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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

James Boyd: New Mexico officers to stand trial for murder in homeless man's death

Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy will go to trial for the fatal, on-duty shooting of James Boyd, which sparked angry protests in Albuquerque

Dominique Perez Keith Sandy

Albuquerque officer Dominique Perez, left, and former Albuquerque detective Keith Sandy, right, in court on 3 August 2015. Photograph: Russell Contreras/AP

A judge ruled Tuesday that two New Mexico police officers must stand trial on murder charges in the fatal, on-duty shooting of a homeless man that sparked angry protests in Albuquerque and helped lead police to overhaul use of force policies.

Pro tem judge Neil Candelaria said after a nearly two-week preliminary hearing that there was probable cause for the murder case against officer Dominique Perez and former detective Keith Sandy to go to trial.

Seven police officers around the country have faced murder charges for on-duty incidents since 2010. One was convicted of manslaughter and assault after a second-degree murder count was dropped. The rest are still in court proceedings.

In the New Mexico ruling, the judge threw out an involuntary manslaughter option. Asked by defense lawyer Sam Bregman what standard he used to justify probable cause, the judge said “what a reasonable police officer in that situation would do”. Special prosecutor Randi McGinn said during the hearing that Perez and Sandy came to the scene with the intent of attacking Boyd during a “paramilitary response”.

32 Cops, Fired 600 Bullets into 1 Car Full of Hostages, Killing a Hostage


Stockton, CA — Discharging a firearm in circumstances that endanger innocent persons or hostages, is prohibited by police departments.

So why on Earth would 32 cops chase down a car full of hostages, fire into that car killing a hostage, and even fire directly over their colleagues in the process?

The answer to that question, according to a detailed report released Monday by the Police Foundation, is because of a “lack of planning.”

“In reviewing dispatch tapes and in response to interviews, the review team determined there was no planned response for when the suspect vehicle stopped,” the report concluded. “This lack of planning, along with the number of officers involved, created a level of chaos that was difficult to manage and overcome.”

Apparently officers killed the innocent woman because they hadn’t planned on how to deal with an innocent woman between them and the bad guy.

On July 16, 2014, three suspects, armed with handguns and an AK-47, robbed a Bank of the West branch and took three women hostage before fleeing in a bank employee’s SUV.

A lengthy and dangerous chase ensued which spanned three counties, 63 miles, and reached speeds in excess of 120 mph. During the chase, police and bank robbers exchanged fire.

By the time the chase came to a stop, 32 officers were amped up and ready to let loose, so they did. According to the report, some officers were so primed to start firing that they engaged in “sympathetic fire,” meaning they only fired their weapons because other officers were shooting. Complete lunacy.

The LA Times reports:

In some cases, officers opened fire while colleagues were in front of them. The report highlighted an example during the final standoff, in which one officer lay prone on the ground and did not shoot while an officer next to him, standing, fired “round after round.”

“‘What’s your target?’ the prone officer yelled, thinking he was missing something,” the report stated.

“‘The car!’ responded the officer,” according to the report.

Prior to the melee, two of the hostages were able to jump out of the vehicle. Bank manager Kelly Huber, was shot by one of the suspects and either jumped or was pushed out of the vehicle. According to the report, hostage Stephanie Koussaya, a bank teller, realized police were shooting into the vehicle, and so she jumped out.

“When I saw the SWAT team and its vehicle, I knew it was going to go badly. I knew I had to get out,” she said, according to the Police Foundation report. “My whole thing was, ‘I wasn’t going to die that day.’ “

But Misty Holt-Singh was not as lucky at Huber and Koussaya. She was not able to get out of the way prior to the hellfire. The cowardly bank robbers would use her as a human shield, and she would be hit at least 10 times by police bullets.


Two of the suspects and their hostage, Holt-Singh, were killed. Jaime Romas was found hiding under the body of the slain woman. He now stands charged with all three of their murders.

The report concluded that the fury of police bullets was “excessive” and “unnecessary.” However, in spite of this conclusion, not one single officer involved in this incident has faced so much as a slap on the wrist. They were merely sent to receive additional training. Apparently none of the 32 officers knew that you aren’t supposed to kill the hostages.


Sure, the police were not responsible for the three women to be taken hostage on that day. However, their actions, and their bullets led to the death of one of these women, who was a beloved mother and wife.

Could they not have let the bank robbers go to protect three innocent lives?

In criminal law, Blackstone’s formulation (also known as Blackstone’s ratio or the Blackstone ratio) is the principle that:

“It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”

Police officers, in this instance, were more concerned with catching a bad guy than they were with preserving innocence. This is a travesty and an indication of a grave underlying problem.

In authoritarian societies, the leadership and law enforcement apparatus holds the opposite view of Blackstone’s ratio.

Bismarck, for example, is believed to have stated that “it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape.” Pol Pot made similar remarks.

Wolfgang Schäuble referenced this principle while saying that it is not applicable to the context of preventing terrorist attacks.

Alexander Volokh cites an apparent questioning of the principle, with the tale of a Chinese professor who responds, “Better for whom?”

Former American Vice President Dick Cheney said that his support of American use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against suspected terrorists was unchanged by the fact that 25% of CIA detainees subject to that treatment were later proven to be innocent, including one who died of hypothermia in CIA custody.

“I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that in fact were innocent.” Asked whether the 25% margin was too high, Cheney responded, “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective. . . . I’d do it again in a minute.” 

Cyanide Thunderstorms Feared As Mystery Deepens Around $1.5 Billion Tianjin Explosion

The story behind the chemical explosion that rocked China’s Tianjin port last Wednesday continues to evolve amid fears that the public could be at risk from the hundreds of tonnes of sodium cyanide stored at the facility.

More specifically, Monday’s heightened concerns were related to the possibility that rain could interact with the water soluble chemical, releasing deadly hydrogen cyanide gas into the air. "First rain expected today or tonight. Avoid ALL contact with skin," a text message purported to have originated at the US Embassy in Beijing read. The Embassy would later deny the message’s authenticity, perhaps at the behest of the Politburo which has kicked off the censorship campaign by shutting down hundreds of social media accounts for "spreading blast rumors."

Despite efforts to preserve order and clamp down on discussion, the anger in China is palpable as citizens demand answers as to how a catastrophe of this magnitude could have happened and as it turns out, not only was Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics storing sodium cyanide in amounts that were orders of magnitude larger than what they were supposed to be storing, but they were apparently doing so without a license. "The company has handled hazardous chemicals during a period without a licence," an unnamed company official said on Tuesday. Apparently, Ruihai received the licenses it needed to handle the chemicals just two months ago, BBC reports, citing Xinhua. 

Meanwhile, it looks as though determining who actually owns Ruihai will be complicated by the fact that in China, it’s not uncommon for front men to hold shares on behalf of a company’s real owners. This is of course an effort to obscure Communist party involvement in some enterprises and as FT reports, "that seems to be the case for Shu Jing and Li Liang, who appear in State Administration of Industry and Commerce records as holding 45 and 55 per cent of Ruihai International Logistics." "Both Mr Shu and Mr Li told Chinese media they were holding their shares on behalf of someone else," FT adds, "but would not say who."

Here’s more from FT:

Licensing to operate a hazardous goods warehouse is not easy to come by, and Ruihai Logistics’ operation seems to have been approved after neighbouring lots had already been auctioned to residential developers.

Adding to the speculation, Tianjin’s online corporate registry database was inaccessible for four days after the blasts. When access resumed on Monday, a search for Ruihai Logistics yielded a curious gap.

The company was registered in 2012 but its current legal owners only bought their shares in 2013. The historic list of changes that should have reflected the previous owners did not appear.

The records reveal that many Ruihai executives are former employees of Sinochem, the giant state-owned chemicals, fertiliser and iron ore trader that owns the largest hazardous warehouse operation in Tianjin.

You get the idea. And although we’ll likely never know the true extent of the Party’s involvement with the company, local residents are furious, as evidenced by protests near the blast zone on Tuesday morning, which means Beijing must at least pretend to be serious about investigating the incident. In an effort to pacify the country’s censored masses, party mouthpiece The People’s Daily said 10 people, including the head and deputy head of Ruihai had been detained since Thursday. As Reuters reports, Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, is also under investigation:

China said on Tuesday it is investigating the head of its work safety regulator who for years allowed companies to operate without a license for dangerous chemicals, days after blasts in a port warehouse storing such material killed 114 people.

Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, is "currently undergoing investigation" for suspected violations of party discipline and the law, China's anti-graft watchdog said in a statement on its website.

The agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, did not say that Yang's behavior was connected to the explosions in the port of Tianjin but the company that operated the chemical warehouse that blew up did not have a license to work with such dangerous materials for more than a year.

While Beijing is busy engineering a smoke screen to appease the locals, thunderstorms are rolling into the area, which, as noted above, is bad news as the hundreds of tons of water soluble sodium cyanide are now exposed to the elements. Here's Xinhua:

Rains are expected to complicate rescue efforts and may spread pollution at the Tianjin port, which was rocked by warehouse blasts last week. China's central meteorological authority has predicted a thunder storm over the blast site, where hundreds of tonnes of toxic cyanide still reside. A chemical weapon specialist at the site told Xinhua that rain water may merge with the scattered chemicals, adding to probability for new explosions and spreading toxins.

On Tuesday, the Tianjin Environment Protection Bureau said it had collected 76 samples from around the blast site. "With regards to the safety levels, in total there are 29 cyanide inspection sites [and] of them, eight exceeded safety levels [with] the largest reading was 28 times over the safety standard," said Bao Jingling, the agency's chief engineer.

Indeed, some have observed what's been described as a "white foam" on the ground. 

And as for the forecast, well, things don't look promising:

Finally, the first estimates of the damage are beginning to trickle in and while we won't know the full extent of the human toll for quite sometime (if ever), Fitch puts the financial impact of the blasts for Chinese insurance companies at between $1-$1.5 billion. For anyone out there who's long (or looking to get short) the Chinese P&C space, here's Deutsche Bank's take:

Based on reported data, PICC was the largest P&C player in Tianjin with 28% market share in 2014, followed by Ping An at 23%, CPIC at 12% and Taiping at 5%. Tianjin is a relatively small market for listed insurers, accounted for 1.2% of 2014 premiums for PICC, 1.8% for Ping An, 1.4% for CPIC and 4.1% for Taiping.

We note that it may be too early to assess ultimate losses from this event as it generally takes time for all claims to be filed. However, assuming losses are shared based on their respective market share in Tianjin, we estimate that every Rmb1bn ultimate loss, PICC’s 2015E combined ratio could increase by 12bps, Ping An by 18bps, CPIC by 14bps, and Taiping by 32bps and PICC’s 2015E net profit would decline by 1.6%, Ping An by 0.5%, CPIC by 0.8% and Taiping by 1.2%.

We maintain our relatively cautious stance on Chinese P&C insurers as we expect underwriting profitability to be under pressure in the next 6-12 months amidst auto premium deregulation, potential increase in competition from online players and a tougher comp in 2H15E. 

It also looks as though the government could be on the hook for tens of millions of yuan in insurance claims for injuries and deaths. The full Fitch statement is below.

And meanwhile:

Tianjin city sells 376m yuan of 3-yr bonds at 3.38%.

China’s Tianjin Sells 1.46b Yuan Special Bonds in Placement.

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Full statement from Fitch

The insured losses from a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin on 12 August are likely to be material for Chinese insurance companies, potentially exceeding USD1bn-1.5bn, says Fitch Ratings. The high insurance penetration rate in this area could make the blasts one of the most costly catastrophe claims for the Chinese insurance sector in the last few years. While the incident is still developing, Fitch expects the number of reported insurance claims cases to surge further in the coming few weeks. 

Fitch believes that claims from the blasts are likely to undermine the financial performance of some regional players and those property and casualty insurers with high risk accumulation in the affected areas. That said, it is too early to determine the exact impact that this incident will have on the credit strength of the Chinese insurance sector as a whole. 

According to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, non-life insurance premiums from Tianjin city amounted to CNY11bn (USD1.7bn) in 2014. As such, should insured losses come in at the high end of the initial USD1-1.5bn estimate, they would represent about 88% of total direct premiums written in Tianjin or roughly 5.4% of aggregated shareholder capital for the six most active issuers at end-2014. PICC Property and Casualty Company, Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Company of China, China Pacific Property Insurance, China Continent Property & Casualty Insurance, Sunshine Property & Casualty Insurance and Taiping General Insurance are the most active insurers in the region, accounting for more than 77% of the non-life segment as measured by direct premiums written. 

Claims from the blasts could be shared with both local and international reinsurers, which could mitigate the direct impact on the Chinese insurance sector. While insurers could recover a portion of their property claims from their reinsurers, their exposure, the amount of retention and the number of reinstatements under the catastrophe reinsurance program are likely to determine the degree of severity to which they are affected. Fitch estimates that the overall risk cession ratios of major non-life players active in the Tianjin region range from 10% to 15%. 

Chinese media have reported that more than 8,000 vehicles were destroyed by the explosions. Claims from motor insurance could impair insurers' margins and capital if their reinsurance protection is marginal and the degree of risk accumulation within the affected region is significant. Aside from motor excess of loss treaties, in which the reinsurers indemnify the ceding companies for losses that exceed a specified limit, it is common for Chinese insurers to use quota share reinsurance treaties to mitigate their solvency strain due to the strong growth in recent years from the motor insurance book of business. 

The majority of claims will come from motor, cargo, liability and property insurance. However, medical and life insurance claims are also likely to be substantial. Victims of death and injuries are covered by a government-supported accident insurance plan for the Tianjin region, in addition to their own medical and life insurance policies. Each injured person who is insured by the government plan can claim compensation of between CNY20,000 and CNY35,000, depending on the extent of injuries while compensation of CNY50,000 will be paid in the event of death. 

If Vaccines Are Safe, Why Has The US Gov. Paid Out $3 BILLION To Vaccine-Injured Families?


Vaccines are a very imperfect science, despite the good intentions of healthcare providers and parents seeking to protect their children from disease. Adverse, life-changing and deadly effects of vaccines are more common than ever. In fact, the US government has had to pay out over $3 billion to vaccine-injured families since 1986. Still think vaccines are safe?

The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) lists several negative outcomes of vaccines. Many of these side effects are worse than the diseases these vaccines are for! VAERS reports that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is “linked to febrile seizures, which are a type of seizure that occurs in infants and young children in association with fever.” While these seizures hold no long-term consequences, they can be a frightening experience.

Worse yet, VAERS reports that a whole slew of vaccines, including MMR, varicella zoster, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal and tetanus “are linked to anaphylaxis.” Anaphylaxis shock can lead to sudden death. Many of these cases are under-reported, filed as SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.

Injection, regardless of vaccine type, is associated with loss of shoulder motion and fainting

The committee that studied these horrific vaccine effects “also found convincing evidence of a causal relationship between injection of vaccine, independent of the antigen involved, and
two types of adverse events, including syncope, or fainting, and deltoid bursitis, or frozen shoulder, characterized by shoulder pain and loss of motion.”

Just the mere act of injecting viruses and sterilizing agents poses severe risks, since the body is not designed receive thesevaccine ingredients without first processing them through the normal route of body filters (including the skin, mucous membranes, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and liver), or at all. It seems that putting these ingredients directly into the blood can easily create an adverse health event. The committee also found that the MMR vaccine often elicits joint pain in both children and adults.

The flu, which can easily be overcome with a strong immune system, is mild compared to some of the adverse effects associated with the flu vaccine. These effects include conjunctivitis, facial swelling and upper respiratory symptoms, including coughing and wheezing.

US Vaccine Court bypasses the true judicial process, protecting vaccine makers while paying off families affected by vaccine-induced autism

What no one completely understands is how the overload of vaccinations in the 21st century is a contributing factor to the rise of autism spectrum diagnoses (which is now a greater problem than the diseases we are trying to fight).

While the autism debate rages on, silently, the US Vaccine Court, established in 1986, has awarded several families large cash settlements after confirming that their child likely did become autistic because of vaccine(s).

This separate kangaroo vaccine court allows the vaccine manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies absolute immunity from true prosecution. The government handles their cases and pays families off with an excise tax collected from the sale of… you guessed it… vaccines. It’s a vicious circle that circumvents the true judicial process. This dishonest system protects the profits of vaccine makers and doesn’t hold them accountable for their harmful products. The excise tax the government uses to pay off families affected by vaccines is garnered by collecting $0.75 for every vaccine dose purchased by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a true court of law, these adverse effects of vaccines would be put on trial. The vaccines would be investigated as a harm to the public, and the drug makers would be held accountable. Sadly, that’s just not the case, and that’s why so many people believe vaccines are safe today.

Here are three examples (of many recorded) linking vaccine damage to autism and encephalopathy

Here are three examples where the US Vaccine Court awarded compensation to families whose children were harmed by vaccines, resulting in autism or autism symptoms.

Richelle Oxley: DPT shot reaction: post-pertussis vaccine encephalopathy

“[N]o evidence to overcome the strong probability that the DPT was the most likely cause. … Richelle’s disabilities include autistic-like behavior, hyperactivity, and partially controlled seizures. … The court finds further that all other statutory requirements have been met, and concludes that petitioners are entitled to compensation for injuries sustained as a result of the DPT vaccine administered on July 30, 1979.”

Hannah Poling: MMR vaccine

“Court ruled in favor of compensation due to the significant aggravation of child’s pre-existing mitochondrial disorder based on an MMR vaccine Table presumptive injury of encephalopathy, which eventually manifested as chronic encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder and a complex partial seizure disorder as a sequelae.”

Eric Lassiter: DPT vaccine

“Eric was completely healthy prior to a DPT booster. His is a ‘known case of static encephalopathy after DPT immunization.’ Based on the court’s own findings of fact and the reasons proffered by Dr. Lichtenfeld, the court concludes that Eric, more likely than not, sustained an encephalopathy and that the first manifestation of onset of the injury occurred within the Table time frame.”