Society's Child


New Delhi police question Uber taxi service executive over customer rape allegation

uber taxi
Indian police questioned an Uber executive Tuesday about the company's claim it conducts comprehensive background checks and a top official called for the taxi-booking service to be banned nationwide after one of its New Delhi drivers was accused of rape.

New Delhi police official Brijendra Kumar Yadav said there is a possibility of criminal charges against the company if police find evidence the taxi-hailing app misrepresented the safety of its service.

The driver, 32-year-old Shiv Kumar Yadav, is being held by police and will appear again in a New Delhi court on Thursday. A 26-year-old woman who hired Yadav for a ride home from a dinner engagement Friday night accused him of rape.

Comment: What is Uber?
Uber is a rideshare and taxi service headquartered in San Francisco, United States (U.S.), which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests, and then sends these trip requests to their drivers. Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle's location. As of August 29, 2014, the service was available in 45 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide, and was valued at US$18.2 billion.

Upon inception, Uber offered only full-size luxury cars for hire, and the "UberBlack" title was adopted for the company's main service (named after the "black cars" private transportation services in New York City. In 2012, the company launched its "UberX" program, which expanded the service to any qualified driver with an acceptable vehicle. Due to a lack of regulation, Uber can offer lower fees, so the service has become extremely competitive with traditional taxi services, expanding Uber's appeal to a broader cross-section of the market.

Comment: Uber is not new to controversy and protests:
Uber is the subject of ongoing protests from taxi drivers, taxi companies and representative bodies who believe that ridesharing companies are illegal taxicab operations that engage in unfair business practices and compromise passenger safety. As of September 2014, protests had been staged in Germany, France and England, among other nations, while incidents involving passengers have been documented. Uber also continues to resolve issues with governmental bodies, including those of the U.S. and Australia.


3 questions to ask before putting cameras on cops

body cam_police
© Wochit
Two weeks ago, many of us were sure that if only Darren Wilson had had a body camera, justice would have been more easily served in Ferguson, Missouri - that a video record would have cleared the confusion over Officer Wilson's fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

Then, a week ago - only two days after President Obama proposed putting 50,000 more police body cameras into service - things didn't look so clear. Video taken by a passerby of Eric Garner's fatal chokehold arrest did not stop a grand jury from declining to bring an indictment.

It's not the first time a promised technological solution has looked less shiny upon closer inspection, but the stakes for this technology are extraordinarily high.

Before we follow our habit of attaching a camera to anything that moves - if we can put them on our dashboards and on our drones, why not our cops? - we need to ask a few questions, and get some good answers.

"Any police department that wants to use body cameras, it's a good decision," said Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury. "But you can't just throw the cameras out there and let the details sort themselves out."

Bank related death? Slain MassMutual executive had access to sensitive data on Bank-Owned Life Insurance policies

Melissa Millan
On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the body of 54-year old Melissa Millan, a divorced mother of two school-age children, was found at approximately 8 p.m. along a jogging path running parallel to Iron Horse Boulevard in Simsbury, Connecticut. A motorist had spotted the body and called the police.

According to the coroner's report, it was determined that Millan's death was attributable to a stab wound to the chest with an "edged weapon." Police ruled the death a homicide, a rarity for this town where residents feel safe enough to routinely jog by themselves on the same path used by Millan.

Information has now emerged that Millan had access to highly sensitive data on bank profits resulting from the collection of life insurance proceeds from her insurance company employer on the death of bank workers - data that a Federal regulator of banks has characterized as "trade secrets."

Comment: Considering the amounts of money involved and the growing number of mysterious deaths of bankers, the connection to Bank Owned Life Insurance policies does warrant investigation:

Death a trade secret? Suspicious deaths of bankers are now classified as "Trade Secrets", according to Federal regulator


The game is rigged: Why Americans keep losing to the police state

"The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens." - Leo Tolstoy
Rigged Game
© Pinterest
My 7-year-old granddaughter has suddenly developed a keen interest in card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Blackjack, and War. We've fallen into a set pattern now: every time we play, she deals the cards, and I pretend not to see her stacking the deck in her favor. And of course, I always lose.

I don't mind losing to my granddaughter at Old Maid, knowing full well the game is rigged. For now, it's fun and games, and she's winning. Where the rub comes in is in knowing that someday she'll be old enough to realize that being a citizen in the American police state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you're always going to lose.

The game is rigged, and "we the people" keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, we stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that our luck will change.

The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. The people dealing the cards - the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc. - have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the country and us.

It really doesn't matter what you call them - the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex - so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that it's our politics that divide us as a nation. As if there were really a difference between the Democrats and Republicans. As if the policies of George W. Bush were any different from those of Barack Obama. As if we weren't a nation of sheep being fattened for the kill by a ravenous government of wolves.

We're in trouble, folks, and changing the dealer won't save us: it's time to get out of the game

We have relinquished control of our government to overlords who care nothing for our rights, our dignity or our humanity, and now we're saddled with an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one.

Even revelations of wrongdoing amount to little in the way of changes for the better.

Pass the sick bag: Fox News analyst discussing torture report: 'The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome!'

Fox News host and authoritarian follower Andrea Tantaros
Fox News analysts, hosts and reporters on Tuesday wasted no time in blasting Democrats after Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released a report condemning the CIA's use of torture and other enhanced interrogation techniques.

Just moments after Feinstein announced on the floor of the Senate that the Intelligence Committee had made the long-delayed torture report public, Fox News National Security Analyst K.T. McFarland insisted that Democrats were going to "do harm" to the country by angering terrorists.

Comment: If people truly cared about angering terrorists, maybe they should start complaining about all the bombing of innocent civilians done by the U.S. military instead of doing what democracies should be doing by disclosing their illegal acts.

McFarland, who said that torture techniques were both legal and justified by the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, argued that Democrats were only releasing the report for political reasons.

"Why go after it now unless the motivation is completely political?" she remarked. "Congress is changing hands, the Senate is going from Democrat to Republican hands. And are the Democrats in the Senate just - they've been evicted from the house, are they just trashing the place before they leave?"

Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters told the hosts of Out Numbered that the American people did not need to know about torture at the CIA because "people do nasty things in the dark especially after a terrorist attack."

Comment: That's right, this person who is supposed to report on what our government is doing is saying that we should just stick our heads in the sand and let our government illegally torture people because we were attacked (by elements within our own government, don't forget!) by "terrorists". These people have completely stopped functioning as journalists. They are just mouthpieces for the empire, justifying horrific acts deemed illegal long ago because of their barbarity all in the name of protection.


Chaos erupts during Eric Garner demonstrations in Berkeley

berkeley police
© unknown
Berkeley police
The decision to leave the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown unpunished has students and locals outraged in Berkeley, as they came together yesterday evening to protest what they view as an unjust court system.

However, chaos erupted for the second night in a row, as demonstrators squared off against police and challenged looters that are taking advantage of the unrest. So far 5 police officers have suffered minor injuries, and at least a dozen protesters have been arrested since the unrest began on Saturday night.

While it appears that most of demonstrators have been peaceful, a small minority of agitators have been using the protest as cover for looting and mayhem.

Comment: See also: Thousands protest police violence in New York, call for justice in Eric Garner death

Americans, fed up with blatant injustice, are taking to the streets in large numbers to protest. It's just a shame that peaceful protests descend into madness and looting. Never discount the influence of agents provocateurs in such cases.


2011 Film: One Family in Gaza

© Jen Marlowe
One Family in Gaza

Just months after the 2008/9 Israeli assault that killed 1,390 Palestinians, filmmaker Jen Marlowe visited Gaza. Among dozens of painful stories she heard, one family stood out. She spent several days with Kamal and Wafaa Awajah, playing with their children, sleeping in the tent they were living in, and filming their story.

Wafaa described the execution of their son, Ibrahim. As she spoke, her children played on the rubble of their destroyed home. Kamal talked about struggling to help his kids heal from trauma.

Palestinians in Gaza are depicted either as violent terrorists or as helpless victims. The Awajah family challenges both portrayals. Through one family's story, the larger tragedy of Gaza is exposed, and the courage and resilience of its people shines through.

Comment: Israel has one goal: seize the land and kill all of the native Palestinians.

See also:

Post-It Note

'A universe beneath our feet': Life in Beijing's underground

© Sim Chi Yin/VII
Twenty-one-year-old Liu Jing sits in her apartment two stories underground in Beijing, China. Her laundry hangs above her head because there's nowhere else to put her clothes.
In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune - after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high.

But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You'll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city's residents and look underground.

Below the city's bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal - but affordable - apartments.

Comment: It is a shame that some people have to live this way. It happens all over the world due to psychopathic greed and mismanagement.

Heart - Black

India suspends controversial U.S. taxi contractor, Uber, after driver sexually assaults female passenger

© Hindustan Times/Getty Images
A candlelit vigil during a New Delhi protest against the rape of a female taxi passenger.
India ordered state governments to halt the operations of all unregistered, web-based taxi companies on Tuesday after a female passenger reported she was raped in New Delhi by a driver contracted to U.S. cab company Uber.

The case has caused uproar in India after it emerged that the suspect had previously been charged for rape but had obtained a character reference signed by a police officer that was forged.

It has also revealed a failure to regulate the booming market for app-based taxi services in India. The Delhi transport department said it ordered Uber to cease operations on Monday by post.

Comment: Also see:


The cult of Statism: The most dangerous religion

A great compilation of Larken Rose audio clips taken from various radio interviews put together in a compelling video. Larken explains how blind faith in government leads to excusing evil. Watch the video and see, is Statism the most dangerous religion?

Comment: Statism is describing the psychological state of "Authoritarian Followers".

"Part of the problem seems to be that a large proportion of any population is what psychologist Bob Altemeyer calls "Authoritarian Followers." Let me quote from the Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology: "Authoritarian personality", and "Authoritarian followers". According to the dictionary:
"Authoritarian followers have the psychological characteristic known as right-wing authoritarianism. This personality trait consists of authoritarian submission, a high degree of submission to the established authorities in one's society; authoritarian aggression, aggression directed against various persons in the name of those authorities; and conventionalism, a strong adherence to the social conventions endorsed by those authorities.

Right-wing authoritarianism ("right" comes from "lawful") is measured on so called RWA scale." The Dictionary tells us that:

.... persons who get high RWA scale scores quite readily submit to the established authorities in their lives and trust them far more than most people do.

They supported Richard Nixon to the bitter end during the Watergate crisis. High RWAs also believed George W. Bush when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and they supported the war in that country long after others had signed off. High RWAs also are relatively willing to let authorities run roughshod over civil liberties and constitutional guarantees of personal freedom. They seem to think that authorities are above the law.

Bob Altemeyer, one of the champions in the psychology of authoritarians, notices that authoritarians are characterized by a certain specific cognitive behavior:

Compared with others, authoritarians have not spent much time examining evidence, thinking critically, reaching independent conclusions and seeing whether their conclusions mesh with the other things they believe. (...) They carry a list of 'false teachings' and rejected ideologies in their heads. But they usually learned which ideas are bad in the same way they learned which are good - from the authorities in their lives. Highs are not prepared to think critically."

Global Pathocracy, Authoritarian Followers and the Hope of the World
See also: Ponerology: Why the Corrupt Few Wreak So Much Death, Destruction, and Suffering on the Rest of Us