Day: August 4, 2017

U.S. court tosses murder conviction of Blackwater guard Nicholas Slatten in massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians

A U.S. Federal appeals court today threw out the murder conviction of former Blackwater security guard Nicholas Slatten, who had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2007 massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

Slatten and other former staff of military security contractor Blackwater (renamed Xe Services, now Academi, run by Erik Prince, brother of Trump DOE chief Betsy DeVos) were the focus of a high-profile legal case that has stretched on for a full decade.

Dozens of people from Iraq traveled to the United States for the trial, as we reported ten years ago here on Boing Boing. And the judge who sentenced Slatten to life in prison decided he was a nice guy who deserved a break (from the death penalty).

From Reuters:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered a new trial after tossing out the murder conviction of former security contractor Nicholas Slatten.

The three-judge panel said Slatten should have had a separate trial instead of being tried alongside his former colleagues. At a new trial, Slatten would be able to introduce evidence that one of his co-defendants had fired the first shot.

Separately, the court said Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty, who were all convicted of manslaughter and other offenses over their respective roles in the incident, should be re-sentenced because their 30-year prison terms were too long. The court also threw out one of Liberty’s convictions for attempted manslaughter.

No word from the Justice Department, or lawyers for the defendants.

The mass killing at a traffic circle in Iraq’s capital city on Sept. 16, 2007 was notable for its sheer brutality, and brought into focus concerns over the growing number of private military contractors working alongside U.S. military forces in Iraq and other mideast war zones.

Erik Prince, the founder and chief of the many-times-renamed firm at the center of this story, is now advising President Donald Trump’s regime on how to further privatize American military operations overseas.

We’ll always have the Seychelles.

In the Reuters photo above from September 20, 2007, one of the people who was wounded the Blackwater shooting attack is helped by his relatives in a hospital in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the time said the U.S. embassy should stop using American security firm Blackwater after the deadly shooting, saying he would not allow Iraqis to be killed in “cold blood”.

PHOTO, TOP: Blackwater Worldwide security guard Nick Slatten (C) and attorneys leave the federal courthouse after being arraigned with 4 fellow Blackwater guards on manslaughter charges for killing unarmed civilians in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, in Washington in this January 6, 2009 file photo. (Reuters)

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Friendship’s Day Special: Why Friendship Makes Marriage More Fun

A healthy marriage comprises of many different roles. On any given day, you may be the sexy lover, the secret keeper, the playmate or the best friend. This plethora of roles you play contributes to the quality of your marriage.

Being friends with your spouse is guaranteed to make your marriage more fun for both of you. It will help deepen your bond as well. Being friends with your mate means more shared activities, free and open communication and a marriage that is the envy of all your friends.

Wondering why friendship in marriage is important? Here are 10 good reasons:

You get to enjoy similar hobbies

fun relationship

Many couples get together because they like each other’s company and there’s physical attraction. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy each other’s hobbies. When you have already established friendship, you likely have a hobby in common with your partner.

This opens the way for more interesting date nights as a married couple. Instead of going out to dinner, you can head out for a Sunday morning surf, try golfing, play video games all afternoon or go on a photography hike. Having similar hobbies means more bonding time for you as a couple.

See Also: 6 Hobbies For Couples That Can Strengthen Your Relationship

You’re over each other’s past relationships

By being friends with your partner, you have probably already heard dozens of stories about his ex-girlfriends. You may even have been friends with some of them! Not only does this give you full disclosure about your mate’s romantic past, it can also make you feel less jealous and more secure in your relationship.

Your marriage is enviable

Doesn’t it tickle you on some level when your friends watch you and your spouse interact and then wistfully exclaim: “I wish I had that!” Not that you’re concerned with what other people think of your marriage, right?

There will be less damaging fights

As friends, you’ve had your share of ups and downs. This also means that you’ve probably had your fair share of arguments, too.

By establishing friendship in your marriage, you’ll know how to communicate in a disagreement with your partner and you won’t be afraid to apologize when you are wrong. You know how to consider your partner’s feelings and put yourself in his shoes.

This is friendship at its best. This makes marriage more fun since there’s no pride getting in the way of doing the right thing, particularly when it comes to apologizing, admitting wrongdoing and making up with your lover.

Furthermore, there isn’t that looming fear of this ‘D’ word when you already have a long history of friendship together. This allows you to be open with one another without worrying what effect your honesty will have on your relationship.

You set an excellent example

Your children will depend on you for many things, like food, emotional support and someone to entertain them. They’ll look up to you as an example of how to behave and what standards to expect from life and love. This bodes well for those who have made friendship an important part of their marriage.

Your children will consider your marriage as the basis for what they can expect from their marriage in the future. Your friendship and fun-loving attitude towards one another will set an excellent example for your little ones.

There’s transparency

Does transparency in your marriage make it much more fun?

Since you are already friends, you have already heard the best and the worst experiences the other has gone through. From crazy exes to not-so-dignified behavior, you know your partner’s dirty history in and out. This takes a lot of the guess work out of your relationship and leaves more time for you to enjoy each other’s company. You’ll be able to share your problems without fearing what the other person will think.

It keeps things interesting

fun marriage

Friendship makes a marriage more fun by keeping things interesting. When you are friends on top of being lovers, it will keep the relationship from feeling stale or routine. Having fun and laughing together bonds you as a couple and heightens your desire to spend time together. What could be more interesting than taking up new hobbies with your best friend in the world?

See Also: 3 Ways To Inject More Humor Into Your Relationship

You have a comfortable silence

Is there anything worse than that clunky, uncomfortable silence that comes from not knowing a new friend well enough? Never fear! This will never happen when you have friendship in your marriage.

You can feel completely comfortable with any silent gaps that appear in conversation with your partner. You won’t feel the need to search for old, embarrassing instances from your past to fill the void. Instead, you’ll simply bask in the glow of one another and enjoy those extra moments of silence that you have together.

Your partner knows how to be happy for you

When you’re good friends with your spouse, you and your partner both know how to be excited for each other. There is no secret jealousy or looming resentment. When you achieve something great, your partner will be right there celebrating with you. They can show you full support and make you feel special.

You’re less stressed out

Being in a close relationship means there is more oxytocin flowing through your body. This “love drug” makes you feel accomplished and appreciated. It raises your trust and lowers stress and anxiety. The happier you are, the happier your marriage will be.

Conclusion

Friendship makes marriage more loving, more comfortable and more fun to be in. It is an aspect of marriage that needs nurturing to stay fiery and alive.

So, make time for your mate every day so you can nurture your relationship and make your marriage as fun as it can be.

The post Friendship’s Day Special: Why Friendship Makes Marriage More Fun appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Uber knowingly leased recalled vehicles to its drivers in Singapore

 Uber is in the spotlight for shady operations once again after a report revealed that the U.S. ride-hailing giant knowingly leased cars that were subject to a recall to drivers in Singapore. A Wall Street Journal report exposed the events which took place in 2016 and centered around the Honda Vezel, one of a number of vehicles that Uber purchased and then made available for drivers to lease… Read More

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Behold this Instagrammer's Supreme and Louis Vuitton Ferrari

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When you’re rich, you can do whatever you want.

While some choose to line up and spend thousands on a collaboration between Supreme and Louis Vuitton, others would rather have the brands on their Ferrari. 

As 15-year-old Dubai Instagrammer Rashed Belhasa, a.k.a. Money Kicks, did when he wrapped his red F12berlinetta with Louis Vuitton and Supreme logos. 

The result, we guess, speaks for itself. 

Belhasa is pretty excited to show off to his followers what presumably is his car, because let’s face it, what else you would you do if you were a kid with a Ferrari. Read more…

More about Culture, Supreme, Louis Vuitton, Ferrari, and Culture

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Popehat suspended from Twitter for sharing a threat he received

This morning, Twitter covered Ken “Popehat” White’s profile page in balloons to celebrate his birthday. This afternoon, it suspended his account for posting screenshots of threats he’d received from another user.

The ranting missive, from a far-right lawyer in Texas whose threatening Twitter postings White had earlier mocked, promises such hatred and cruelty that White will want to kill himself or flee to “escape my wrath.”

But it was White’s response that fell afoul of Twitter’s mysterious rules on posting personally identifying information—even when such information is disclosed and widely publicized.

Twitter is a private company. It has every right to suspend me or kick me off, however foolish its reason. It’s got the right to free speech and free association. My rights have not been violated. I am not a victim. When you use a “free” service like Twitter and Facebook, you’re buying into the policies and attitudes they pursue, for better or worse. Want a platform with no dumb policies? Create one or pay for one.

For the moment, I doubt this reflects an evaluation by anyone at Twitter that “it’s okay for a deranged bigot to threaten people on Twitter but not okay to publish his threats.” Rather, this is part of the inevitable result of automating responses to abuse complaints. Now, if Twitter reviews this, and thinks that’s the right result — well, that would be something else again.

Twitter is still where the abusive can rail on and on before they get canned, while anyone with an earnest interest in using the site in good faith must adhere to vague, unhelpful policies in how they deal with all that trash.

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