the police.

There is also an app, with police uploading images of prolific shoplifters and Swindons most wanted criminals.

At the last count there were around 300 faces on the app.

Its the knowledge, Kev said of the benefits of DaySafe.

Its the collaborative work with everybody. If you all join together youre a bigger force to fight crime as opposed to a single person on your own.

As times change different stores get targeted for different goods.

But a cursory glace at the magistrates court lists or a shoplifters shopping list found in a Swindon pub in December 2018 show that the basics remain the same: food, make-up, clothes and toys.

PC Bezzant said: People steal things they think people want, such as cheese, coffee, joints of meat.

He said the strangest shoplifted item hes come across was a sex toy from Regent Street Anne Summers.

Both the constable and the street team manager stressed that thefts from shops were far from victimless crimes, as thought by some.

Kev said: Its not a victimless crime. To recoup that money the shops put the prices up. At the end of the day it affects all of us.

For the independents it has a massive affect. You can tell it really hits home for them. Its personal for them because its their business, he explained.

Training for stores was last year said to have saved businesses 100,000 - up from 72,000 the year before.

The cash was saved thanks to a combination of better training in stopping shoplifters and better information sharing between businesses.

Some of the town's recent prolific shoplifters

Martin Morgan

Martin Morgan, 34, was spared prison last month despite having around 150 theft offences to his name.

Swindon magistrates heard Morgan took alcohol and meat worth 109 from Marks and Spencer on January 25, returning 16 days later to take an unknown number of steaks.

On February 13 he was spotted by staff at the Waitrose store in Wichelstowe taking Jack Daniels and Bells whiskey.

Prosecutor Kate Prince said: He was asked by a member of staff to put them back, to which he said no. He then left the store with his coat pockets bulging.

Anna Burns

Anna Burns, 34, was described as a persistent thorn in the side of Swindon shopkeepers by a crown court judge.

She was jailed for another 10 weeks earlier this month after stealing from a Bristol shopping centre shortly after being released from womens prison Eastwood Park on licence.

The Swindon woman had been given a five month stretch at the crown court in early February for a spree that saw her steal from Greggs, Lush, a Polish deli, Sainsburys and Mothercare.

On one occasion she stole make up from Boots just hours after she was released on bail.

Christopher Simpkins

Christopher Simpkins, 41, vowed to go clean last month.

Its not before time for the veteran shoplifter with more than 100 theft offences on his record.

The Pinehurst man admitted five shoplifting charges, stealing almost 550-worth of meat from the Co-op in October, November and December.

He had stashed steaks in his pockets, but was identified from CCTV.

Emma Hillier, defending, told the justices her client was keen to make a change having spent recent years in-and-out of jail.

He feels he is wasting his time in prison, she said.


On the front line in the battle against Swindon's shoplifters - Swindon Advertiser

Former Fife teacher found with child abuse images had ‘morbid fascination’ with torture and sadomasochism – The Courier

A retired Fife history teacher was caught with a stash of extreme pornographic and child sex abuse images, described by investigators as among the worst they had seen.

Depraved Norman Czemerys, 71, had photographs depicting women and children being tortured, bound, sexually abused and raped.

Police raided his Dunfermline home in May last year and almost 1,300 images and videos were found on four devices seized from his study, some of them in the worst category.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard Czemerys had a morbid fascination with torture and sadomasochism which spiralled out of control.

Procurator fiscal depute Claire Bremner said that images examined during the investigation were some of the worst seen by the analysts.

Czemerys, of Victoria Terrace, Dunfermline, admitted possessing extreme pornographic images depicting the sexual assault and torture of women between March 9 and May 14 last year and taking or permitting to be taken or making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children between September 2011 and May 2019.

He was warned by Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC it was very likely he would be jailed when he returns for sentence on April 8, but his suitability for a community-based disposal is to be assessed.

Married father-of-two Czemerys, an accomplished artist, was a teacher for 34 years, including at Dunfermline High School, before he retired in June 2006.

Solicitor Stephen Morrison told the court: Mr Czemerys is deeply ashamed by his behaviour, thoroughly embarrassed and indeed disgusted and repulsed.

He said Czemerys claimed to have had dark thoughts since adolescence, when he suffered psychological abuse.

He said: He started exploring in detail these thoughts after he retired.

He had always been fascinated as a history teacher about mans inhumanity to man.

He said Czemerys morbid interest began with the adult pictures but he became desensitised and his curiosity grew, leading him to view more extreme images and child sex abuse images.

Czemerys conceded there was a degree of sexual gratification, he said.

Mr Morrison said: Otherwise he was an upstanding member of the community.

As a consequence he that, he tells me, even as he was doing this searching and exploration he was both disgusted and repulsed first of all by his own behaviour and also by some of the images he saw, hence a high percentage of them were deleted.

Mr Morrison said Czemerys, who suffered bouts of depression when his offending escalated, recognised that his crimes were not victimless and he had sought help and counselling.

Czemerys was placed on the sex offenders register.

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Former Fife teacher found with child abuse images had 'morbid fascination' with torture and sadomasochism - The Courier

Keir Starmers past is coming under scrutiny. What can we learn from it? – The Guardian

I remember in July 2008 when the news broke of the decision to appoint Keir Starmer as director of public prosecutions (DPP). I was at a meeting of socialist lawyers, people who had spent their lives campaigning for the rights of homeless people and asylum seekers. We couldnt understand why hed taken the role.

On standing for the Labour leadership, Keir Starmer published a video, setting out his record as a barrister who had represented poll tax protesters and striking miners. I dont think anyone, a voiceover says, really expected someone who dedicated his career to defending workers, trade unions and trade unions to become director of public prosecutions. They were right about that.

As a barrister, Starmer was a principled opponent of state power. He was one of us. But the DPPs role is all about exercising power: prosecuting defendants so that they are fined or jailed. Starmers time as DPP has played a role in the Labour leadership contest, particularly in blogs and on social media and will be studied even more closely if he wins. What should we make of it?

As DPP, Starmer was the head of the Crown Prosecution Service. This is the body that decides whether or not to prosecute someone accused of a crime. Where the decision is taken to prosecute, it is the CPS that employs a lawyer to argue in court for a conviction. The CPS is a huge organisation, undertaking more than half a million prosecutions a year, and employing almost 6,000 people.

When Starmer called for the prosecution of demonstrators with scarves around their faces, he was playing up to press fantasies about their motives

There were a number of decisions that Starmer got right. He was appointed by Labour but spent half his time in office under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. There, he defended the Human Rights Act against Conservative proposals to repeal it. Rightwing MPs briefed against him. Starmer deserves recognition for taking that stand.

There is a second group of decisions taken by the CPS for which Starmer has been criticised, but it is difficult to say whether the criticisms are justified. The most difficult decision was, according to Starmer, in relation to the killing of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper vendor who was struck by police officer Simon Harwood during protests in 2009.

Although between 30 and 50 people die each year in police custody or following contact with the police, these deaths almost never lead to prosecution. In that context, the left demanded Harwoods prosecution.

Starmer told the press that the CPS wouldnt prosecute. He cited the report of Dr Freddy Patel, the pathologist appointed by the state, who found the death had been caused by natural causes. Although other pathologists disagreed with Patel, the CPS insisted that the fact of his opinion was an insuperable barrier to prosecution. In October 2010, Dr Patel was suspended from practice as a result of allegations concerning the way he undertook autopsies. The CPS again announced that Harwood would not be prosecuted. Only in May 2011, after an inquest jury had found that Tomlinson had been unlawfully killed, did the CPS agree to charge Harwood with manslaughter.

The difficulty in criticising Starmer for his handling of this case or others like it is that we dont know what advice he was given. If senior prosecutors were advising him against proceeding, he cant be faulted for caution. After all, what would be the point of prosecution, if it was highly likely that the officer was going to be acquitted? Which, in 2012, Harwood was.

Where Starmers record may be more vulnerable to criticism is in his handling of the press. One of the DPPs tasks is to issue guidance to prosecutors. The guidance reminds prosecutors of the powers already available to them. Usually, the guidance is not controversial. For example, in November last year, the CPS offered guidance on prosecuting offences under the Theft Act. As far as I can tell, no paper reported on that guidance; its publication was seen as the routine act of a government department.

Starmer has been accused of [drawing] up rules that gave police officers more power. It has also been suggested that as DPP he extended the jail term for benefits crimes. But the CPS does not draw up sentencing guidelines. The DPPs guidance only binds prosecutors: it determines what they ask, not what the court gives them. As for protests, senior police officers, not the DPP, decide how they are policed.

His critics are able to exaggerate his role because of interviews given by Starmer himself in which he presented modest changes to the advice given to prosecutors as matters of real significance and used a tabloid-friendly language to defend them. This was how he justified the guidance on protests: Theres a potential for a number of protests over the coming years that may be quite large If someone has brought along a weapon or means of concealing their identity thats likely to be evidence that they were anticipating trouble or disorder.

In fact, over the past two decades, it has become more common for demonstrators to cover their faces. They do so because of the increasing use of snatch squads, police filming of political protests and scandals such as detention without arrest. When Starmer called for the vigorous pursuit of protesters who have concealed their identity, he was playing up to press fantasies about their motives.

This, meanwhile, is how Starmer explained his guidance to prosecutors in benefits cases: It is a myth that getting one over on the system is a victimless crime: the truth is we all pay the price; and It is vital that we take a tough stance on this type of fraud and I am determined to see a clampdown on those who flout the system.

The largest group of benefits prosecutions concern the minor infractions of people who fail to declare a piece of information. For example, when part-time workers on housing benefit fail to tell the authorities that their hours at work have increased. Starmers words (getting one over on the system) were wide enough so that it seemed he was referring to such groups of claimants. And, in doing so, he evoked tabloid myths about undeserving individuals deliberately and systematically milking the system. To speak of claimants in this way was to denigrate them.

Looking back on Starmers management of the media while DPP, the sense is of an individual with a radical past making peace with power. He was at ease there in a way that Jeremy Corbyn, among others, could never have been.

His supporters will say that Labour needs a leader capable of winning press support. To which his critics will counter that the rightwing press is already ungenerously studying Starmers career. It is a mistake to think that his close proximity to high-profile cases will be anything other than a recurring weak point in relation to the tabloids.

Starmers enthusiasm while DPP for using mundane news events to feed the press with rightwing talking points is a possible concern for Labour members. If such a leader was faced with news of an injustice in the future the consequence of a change to immigration rules, say, or of a strike in public services Starmers approach to the press as DPP might raise worries that he would not give a principled defence of the victims but would tell the press whatever it wanted to hear.

David Renton is a political activist and barrister. His latest book is The New Authoritarians

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Keir Starmers past is coming under scrutiny. What can we learn from it? - The Guardian

ALEC is helping America and its legislators – Great Bend Tribune

The beginning of the year brought with it a new decade, one we all hope will be filled with opportunity and success for us all. Contrary to what some of the folks currently out on the hustings say, government cannot guarantee those outcomes, but it can do a lot to make sure the table is set properly so that we, the American people, can achieve them.

Defining decisions will be made in the coming months - not just in Washington, but in state capitals from coast to coast. In many places, state legislators are already hard at work developing and enacting policies that will guide the future of our country. They will put things in motion that will hopefully lift the living standards and opportunities available to our children and our childrens children. Thats what they do. Its why many of them sought an elective office in the first place.

This imperative was clearly visible at our most recent national meeting and the various learning engagements weve conducted throughout the country over the last year. Reflecting on whats been accomplished in just the last year - criminal justice reform, changes to tax policy that benefits families and workers and has helped spark an amazing period of job creation, and education reforms that continue to emphasize quality, excellence, and the interests of parents and children over the priorities of a bureaucratic model created in the 19th century - demonstrate that what American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) members are doing in the states is working.

Tracing back where these policy successes began, one need look no further than the ALEC model policy on each of these issues as they were used as an impetus towards positive change and reform. The US/Mexico/Canada Free Trade agreement that replaced NAFTA, the pension overhaul and recent data privacy legislation only scratch the surface of things that began as state efforts led by the free-market movement.

Another critical success, the FIRST STEP Act, which began in the states, continues to gather momentum in the fight to ensure criminal justice reform continues and that those who commit minor and victimless crimes receive appropriate, fair punishment rather than some draconian sentence out of a French novel. The next phase of this battle is sure to be exciting because of the lives that may be improved as a result.

At the ALEC Annual Meeting and States & Nation Policy Summit, thousands of state legislators, local government leaders, and stakeholders gathered to share valuable information and insight as to how to solve todays policy challenges. ALEC held 30 Academies and issue briefings last year, which provide state legislators continuing education and a leg up in the world of policy making. ALEC taught legislators about wind farms, natural gas facilities, nuclear power plants, and much more.

Were proud of our record as we are proud of our new program for experiential learning, now offered at every ALEC event to promote continuing legislator education. At the Annual Meeting, dozens of ALEC legislators toured the Community First Tiny Home Village in Austin, Texas, and learned how to fight homelessness in their states. And every legislator walked away learning how homelessness can be addressed without a bloated and ineffective government program.

Our shared commitment to individual liberty and free enterprise will always take this country forward to prosperity. Those who offer a vision of the future based on collectivism and even greater government control of our lives, our communities and our families are made uneasy by our success. They slapped a target on our back that we wear with pride as a testament to our continuing success.

Its been difficult, but we will continue to forge ahead. Economic liberty, equal justice under law, job creation, education reform and the other issues on which we focus demand it. Brighter days are ahead for America because of the committed state legislators who stand up for these policies and the values inherent in them against who would just as soon shut down the debate because they know they cant win the argument.

Our role as a convener of idea summits and as a source of energy in the policymaking arena provides both hope and a reason to make 2020 an even more innovative, solutions-based and successful year.

Nelson is the chief executive office of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization bringing state legislators and stakeholders together to develop public policy beneficial to the free market and individual liberty.

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ALEC is helping America and its legislators - Great Bend Tribune

Pervert teacher had ‘appalling’ child abuse videos – Kent Online

A disgraced retired teacher found with dozens of videos showing the worst kind of child abuse has been banned from the internet.

"Lonely old man" Aidan Broderick, 82, from Thanet, was discovered with 42 movies showing children as young as two being attacked.

KentOnline has decided not to detail the content, however, Judge Catherine Brown described the moving images as "appalling".

"These are not victimless crimes, all of these children were abused when these movies were created," she added.

"These were appalling images of young children."

The judge sentenced Broderick to 18-months custody, suspended for two years.

She also made him subject to the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

It means Broderick will be 92 when he is next able to use a device to legally access the web.

Canterbury Crown Court heard police were alerted to Brodericks home in Burlington Place, Cliftonville, following reports of sinister activity on chatroom website ChatStep.

A total of 42 Category A movies and one Category A image surfaced following an interrogation of his computer.

Broderick also possessed 15 Category B and 1 Category C film alongside a Category B image.

Category A is the worst kind.

Specialist police software revealed 58 of the files had previously been deleted.

Prosecutor Ahmed Hossain said: On August 20 2018 police became aware of activity in a chatroom called ChatStep.

They went to his house, made a number of attempts to speak to him at that address but he was not there.

It seems he had broken his neck after a fall on a bus and had become hospitalised for some time.

The barrister added when officers traced the suspect he admitted using ChatStep, and so his computer was seized and analysed.

Mitigating, James Burke argued his client had enrolled on child abuse prevention course Stop It Now and was of previous good character.

It has improved his insight and he has much more of an understanding of the impact the making of indecent images has on children," he said.

"He is a lonely old man who was justifying something to himself - something which cannot be justified."

It wasn't mentioned in court which school Broderick worked in before retirement, however, judge Brown highlighted there had never been reports of improper behaviour during his career.

Asked if he understood the conditions of his sentence Broderick, who carried a case to court, replied: "Yes I do."

Broderick pleaded guilty at a previous pre-trial hearing to three counts of making indecent photos, and two counts of possessing indecent images.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: Many of the videos in Brodericks collection are crime scenes, where children have been subjected to unthinkable exploitation.

This is an industry where children are abused to order, and each time an indecent image is downloaded by an individual like Broderick the demand is only being fuelled.

Law enforcement cannot solve this problem alone. Big tech must also be made to use their expertise and resources to quickly remove this terrible content from their platforms and identify who put it there in the first place.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here

Read more:All the latest news from Thanet

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Pervert teacher had 'appalling' child abuse videos - Kent Online

PARK | Have You Taken the Time to Consider the Libertarian Presidential Candidates? – Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun

Are you sick of pondering paper ripping, partisan impeachment proceedings and whether or not Pete Buttigieg actually won Iowa? Are you tired of establishment candidates running the politics of our two party system or longing for dissolution of the entire government? Perhaps youre looking for a pro-immigration candidate who does not koozie up to wine cave owners or a pro-tax cut candidate who does not profess his love for authoritarian leaders. If any of the above describes you, it might be time to take a dip in the Libertarian pool of presidential candidates.

Despite garnering a record 4.5 million votes in the last presidential election, our nations third-largest and fastest-growing political party has been criminally underreported this cycle. Well, no longer. I am here to grant the party of minimum government and maximum freedom its day in The Sun.

While the rest of the nation was busy getting, first ironically, then sincerely addicted to TikTok, the Libertarian Party quietly assembled the most eccentric collection of candidates to vie for our nations highest seat of power in preparation for their national convention in May. They are notably different from the major party candidates; they dont share Bidens baggage, Bernies background or Trumps beautiful bald spot. But I assure you, what the Libertarian candidates may lack in supporters, funding and elected experience, they make up for in fun hats, criminal records and unbridled love for marijuana.

I invite you to explore this lineup of freedom fighters. Sure, they may never win, but neither will 29 of the contestants each season on The Bachelor, and that hasnt stopped us from following them religiously through their doomed attempts to find love on network television. Much like The Bachelor, these candidates share a brazen, unwavering hope to increase their following, win the hearts of America and spend the rest of their lives promoting SugarBearHair Vitamins on Instagram.

Behold my top picks for the nomination:

Adam Kokesh is running for Not-President of the United States and leading the pack in financial contributions at over $200,000. His goal is simple: to peacefully and orderly dissolve the federal government. This anti-war Iraq veteran and activist announced his candidacy back in 2013 from prison during a Fox interview after being arrested for an Open Carry incident. We love us some civil disobedience. Much like the great Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Lil Wayne, Adam Kokesh began writing his pice de rsistance, FREEDOM!, in jail. This treatise is a meditation on how governments trample upon liberty and serves as the crux of his platform to burn it all down.

Dan Taxation Is Theft Behrman was so devoted to his cause that he legally changed his name to spread his core belief. I dare you to find a more dedicated candidate. I dont see Donald Build a Wall Trump or Bernie The Top 1% Owns 42% of the Nations Wealth Sanders showing the same level of commitment. His bright yellow Taxation is Theft top hat is arguably more iconic than Trumps MAGA hat.

If you were praying for female redemption after the last election, but could not possibly get over Klobuchars salad-eating habits or Warrens Native American claims, fear not; Jo Jorgensen may be the candidate for you. This Clemson University psychology professor was the former Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential nominee and believes that generations of Republican and Democrat politicians have failed the American people. She supports immigration, environmental reform and decriminalizing non-violent victimless crimes. And given that she is a well-spoken, well-educated and well-qualified woman, she is, naturally, well-suited to be passed over for one of her male counterparts.

Arvin Vohra announced his bid for president the same day he was ousted as the vice-chair of the Libertarian Party for being too radical. How, you may ask, could you be too radical for a government party that does not believe in government? Well this anarcho-capitalist has joked about school shootings, called veterans hired killers, and expressed that welfare recipients should not be allowed to vote. Outside of the party, he teaches SAT prep to students, which is concerning considering he does not believe in a government age of consent.

Former Republican senator, Independent governor, and Democratic presidential nominee Lincoln Chafee is certainly the most politically experienced candidate in the pool. He may change parties like Martha Pollack changes snow day status, but he boasts a thirty-year public service career with zero scandals and promises to protect our freedoms and always tell the truth.

Vermin Supreme is a perennial candidate and my personal favorite. Back when Biden voted for the Iraq War, Supreme advocated for free ponies for all Americans. And this key tenant of his platform has remained constant throughout his five bids for president. This self-described Tyrant You Can Trust promises mandatory tooth brushing, funcentration camps on the border and zombie apocalypse awareness. Supreme championed the New Hampshire Libertarian primary in his famous boot hat. But his magic may best be distilled by one of his lines in the South Carolina debates: I smoke dope. I smoke grass. If you dont like it, you can kiss my ass.

For many of these candidates, their campaigns play out like performance art, but each of these players seem acutely aware of their own absurdity. Because to do the nearly-impossible task of creating change as a third party candidate in a two party system requires unwavering resolve and radical unselfconsciousness. Whether it be through a boot hat, name change or promise to tear down the system, what is self evident is that the Libertarian candidates will stop at no length to be heard.

Sarah Park is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at sarahpark@cornellsun.com.Spark Notesruns every other Monday this semester.

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PARK | Have You Taken the Time to Consider the Libertarian Presidential Candidates? - Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun

Looking the other way is not an option – Thegardenisland.com

Drinking from a fire hose, blind-folded with both arms tied behind your back. This is a description that comes to mind when folks ask me to describe what its like working in the legislative arena as an advocate.

The need for citizen advocacy is great. The urgency of the moment for our community, and for the planet is palpable.

The task is daunting at best and I applaud the many across all islands who take the time to enter this arena daily during the annual legislative session (mid January to the first week in May), and through-out the year at the local and national level.

I have been blessed really. Representing Kauai in the Hawaii State Senate for 8 years (4 as Majority Leader), was an invaluable and incredibly fulfilling experience. Serving on the Kauai County Council for 8 years, likewise provided me with an opportunity to make a difference, and a comprehensive education as to the workings (or not) of local government. The time I spent working with Governor Abercrombie as Director of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) gave me additional experience from an administrative perspective. For all three opportunities, I am deeply grateful and the experience gained was both valuable and incredibly fulfilling.

Having spent nearly 20 years working on the inside, I now spend my hours on the outside, working with grassroots advocacy groups and individuals. Today, while also doing occasional consulting work, my life is mostly spent sharing my experience as a volunteer advocate, helping to train and support other policy advocates.

In the legislative world, most will have a subject matter focus and the people and organizations with whom I work primarily focus on issues pertaining to environmental, economic and social justice.

A healthy democracy requires an informed and engaged citizenry. Unfortunately, our democracy on both the local, state and national level is not healthy.

For evidence of our democracy in decay, one need only look at the enormous gap between the ultra rich and the vast majority of people who slave away at multiple jobs earning just barely enough to get by.

If more evidence is needed, take a walk in the mountains or along the coast. There you will see our dead and dying streams, and our shorelines littered with plastics.

Anyone still not convinced of the decline should look into our criminal justice (or rather injustice) system half the people in jail today are poor people awaiting trial because they cannot afford bail. Many of our incarcerated are there as a result of victimless crimes such as drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness (yes, in much of Hawaii being homeless is a crime). Rich people and corporations dont go to jail, they simply pay their fines and hire expensive lawyers.

The answer of course and the solution to this madness, is that citizens must take responsibility and ownership of our policy, our politics and ultimately our government. Abandoning the control and decision-making to those who are elected, without our active involvement as citizens, is an abdication of our personal responsibility as human beings.

We are responsible for the condition of the world and we cannot simply blame the politicians.

Yes, we are busy. But too bad, too sad you will get no sympathy from me. I also am busy and have children and grandchildren and bills to pay and a yard to mow, and plenty of stuff to do other than send in testimony, follow the process or meet with my elected representative

The world is literally burning. Every year there are less fish in the ocean. Instances of various illness attributed to environmental causes (cancer, autism etc) are growing at alarming levels, and our friends and neighbors are increasingly living under blue tarps, sleeping on pallets and under bridges. There but for the grace of God go each of us.

People slave away at starvation wages as a result of a conscious public policy decision to keep our minimum wage below that which is needed for a human to survive. Our own government has determined that $17 per hour is a substance wage for a single person working 40 hours a week. Our State legislature has decided that $10.10 per hour is sufficient. While legislators themselves will be getting their raises they continue to refuse to increase that of those at the very bottom of the economic ladder. Let them eat cake is the message sent.

The affordable housing public policy solutions (bills) being presented now at the legislature are essentially a collection of giveaways to developers and landowners.

The solutions being offered are developer incentives that reduce environmental protections, make development permits automatic and increase the urbanization of agricultural lands. In return for these government concessions (read public giveaways), the developers must promise that at least 50% of the homes they build will be sold for approximately $800,000 or less, targeting people who earn 140% of the median income in Hawaii. This is what our policy makers consider affordable.

Deliberate public policy decisions are responsible also for stream diversions and the subsequent killing of our mountain streams, caused by large agribusiness and others. Rather than pass and enforce public policy that says sufficient water must remain in the stream to keep it alive and allow downstream users to also use the water public policy makers too often yield to big money and big landowners who simply want to bank as much water as they can for as long as they can.

The present challenges facing our local, state and national community are the result of conscious public policy decisions made by policy makers over time. As citizens, we have the power and the responsibility to effect those policy changes to the benefit of people and the planet. We can collectively change things for the better, if we collectively take our responsibility seriously and invest the time and energy needed.

Voting is important but it is not enough. Full participation in our government requires becoming educated on the issues and the process, offering testimony via email or in person, and speaking out in public forums. It also requires people to put their names forward to serve on boards and commissions, to run for election to public office, and to help others campaign and win election.

I encourage all to think about the options, and to take action.

Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom, decency and justice. Robert F. Kennedy

Gary Hooser formerly served in the Hawaii State Senate, where he was Majority Leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.

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Looking the other way is not an option - Thegardenisland.com