Society's Child


Free Andrei Stenin: Mexican journalists demand release of Russian photographer while Kiev remains suspiciously uncooperative

© RIA Novosti/Sergei Sarimov
The Mexican Press Club has condemned the abduction of Rossiya Segodnya photo reporter Andrei Stenin in Ukraine and expressed hope for his speedy release.

"We condemn the abduction of a true media representative, opposing violations of his rights starting from his disappearance and feeble efforts to find his exact location," a statement obtained by RIA Novosti read.

"We express our support to our colleague Andrei Stenin, his family and urge his speedy release," the press club stressed.

Comment: For more information, please see:

Mother of missing journalist, Andrey Stenin, asks Red Cross for help in finding her son
Kiev refuses to talk; situation around missing Russian journalist Stenin "unprecedented"

Alarm Clock

Not at home on the range: Subsidized fracking hits Colorado

Duke Cox, Grand Valley Citizens Alliance
© Unknown
Duke Cox, Grand Valley Citizens Alliance
A general contractor in Colorado's Grand Valley, Duke Cox says the first time he became aware that drilling for gas might be a problem was back in the early 2000s when he happened to attend a local public hearing on oil and gas development. A woman who came to testify began sobbing as she talked about the gas rigs that were making the air around her home impossible to breathe.

"There were 17 rigs in the area, at that time," Cox says. "And they were across the valley, so I wasn't affected. But she was my neighbor." The incident led Cox to join the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, a group of activists concerned about drilling policies in his area on Colorado's Western Slope. Within months he became the group's President and public face. And as fracking for gas became more common across the state, he has found more and more of his time taken up with the cause.

"We are ground zero for natural gas and fracking in this country," he says.

His claim is not hyperbole in many respects. Scientists in Colorado are publishing alarming studies that show gas wells harm those living in close proximity, and dozens of stories stretching back over a decade have documented the ill effects of natural gas drilling on Colorado's citizens.

In response to public unease, the state has created a system to report complaints of oil and gas health effects. The subject has become so acute that it consumes Colorado's politicians and electorate, who have been squaring off on multiple ballot initiatives to limit where companies can drill, in order to provide a buffer between gas wells and people's homes.

But there's one fact the industry would like to hide from the public (but uses in its lobbying of Congress): much of the drilling activity in Colorado would never happen were it not for generous tax subsidies.

Four years ago, the American Petroleum Institute concluded that gas development would fall dramatically in the Rocky Mountain region without certain tax breaks to make development economically viable. While precise figures for subsidies specific to Colorado are difficult to derive, a recent report by Oil Change International shows that subsidies to the fossil fuel industry continue to grow in value as the fracking boom has hit its stride.

At the national level, the report shows over $21 billion in federal and state subsidies that taxpayers provided to the fossil fuel industry in 2013. The use and value of these subsidies have increased dramatically in recent years - a product of the "all of the above" energy policy.

"They are profitable because of tax breaks," says Cox.
Snakes in Suits

'Young Turks' Cenk Uygur blasts Hannity on Ferguson: 'Why don't you shut the f*ck up?'

© Fox News
Young Turks host Cenk Uygur hammered Fox News counterpart Sean Hannity on Thursday for his wanting to "educate" a Ferguson, Missouri official about the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

"Hey Sean, I've got a question for you: were you there?" Uygur asked. "I mean, you've got all these assumptions - 'Oh, the cops, gotta respect the cops, maybe [Brown] had his head down and he was charging, he was doing all these things.' Wait, Sean. Why don't you shut the f*ck up, 'cause you weren't there?"

On Wednesday, Hannity berated local committeewoman Patricia Bynes (D) during an interview, saying she could not say that Brown's shooting at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 was a case of police brutality because she was not at the scene at the time.

Hannity told Bynes on multiple occasions that he wanted to "educate" her regarding the criminal justice system, and argued that Wilson suffered "an orbital eye socket fracture" during his encounter with Brown. However, CNN reported that early reports that he suffered that kind of injury were false. The Washington Post also reported on Thursday that Wilson has still not spoken to prosecutors about the shooting.

"Eyewitnesses say that Brown charged at [Wilson]," Hannity told Bynes. "You weren't there. What if that turns out to be true in our court system? Then that would mean you're wrong, doesn't it?"

"We have lots of eyewitnesses that are saying something different," Bynes responded.

"So you don't know, do you?" Hannity pressed.

On Thursday, Uygur sarcastically wondered why Hannity was so intent on reminding Bynes about the presumption of innocence for Wilson, then tried to "educate" the Fox News host.

"Just because we're not in a court of law - and the reason we're not is that the cop hasn't even been arrested after he put 6 to 8 bullets in that kid - doe not mean that facts don't exist," Uygur explained. "Facts can exist outside of a courtroom. So you keep saying to her, 'You don't know 'cause you weren't there,' but you don't know because you weren't there."

Uygur also chided Hannity for seemingly siding with accounts supporting Wilson, while claiming he was being impartial.

"Sean, nobody's convicting the officer - they haven't even arrested him," Uygur repeated. "Bill O'Reilly talks about a 'lynch mob.' How dare you?"
Heart - Black

Psychopaths! Israeli settlers unleash a vicious pack of dogs on Palestinian children

Israeli settlers have unleashed a large pack of dogs on Palestinian children, brutally injuring one near Salfit in the center of the occupied West Bank.

The dogs harshly savaged the five-year-old boy, who is in dire need of several surgeries, including a facial reconstructive one.

The boy, identified as Karmel Moayyad Shakir, was playing with his peers in the village of Azawiyeh when the illegal settlers from the nearby Kannat settlement arrived at the spot along with a large pack of dogs.

Before the boy's family could intervene, the dogs attacked the five-year-old who was lucky enough not to die, yet sustained severe injuries.


Creative literature is anything but: Most of it is repetitious and banal

Mad Men
© AMC/Michael Yarish/amc
Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm in "Mad Men"
The creative class has never been more screwed. Books about creativity have never been more popular. What gives?

The writer had a problem. Books he read and people he knew had been warning him that the nation and maybe mankind itself had wandered into a sort of creativity doldrums. Economic growth was slackening. The Internet revolution was less awesome than we had anticipated, and the forward march of innovation, once a cultural constant, had slowed to a crawl. One of the few fields in which we generated lots of novelties - financial engineering - had come back to bite us. And in other departments, we actually seemed to be going backward. You could no longer take a supersonic airliner across the Atlantic, for example, and sending astronauts to the moon had become either fiscally insupportable or just passé.

And yet the troubled writer also knew that there had been, over these same years, fantastic growth in our creativity promoting sector. There were TED talks on how to be a creative person. There were "Innovation Jams" at which IBM employees brainstormed collectively over a global hookup, and "Thinking Out of the Box" desktop sculptures for sale at Sam's Club. There were creativity consultants you could hire, and cities that had spent billions reworking neighborhoods into arts-friendly districts where rule-bending whimsicality was a thing to be celebrated. If you listened to certain people, creativity was the story of our time, from the halls of MIT to the incubators of Silicon Valley.
Airplane Paper

Donetsk People's Republic militia reserves right to destroy OSCE drones

soldiers w telescope
© RIA Novosti. Andrei Stenin
In light of the upcoming deployment of drones on the border, the DPR Defense Ministry stressed that it is not technically possible to identify drones but the information they may carry can be intercepted by Ukraine's Special Forces.
MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - Donetsk People's Republic announced they reserved the right to destroy drones which the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is planning to deploy to monitor the situation in Ukraine, the DPR press service said.

"The Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People's Republic reserves the right to destroy such unmanned aerial vehicles," a statement posted on the website of the press service read Wednesday.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine will receive drones within 6-10 weeks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this week that Russia supports the idea of equipping the OSCE monitoring mission with unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance their control of the Russian-Ukrainian border.

OSCE drone
An OSCE monitor drone.
In light of the upcoming deployment of drones on the border the DPR Defense Ministry stressed that it is not technically possible to identify drones but the information they may carry can be intercepted by Ukraine's Special Forces.

The DPR, however, said that it was open for dialogue and cooperation with the international community and expressed hope that unarmed drones would help expose Ukraine's aggression and the humanitarian catastrophe in the country's southeast.

Comment: According to OSCE, the drones must have the technical ability to reach the altitude of 4,000 meters (approx.13,100 ft.) which will track moving objects at a distance of several kilometers. Eight international inspection teams are checking troop deployment status and OSCE has been invited by Moscow to observe.


Protesters will rally at White House as part of national "Day of Rage" over shooting of Ferguson teen

Protesters are expected to gather Thursday evening at the White House as part of a national "Day of Rage" over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen earlier this month in Missouri.

The planned rally is among dozens around the nation organized by the group Anonymous, which is demanding the "immediate arrest and prosecution" of Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson has been identified as the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, whose death touched off violent protests in the streets of Ferguson, Mo.

"We call upon the citizens of the United States to collectively gather in support for those who are suffering in Ferguson," a voice claiming to represent Anonymous says in a video posted to YouTube. "We must indeed all hang together as one nation, or most assuredly we will all hang separately."

President institutes quarantine zones in Liberia as Ebola spreads, police open fire against protesters

liberia clashes
© Reuters
Liberian security forces stand in front of protesters after clashes at West Point neighbourhood in Monrovia August 20, 2014
Four people were injured in clashes when soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on demonstrators in the quarantine zone in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, as the world tries to contain the fatal outbreak and to find a cure for the deadly disease.

The death toll from the spreading virus mounted by 106 in just two days, and constituted 1,350 victims. In Liberia alone, 576 people have died from 972 cases, AFP reported.

The clashes broke out after the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf quarantined the West Point and Dolo Town areas, to the east of Monrovia, and introduced a curfew.

Residents of West Point were outraged at the move, protesting, throwing stones and shouting at police. Witnesses also stated that the violence began after the security forces blocked roads to the neighborhood with tables, chairs and barbed wire. Locals told Al Jazeera they hadn't been warned.

World's eyes on Ferguson race protests - US Lawmaker

© REUTERS/ Larry Downing
US Attorney General Eric Holder.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said eyes around the "world are watching Ferguson right now" during his visit to the city aimed at easing tensions in the suburb that has been rocked by protests over the police killing of an unarmed African-American teenager.

"The eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson right now," Holder said at talks with public figures on Wednesday in Ferguson, which has endured race protests since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed on August 9.

Outlook for work in 2022: How your boss will run your life in a few years

Wind-up Workers
© Thinkstock
You might think the typical workplace is pretty Orwellian these days. You ain't seen nuthin', Winston.

Consulting firm PwC recently published its outlook for work in 2022, based on interviews with 500 human resources experts and 10,000 others in the United States and several other countries. You probably won't be surprised to hear that big companies could end up so powerful and influential they morph into "ministates" that fill the void when government is unable to provide essential services. Companies will also use sensors and other gizmos to monitor employees around the clock. And workers will mostly acquiesce to this digital leash, in exchange for job security, decent pay and important benefits.

That's the most dystopian of scenarios PwC outlines in its report, yet it's not so far-fetched, given the dramatic ways globalization and digital technology are changing the way people work and live. An increasing share of income is flowing to tech barons, data wizards and the privileged holders of capital, while ordinary workers find it harder to earn a living. There are more minimum-wage jobs today but fewer good-paying ones than there were just a few years ago, a trend many forecasters only expect to intensify.

Comment: Scenario's mentioned above in pwc book outlook for work in 2022 are already in progress for a while in many Corporations.