250px-swat_teamUnknownAn Austrian SWAT team learned the perils of working in the dark this week (as did an innocent family) when the police decided to leave off hall lights in an apartment building so not to alert the suspect. The problem is that, with the lights off, they could not make out the door numbers and raided the wrong unit.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

flag-pkkThe bloody horror that befell Northwestern Iraq and in Syria at the hands of ISIS is likely to force a geopolitical reassessment as to alliances and policies. There have been many calling for us to change our role in the Syrian civil war as well as demanding changes in the leadership of Iraq itself. One fact is certain the threat posed by ISIS is real, growing and it seems ironic that even other jihadi groups can no longer accept the actions of this terrorist organization. European governments worry of the distinct possibility a terrorist, failed state will emerge having shores on the Mediterranean.

Such a change might be beginning now and will ultimately find common causes between the West and the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party. While the German Government has historically used legal and diplomatic maneuvers to suppress the PKK, it now is poised to arm the Kurds in Northern Iraq in response to ISIS and very well could be ultimately supporting the PKK, at least unofficially.

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living-bridge

Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Photographer Amos Chapple brings us a fascinating look into Meghalaya, India, known as the wettest place on Earth. The area receives 467 inches of precipitation per year and under these conditions residents have over centuries adopted several means to cope. In particular is the issue of bridges.

Ordinary bridges constructed of lumber suffer rot under such an environment and are impractical. It was discovered that Rubber Trees possessed a root system that was not only trainable, but could be woven together to form structurally sound bridges.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Entreating the Godfather

In a ruling likely to embolden other cities and counties in Washington to prohibit legal marijuana businesses Pierce County Superior Court Ronald Culpepper ruled that Initiative 502, Washington State’s voter approved marijuana legalization and regulation measure, does not pre-empt local governments from adopting ordinances banning the legal marijuana industry.

We have previously discussed local ordinances and moratoria with the city of Wenatchee as a focus (HERE, HERE, and HERE) In this case plaintiff Tedd Wetherbee, who received state approval to found and operate a marijuana retail business in the City of Fife was denied a business license by the city by reason of an ordinance prohibiting such businesses.

The ruling could lead to further erosion of the voter-approved initiative having main purposes of ending the criminal element of marijuana distribution and providing the state with an additional source of tax revenue.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Matthew Baumrucker

Matthew Baumrucker

This might be a face only a Deputy Prosecutor could love. Reportedly so much that Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Marriya Wright is now facing charges of Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree and having a curious incident where she is alleged to have passed to a jail inmate a picture of herself posing in a bikini.

Convicted felon Matthew Baumrucker described in a letter to KREM News as a “Cinderella Story” of a relationship between a couple from the opposite side of the tracks and the law.

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Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

manual-scavengingWe have discussed the sad plight of the low castes of Indian society and their removal from the benefits of India’s emergence in the world. In particular is the notion of certain human beings are considered to be untouchable. Examples include being last to be rescued during floods (HERE), a case of doctors refusing to treat an untouchable woman in labor resulting in she and her child dying (HERE) Children suffering horrific acts of violence (HERE) Child Rapes (HERE) and others.

Deutsche Welle recently published an interview with Meenakshi Granguly, the South Asia Director for Human Rights Watch who co-authored a study titled “Cleaning Human Waste: ‘Manual Scavenging,’ Caste, and Discrimination in India.” The study focused on “Manual scavenging” – the cleaning of human waste from open roads and dry pit latrines by communities considered low-caste – [that] is still being practiced by hundreds of thousands of people in India” The report was released August 25th. It is one of sorrow and deep social injustice.

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Mullet-Samuel_storyThere is an interesting case out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit this week on the limits of hate speech prosecutions. The court overturned the hate-crime convictions of 16 men and women in a bizarre series of attacks where Amish victims had their beards cut off. It was personal hatred not religious hatred that prompted this Amish on Amish crime in the view of the court. I had previously criticized the prosecution of the defendants under the hate crime law. Amish bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. (left) was convicted in September of organizing a series of raids in 2011 against religious enemies and disobedient family members. This was an intra-Amish dispute in which the men’s beards were forcibly sheared and women’s hair was cut. He was given 15 years in prison for federal hate crimes in an extreme interoperation of the law by the Obama Administration, which claimed jurisdiction in what appeared a state offense. They did so by building the case around the “Wahl battery-operated hair clippers” used to cut the beards of Amish men and insisted that federal jurisdiction followed the clippers which crossed state borders in their manufacturing and sale. The case is United States v. Miller, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16532, 2014 FED App. 0210P (6th Cir.).

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