Society's Child


Britain among worst hospital bed supply in EU

© AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen
Patient capacity at British hospitals has dropped to the second-worst level in Europe, maintains an international report. The maximum occupancy rate was exceeded last year, and waiting for a bed seems to have become commonplace.

The palpable shortage of hospital beds in Britain mirrors the general trend of world's healthcare spending stagnation, the 'Health at a Glance, 2014' report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) maintains.

According to the report, Britain has lost 50,000 hospital beds since 2001, a 5,000-bed annual loss equivalent to the closure of several hospitals.

On one hand, this decline is due to the fact that these days patients do not need to stay hospitalized because surgical interventions have become much more delicate.

IRS audit rates lowest in years

IRS audit
As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, their chances of getting audited are lower than they have been in years.

Budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the Internal Revenue Service's ability to police tax returns. This year, the IRS will have fewer agents auditing returns than at any time since at least the 1980s.

Taxpayer services are suffering, too, with millions of phone calls to the IRS going unanswered.

"We keep going after the people who look like the worst of the bad guys," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an interview. "But there are going to be some people that we should catch, either in terms of collecting the revenue from them or prosecuting them, that we're not going to catch."

Better technology is helping to offset some budget cuts.

If you report making $40,000 in wages and your employer tells the IRS you made $50,000, the agency's computers probably will catch that. The same is true for investment income and many common deductions that are reported to the IRS by financial institutions.

But if you operate a business that deals in cash, with income or expenses that are not independently reported to the IRS, your chances of getting caught are lower than they have been in years.

Last year, the IRS audited less than 1 percent of all returns from individuals, the lowest rate since 2005. This year, Koskinen said, "The numbers will go down."

Koskinen was confirmed as IRS commissioner in December. He took over an agency under siege on several fronts.
Blue Planet

We are all selfish, rational materialists- new economic events show this is false

new commons economics
© AllanGregg/
The commons lies at the heart of a major cultural and social shift now underway.

Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, brings welcome new attention to the commons just as it begins to explode in countless new directions. His book focuses on one of the most significant vectors of commons-based innovation - the Internet and digital technologies - and documents how the incremental costs of nearly everything is rapidly diminishing, often to zero. Rifkin explored the sweeping implications of this trend in an excerpt from his book and points to the "eclipse of capitalism" in the decades ahead.

But it's worth noting that the commons is not just an Internet phenomenon or a matter of economics. The commons lies at the heart of a major cultural and social shift now underway. People's attitudes about corporate property rights and neoliberal capitalism are changing as cooperative endeavors - on digital networks and elsewhere - become more feasible and attractive. This can be seen in the proliferation of hackerspaces and Fablabs, in the growth of alternative currencies, in many land trusts and cooperatives and in seed-sharing collectives and countless natural resource commons.

Beneath the radar screen of mainstream politics, which remains largely clueless about such cultural trends on the edge, a new breed of commoners is building the vision of a very different kind of society, project by project. This new universe of social activity is being built on the foundation of a very different ethics and social logic than that of homo economicus - the economist's fiction that we are all selfish, utility-maximizing, rational materialists.

Durable projects based on social cooperation are producing enormous amounts of wealth; it's just that this wealth is not generally not monetized or traded. It's socially or ecologically embedded wealth that is managed by self-styled commoners themselves. Typically, such commoners act more as stewards of their common wealth than as owners who treat it as private capital. Commoners realize that a life defined by impersonal transactions is not as rich or satisfying as one defined by abiding relationships. The larger trends toward zero-marginal-cost production make it perfectly logical for people to seek out commons-based alternatives
Bizarro Earth

Former Indonesian paradise clogged with household waste and toxic chemicals dumped by textile factories

Locals say textile factories illegally dump chemicals into the river at night and some nearby village wells contain four times the recommended safe levels of mercury. Pictured front is Herman's 13-year-old son, Alex; at the back is TV reporter Seyi Rhodes.
If it were not for his boat, you would think this fisherman was sitting on a landfill site.

In fact, he is trawling the river for waste plastic to help him eke out a living.

Once a tropical paradise, the Citarum in Java, Indonesia, is now said to be the dirtiest river in the world.
Black Magic

Boston Children's Hospital accused of 'psychological experiment'

Accusing Boston Children's Hospital of running a "psychological experiment" on a captive teenager, the parents and supporters of Justina Pelletier are contesting in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court the state's seizure of her custody.

Justina Pelletier was taken forcibly from her parents after they took her to Boston Children’s, where doctors after a minutes-long visit decided to treat her differently than physicians had been treating her for months. They banned other opinions and wouldn’t let her go home with her parents.
A writ of habeas corpus was filed Monday, asking that she be brought before a court to determine whether or not there are grounds for state custody.

As WND reported, the 15-year-oldwas taken forcibly from her parents after they took her to Boston Children's, where doctors after a minutes-long visit decided to treat her differently than physicians had been treating her for months. They banned other opinions and wouldn't let her go home with her parents.

Judge Joseph Johnston in Boston ruled March 25 that custody of Pelletier will remain with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families "until a future hearing" which, according to Liberty Council, will not occur before May 20.

Just a day earlier, the state agency was accused of contempt of court for not following a judicially approved plan for treatment of the teen.

Comment: For more information on this outrageous case, read:

-Boston Psychiatric Unit's imprisonment of teenager Justina Pelletier needs State investigation into reckless endangerment of psychiatric diagnosing
-Parents lose custody of teen after seeking 2nd medical opinion; girl indefinitely detained in psych ward

Evil Rays

Missouri will fire deafening 'sound cannons' at drivers to deter work zone speeding

Apparently the threat of a costly ticket isn't enough to slow down drivers passing through work zones on Missouri's highways, so the state is taking extreme measures to solve the dilemma. Missouri's Department of Transportation is preparing to deploy the LRAD sound cannon - a tool (some might say "weapon") that's been used to break up mass gatherings like Occupy Wall Street - to warn motorists that they're going too fast. The device emits a targeted, deafening siren that "easily penetrates the windshield and well-insulated cab of a car, even overriding the vehicle's engine sounds and a radio turned up loud enough to jam to tunes at highway speeds."

Phoenix: Man dies after being tazered by police in diner

A 38-year-old man died following an altercation with Phoenix police officers at a West Valley restaurant on Sunday night. Video of the deadly struggle was taken by restaurant employees, and posted online.

Two police officers were injured during the struggle with Edward Michael Caruth at Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. It happened just after 10 p.m. at 51st Avenue and Bell Road, according to Officer James Holmes with the Phoenix Police Dept.

Employees at the restaurant recorded the fatal fight on their cell phones, and posted the video online. It shows two officers struggling to handcuff Caruth. Just as they got one hand behind his back, Caruth jumps up and fights back. One officer deploys his Taser, but instead of subduing Caruth, it seems to set him off. He lashes out, and is shot again by a Taser's prongs. The second attempt also fails, and the fight between the officers and Caruth spills outside into the parking lot.

People power: Anti-govt protesters seize Ukrainian APCs, army units 'switch sides'

People power in Kramatorsk
© AFP Photo/Anatoly Stepanov
Anti-government activists block a collumn of Ukrainian men riding on Armoured Personnel Carriers in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on April 16, 2014.
Kiev's military faced off with protesters in east Ukraine on Wednesday to sort out their differences...and found none. Soldiers appeared reluctant to go into battle against anti-government activists.

When Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) entered downtown Kramatorsk as part of Kiev's military operation against anti-government protesters in the east of the country, they were stopped in their tracks, surrounded by crowds of local residents.

One YouTube video of what happened next shows a woman coming to a soldier with the reproach: "You are the army, you must protect the people."

"We are not going to shoot, we weren't even going to," is the soldier's reply.

Similar conversations could be heard at each of several APCs which entered the city, with locals promising to defend their neighbors, in case the soldiers start a military operation.

Military vehicles parked in downtown Kramatorsk have turned into hotspots for political discussion, with people beside the vehicles trying to get their views through to people on top of the tanks.

Another video features the Kramatorsk crowds loudly chanting "Army with the people" and applauding the soldiers as they were leaving their APCs.

"Guys, we are with you! You are great!" women are heard yelling to the vacating soldiers.

Comment: The people are clever enough to see that killing fellow Ukrainians is not going to do any good for Ukraine and will only serve the minions in power, who want bloodshed so as to be able to call on NATO support.

This has so far been mainly peaceful in contrast to the Maidan protests, where policemen were set on fire and bulldozed by the fascist elements who were allowed and probably encouraged to take the lead.


French parliament bans genetically modified maize

© Reuters / Karl Plume
France's lower house of parliament passed a law Tuesday prohibiting genetically modified (GM) maize from being grown, citing environmental concerns. The law can be applied to any GM strain that is adopted at EU level.

The law follows a decree last month, which halted the planting of Monsanto's insect-resistant maize MON810, which will be allowed for cultivation in the EU, Reuters reported.

But if any strain of GM crop is adopted in the future at EU level - including Pioneer 1507, which was developed by DuPont and Dow Chemical - it will be subsequently banned in France.

Pioneer 1507 could be approved by the EU later this year, after 19 of the 28 EU member states failed to gather enough votes to block it.

The law adopted Tuesday by France's lower house (National Assembly) is similar to one rejected by the upper house (Senate) in February, which was seen as unconstitutional.
2 + 2 = 4

A high school students reveals the holes in Common Core

common core protest
© unknown
The federal government has developed a new platform for American education: the Common Core Curriculum.

The leftists have been promoting it across the liberal mainstream media. There is a minor hole in the media's coverage of Common Core; they never ask the ones being affected by this platform: the students. In order to establish my future statements, I am a sophomore in high school; I am an honors student participating in the college prep course.

Recently I was "selected" to participate in a "test of the test" for the new Common Core state test (the PARCC) which is set to replace the PSAE in the state of Illinois. On paper, Common Core sounds like a good idea, asking a student to explain how they got the wrong answer to a math problem and if they can explain their answer giving them credit for their work; however, in the long term, this will only undermine the American education system. We all (I hope) have been taught that 2+2=4. Under Common Core, if a student answers with 5 instead of 4, and can explain their answer, the student will receive credit.