Society's ChildS

Black Magic

Alleged animal sacrifice discovered at Lake Merced, San Francisco

Animal Sacrifice
© Courtesy @DStevensonKTVU/Twitter Two chukars were found at Lake Merced in what Animal Care and Control described as an animal sacrifice.
San Francisco police and Animal Care and Control were called out to Lake Merced on Tuesday morning to clean up the scene of what appeared to be an animal sacrifice, officials said.

Police were contacted about 11 a.m. regarding two dead animals seemingly sacrificed in the area of John Muir Drive and Lake Merced Boulevard, Officer Gordon Shyy said. Police then forwarded the call to the Animal Care and Control department.

Once there, ACC officers determined that the two animals were chukars, a type of partridge, which can generally be found at live food markets sold as game birds, spokeswoman Deb Campbell said.

Star of David

Israel worries U.S. boycott could go contagious

 A demonstrator displays a sign reading
© UnknownA demonstrator displays a sign reading "Boycott Israel" in Dublin, Ireland. (file photo)

Israel has expressed alarm over a boycott of its academic institutions by a powerful group of American scholars, saying other academic organizations in the United States could take similar action.

On Sunday, the American Studies Association (ASA), which has nearly 5,000 members, approved the academic boycott of Israel to protest its treatment of Palestinians, indicating that a movement to isolate the apartheid regime of Israel that is gaining momentum in Europe has also hit the US.

"The ASA condemns the United States' significant role in aiding and abetting Israel's violations of human rights against Palestinians and its occupation of Palestinian lands through its use of the veto in the UN Security Council," the organization said in a statement explaining the endorsement.

On Tuesday, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin termed the ASA as a "radical leftist group", but added that "we need to prepare for the danger that it (boycott call) will pass to other, more serious academic forums."

He stated that Israeli officials were striving hard to discourage other American groups from following the ASA's lead.


Prison industrial complex! Colorado and other states illegally jail poor people unable to pay exorbitant court fines

© AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan
Jails in multiple cities throughout Colorado regularly imprison people who were previously given a fine by a court but are simply too poor to pay it, according to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union that calls for an end to this practice.

The ACLU conducted investigations in municipal courts of Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and Northglenn, Colorado - all of which are located just outside Denver - and found that each of the cities regularly hand out "pay or serve" warrants that lock up those who cannot foot the bill.

One of the subjects was Linda Roberts, a 55-year-old grandmother who struggles with a disability and survives on food stamps. She was arrested in June 2012, according to the ACLU, for stealing $20 worth of groceries. Upon pleading guilty, she was ordered to pay a $371 fine, which was then raised to a $746 fine when she did not pay the initial amount.

Ms. Roberts was arrested in October of that year and served 15 days in the county jail. She now maintains that, during her stint behind bars, she appeared in front of a court and was forced to serve the duration of the 15 days unless she could pay the fine.

Roberts' story and others like it come after a number of recent ACLU investigations found similar circumstances at prisons in Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama. Yet the practice has been illegal since the 1830s, and a Supreme Court ruling from 1983 upheld that "a sentencing court cannot properly revoke a defendant's probation for failure to pay a fine and make restitution..."

Part of the motivation to keep this practice alive in some states is the growing influence of private prison firms, which always need inmates in their facilities in order to earn a profit. Yet this does not seem to be done for the benefit of the taxpayer.


Outcry in Italy over video of naked refugees being disinfected in public

Parliamentary speaker Laura Boldrini condemns treatment of migrants seen stripping naked at Lampedusa reception centre

Video footage appearing to show migrants at the reception centre on Lampedusa standing naked in the open air while waiting to be sprayed for scabies has provoked a storm of protest in Italy.

Broadcast by the Rai 2 television channel on Monday night, the pictures appeared to show a practice that was labelled "unworthy of a civilised country" by Laura Boldrini, the speaker of the lower house of parliament. Coming barely two months after hundreds of people died in two separate disasters in the Mediterranean, the footage provoked renewed criticism of Italy's creaking reception system for asylum seekers and refugees.

"Italy should be ashamed," Giusi Nicolini, mayor of Lampedusa, told Rai 2 television. "It [the reception system] has to change. This is not what we were expecting to see just two months after the shipwrecks which prompted weeping, tears, commitments and promises."

In the footage, which appeared to have been shot on a mobile phone, at least two men at the reception centre are shown standing with no clothes on, while others are undressing.


China says six arrested after deadly riot in Xinjiang

Chinese police have arrested six people they suspect of taking part in a riot near the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, in the restive far western Muslim region of Xinjiang, in which 16 people were killed, the regional government said.
© Rooney Chin/ReutersA security officer holds out a detector on a street in Urumqi, Xinjiang.
The arrests, reported by the Xinjiang government in a statement on an official news site late on Monday, came a day after Chinese police shot and killed 14 people during the riot. Two policemen were also killed.

The government statement called the incident "an organised, pre-meditated, violent terror attack".

"The gang repeatedly gathered to watch violent, terrorist videos, promoted extremist religious ideology, manufactured explosive devices and guns, conducted test explosions several times and planned to carry out violent terrorist activities," the Xinjiang government said.

China has previously called some of the violence in Xinjiang the work of Islamist militants plotting holy war.

On Monday, China's Foreign Ministry stopped short of directly blaming Islamist militants but said a "violent terror gang" attacked police with explosives.

The Xinjiang government said the "terror gang" made up of 20 members was formed in August and was led by a person they named as Hesen Ismail.


Another cracked windshield? Russian plane to Dubai turns back due to windshield crack

© RIA Novosti. Alexander PaniotovAirport in Krasnoyarsk
A plane bound for Dubai from the eastern Russian city of Krasnoyarsk was forced to turn back because of a crack on its cockpit window, officials said Tuesday.

The crew noticed during the plane's initial ascent that the glass on the co-pilot's side of the front windshield was cracked, and so decided to turn around, the Western Siberian Transport Prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Comment: Another cracked windshield? We wonder if there is any connection to the following case:
Explanation for 13 cracked airplane windscreens doesn't fly!


Boston Bombings investigation reveals murdered accused Tamerlan Tsarnaev suspected he had been mind-programmed by "majestic mind control"

The Tsarnaev Bros: Made in the USA
Suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev heard voices inside his head and had an alter-ego, a report published in The Boston Globe claimed yesterday.

As part of a five-month investigation, the Globe spoke to a number of sources close to Tsarnaev. Donald Larking, 67, who attended the same Boston mosque as the suspected bomber, said Tsarnaev believed the voices were part of a "majestic mind control", which was "a way of breaking down a person and creating an alternative personality with which they must coexist."

Larking also told the Globe that Tsarnaev was "torn" between himself and an alter-ego. "You can give a signal, a phrase or a gesture, and bring out the alternate personality and make them do things," he said; "Tamerlan thought someone might have done that to him."

According to the report, the voices "came to [Tsarnaev] at unexpected times, an internal rambling that he alone could hear. Alarmed, he confided to his mother that the voice 'felt like two people inside of me.'

Comment: Shades of Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, Timothy McVeigh, James Holmes, etc, etc.

To the question of whether or not MK-Ultra type programs ended in the late 1960s, here is the answer!


Land of the free? U.S. has 25 percent of the world's prisoners

© shutterstock
The United States has about five percent of the world's population and houses around 25 percent of its prisoners. In large part, that's the result of the "war on drugs" and long mandatory minimum sentences, but it also reflects America's tendency to criminalize acts that other countries view as civil violations.

In 2010, The Economist highlighted a case in which four Americans were arrested for importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than in cardboard boxes. That violated a Honduran law which that country no longer enforces, but because it's still on the books there its enforced here. "The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece." When the article was published 10 years later, two of them were still behind bars.

A UN report noted that Alabama officials had arrested dozens of people who were too poor to repair septic systems that violated state health laws. In one case, authorities took steps to arrest a 27-year-old single mother living in a mobile home with her autistic child for the same "crime." Replacing the system would have cost more than her $12,000 annual income, according to the report.

As The Economist put it:
America imprisons people for technical violations of immigration laws, environmental standards and arcane business rules. So many federal rules carry criminal penalties that experts struggle to count them. Many are incomprehensible. Few are ever repealed, though the Supreme Court... pared back a law against depriving the public of "the intangible right of honest services", which prosecutors loved because they could use it against almost anyone. Still, they have plenty of other weapons. By counting each e-mail sent by a white-collar wrongdoer as a separate case of wire fraud, prosecutors can threaten him with a gargantuan sentence unless he confesses, or informs on his boss. The potential for injustice is obvious.

Arrow Down

Argentina to tighten food price controls (again) in effort to calm mass unrest

Looters in Argentina carry out the example set for them by their leaders
Argentina will intensify control over price limits on food products after the fastest inflation in two years sparked police strikes and looting.

The government will widen controls to include food producers as well as vendors and monitor prices in real time by tracking bar codes in a pact with companies that will be voluntary, Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich told reporters in Buenos Aires today. The agreement will span more than 180 goods including meat, cooking oil and bread, he said.

The government in June froze the price of 500 goods on supermarket shelves in a bid to rein in the region's second-fastest inflation. Speculation by businessmen, not government spending and money printing, is causing prices to rise, Capitanich said. At least eight people have died this month in looting across the country sparked by police strikes demanding higher wages to cope with the surging cost of living.

"There's a contagious effect on prices - if the price of milk rises, so does the price of a haircut," Capitanich said. "We are going to be rigorous with price controls on basic products. We want to protect consumers' pockets."

Inflation in November quickened to 26.8 percent in November from a year earlier, according to a monthly survey of economists published by opposition lawmakers. That's the fastest pace since lawmakers began distributing the report in May 2011 to protect the identity of the analysts who were fined by the government for reporting data that differed from official figures.

Comment: See also:

Argentina freezes supermarket prices in attempt to break inflation spiral brought on by skyrocketing food prices

24 hours of looting and civil unrest in Córdoba, Argentina


Why are Americans staying put?

moving truck
© llustration by Kelsey Dake
Economists admire Americans for many traits: our profound respect for property rights, our tendency to forgo vacation days, our ingenious methods of mass-producing "food." Another important attribute is our willingness to move, between houses, between states and across the country. Some economists believe our inborn rootlessness makes the country's work force more dynamic and strengthens our economy's growth. Imagine how much worse off the country might be if the 49ers had decided against making the trek to California or the sharecroppers chose to stay in the South.

Economic mobility and geographic mobility have been closely linked for much of American history, so economists find it troubling that migration rates have been in decline lately. The proportion of Americans moving has fallen to new postwar lows in the past few years. According to Census Bureau data from 2013, about 4.8 million Americans moved across state lines in the previous year. That is down from 5.7 million in 2006 and 7.5 million in 1999. All in all, the percentage of Americans moving across state lines has fallen by about half since the 1990s.

The slowdown represents a tectonic shift in our economy and labor market: It has affected a huge swath of Americans across all industries and of all incomes and ages. Even immigrants to the United States are more likely to stay put where they first settle than they were 30 years ago. But economists are divided on why that is and on what it all means - and especially on whether a less-mobile labor force will mean a more sluggish economy.

Comment: Or, we could also look at it this way: perhaps with the rise in service-industry related jobs, the decrease in manufacturing, the outsourcing of previously U.S. based positions, and the much lower wages offered across the board in the service industry that now 'blankets' the U.S., a significant number of Americans are experiencing enough trouble just keeping food on the table and making ends meet, let alone scraping together enough money to relocate across state lines.