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Sun, 25 Sep 2016
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Good cop, bad cop: Breaking the chain of obedience to wake up

"To live outside the Law, you must be honest." ~Bob Dylan
We are living in revelatory times. The mask of authoritarian rule is slowly dissolving. The veil is being lifted and the immoral power gained from deception and appropriation is slowly being replaced by a far superior moral power gained from truth and prestige. More and more people are waking up to the fact that power gained from violence is immoral. The era of blind allegiance is coming to an end. But it's a slow and frustrating process for those few of us who have already remedied such a fear-based, slave-prone disposition and eliminated it from our mindset and lifestyle.

The most apparent crack in the tank-like armor of authoritarian rule lately, has been the gradual realization that police are nothing more than hired thugs paid to uphold the outdated laws of the authoritarian state. As it stands, the authoritarian state represents immoral power gained from smoke-and-mirror deception and violent appropriation. Cops are paid to uphold this immoral institution. Even worse, they are expected to be proud of it.

Here's the thing: there are good people, but there are no good cops. In order to be a "good cop" the officer would have to hold people accountable to outdated, stupid, and in some cases, downright violent and immoral laws. Which would make the officer a bad person. So the officer is caught in a catch-22. Either the officer chooses to be a good person and does not enforce those laws, in which case he chooses to be a bad cop; or the officer chooses to be a "good cop" by enforcing those laws, in which case he chooses to be a bad person.

Apple Green

School cafeteria worker quits after 'lunch shaming' policy forced her to take hot meal from first grade kid

© Rick Wilking / Reuters
A cafeteria employee for a Pennsylvanian elementary school quit her job after she was forced to take a hot lunch away from a child whose parents had fallen behind the $25 limit for school lunches.

Stacy Koltiska says she resigned from Wylandville Elementary in the Canon-McMillan School District last week because she had to deny two children hot lunches under the new strict policy that was enacted to tackle $100,000 in debt built up by unpaid lunch fees.

Under the new rules, students from kindergarten to sixth grade will not be served hot lunches if their parents owe more than $25 to their meal accounts. Instead, the children will be given a cold sandwich, fruit and milk.

Comment: Punishing kids for a parent's failure; never a good idea.


Blue lives matter if you're a dog: The rise in heat-related deaths of K-9 cops

K9 officer John Greene and his dog Nitro sit in their car at the DPS station in Detroit before a chase.
High summer temperatures have claimed the lives of 16 police dogs this year, most of which died as a result of being left unattended in sweltering vehicles, according to figures reported by an animal rights organization and a group that tracks canine law enforcement deaths.

Police dog deaths increased from last summer, when 12 dogs died of heat exhaustion.

This year is edging out 2015 as a more dangerous year for police dogs overall. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks both human and canine law enforcement deaths in the United States, 28 police dogs have died so far this year. Last year, the group reported the deaths of 27 police dogs.

In addition to a rise in heat-related deaths, this year has also seen a rise in shooting deaths. Eight dogs have died as a result of gunfire in 2016, including two accidental gun deaths, while only four police dogs were shot in all of 2015.

Katie Arth, a media assistant manager at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told MintPress News that the organization supports the responsible use of police dogs, despite the risks the animals sometimes face.

Comment: Looks like the cops can't even be entrusted with canine lives.


Wage gap between white and black workers largest in 36 years, black men make 31% less than white counterparts

© Rebecca Cook / Reuters
The wage gap between black and white workers in the US has increased significantly since 1979, all while productivity has gone up by nearly 63 percent overall, according to a new report.

Racial wage discrimination, racial disparities in "unobserved or unmeasured skills," overall rising unemployment, weakened labor unions, and insignificant minimum-wage increases have led to a widening of the black-white wage gap over the last 30 years, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

In 2015, black men made 22 percent less, and black women made 34.2 percent less, in average hourly wages compared to white men with the same education, work experience, region of residence, and metro status, the EPI found, while black women made 11.7 percent less than white women with the same characteristics. In 1979, black men and women who shared the same characteristics as their white peers made 16.9 percent less and 4.5 percent less, respectively.

Overall average hourly wage gaps have widened as well. Black men's average hourly wages had fallen to 31 percent lower than those of white men by 2015, compared to 22.2 percent lower in 1979. Black women's average hourly wages had decreased to 19 percent lower than white women in 2015, as opposed to 6 percent lower in 1979.


Passenger train crashes in Calgary, leaving driver in serious condition

© why_party / Instagram
A passenger train in Calgary, Canada overshot the platform at Tuscany station Tuesday morning, careering off the tracks and crashing through a fence. The driver received emergency treatment after suffering serious injuries.

According to local reports, the train was carrying only two passengers at the time of the crash at 7 a.m. local time, and no other injuries were reported.

The C-Train operator, a woman in her 60s, was reportedly transported to the Foothills Medical Centre. Emergency Medical Services spokesman Stuart Brideaux said it "was difficult to get her out of the damaged train," reports CBC.

Snakes in Suits

Like putting lipstick on a pig: Bayer considering changing Monsanto name because of bad reputation

© Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
A woman reacts to an activist carrying a box with a transgenic symbol during a protest against Monsanto in Brazil
German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, which last week agreed to acquire GMO maker Monsanto, may get rid of the US company's brand name to improve the firm's reputation.

A Bloomberg article titled, 'Heroin, Nazis, and Agent Orange: Inside the $66 Billion Merger of the Year,' didn't help.

People familiar with internal discussions at Bayer said the aspirin inventor is considering the name change to avoid sullying its reputation. They also said no decision has been made yet, and Bayer's managers could have some time to think it over.

Following the purchase agreement, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said there's an opportunity for the companies to jointly "get beyond this image and reputation thing" by building on the trust Bayer enjoys in Europe. In May the drug maker was named the world's most reputable pharmaceutical brand by the Reputation Institute.

The $66 billion acquisition deal, which is now being closely scrutinized by antitrust regulators, is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. If the deal goes through it will make Bayer the world's biggest seed and pesticide producer.

Comment: See also:


Russian health minister performs first aid, saves woman's life on New York-bound flight

© RT
Veronica Skvortsova, Russian health minister, on New York-bound plane where she saved the life of a woman who suffered a stroke.
An airplane en route from Moscow to New York was forced to land in St. Petersburg after one of the passengers suffered a stroke. The woman was aided by the Russian health minister, who happened to be on the same flight.

The Aeroflot Boeing 777 flight landed in St. Petersburg, northern Russia, around 12pm Moscow time after one of the passengers suffered a stroke. Russia's health minister, Veronika Skvortsova, performed first aid on the woman, possibly saving the passenger's life, before the airport medical crew arrived.

RT staff, traveling to New York for the Emmy Awards, were also on board. Here's how RT's deputy chief editor, Elizaveta Brodskaya, described the incident:

"We saw that a woman sitting next to us became ill. She turned very pale and passed out. The staff asked the passengers if there was a doctor on the plane who could help with first aid. For a good half an hour the minister and her team were busy helping the patient. They brought a suitcase with equipment. Skvortsova listened to the patient with a stethoscope and checked her pulse before moving on to first aid treatment."

Comment: Russia's health minister, Veronika Skvortsova is truly worthy of being at the Head of the Health Ministry.

Arrow Down

Wearing headscarf lowers women's chances for employment in Germany

© www.istockphoto.com
Wearing a headscarf lowers the chances of getting a job for women in Germany, a new study has revealed. A woman with the same skills set as others but wearing a headscarf in her CV picture was four times less likely to be invited to interviews, it was found.

Researchers from the Institute for the Study of Labor, an independent economic research institute headquartered in Bonn, Germany, examined the employment chances of females with backgrounds from Muslim countries, focusing on women wearing headscarves.

The researchers sent out some 1,500 applications for office worker positions, such as secretaries and accountants. They invented two fictional female characters, 'Meryem Öztürk' and 'Sandra Bauer', both 27, but created two CVs for Meryem Öztürk - one with her wearing a Muslim headscarf and another without it. The same woman posed for all three CVs, as the picture below shows.
© www.spiegel.de
Sandra Bauer • Meryem Öztürk • Meryem Öztürk


Pokemon Go player's assault in Central Park captured on live streaming video

© Fox5
A man playing Pokemon Go in Central Park early Sunday morning was punched in the face and mugged, and it was all captured on live streaming video.
A man playing Pokemon Go in Central Park early Sunday morning was punched in the face and mugged, and it was all captured on live streaming video.

The 43-year-old who uses the handle 'RickeyBot' was reportedly holding multiple cell phones as he walked along Central Park South and Sixth Ave. at about 2 a.m. Suddenly, you can see the man get punched in the jaw.

Police are trying to track down the attacker. Based on various social media posts, 'RickeyBot' believes he may have been targeted.

The victim is reportedly recovering from a bruised jaw.

Red Flag

Violence in Congo: Nearly 50 killed and police officer burned alive during anti-gov't protests

© Kenny Katombe / Reuters
Congolese opposition supporters chant slogans during a march to press President Joseph Kabila to step down in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, September 19, 2016.
Between 17 and 50 people have been killed in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after thousands-strong protests against President Joseph Kabila turned violent.

The demonstration against Kabila on Monday attracted thousands of protestors, but clashes with the police and security forces broke out shortly after they began.

NGOs and the opposition have accused police of using tear gas to disperse demonstrators before opening fire with live ammunition. As the situation escalated, protestors burned cars and set up barricades in the streets.

Police officers also fell victim to the violence, with Reuters reporting that one was set on fire by an angry mob in retaliation for the shooting. The attack was later confirmed by Interior Minister Evariste Boshab.

Comment: A little more context to account for the violence:
Many Congolese believe that the Congolese government of President Joseph Kabila is complicit in Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's attempts to annex portions of eastern Congo, and that Kabila needs Kagame and Museveni's support to cling to power beyond presidential term limits. They point to new massacres in Beni that occurred shortly after recent meetings between the three presidents.