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Over Easy

By: Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

Two Palestinian journalists were killed in attacks on Gaza during the recent bombardment, bringing to eight the number of journalists who have lost their lives in these events.

According to an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), the two journalists were killed in the artillery shelling of Shojayah market. A third journalist was seriously injured.

The two who died were Sameh Al-Aryan, 26, of Al-Aqsa TV, and photojournalist Rami Rayan, 25, who worked for the Palestinian Media Network. Photojournalist Hamed Shobaky, of Manara Media, was severely wounded in the same incident.

Ahed Zaqout, 49, a presenter on Palestine TV sport programmes, was killed in his apartment during an attack on the Italian tower in Gaza City.

Jim Boumelha, the IFJ president, said: ‘We express our anger and condemnation at the killing of these journalists, the latest victims in this ongoing cycle of intimidation, violence and murder against media workers in Palestine.’

Dire results are predicted from Argentina’s debt default brought on by vulture creditors’ victories in court over their purchase of debt from that beleaguered country.

Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year.

After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina’s debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America’s third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds.

Even a short default will raise companies’ borrowing costs, pile more pressure on the peso, drain dwindling foreign reserves and fuel one of the world’s highest inflation rates.

Health emergency measures including quarantine are being put into effect in Sierra Leone as a result of the outbreak of the ebola virus there.

Ernest Bai Koroma said the epicentres of the outbreak in the east would be quarantined and asked the security forces to enforce the measures.

The UN says more than 670 people in West Africa have died of Ebola since February – 224 of them in Sierra Leone.

This includes Dr Sheik Umar Khan who led Sierra Leone’s fight against the virus. His funeral is on Thursday.

Never.Give.Up.

 

Wednesday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Wednesday July 30, 2014 8:32 pm

 

A bottle of Bulleit Bourbon with a glass.

Many “craft” whiskeys actually come from a factory in Indiana.

Tonight the Watercooler is in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en Camp, for their actions to evict Transcanada helicopters and workers from their land.

On July 22, 2014, the Unist’ot’en camp evicted a TransCanada crew working on the Coastal Gaslink pipeline within their territories in northern BC. If caught tresspassing again, TransCanada’s equipment will be confiscated.

Are you a fan of whiskey? If you’re drinking what you think is a small distillery’s “craft” whiskey, you may be in for a shock: many so-called craft whiskeys come from a single, large-scale factory. From the Daily Beast: 

These are the standard selling points of the craft-distilling movement, with its locavore lingo, terroir talk, and handmade hype. But, in the new crowd of micro-distillers, it is now standard for the alcohol being sold to come not from their own distinctive stills, but from a hulking factory in Indiana.

Lawrenceburg, Indiana (not to be confused with bourbon-locale Lawrenceburg, Kentucky) is home to a massive brick complex that cranks out mega-industrial quantities of beverage-grade alcohol. The factory, once a Seagram distillery, has changed hands over the decades and was most recently acquired by food-ingredient corporation MGP. It is now a one-stop shop for marketers who want to bottle their own brands of spirits without having to distill the product themselves. MGP sells them bulk vodka and gin, as well as a large selection of whiskies, including bourbons of varying recipes, wheat whiskey, corn whiskey, and rye.

[...] Upstart spirits companies selling juice they didn’t distill rarely advertise the fact. But there are ways to tell: whiskey aged longer than a distillery has been in business is one of the telltale signs that the ‘distiller’ is actually just bottling someone else’s product. [...] Part of the problem is the competition. MGP has plenty of aged whiskey ready to go in the bottle right now. An upstart distiller has to buy a still and learn how to use it; then buy all the ingredients and actually ferment and distill them; buy barrels and build or lease warehouses in which to put them; and then sit on the investment for years. Todd Leopold, master distiller at Denver’s Leopold Bros., has managed to do it. But how much easier, he says with disdain, for those who just buy whiskey off the shelf and market it. ‘All that they do is hire salespeople, make up a BS story, and boom, they look like a distillery,’ Leopold says.

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The Emperor’s Rage: Let Chaos Envelop the World!

By: GREYDOG

By James Petras99GetSmart

Introduction

Obama speaks emphatically while holding a microphone

Obama: The Chaos President.

Chaos reigns and spreads as enraged leaders in the US, Europe and their clients and allies pursue genocidal wars.

Mercenary wars in Syria; Israel’s terror bombing on Gaza; proxy wars in the Ukraine, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia.

Tens of millions of refugees flee scenes of total destruction.  Nothing is sacred.  There are no sanctuaries.  Homes, schools, hospitals and entire families are targeted for destruction.

Chaos by Design

At the center of chaos, the wild-eyed President Obama strikes blindly, oblivious of the consequences, willing to risk a financial debacle or a nuclear war.  He enforces sanctions against Iran; imposes sanctions on Russia; sets up missile bases five launch minutes from Moscow; sends killer drones against Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan; arms mercenaries in Syria; trains and equips Kurds in Iraq and pays for Israel’s savagery against Gaza.

Nothing works.

The Chaos President is blind to the fact that starving one’s adversaries does not secure submission:  it unites them to resist.  Regime change, imposing proxies by force and subterfuge, can destroy the social fabric of complex societies:  Million of peasants and workers become uprooted refugees. Popular social movements are replaced by organized criminal gangs and bandit armies.

Central America, the product of decades of US direct and proxy military interventions, which prevented the most basic structural changes, has become a chaotic, unlivable inferno for millions.  Tens of thousands of children flee from their ‘free market’- induced mass poverty and militarized state and gangster violence.  Children refugees at the US border are arrested in mass, and imprisoned in makeshift detention camps, subject to psychological, physical and sexual abuse by officials and guards on the inside.  On the outside, these pitiful children are exposed to the racist hatred of a frightened US public unaware of the dangers these children are escaping and the US government’s role in creating these hells.

The US-backed Kiev aviation authorities re-directed international passenger airlines to fly over war zones bristling with anti-aircraft missiles while Kiev’s jets bombed the rebellious cities and towns.  One flight was shot down and nearly 300 civilians perished.  Immediately an explosion of accusations from Kiev blaming Russian President Putin flooded Western media with no real facts to explain the tragedy/crime.  War-crazy President Obama and the slavering prime ministers of the EU ejaculated ultimatums, threatening to convert Russia into a pariah state.  ‘Sanctions, sanctions, everywhere . . .  but first… France must complete its $1.5 billion sale to the Russian navy.’  And the City of London exempts the Russian oligarchs from the ‘sanctions’, embedded as they are in London’s money-laundering, parasitical FIRE (Fire, Insurance and Real Estate) economy. The Cold War has returned and has taken an ugly turn… with exceptions…for business.

Confrontation among nuclear powers is imminent:  And the maniacal Baltic States and Poland bray the loudest for war with Russia, oblivious to their positions on the front lines of incineration…

Each day Israel’s war machine chews up more bodies of Gaza’s children while spitting out more lies.  Cheering Israeli Jews perch on their fortified hills to celebrate each missile strike on the apartments and schools in the densely populated Shejaiya neighborhood of besieged Gaza. A group of orthodox and secular entrepreneurs in Brooklyn have organized group tours to visit the Holy Sites by day and enjoy the Gaza pyrotechnics by night . . . night goggles to view the fleeing mothers and burning children are available at a small extra charge…

Again the US Senate votes unanimously in support of Israel’s latest campaign of mass murder – no crime is depraved enough to ruffle the scruples of America’s leaders.  They hew close to a script from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations.  Together they embrace a Beast from the Apocalypse gnawing on the flesh and bones of Palestine.

But, Sacre Bleu!  France’s Zionists have prevailed on the ‘President-Socialiste’ Hollande.  Paris bans all anti-Israel demonstrations despite the clear reports of genocide.  Demonstrators supporting the Gazan resistance are gassed and assaulted by special riot police – ‘Socialist’ Hollande serves the demands of powerful Zionist organizations while trashing his country’s republican traditions and its sacred ‘Rights of Man’.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To War MEE Go!

By: Synoia Friday March 18, 2011 3:19 pm

Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.

Money blows toward the camera

“It’s about MEE: Money, Energy and, Empire.”

(Palmerston, who was no slouch when it came to Imperialism).

Let’s examine the evidence:

  1. Middle East in Chaos
  2. US Pushing NATO to Russian Borders
  3. US Oil & Gas Production rising sharply
  4. Russia major energy supplier to Europe & China
  5. Middle East Oil Production at or past peak

This is a theory, constructed to fit the set of facts listed, and to try to provide an Hypothesis which meets the facts, explains the US’ behavior, lists the possible outcomes and discusses the probabilities of those outcomes.

It’s about “MEE:” Money, Energy and, Empire.

Following Syria’s agreement to dismantle its poison gas arsenal (a wise decision given the potential blowback from the use of Poison Gas), and Russia’s help in removing that excuse for arming the “opposition” in Syria – who are also the “Opposition” to the Iraq Government, one of the US’ “interests,” countering the US’ Money and Empire – which the US likes to think is an irresistible force – is The Russian immovable object.¸

The US then appeared to pivot to expedite the overthrow of the elected, Russian-leaning Ukrainian Government, in February this year. One factor in the overthrow was after the Ukrainian Government considered financial rescue packages from the West and Russia, and rejected the West’s offer. A second factor would include removing Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence .

The Ukrainian Government at that time was considered a Russia-leaning Government, which was obviously not the US’ interests, and when in trouble, the US’ had no compunction in putting the boots to a democratically-elected Government which failed to agree with them, even though the Government, had less that 9 months left in its mandate. Despite its protestations to the contrary, democratically-elected governments make the US nervous. What would have happened, if the Russian-leaning Government had pulled off the financial rescue based on Russia’s aid package? Why, it may have been reelected. Can’t have that, can we? Better to remove such an uncertain ally, whose support came from an obviously-fickle electorate not beholden to the Neo-Liberal West, at the earliest opportune time.

A re-elected Ukrainian Russian-leaning government might not force Ukrainian Serfs into the arms of the Neo-Liberal Fascists of the West.

A consequence of the NATO invasion of Ukraine was Russia’s move to secure their only warm water port, a move which was inevitable, both from a study of Russian history, and the current investment in port expansion in the Crimea by Russia and China. Protestations of dismay from the US and other allied countries is deceit at its best. One has no doubt these actions were a part of their analysis of Russia’s response, and Russia’s action came as no surprise, especially after the provocation by the US in Ukraine (The government overthrow). If Ukraine came firmly into the US camp, Russia would be encircled by US allies, except on her Chinese border. Clearly, the goal was to be able to put irresistible pressure on Russia to follow the American Way.

As we analyze the American pressure tactics on Russia, it’s worth noting that Ukraine is also the route for many gas pipelines from Russia to Europe; if the US could engineer trouble in Ukraine, that might make Russia an unreliable supplier of Gas to Europe, enhancing offers from the US to “help solve Europe’s energy problem,” and potentially opening up the European market to Liquid Natural Gas from the US. No one asked the Europeans if they would prefer to be beholden to a different energy supplier, instead of Russia; if the US succeeds, Europe would be forced to acquiesce to US trade demands, instead of Russian demands. They’d still be beholden, but the US would be able to force TTIP and TISA on them, by threatening to withhold energy supplies if Europe fails to sign on the dotted line.

A Few Reasons Why Evan Bayh Needs to Stay Out of Indiana

By: Doug Martin

Crossposted from Schools Matter

Portrait of Evan Bayh

Bayh: Get out, stay out.

With so many people saying Evan Bayh must come back to Indiana to “save” public education and many saying he is considering a run for governor,  it is time to set the record straight and let Hoosiers know about the real Evan Bayh.

Here is just a glimpse (after only a few hours of research) into Indiana’s hero, Fox News’ on-air contributor, and former governor of and senator for Indiana, and it is not pretty.

Anyone who thinks Evan Bayh is good for public education is either lying or has not been informed.  Let’s inform the unformed now and expose the liars.

BAYH’S CORPORATE SCHOOL PIECE OF THE PIE

Back in 2002 in an article for the neoliberal Democratic Leadership Council entitled “How Bush Stole Education,” Bill Gates’ operative Andy Rotherham, the hedge fund-funded Democrats for Education Reform’s former director, insisted that NCLB was more Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman’s pet project than it was George Bush’s.

Rotherham, who plays a role in my book Hoosier School Heist, claimed that “Mr. Bush’s education agenda is largely a New Democratic one…. The new education bill, which is regarded widely as ‘Bush’s education initiative,’ was largely written by Democratic Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Evan Bayh (Ind.), along with other New Democrats.”

New Democrats here is a code word for privatizers like Bill Clinton and Bart Peterson, Bayh’s past chief of staff.

Bayh, indeed, was a player in NCLB, the bill which set the dominoes in motion to use standardized testing to turn our schools over to private companies, many of them campaign donors.

So, it makes perfect sense that Bayh—in a scratch-your-back moment—now gets a paycheck from Apollo Global Management, the owners of McGraw-Hill Education which includes the CTB/McGraw-Hill division Indiana taxpayers have a $95 million deal with for ISTEP, despite constant errors and problems. Bayh, too, is a board member of McGraw-Hill Education.

Evan Bayh is also doing lobbying for McGuire Woods, a mega-law firm/lobbying outfit which has represented charter schools in court, has many members on charter school boards across the US, “counsels” charter school bond lenders, and even lobbies for online K12, Inc., the for-profit corporation started by racist Bill Bennett which buys out lawmakers in many states, including Indiana.

In 2011, Bayh joined the board of Fifth Third Bank, a bank also mentioned for various reasons in Hoosier School Heist.

ALL ABOARD THE DEHAAN/HEDGE FUND CAMPAIGN TRAIN

Evan Bayh (who grew up in a small, small town just a coalmine down the street from me, years earlier; just a rabbit-throw down the highway from where Eugene V. Debs is buried) has ALOT of money in his rainy-day campaign closet.  Not much of it comes back home to Indiana.

And Democrats running with no gas money from Bayh or the Indiana Democratic Party on the campaign trail this year should know that, in May, Bayh gave $4,000 (page 11) to Cory Booker’s US senate campaign.

The former mayor of Newark, NJ, DFER hedge fund-supported Booker is the Walmart/Amway/Bradley Foundation operative who has worked for white billionaire school privatizers since his Black Alliance for Educational Options/Bush years.

In 2012, Bayh’s election committee dished out $2000 to Andre Carson, Indiana’s DC corporate schooler (page 9).

Carson met with his Gulen friends a week or so ago, just on the heels of the FBI raiding the Gulen charter school in Indy.

One of Bayh’s own protégé’s worked at Indy’s Gulen school. Teach Plus’ Patrick McAlister–IPS board member Caitlin Hannon’s campaign manager, former TFA member, and teacher at Gulen’s Indiana Math and Science Academy–got his big break as an intern with Evan Bayh back in 2008.

But Bayh and Andre Carson have another thing in common, and that is Christel DeHaan.

When the media and Democratic Party in Indiana painted DeHaan as merely a Republican mega-donor during the Tony Bennett charter school grading scandal, they hushed the fact that DeHaan has given campaign funding to Obama, Joe Donnelly, Andre Carson, and Evan Bayh.

Since 2011, Andre has received $10,200 from DeHaan (see here, here, here, and here).  Bayh has received $3,000 since 1998 from Tony Bennett’s princess, shockingly even more than Indiana Democratic Party’s evil foe Mike Pence did when he was in DC (see Pence’s $2,000 from DeHaan here and here).

The Indiana Democratic Congressional Victory Committee is a DeHaan breadwinner, too. It got $10,000 from DeHaan in Sept. 2012.  In 2010, she gave the same group another $10,000.  In 2008, Oprah and Mitch Daniels’ friend DeHaan gave the group $5,000 and another $1,000 in 1998.

If all is this is not enough to shake you, school voucher-supporting Republican School Choice Indiana’s Fred Klipsch, Walmart and DeVos’ main Hoosier front-man, gave Evan Bayh $2,000 in 1997 (scroll down the page here).

Democrat for Education Reform’s hedge fund manager Joel Greenblatt donated $1,000 to Bayh in 2004.

Former Gotham Capital hedge fund manager Daniel Nir, a good Bayh buddy, has also loaded (see here and here) Evan’s campaign chest.  Gotham Capital is thick in the school privatization movement.

Bayh, too, is giving campaign money to DFER’s favorite son, Michael Bennett in Colorado (see page 10 here).

My new research reveals tons.  In fact, the powers-that-be used the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the DFER (both started by many of the same people, and people from Indiana, as I note in Hoosier School Heist) to make it look like the Republicans and Democrats were both on the same page, for once, because school reform was good for children.  That was the hoax.  Then came NCLB. Then came the heist.  Evan Bayh was bought by DeHaan and Klipsch a few years before Bart Peterson was making his move to school-privatize Indianapolis.

Bayh in many ways is as much a grandfather of the corporate school movement as anyone from the rightwing.

BAYN: TRAINING THE NEXT COPORATE SCHOOL WORKFORCE

As most know, Indianapolis’ first school privatizer Bart Peterson was Bayh’s chief of staff.  Other Bayh people have been and are still part of the heist.

Stan Jones, who Bayh selected for the Higher Education Commission in Indiana, now works for the Bill Gates Foundation.

The board of the Indianapolis Lighthouse Mission Charter School–now part of a multi-state outfit–had three people that used to labor for Bayh on it when the school applied for its charter several years ago.

Former Bayh and Peterson official Doran Moreland now is employed with the Friedman Foundation, a group funded by the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation, and others highlighted in Hoosier School Heist.

Moreland runs Rocketship Education in Indiana, the charter school promoted by the Jonas Brothers and other billionaires.

THE “WE CAN DO BETTER WITH A CIVIL WAR TOUR?”

We have some great candidates running for office in Indiana under the Democrat Party name this election, and it’s time to support them.And them only.

Since so many Indiana Democratic corporate school reformers want to run for governor, the Associated Press recently asked if there was a civil war brewing in the Indiana Democratic Party.  Who knows.  But maybe it’s time to start one before it’s too late.

The United Nations is Dead: It Did Not Stop the Slaughter

By: Jane Stillwater Monday October 13, 2008 5:15 pm

 

Remember the League of Nations?  Of course you don’t. It is dead in the water. Why? Because it could not, would not and did not stop World War II. Remember Guernica? Remember Warsaw? Remember that horrible and heartless bombing of London that went on and on?  The League of Nations did not stop the slaughter.

But what is even more shamefully dead right now than the failed and pathetic League? The United Nations.

The UN just stood around with its finger up its nose as Iraq was destroyed, Afghanistan was blown up, Libya was demolished, Syria ran red with blood, eastern Ukraine was turned into twisted bone and steel; while Chile, Haiti, East Timor, Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Honduras, Lebanon, Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala were tortured. And now Gaza has become a slaughterhouse of such epic creulty that its grisly and unjustifiable death has gone far beyond war crimes — the blitzkrieg of London pales in proportion.

Under-funded and bound and gagged by the war-mongers who control it, the United Nations is now dead in the water. And America’s heart and soul has died with it.Here is a videotape of Joan Rivers, who used to be an American comic, hysterically screaming for more and more bloodshed in Gaza.  It’s painful to watch. “They started it!” No, the Palestinians did not start it. Palestinians have been being systematically slaughtered in their own land for the last 65 years. They have no right to fight back? Not according to Joan Rivers — or apparently not according to the United Nations either.

Here is a videotape of eastern Ukraine being flattened shamelessly by American-backed neo-Nazis.

Here is a videotape of American-backed ISIS foreign fighters beheading Syrian Christians (caution: graphic). And then ISIS moved on to rape Mosul in Iraq.

And here is a videotape of an entire city in Gaza being completely demolished by American-backed neo-Nazis in less than an hour. Hundreds of homes destroyed. Children and horses and ladies blown up like they didn’t even matter, had no right to live.

This is worse than London, worse than Guernica.

And who pays for all this slaughter? You and me. Our souls too are dead in the water unless every man, woman and child in America drops everything immediately and marches on the Pentagon in protest — until all our money stops pouring into the coffers of death-peddlers.

And where is Ban Ki Moon, the UN’s secretary general, during all of this slaughter? Happily drinking coffee at Starbucks in New York? He should be out picketing the Pentagon too. And the White House. And Congress. And Halliburton and Boeing. And that CIA fortress at Langley too — if he ever wants to keep his job and save the United Nations from becoming just another tragic footnote to history, just another League. Or to save his own soul.

Report: Obama Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal

By: Steve Horn Monday July 28, 2014 3:40 pm

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Greenpeace USA has released a major new report on an under-discussed part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon rule: it serves as a major endorsement of continued coal production and export to overseas markets.

Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change: How the federal coal leasing program undermines President Obama’s Climate Plan” tackles the dark underbelly of a rule that only polices coal downstream at the power plant level and largely ignores the upstream and global impacts of coal production at-large.

The Greenpeace report was released on the same day as a major story published by the Associated Press covering the same topic and comes a week after the release of another major report on coal exports by the Sightline Institute that sings a similar tune.

The hits keep coming: Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson framed what is taking place similarly in a recent piece, as did Luiza Ch. Savage of Maclean’s Magazine and Bloomberg BNA.

But back to Greenpeace. As their report points out, the main culprit for rampant coal production is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which leases out huge swaths of land to the coal industry. Greenpeace says this is occurring in defiance of Obama’s Climate Action Plan and have called for a moratorium on leasing public land for coal extraction.

“[S]o far, the Bureau of Land Management and Interior Department have continued to ignore the carbon pollution from leasing publicly owned coal, and have failed to pursue meaningful reform of the program,” says the report.

“Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and others in the Obama administration should take the President’s call to climate action seriously, beginning with a moratorium and comprehensive review of the federal coal leasing program, including its role in fueling the climate crisis.”

Dirty Details

Some of the numbers crunched by Greenpeace USA make the jaw drop.

For example, one chart shows the amount of coal leased by the BLM during Obama’s time in the White House. During that time, the BLM has leased off billions of tons of coal from Colorado, Montana and North Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming alone.

As Greenpeace points out, “This is equivalent to the annual emissions of over 825 million passenger vehicles, and more than the 3.7 billion tons that was emitted in the entire European Union in 2012.”

Further, in crunching the numbers on the social cost of carbon metrics, Greenpeace estimates producing all of this BLM-leased coal will cause between $52-$530 billion in damages.

recent major, precedent-setting federal court decision chided BLM for not taking the social cost of carbon into account in leasing out a plot of land for coal production. It remains unclear whether or not this will impact BLM’s future coal leasing activities, however.

Germany’s “Clean Break” or Greenwashing?

Interestingly and perhaps shockingly to many, much of this coal is being exported to Germany, home of what some have hailed the epicenter of the global green energy revolution. Though German coal mining is going by the wayside, imports are rising.

“German coal mining has been a dying tradition. The government will end subsidies in 2018, effectively killing it,” explained the Associated Press story.

“However, Germany is experiencing a resurgence in coal-fired power. Five German coal plants have been built since 2008, and more are coming…The result: In 2013, Germany’s emissions of carbon dioxide grew by 1.2 percent.”

Dirk Jansen, spokesman for Friends of the Earth-Germany, called the situation at-large tantamount to “greenwashing” in an interview with the Associated Press.

“Obama pretties up his own climate balance, but it doesn’t help the global climate at all if Obama’s carbon dioxide is coming out of chimneys in Germany.”

Beyond Obama, though, it raises equally troubling questions about just how “clean” Germany’s clean break will be when all is said and done.

Over Easy: #TheodoreWafer Will Have to Testify During Defense Case

By: Masoninblue
A gavel

Wafer will be forced to testify about the death of Renisha McBride.

I will be covering for Crane today. T am updating you on the Theodore Wafer trial

There is no live stream coverage.

For reasons that follow, I believe defense motions to dismiss the charges in the Theodore Wafer trial, after the prosecution rests, will be denied and he will have to testify during the defense case.

The prosecution might conclude its case-in-chief late today, although tomorrow is more likely. I say this because the standard operating procedure for presenting evidence in a murder trial is to close with the medical examiner’s testimony. I see no reason for the prosecution to vary from that practice.

We teach trial lawyers to finish their case with a knockout punch and the best way to do that in a murder trial is to call the medical examiner.

The medical examiner’s opinion regarding cause of death must be based on the evidence obtained during the autopsy. Graphic color photos taken during each step of the autopsy are used to document what the medical examiner did in order to establish the necessary foundation for the opinion regarding cause of death.

Autopsy photographs are gruesome and difficult to look at because of the injuries displayed with their associated trauma. People who have have never seen a dead body are usually traumatized when they look at autopsy photos because a violent death, as opposed to a cleaned-up cinematic version of death presented in film, is graphic, shocking and disturbing. The emotional storm triggered by viewing autopsy photos can be upsetting and difficult to forget.

After the prosecution rests, Judge Hathaway will send the jury to the jury room so that she can hear argument from counsel regarding what I have previously described as a defense “halftime motion” to dismiss the charges. We use the word halftime to describe it because the defense raises it after the prosecution rests and before the defense presents its case.

This motion is a standard practice, regardless of the strength of the prosecution’s case, because a failure to raise it at that time precludes a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence at a later time. The motion is rarely granted because the prosecution need only have presented some evidence that, if assumed to be true together with all of the reasonable inferences that flow from it, would be enough to support a verdict of guilty. In other words, the motion raises a threshold question by asking the judge to decide if enough evidence has been admitted in support of a particular charge to allow the jury to consider and decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of that charge.

Much of the witness testimony and evidence admitted in the case so far is not very helpful in determining whether Wafer is guilty or not guilty. For example, I do not believe McBride’s intoxication and conduct banging on doors is helpful to deciding Wafer’s guilt or innocence because, if we assume for the sake of argument that it was so loud that everyone in the City of Detroit was awakened by it, Wafer’s use of deadly force would still not be justified.

Why?