Society's ChildS


Hourglass

Clock is ticking: Russia warns it will not extend capital amnesty program

clock moscow building
© Anton Denisov / Sputnik
The Russian Finance Ministry has urged businesses to hurry up with asset declarations as it does not plan prolonging the capital amnesty which was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

"I would like to remind that currently there's a package of amnesty rules which provides a unique opportunity for those with undeclared foreign accounts and assets," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Thursday.

According to the minister, using the amnesty will avoid criminal, administrative and tax liability.

"The terms of the amnesty are limited - a declaration has to be submitted by July 1, 2016 - and we do not plan to extend it," Siluanov said.

Comment: Russia making strides in cutting down on illegal capital drain


Quenelle

Georgia couple exonerated by filming corrupt cop attempting to extort money from them

corrupt cop grant kid
An innocent couple exonerated themselves after secretly recording a Clayton County cop trying to shake them down.

Earlier this year, Mike and Michelle Pierce, who run a thrift and salvage business in Griffin, decided to buy a car from an auction; a decision that would later haunt them. It turned out that the car was stolen.

The Pierces had no clue the car they just purchased was stolen, but as soon as they found out it was, they called 9-1-1 and handed the car over. However, after they turned the car over, police gave it back and then arrested them for having it.

"They arrested us in our store in the middle of the day," said Michael Pierce.

"We didn't know why. They just threw the cuffs on me and put me in the back of the car," Michelle Pierce cried as she told WSB-TV her story. "That was the worst thing."

The gross police incompetence that led to the innocent couple be locked up was only the beginning of their legal debacle with Clayton County police, however.

Nuke

As Americans bicker about gender-neutral toilets, three nuclear disasters are unfolding

nuclear radiation
© someinterestingfacts.net
As the debate over which bathroom an individual should use based on their sexual identity heats up, we are witnessing the ignorant and brash nature of state enforcement of these edicts come to a head.

It is not only a distraction and a means for the state to get involved in your bowel movements, but it paints the trans and gay community in a negative light by asserting there is some sexual stigma involved in relieving one's bladder.

The end result of such obstinate legalese clouding the minds of the public is going to be state violence initiated against individuals who have caused zero harm.

As individuals argue over how much government should be in the bathroom, nuclear environmental disasters are unfolding before our eyes. However, many Americans are too blinded by the blue glow of the television to notice.

Eye 1

A chilling effect: Government surveillance and self-censorship

spying
Big Brother is watching you and he wants you to believe that if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.

This is a lie, of course, and as we move deeper into the era of state sponsored technological surveillance, we see more evidence that the loss of privacy and confidence in inter-personal communications is transforming the individual into a compliant, self-policing ward of the state.

In one of the first empirical scientific studies to provide concrete evidence of the 'chilling effects' that government surveillance has on internet users, Oxford University professor Jon Penney looked at Wikipedia search data and traffic patterns before and after the 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden regarding widespread NSA surveillance of the internet. The results demonstrated an immediate trend towards self-censorship, as traffic and searches for terms like 'Al Qaeda,' 'car bomb,' and 'Taliban' showed nearly instant and mentionable decline.

Comment: See also:


Quenelle

Let them eat mealworms: Swedish government wants to replace conventional meat with bugs

meal worms
The Swedish government is taking an extremely bizarre commitment to fighting climate change by spending large sums of taxpayer money to develop 'meat' made from mealworms and crickets.

Vinnova, the Swedish government agency that distributes money for research and development, is spending some 2.7 billion kronor ($261 million) to replace conventional meat with 'climate-friendly' insect 'meat' and other strange alternatives.

Yum...

Comment: First, global warming is a scam and neither cow farts nor cow farming have anything to do with the climactic changes occurring on this planet. Second, it's pretty much guaranteed that these government officials won't be participating in this particular form of food austerity. Mealworms are for the peons while they save the real meat for themselves.


Question

Apple engineer commits suicide at company headquarters

Apple headquarters
It's a mystery to his friends...

A 25-year-old software engineer named Edward Mackowiak who worked for Apple has reportedly shot himself in the head at the company headquarters in Cupertino. His death was quickly ruled a suicide just hours later after police found no evidence of foul play at the scene.

What's strange is how the company refused to give any details about what Mackowiak actually did there. The only information about his job was on a hastily removed Linkedin page. Gizmodo reports it was sparse as well, simply listing him as a software engineer at Apple. His Twitter account has also been quickly deleted. It's as if the guy himself is being digitally erased post haste.

Star of David

High wire act of faith or a loophole?

Eruv 4 views
© cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com
Being Jewish in Manhattan comes with strings attached. Orthodox Jews are allowed to push baby strollers and carry prayer books on the Jewish Sabbath thanks to a loophole made of fishing line that stretches some 18 miles on utility poles around the city. The line forms a nearly invisible enclosure, called an eruv in ­Hebrew. Jews are prohibited from doing these simple tasks outside on the Sabbath, but carry them out in the confines of the eruv because it symbolically turns a public space into a private one.

Every Thursday, two Hasidic rabbis drive along the border of the eruv to conduct pre-dawn inspections. If they spot a break, they report it immediately to a maintenance crew that dispatches repair workers. Yearly upkeep is divided among Orthodox synagogues in Manhattan and amounts to about $100,000.

Strong winds, heavy snow and floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade have damaged the fishing lines that are suspended 20-feet high and which stretch from Harlem to Houston Street, from the East River to the Hudson. The rabbis return on Friday mornings to make sure the repairs are complete. "It's a secret operation," said Adam Mintz, a Manhattan rabbi whose 2011 doctoral thesis at NYU was entitled "Halakhah in America: The History of City Eruvin, 1894-1962." [dissertation on the eruv] The eruv boundaries, which are mapped on Google, have a Twitter feed to let the devout know everything is kosher.


Comment: Over 200 cities in North America and also cities in other countries have this arrangement. Strategic enclosure stretched to the limits of definition.


Black Cat

Culture of abuse: Texas school district facing lawsuit after school cop assaults students

abilene school cop violence
A Texas school district is facing legal problems after a school resource officer allegedly assaulted three students. The families of the students are suing the officer, the school district, and the city of Abilene for the mistreatment.

The City of Abilene, the Abilene Independent School District (AISD), and Barry Bond are all named in a lawsuit filed by the parents of three students who claim that Officer Bond "used unreasonable physical force and restraint against them," accordingto the document.

The students who claim to have been mistreated by Officer Bond are a 6-year-old, a 13-year-old, and a 15-year-old.

E.G.: Kindergartner

The 6-year-old, known as E.G., crossed paths with Officer Bond in early May 2014 after he grabbed a door to avoid going into school. His mother, Vania Gonzalez, claims a teacher's aide instructed her to get help from Officer Bond. Bond told Gonzalez that he would take her son to a "time-out room" and "rough him up" before proceeding to twist his arms behind his back in order to lift him off of the ground and carry him to class.

The position that E.G was placed in is known as an "arm bar maneuver" that officers typically use to restrain adults resisting arrest. The move is also seen in mixed martial arts competitions, with Bleacher Report considering it among the most painful moves.

When Bond delivered the boy to class, his attempt to put the 6-year-old in his desk was so rough that E.G.'s head was slammed on the desk and a corner of the chalkboard. The lawsuit claims that at the time of the incident, E.G. was four feet tall and 45 pounds. In the lawsuit, Gonzalez claims to have not interfered with Officer Bond because of his position as an SRO and her personal fear of him.

Comment: The disturbing history of police in schools: More than a few rogue cops


Arrow Down

No moral compass: British austerity has created a country of destitution

disabled Britain, homeless Britain
© Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Hundreds of thousands of disabled people in Britain are forced to live in destitution and are unable to afford basic requirements such as food, shelter and clothing, the UK's first study examining extreme poverty suggests.

The report, which was commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), was published earlier this week. Amid growing concern that extreme poverty is on the rise in Britain, the UK-based group pushed for academics to investigate the matter.

Toxic debt & spiraling health costs

The groundbreaking study was conducted by researchers at Herriot-Watt University, a range of other experts and a number of key UK service providers.

Central to its findings was a new method to measure the scale of extreme poverty - or destitution - in Britain.

The report revealed that 1.25 million people faced destitution in 2015, 312,000 of whom were children. The vast majority (80 percent) were born on British soil.

Individuals burdened with toxic debt and an inability to pay for spiraling health costs were found to have faced a tipping point, which pushed them from an impoverished state into a state of destitution, where life's basic essentials were beyond their grasp.

Comment:


Whistle

TSA whistleblower: Orders were to profile Somali imams; he refused

Rhoades
© www.citypages.comTSA whistleblower Andrew Rhoades accused of "going native."
Minnesota is home to one in three Somalis in the US, according to MPR News, and Somali leaders in the Twin Cities claim that members of their community are subject to higher scrutiny and harassment from TSA agents. In an effort to address these concerns, Andrew Rhoades, an assistant federal security director for the TSA, met with Somali imams and others in the local Somali community. Rhoades's good intentions, however, were being undermined by his superiors.

Testifying at Wednesday's House oversight committee hearing, Rhoades said his supervisors had ulterior motives for the meetings. "Recently I was asked to profile Somali imams and community members visiting my office," Rhoades said, adding, "I will not do this," City Pages reported.

Rhoades told legislators that his TSA supervisors wanted to screen Somali-Americans through databases to check for terrorist ties, the Star Tribune reported. The problem with this, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, is that Somalis would be screened for terrorist connections "by the same office designed to address their complaints."

Rhoades went on to describe a toxic work climate fostered by the TSA, a "culture of misconduct, retaliation, lack of trust, cover-ups, and the refusal to hold its senior leaders accountable for poor judgment and malfeasance."His testimony described a "punitive" system of punishing employees through transfers and demotions.

Comment: TSA says it doesn't tolerate racial profiling. Clearly it does, according to both employees and community members. Somalis in Minneapolis concur they are under surveillance and being profiled whether they fly or not. Resisting a supervisor's order or filing a complaint results in a demotion and transfer to other parts of the USA, each move paid for in total by the US public. Mr. Rhoades said, "TSA's problems are rooted in the areas of leadership and culture...and the refusal to hold its senior leaders accountable for poor judgment and malfeasance." When you are the maker of the rules and you are the enforcer of those rules, odd how it rarely applies to you.

See also: TSA whistleblowers: Agency has "bully bosses" and "Lord of the Flies" culture