Society's ChildS


Toddlers with guns kill more Americans than terrorists

children with gun
© Unknown
Americans hate terrorists and love our kids, right? So you might be shocked to know that preschoolers with guns have taken more lives so far this year than the single U.S. terrorist attack, which claimed four lives in Boston.

This is admittedly tongue-in-cheek, but one has to wonder if the NSA's PRISM program would have saved more lives had it been monitoring toddlers - or gun owners - rather than suspected terrorists.

11 Deaths in Five Months Where Shooter Was 3 to 6 Years Old

Listed below are the 11 gun fatalities I found where a preschooler pulled the trigger (from Jan. 1 to June 9, 2013). Starting with a list of five toddler shooting deaths The Jewish Daily Forward published in early May, I unearthed six additional cases. This tragic, unthinkable event has happened every month, like clock-work.

Heart - Black

Two women sue Live Oak County Jail, Texas, claiming guards ran a 'rape camp'

Jail bars
© Unknown
Two women in Texas claim the Live Oak County Jail employed guards who ran a "rape camp" out of the facility and "repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates."

The suit filed in federal court names Live Oak County and former jailers Vincent Aguilar, Israel Charles Jr. and Jaime Smith. The three guards - all employed by the Live Oak County Sheriff's Office - were arrested and charged with sexual assault in August 2010.

The two women, who were identified only as JAS and JMN, claim that, "beginning sometime in 2007 to at least August of 2010 the Live Oak County Sheriff's office ran a 'rape camp' known as the Live Oak County Jail."

Heart - Black

Chicago hospital accused of cutting throats for $160,000 Medicare payouts

Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago.
© Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times/AP PhotoSacred Heart Hospital in Chicago.
A surgeon at Chicago's Sacred Heart Hospital cut a hole in Earl Nattee's throat on Jan. 3, the day before he died. It's not clear why.

The medical file contained no explanation of the need for the procedure, called a tracheotomy, according to a state and federal inspection report that quotes Sacred Heart's chief nursing officer as saying it happened "out of the blue." Tracheotomies are typically used to open an air passage directly to the windpipe for patients who can't breathe otherwise.

Now, amid a federal investigation into allegations of unneeded tracheotomies at the hospital, Nattee's daughter, Antoinette Hayes, wonders whether her father was a pawn in what an FBI agent called a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.

"My daddy said, 'They're killing me,'" Hayes recalled, in reference to the care he received at the hospital.


GEAB N°76 - Alert for the second half of 2013 - Global systemic crisis II: second devastating explosion/social outburst on a worldwide scale

© unknown
The 2008 shock was certainly violent, but the reactions of the system, countries and central banks with their bailouts on an unprecedented scale, managed to hide the worst consequences: downgrading of the West in general and the United States in particular, a forced cleanup of the economy, a heavy fall from an artificial standard of living, mass unemployment, the beginning of social unrest... have been able to be partly neglected in favour of recovery hopes kept alive by irresponsible policies diverting liquidity to the banking systems and stock exchanges. Sadly, whilst the world drugged itself, global issues weren't addressed... five lost years: the building is even less strong than before the crisis; the US "solution" orchestrated by the Fed, that everyone else left it to manage to take the time to dress their own wounds, has been to put out with gasoline the fire which they themselves lit. It's not surprising then that it is still the US, pillar of the world before, refusing to fall in line, with their faithful Japanese and British floats, which is once again igniting the world situation. And this time, we shouldn't rely on bankrupt countries to save the situation: they are on their knees following the first shock in 2008. Therefore, it's actually a second world crisis which is looming, once again caused by the United States. Ultimately this five-year period will have been nothing other than taking a step back to enter into an even bigger crisis, which we have called "the crisis squared".

Layout of the full article:
1. A situation which is now out of control
2. A second US crisis
3. The impacts of the second shock
4. Different players' strategies
5. Failure of international institutions
6. Urgent recommendations

This public announcement contains sections 1 and 2

A situation which is now out of control

The illusions which have still blinded the last remaining optimists are in the process of dissipating. In previous GEAB issues we have already laid out the world economy's grim picture. Since then the situation has got worse. The Chinese economy confirms its slowdown (1) as well as Australia (2), emerging countries' currencies are disconnecting (3), bond interest rates are rising, UK salaries are continuing to fall (4), riots are affecting Turkey and even peaceful Sweden (5), the Eurozone is still in recession (6), the news filtering out of the United States is no longer cheerful (7)...


Three injured in Postville, Iowa plant explosion - Third such explosion in U.S. in 4 days

Three people were injured, one critically, in an overnight explosion at a Postville manufacturing plant, officials said.Rescue crews responded to the Norplex-Micarta laminate manufacturing plant around 1:20 a.m. after an explosion was reported.

Firefighters found blue smoke rolling out of one side of the building with lighter black smoke on the roof.

One person was critically injured in the blast and taken by helicopter to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics' Burn Unit in Iowa City. Another person with minor injuries was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, treated and released. A third person refused treatment at the scene, officials said.

The explosion activated the plant's sprinklers which helped suppress the fire and keep it from spreading. Firefighters entered the building to put out smaller fires and shut down gas valves, boilers and valves that transfer flammable materials used in the plant's manufacturing process, officials said.

Comment: See also:

Fire started by an explosion causes multiple injuries at Louisiana chemical plant

Another chemical plant explosion in Louisiana!

Eye 1

U.S. troops are stationed in Japan to protect the nation - but to sex workers in Okinawa, they bring fear, not security

Okinawa has lived uneasily for decades with its huge American military presence
Business is slow in Okinawa's biggest red-light district. Touts stand idle beneath neon signs advertising "soap-land" brothels, where prostitutes lather male clients for money. A handful of men loiter to peer at the photos of women pasted on billboards outside, though few appear willing to part with Y15,000 (£100) to spend an hour with one inside. Desperate as some of the businesses are, however, many still decline one type of customer: US military servicemen.

"Too much trouble," explains one tout working the Tsuji-machi district of Naha, Okinawa's capital. The soap-land businesses that do admit Americans tend to pair them with older, more experienced women. "They scare the younger girls," says another tout. "Especially when they have had a few drinks."

Okinawa has lived uneasily for decades with its huge American military presence. US bases occupy nearly 20 per cent of the crowded main island of Japan's southernmost prefecture, as part of Tokyo's half-century alliance with Washington. The US maintains 14 military installations on Okinawa housing roughly 25,000 men and women - the Marine Corps Northern Training Area alone occupies close to 40 square miles, and includes the world's only jungle warfare training centre.


World bodies say global food prices to rise

Governments need to boost investment to increase farm output, according to a forecast by international agencies

Rising global food demand will push up prices 10 to 40 per cent over the coming decade and governments need to boost investment to increase farm production, a forecast by two international agencies said on Thursday.

Growth in food production has slowed over the past decade even as rising incomes in developing countries boosted consumption, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"We're observing slower growth in production and productivity, and that is a concern," said Merritt Cluff, an FAO economist, at a news conference.

Governments need to find ways to give farmers access to technology to increase output and get more of their crops to market, the agencies said in a report, "Agricultural Outlook 2013-2022."

Prices are expected to rise 10 to 40 per cent over the coming decade, with the cost of meat rising faster and that of grains more slowly, according to Ken Ash, director-general of the OECD's trade and agriculture division.


Ecuadorean minister arrives in UK to discuss future of Julian Assange

William Hague to meet Ricardo Patino over WikiLeaks founder confined to embassy in London since August last year

© Frank Augstein/APWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, and Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Ecuador's foreign minister has arrived in Britain for talks with William Hague over the future of the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who has been confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London for almost a year.

Ricardo Patino met Assange on Sunday and will meet Hague on Monday. On Wednesday it will be one year since the WikiLeaks founder walked into the embassy in Knightsbridge in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex assault and rape accusations, which he denies.

In August last year, Ecuador granted him political asylum but the British authorities have made clear that he will be arrested if he leaves the building.

Patino said Assange was in "good spirits" despite the "limitations of his accommodation".

He added: "I was able to say face to face to him, for the first time, that the government of Ecuador remains firmly committed to protecting his human rights and that we continue to seek cast-iron assurances to avoid any onward extradition to a third state.

"During the meeting we were able to speak about the increasing threats against the freedom of people to communicate and to know the truth, threats which come from certain states that have put all of humanity under suspicion."

Since Assange entered the embassy, the Metropolitan police have maintained a round-the-clock guard, which cost £3.3m up to March.

Patino has previously accused the British government of trampling on the human rights of the Australian national by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador. Assange said last year he expected to wait six months to a year for a deal that would allow him to leave the embassy. On Sunday he said: "I remain immensely grateful to the support Ricardo, President [Rafael] Correa and the people of Ecuador have shown me over the last year."

He fears answering the allegations in Sweden would make him vulnerable to onward extradition to the US to face potential charges relating to the WikiLeaks releases, fears dismissed by Swedish prosecutors.

Eye 2

How Hollywood softened us up for NSA surveillance

From Enemy of the State to Eagle Eye to Minority Report, US films have accustomed us to the idea that we are constantly being watched

© Allstar/Touchstone/Sportsphoto LtdWill Smith is pursued by NSA agents in Enemy of the State
Last week's NSA leaks scandal had a scary side-story: a poll found that many Americans were not that worried about the degree of access the agency apparently now has to their digital lives. Perhaps it is because "precrime", a sci-fi concept of some vintage, is now real.

Hollywood has been softening us up for this for years now, accustoming us to the notion that our spending habits, our location, our every movement and conversation, are visible to others whose motives we cannot know.

The NSA (unofficial motto: "Nobody Say Anything") and Hollywood (unofficial motto: "Nobody Knows Anything") have been feeling each other up at arm's length for decades, but after 9/11 era the romance became official, and surveillance-based entertainment, from 24 to Alias, from Spooks to Big Brother to Person of Interest, went global.

In movies where the NSA appears as itself (or a production designer's imagining thereof), there is always one rogue NSA agent abusing the vast informational and surveillance capabilities available to him. In Enemy of the State, it is the dependably barmy Jon Voight who goes off the reservation, and in Echelon Conspiracy, it is Martin Sheen. But these lone villains are routinely depicted as abusing a magnificent and fundamentally benign spy apparatus. The thing itself is morally neutral, they seem to argue, it is bad humans who make it behave badly.

In Eagle Eye, the Department of Defence surveillance programme ARIIA (autonomous reconnaissance intelligence integration analyst - sexily voiced by Julianne Moore) goes all Skynet on its users, becoming self-aware and determining by ruthless logic that the real bug in the system isn't digital at all - it is the human political class, and resolving to wipe out the lot of them at the state of the union address.

The NSA has been up to its tricks since the late 1940s, and people have been fretting about it for almost as long. Philip K Dick, patron saint of American paranoia, wrote Minority Report in 1956, in which the precrime police of Washington DC claim to foresee crimes in order to prevent them. The usually less swivel-eyed Isaac Asimov, in his 1958 story All the Troubles of the World, delineated a computer system not unlike the NSA's called Multivac, which aims to drain the world's entire fund of raw data for its insights into future crime. You can tell how that ends by the title.

We have been here before, folks - we were just never quite so happy about it.

Arrow Up

U.S. wholesale prices rise 0.5 percent in May

Washington - A rise in food and gas costs drove a measure of wholesale prices up sharply in May. But outside those volatile categories, inflation was mild.

The Labor Department said Friday that the producer price index rose 0.5 percent in May from April. Gas prices rose 1.5 percent last month, and food costs increased 0.6 percent.

The increase last month followed a 0.7 percent decline in April and a 0.6 percent drop in March, both of which were driven by steep declines in gas prices.

Core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose just 0.1 percent in May. That matches the April increase.

The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer.

Source: Associated Press