Society's Child


Child Protective Service workers now being installed in public schools

NBC 2 News is reporting a new "partnership" between the Erie County Department of Social Services and New York public schools that would place a Child Protective Services (CPS) employee in the Erie County local suburban schools several days per week.

The media unsurprisingly reports this as a way to give school staff faster access to child welfare "expertise" and also "streamlining and expediting" the CPS investigation process. That is, the news is being spun to get parents - who are now seemingly potential criminals up for investigation - to accept this new, intrusive development while your child remains a ward of the State for eight hours a day, five days a week.

Comment: Listen to this excellent interview about the corruption in Child Protective Services: SOTT Radio - The Truth Perspective Tammi Stefano - The Truth About Child Protective Services

Gold Coins

What else is new? Ukraine Maidan leader discovered using sanctions for personal gain

© © AP Photo/ Anastasia Sirotkina, Pool
Oleksandr Turchynov, just another politician doing what politician's do best.
Ukraine's security chief and former acting president Oleksandr Turchynov benefited from Ukraine's latest sanctions list by creating a monopoly for a gambling company linked to his family.

Ukrainian Security and Defense Council chief Oleksandr Turchynov used Ukraine's latest sanctions to benefit an associate of his family, Ukrainian media outlet Insider found.

Among the sanctioned Russian organizations, mostly banks and airlines, are two companies incorporated in Ukraine that are engaged in Ukraine's national lottery business. A total of three companies operate lottery businesses in Ukraine, with the two Russian-owned organizations controlling 95 percent of the market in 2013.

Comment: The Maidan "revolution" in Ukraine was initiated ostensibly to root out the perceived corruption of the Kiev government in 2014. But as it has become ever clearer, those behind the most blatant coup in history were looking towards accruing more wealth and power for themselves, at the expense of others.

Eye 1

FBI secretly ramps up biometrics; civil and criminal fingerprints combined into one database

© Lockheed Martin
In the last few years, FBI has been dramatically expanding its biometrics programs, whether by adding face recognition to its vast Next Generation Identification (NGI) database or pushing out mobile biometrics capabilities for "time-critical situations" through its Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC). But two new developments—both introduced with next to no media attention—will impact far more every-day Americans than anything the FBI has done on biometrics in the past.

FBI Combines Civil And Criminal Fingerprints Into One Fully Searchable Database

Being a job seeker isn't a crime. But the FBI has made a big change in how it deals with fingerprints that might make it seem that way. For the first time, fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a background check will be stored and searched right along with fingerprints taken for criminal purposes.

Comment: The police state grows stronger as privacy becomes a thing of the past.

Brick Wall

Political repression in Berkeley: Human welfare commissioner fired for backing divesting from Israel

© Rochelle Gause
The Berkeley Human Welfare and Community Action Commission meeting on September 16
A commissioner for the city of Berkeley, California was fired for supporting a resolution calling on the city to consider divesting from corporations that operate in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

Cheryl Davila served on the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission (HWCAC) for over seven years, where she oversaw numerous human rights resolutions. In the summer of 2014, Commissioner Davila recalled being awestruck at the violence of Israel's war on Gaza, code-named Operation Protective Edge, in which over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, the majority of whom were civilians, including more than 500 children.

"The Israeli bombardment was a disgraceful human rights violation that has caused a severe social welfare crisis, particularly for children, women, and the elderly in Gaza," Commissioner Davila said. Numerous human rights groups and the UN accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians and committing war crimes. "Given that Berkeley was one of the first municipalities to pass an anti-apartheid resolution in support of South African human rights, it is time for Berkeley to do the same for Palestinians who are living under an Apartheid regime," she explained. "We cannot be silent any longer."

The city of Berkeley has already approved ethical investment policies that call for divestment from fossil fuel corporations, gun manufacturers, tobacco companies, "oppressive states," and the nuclear industry.

Commissioner Davila decided to propose a measure on behalf of Palestinian human rights. She authored the resolution "Conflict in Israel's Impact on the City of Berkeley." The measure calls for the city to "examine the feasibility of divesting all City of Berkeley direct holdings in companies complicit in on-going violations of human rights and International Law under Israel's military occupation of Palestinian territories."

The resolution also recommends sending a letter from the City of Berkeley to the Board of Directors of California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), "urging them to implement their existing responsible investment policies equitably and to divest all holdings in companies complicit in on-going violations of human rights and International Law under Israel's military occupation of Palestinian territories." Its final request is to add Israel's illegal occupation to Berkeley's Oppressive States Business Policy.

Commissioners are not themselves elected; City Council members appoint commissioners to serve on the various commissions. Commissioner positions are unpaid and filled on a volunteer basis. At a commission meeting on the evening of September 16, Davila was informed that she had been fired by Council Member Darryl Moore for refusing to withdraw the resolution.

Comment: "The city of Berkeley has already approved ethical investment policies that call for divestment from fossil fuel corporations, gun manufacturers, tobacco companies, "oppressive states," and the nuclear industry."

How is it that Israel gets a pass on the 'oppressive state' label in one of the supposedly most liberal, socially progressive areas of the US?

Bad Guys

Donald Trump and the onslaught of American totalitarianism

© Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images
In the current historical moment in the United States, the emptying out of language is nourished by the assault on the civic imagination. One example of this can be found in the rise of Donald Trump on the political scene. Donald Trump's popular appeal speaks to not just the boldness of what he says and the shock it provokes, but the inability to respond to shock with informed judgement rather than titillation. Marie Luise Knott is right in noting that "We live our lives with the help of the concepts we form of the world. They enable an author to make the transition from shock to observation to finally creating space for action—for writing and speaking. Just as laws guarantee a public space for political action, conceptual thought ensures the existence of the four walls within which judgment operates."[1]The concepts that now guide our understanding of American society are dominated by a corporate induced linguistic and authoritarian model that brings ruin to language, politics and democracy itself.

Missing from the commentaries by most of the mainstream media regarding the current rise of Trumpism is any historical context that would offer a critical account of the ideological and political disorder plaguing American society—personified by Trump's popularity. A resurrection of historical memory in this moment could provide important lessons regarding the present crisis, particularly the long tradition of racism, white supremacy, exceptionalism, war mongering, and the extended wars on youth, women, and immigrants.

Calling Trump a fascist is not enough. What is necessary are analyses in which the seeds of totalitarianism are made visible in Trump's discourse and policy measures. One example can be found in Steve Weissman's commentary on Trump in which he draws a relationship between Trump's casual racism and the rapidly growing neo-fascist movements across Europe that "are growing strong by hating others for their skin color, religious origin, or immigrant status."[2] Few journalists have acknowledged the presence of white militia and white supremacists groups at his rallies and almost none have acknowledged the chanting of "white power" at some of his political gatherings, which would surely signal not only Trump's connections to a racist past but also to the formative Nazi culture that gave rise to the endgame of genocide.[3]

Comment: An excellent overview of the slow death of the American public, and what a society of unconscious 'automatons' leads to - chaos, mass suffering, and an inevitable collapse.

Mr. Potato

Missing the point: Richard Dawkins calls Ahmed's clock a hoax, implies he wanted to get arrested

© Chris Keane / Reuters
Looking for conspiracies in all the wrong places. An example of unconscious biases affecting cognitive abilities?
Controversial evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has prompted mass backlash after taking to Twitter to criticize the motives of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texan arrested on suspicion of making a bomb.

Mohamed was arrested last week after a teacher mistook the Muslim teen's homemade clock for a bomb. As news of the controversy spread, many, including US President Barack Obama and top NASA scientists, rushed to defend the schoolboy. Critics accused school staff and local police of Islamophobia.

Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins however was not impressed the story.

"Assembling clock from bought components is fine. Taking clock out of its case to make it look as if he built it is not fine. Which is true?" Dawkins tweeted on Sunday. "Yes, there are other reasons why a boy might take a clock out of its casing and pretend he'd made it. Trying to impress teachers, for instance. If the reassembled components did something more than the original clock, that's creative. If not, it looks like hoax."

Dawkins also posted a link to a YouTube video in which someone argues that the clock was simply reassembled from components and that Mohamed brought it to school in order to provoke a reaction.

Comment: Dawkins may be a scientist, but that doesn't make him infallible, or a decent human being. Yes, Ahmed called his clock an 'invention', when clearly he didn't invent it. Earth to Dawkins: he's 14 years old. Should he have submitted his clock for 'peer review', perhaps? Dawkins pays lip service to the real issue: the fact that he was arrested for something so mundane. But he clearly directs his focus to the idea that Ahmed intentionally created a 'hoax', perhaps for the purpose of getting arrested. Talk about blaming the victim!

See: Hysterical police state USA: 14-year-old Muslim schoolboy arrested for taking homemade clock to school


Skype communication application down across the globe

© Dado Ruvic/Reuters
Popular communications application Skype went down across the world on Monday. Numerous users are currently complaining on social media that they are not able to sign in.

"We're a bit overloaded right now...Please try again later, or download Skype to use it anytime," Skype wrote on its website.

"Affected users will not be able to change their status, their contacts will all show as offline and they will be unable to start Skype calls to them." However, they added that instant messages "are still being delivered as usual. The status issue also doesn't affect Skype for Web, which can be used to make calls and send instant messages."


An advisor to White House Chief Technology Officer dies in bicycle accident

© Via instagram
Mary Katharine Ham, Jacob Thomas Brewer
Jacob Thomas Brewer, 34, a policy adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, died Saturday in a tragic cycling accident while participating in a cancer research fundraiser, the Washington Post has reported.

Brewer was the husband of frequent Fox News guest and conservative columnist Mary Katharine Ham and the father of an infant girl. According to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Ham is pregnant with their second chld.

According to the Post, Brewer was participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer and lost control of his bike when rounding a corner, colliding with an oncoming car. According to police, riders had been warned that the course was open to traffic.

On Instagram, Ham, a popular and frequent guest on The O'Reilly Factor, posted an announcement that she had lost "part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies."

Comment: From the White House:
Who Jake Was:

Jake Brewer served as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). In this role, Jake oversaw efforts to connect the nation's tech and innovation assets (people, places, tools, data, and methods) to the Administration's opportunity creation efforts, enabling all Americans to take part in, contribute to, and benefit from the economy of the future. Jake helped to advance the Administration's TechHire initiative to create more pathways to well-paying tech jobs by empowering Americans with the tech skills they need to succeed in those jobs. At OSTP, Jake also worked with federal agencies and stakeholders to accelerate the release and use of workforce data to inform workforce training efforts. Jake also supported Administration initiatives to expand America's access to greater broadband connectivity.

Jake Brewer's impactful career focused on building citizen-led open government and increasing citizens' capacity to have real impact in executive offices and the halls of government. Prior to joining the OSTP team, Jake led global policy and external affairs at with the aim to remake the relationship between government or corporate leaders and the international public impacted by their decisions. Jake also served as co-founder and board president of Define American, working to reframe the American immigration debate in media and culture. Jake's past work also included leading the engagement division of the Sunlight Foundation; launching an initiative on veteran employment with the White House and Code for America; helping create US Ignitea national "gigabit" initiative responding to the Administration's call to transform healthcare, education, transportation, and more through next-generation Internet applications; and designing the national Civic Data Challenge to bring critical "civic health" data to civic decision-makers. Outside the office, Jake was a competitive triathlete and a published photographer, and he served in a variety of advisory and board roles with organizations building a healthier democracy. He graduated with a B.S. in Psychology / Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and studied Political Science at the United States Naval Academy,


Small plane crashes in field, hits car in northern Switzerland

The Swiss pilot of the plane and the driver of the car were injured and were transported to hospital
A small plane crashed on Sunday in a field in northern Switzerland, careened across a road and collided with a car, according to police in the Swiss canton of Aargau.

The pilot of the plane and the driver of the car were injured and were transported to hospital following the crash about 1000 GMT, police said.

Local media images showed a black column of smoke rising above a mixed rural and residential area near several houses.

A silver car is shown upturned on its roof in a video on the website

The plane crashed near the Swiss town of Holziken, about 30 km (19 miles) south of where the River Rhine forms the border between Germany and Switzerland.

Multiple fire crews and trucks were at the accident site.

Wall Street

Yay democracy: Victory for Syriza in record low turnout for Greek elections


'Yes, I won the right to do as I'm told!'
The Greek left-wing party Syriza is expected to take 145 seats in the 300-member parliament, the Interior Ministry said after counting 54 percent of the vote cast in the snap election Sunday. The leader of New Democracy, Syriza's main rival in the polling, has already conceded defeat.

"The electoral result appears to be concluding with Syriza and Mr Tspiras in the lead," New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis said.

"I congratulate him and urge him to create the government which is needed and come to parliament."

The conservatives themselves have so far secured 75 seats.

Comment: At 55% voter participation, this is a record low turnout for Greek elections. Democracy's great, isn't it? You can 'game it' to turn an anti-austerity party into a pro-austerity party, then have the people approve it. Those Greeks who participated in this charade have essentially signalled their approval, and on behalf of the rest of the population, for the banksters and Eurocrats to continue as before.