Society's Child


FBI to begin tracking police shootings, data to be submitted voluntarily by law enforcement agencies

© Rick Wilking / Reuters
The aftermath of a police officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2015
The FBI will begin tracking information on officer-involved shootings for its annual crime report. However, relevant data will continue to be submitted by law enforcement agencies on a voluntary basis, leading critics to call the upcoming data unreliable.

"[T]o address the ongoing debate about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement, we plan to collect more data about shootings (fatal and nonfatal) between law enforcement and civilians, and to increase reporting overall," FBI Director James Comey said in a message introducing the 2014 Crime in the United States report.

The report comprises statistics and information provided by law enforcement agencies to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. It measures the nation's crime problem. Currently the program only collects data on the number of justifiable homicides reported by police as well as information about the felonious killing and assault of law enforcement officers.

Comment: Police are infamous for covering up their crimes, and often it is only when the civilian population forces the issue through social media and local news outlets that their malfeasance comes to light. This latest initiative by the FBI sounds more like a PR campaign than any real attempt to document police brutality or hold law enforcement agencies accountable.

Chart Bar

Exposing the ugly reality of wealth inequality

This chart of median household income illustrates why so many of us feel poorer-- we are poorer in terms of the purchasing power of our income.

A rising tide raises all boats, from rowboats to yachts--this is the narrative of "prosperity."

A rising tide is also the political cover for rising inequality: if the guy in the rowboat makes $100 more a month, he feels like he's participating in the prosperity.

Meanwhile, the guy in the speedboat is making $1,000 more a month and the guy in the yacht is making $1 million more a month.

But this doesn't bother the guy in the rowboat, for two reasons:

1. He thinks of himself as a guy who is currently in a rowboat on his way to buying a speedboat

2. Studies have found that our sense of wealth and "falling behind" is not defined by our actual increases in income or wealth, but by how we're doing relative to our peer group. If everyone else in rowboats is making $200 more a month in the rising tide of prosperity, the guy making only $100 more feels like he's falling behind--even if his absolute income and wealth is rising.

Comment: With the increasing signs pointing to a global economic meltdown, it may not be long before the masses finally wake up to the fact that they have been duped, and they decide it's time to bring out the pitchforks.


Are Brits and Americans being prepped for a military coup?

© aftermath news
A recent poll conducted by YouGov revealed that a sizable portion of the American public is open to the idea of a military coup in the United States. The poll was conducted amid the continual polling that takes place during the U.S. Presidential election yet it did not focus on the elections per se, but the potential lack of elections in the future.

The YouGov poll surveyed 1,000 people online and determined that 29% of Americans, over a quarter of the population, could imagine supporting a military coup against the civilian government. Only 41% could not imagine supporting a coup.

The numbers supporting a potential coup were highest among Republicans with 43% of them saying they could envision supporting a coup, 29% of independents followed, with Democrats trailing at 20%.

Light Saber

Monsanto sued over 'cancer-causing' weed-killer RoundUp

Two US agricultural workers have simultaneously sued Monsanto, claiming that the company's weed-killer herbicide caused their cancers. They have also accused the bio-tech giant of pressuring regulators to downplay the risks from its Roundup herbicide.

In his lawsuit against Monsanto, 58-year-old former farm worker Enrique Rubio said he believes that the bone cancer he was diagnosed with back in 1995 was a result of his work with Monsanto's weed-killer.

Comment: 'Decades of experience within agriculture and regulatory reviews using the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product contradict the claims in the suit which will be vigorously defended.'

How can Monsanto claim that they have the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled and completely deny the following negative health impacts of their products?

Monkey Wrench

Sanctions be damned: Russia to assemble Ford trucks

© Dave Kaup / Reuters
The Avtotor plant in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad is about to begin assembling Ford trucks. The vehicles will be adapted specifically for the Russian market and comply with European safety standards.

"We are in a pre-production stage of the four most popular models - tow trucks and road construction machinery ... Actual production will depend on market conditions, as well as currency and inflation that have a direct impact on this," Avtotor told RIA Novosti.

Comment: Once again the economic sanctions and attack on the ruble on Russia are having the opposite effect, much to the chagrin of the West.

Eye 1

Real Minority Report? Hitachi unveils technology that predicts crimes before they happen

© Luke Macgregor / Reuters
The Sci-Fi predicted future of crime prevention is here. Hitachi has unveiled a system capable of predicting crimes before they actually occur.

Dubbed Hitachi Visualization Predictive Crime Analytics (PCA), the system is able to process huge amounts of data from a variety of sources and then process it using machine-learning to establish patterns of potential violent behavior that humans might simply overlook.

"A human just can't handle when you get to the tens or hundreds of variables that could impact crime," Darrin Lipscomb, an executive in Hitachi's Public Safety and Visualization division, told the Fast Company.

Hitachi acquired the technology after purchasing two crime monitoring tech companies - Avrio and Pantascene - in September 2014.

PCA uses real-time social media and internet data feeds to make calculations and pin-point potential crime scenes down to a 200-square-meter spot. The system also allocates relative threat levels to every situation.

Comment: For more information on this disturbing technological trend, see also: "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Chicago's escalating violence: 14 people shot in 15 hours

© Scott Olson / AFP
Fourteen people were shot in Chicago over just 15 hours, as the week got off to a bloody start. The latest burst of violence follows two straight weekends where more than 50 people were shot. Chicago Mayor Emanuel said he was angry and "enough is enough."

Six people were killed and at least eight others injured in the 15-hour span between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The first of the shootings occurred Monday evening, when a family on its way back from an outing was gunned down in New City's Back of the Yards neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. A pregnant mother and grandmother were left dead, as were three others. An 11-month-old boy was wounded, police said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"You have an innocent family coming home from a family outing. Somebody opens fire on two women, a child and two men," Chicago Deputy Police Chief Eugene Roy told the media, according to the Huffington Post. "In a second, two generations of that child's family were wiped out."

Comment: It is not looking well for Chicago. As conditions worsen in the city, there will be more violence and no amount of policing will help. The root causes of the economic depression in Chicago must be addressed. Chicago's house prices are dropping worse than Detroit's.


Police blame explosive parcels for 15 massive blasts in Guangxi, China: At least 6 killed and 13 injured

At least six people were killed and dozens injured after parcels containing explosives caused massive explosions in several locations in Liucheng county and Liuzhou city, in China's north-central Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, CCTV reported.

Up to 15 explosions were heard across the city between 3.15pm and 5pm.

Of those killed, five were certified dead at the blast sites, and one died after being rescued.

Eye 1

TSA says it will stop searching black women's hair for drugs and weapons

© via ColorLines; h/t to Colorlines
The Transportation Security Administration has just announced that they will no longer search African American women's hair at airport checkpoints.

The TSA made headlines for this practice after American singer, songwriter, model, and actress, Solange announced to the media that her hair was publicly searched by TSA officers, when she was traveling back in 2012.

Now, Neuroscientist, Malaika Singleton of Sacramento, CA and Novella Coleman have filed suit against the TSA, prompting their agreement to stop searching Sub Saharan African hair.

Singleton tells the blog Black Girl Long Hair that she was "on her way to an academic conference in London when she was accosted by TSA officers who declared the need to publicly screen her sisterlocks".

She recalls, "I was going through the screening procedures like we all do, and after I stepped out of the full body scanner, the agent said, 'OK, now I'm going to check your hair."

BGLH notes that "The TSA agents pulled and squeezed Singleton's hair on her way to the conference and again when she returned home. Singleton then proceeded to contact the American Civil Liberties Union only to learn that a complaint had been filed by Novella Coleman, one of three black lawyers working there who also wore sisterlocks."

Coleman says this happened on two separate occasions. She asked the TSA officers why they were searching her hair of all things. They said that her hair was determined to have "abnormalities."

The TSA responded to the lawsuit by e-mailing the ACLU, announcing that they will retrain their officers to no longer single out people with African hair.
"MB (Multicultural Branch) will also commit to conducting an onsite training at LAX, subject to coordination with TSA LAX leadership, during the 2015 calendar year. In addition, even though TSA does incorporate nondiscrimination principles into its regular training, MB will work with the TSA's Office of Training and Workforce Engagement to make certain that current training related to nondiscrimination is clear and consistent for TSA's workforce. Furthermore, in light of recent concerns, MB will diligently work with TSA secured airports and monitor them for consistent implementation of DHS and TSA policies. MB will specifically track hair pat- down complaints filed with MB from African-American females throughout the country to assess whether a discriminatory impact may be occurring at a specific TSA secured location."


Tens of thousands continue protests in Moldova, demand the current government resign and hold early elections

© Ruptly / RT
Tens of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets of Moldova's capital, Chisinau, demanding the president and current government resign and early elections be held. The demonstrators have threatened to continue protests until their demands are met.

From 30,000 to 50,000 people gathered on the streets of Moldova's capital on Sunday for the demonstration, according to the organizers, RIA Novosti reported. The protesters waved Moldovan flags and chanted "Victory!""Moldova!" and "Down with the thieves!"

Comment: South Front Foreign Policy Diary: Unrest in Moldova - another Western imperial 'success'?