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International Police Brutality Day
- Paris marks international day against police brutality
Police brutality is a problem almost all countries in the world are dealing with. People in the French capital have found a way to condemn this violence by marking the international day against police brutality, with plenty of victims given an opportunity to share their stories.
- Putin Orders “Main Part” Of Russian Army Out Of Syria As Peace-Talks Resume
Having collapsed just over a month ago, peace talks to end the Syrian strife resumed today amid the “fragile” truce brokered by US and Russia. So that makes the following even more intriguing:
- *PUTIN ORDERS `MAIN PART’ OF RUSSIAN ARMY TO START SYRIA PULLOUT
- *PUTIN SPOKE W/ ASSAD, TOLD HIM OF DECISION TO PULL OUT: PESKOV
So having stated proof of Turkish troops in Syria this morning, and after the resignation of the Russian navy commander, Putin tells the foreign ministry to intensify their role in the peace process.
Which seems like a tough proposition since it’s tough to “pull out” when you have an airbase and naval base…
- RUSSIA’S PUTIN SAYS RUSSIAN NAVAL BASE AND AIR BASE IN SYRIA CONTINUE TO OPERATE AS PREVIOUSLY
- RUSSIA’S PUTIN SAYS RUSSIAN FORCES IN SYRIA CREATED CONDITIONS FOR PEACE PROCESS
- Central banks beat Bitcoin at own game with rival supercurrency
Computer scientists have devised a digital crypto-currency in league with the Bank of England that could pose a devastating threat to large tranches of the financial industry, and profoundly change the management of monetary policy.
The proto-currency known as RSCoin has vastly greater scope than Bitcoin, used for peer-to-peer transactions by libertarians across the world, and beyond the control of any political authority.
The purpose would be turned upside down. RSCoin would be a tool of state control, allowing the central bank to keep a tight grip on the money supply and respond to crises. It would erode the exorbitant privilege of commercial banks of creating money out of thin air under a fractional reserve financial system.
“Whoever reacts too slowly to these developments is going to take it on the chin. They will lose their businesses,” said Dr George Danezis, who is working on the design at University College London.
“My advice is that companies should play very close attention to what is happening, because this will not go away,” he said. Layers of middlemen in payments systems face a creeping threat across the nexus of commerce, stockbroking, currency trading or derivatives. Many risk extinction over time.
“Deep in the markets there are dark pools buying and selling shares, and entities that facilitate that foreign exchange. There are Visa, Master, and PayPal. These are the sorts of guys that we are going to disrupt,” he said.
- Beyond Flint: Excessive lead levels found in almost 2,000 water systems across all 50 states
While a harsh national spotlight focuses on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.
The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares. The USA TODAY NETWORK investigation also found at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.
Many of the highest reported lead levels were found at schools and day cares. A water sample at a Maine elementary school was 42 times higher than the EPA limit of 15 parts per billion, while a Pennsylvania preschool was 14 times higher, records show. At an elementary school in Ithaca, N.Y., one sample tested this year at a stunning 5,000 ppb of lead, the EPA’s threshold for “hazardous waste.”
Big Biz Battles
- Scientist Who Discovered GMOs Cause Tumors in Rats Wins Landmark Defamation Lawsuit in Paris
Was French Prof. Gilles-Eric Séralini correct when he discovered that scientific feeding experiments past 90 days with GMO food and rats can cause serious health problems including tumors?
The answer to that question has been debated ever since the initial publication of his study, culminating in a republication of the study in another peer-reviewed journal that wasn’t nearly as well covered as the initial retraction was by the mainstream media.
Now, Prof. Séralini is in the news again – this time for winning a major court victory in a libel trial that represents the second court victory for Séralini and his team in less than a month.
On November 25, the High Court in Paris indicted Marc Fallous, the former chairman of France’s Biomolecular Engineering Commission, for “forgery” and the “use of forgery.” The details of the case have not been officially released.
But according to this article from the Séralini website, Fallous used or copied the signature of a scientist whose name was used, without his agreement, to argue that Séralini and his co-workers were wrong in their studies on Monsanto products, including GM corn.
A sentencing for Fallous is expected in June 2016.
Second Court Victory Reached
This was the second such court victory for the professor’s team, following a November 6 victory in a defamation lawsuit over an article in the French Marianne magazine which categorized the Séralini team research as “scientific fraud (you can read more about the case here).”
What few people realize about the original Séralini study on GMOs is that it was only retracted after a serious PR offensive from Monsanto and the Biotech industry, one that included the creation of a whole new position on the original Food and Toxicologyjournal: Associate Editor for Biotechnology.
The new position was actually filled by a former Monsanto employee who helped convince the journal’s author to retract the study.
Now more than 2 years later, these are the facts: Séralini and his team’s original studyhas been republished in a different peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Sciences Europe; they have won two key lawsuits against those who have attempted to ruin their reputations; and a recent peer-reviewed letter even asserted that Séralini and his team may have been right after all on their discovery showing tumors in lab rats fed GMOs.
In other words, the jury is still out on GMO safety to say the very least, just as countless independent scientists have warned, and Séralini’s study stands as yet another cause for concern with the ongoing GMO experiment. It also shows the lengths that the Biotech industry will go to in order to discredit any independent science that clashes with their own version of science.
- Breaking: Big Food Giant Guilty of Money Laundering in GMO Labeling Stunt
A landmark case about the dirty-money and politics that go into keeping Big Food and Big Biotech afloat was just decided.
Judge Anne Hirsch awarded a summary judgment in a suit brought against the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, finding the GMA guilty of a money laundering scheme that shielded members’ identities as they helped to defeat Washington’s 2013 GMO labeling ballot initiative, I-522, with their donations.
The GMA includes big names in the food industry like Monsanto, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, and General Mills. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson charged:
“The GMA worked to ‘shield’ the actions of major food companies from the very public entitled to know who was trying to influence their vote on Initiative 522… GMA’s conduct was so egregious that it ranks among the worst in state history.”
- Shocking Study Suggests Millions of Kids Misdiagnosed as Having ADHD Because of their Age
It’s common knowledge that the U.S. has an unusual dependency on prescription medication, highlighted by the current epidemic of opioid overdoses in adults. Children, too, have experienced an astronomical rise in a particular kind of medication—that used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The pharmaceutical industry found a gold mine in developing drugs to modify behavior in children. According to the documentary, The Drugging of Our Children, between 1995 and 2000, the number of psychotropic drugs prescribed to kids doubled. Each morning, more than 6 million children are given prescription medication before going to school, such as Ritalin or other amphetamines.
The diagnosis for ADHD is notoriously subjective, and has in many cases become a tool for teachers and school authorities to drug a child into “proper” behavior.
The most powerful symptom of ADHD in the psychiatric handbook, ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders, is when a child “often fidgets with hands and feet or squirms in seat.”
Other purported symptoms include blurting out answers before questions are completed (“impulsivity”) and failing to give close attention to details or giving careless mistakes in school work or other activities (“inattention”).
If a teacher notices too many instances of such odd behavior as fidgeting, not waiting their turn, stepping out of line or speaking out of turn, the teacher can initiate a psychiatric evaluation.
At this point one may be thinking, isn’t it normal for kids to do stuff like that?
Over the past century, more than a few great writers have expressed concern about humanity’s future. In The Iron Heel (1908), the American writer Jack London pictured a world in which a handful of wealthy corporate titans – the ‘oligarchs’ – kept the masses at bay with a brutal combination of rewards and punishments. Much of humanity lived in virtual slavery, while the fortunate ones were bought off with decent wages that allowed them to live comfortably – but without any real control over their lives.
In We (1924), the brilliant Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, anticipating the excesses of the emerging Soviet Union, envisioned a world in which people were kept in check through pervasive monitoring. The walls of their homes were made of clear glass, so everything they did could be observed. They were allowed to lower their shades an hour a day to have sex, but both the rendezvous time and the lover had to be registered first with the state.
In Brave New World (1932), the British author Aldous Huxley pictured a near-perfect society in which unhappiness and aggression had been engineered out of humanity through a combination of genetic engineering and psychological conditioning. And in the much darker novel 1984 (1949), Huxley’s compatriot George Orwell described a society in which thought itself was controlled; in Orwell’s world, children were taught to use a simplified form of English called Newspeak in order to assure that they could never express ideas that were dangerous to society.
Because people are far more likely to read and click on higher-ranked items, companies now spend billions of dollars every year trying to trick Google’s search algorithm – the computer program that does the selecting and ranking – into boosting them another notch or two. Moving up a notch can mean the difference between success and failure for a business, and moving into the top slots can be the key to fat profits.
Late in 2012, I began to wonder whether highly ranked search results could be impacting more than consumer choices. Perhaps, I speculated, a top search result could have a small impact on people’s opinions about things. Early in 2013, with my associate Ronald E Robertson of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in Vista, California, I put this idea to a test by conducting an experiment in which 102 people from the San Diego area were randomly assigned to one of three groups. In one group, people saw search results that favoured one political candidate – that is, results that linked to web pages that made this candidate look better than his or her opponent. In a second group, people saw search rankings that favoured the opposing candidate, and in the third group – the control group – people saw a mix of rankings that favoured neither candidate. The same search results and web pages were used in each group; the only thing that differed for the three groups was the ordering of the search results.
To make our experiment realistic, we used real search results that linked to real web pages. We also used a real election – the 2010 election for the prime minister of Australia. We used a foreign election to make sure that our participants were ‘undecided’. Their lack of familiarity with the candidates assured this. Through advertisements, we also recruited an ethnically diverse group of registered voters over a wide age range in order to match key demographic characteristics of the US voting population.
All participants were first given brief descriptions of the candidates and then asked to rate them in various ways, as well as to indicate which candidate they would vote for; as you might expect, participants initially favoured neither candidate on any of the five measures we used, and the vote was evenly split in all three groups. Then the participants were given up to 15 minutes in which to conduct an online search using ‘Kadoodle’, our mock search engine, which gave them access to five pages of search results that linked to web pages. People could move freely between search results and web pages, just as we do when using Google. When participants completed their search, we asked them to rate the candidates again, and we also asked them again who they would vote for.
We predicted that the opinions and voting preferences of 2 or 3 per cent of the people in the two bias groups – the groups in which people were seeing rankings favouring one candidate – would shift toward that candidate. What we actually found was astonishing. The proportion of people favouring the search engine’s top-ranked candidate increased by 48.4 per cent, and all five of our measures shifted toward that candidate. What’s more, 75 per cent of the people in the bias groups seemed to have been completely unaware that they were viewing biased search rankings. In the control group, opinions did not shift significantly.
Did you know that every political leader on stage and on live television, could be totally generated by a computer? Through the use of Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), real-time facial expressions can be manipulated by anyone. Companies across the globe are rushing to get their hands on this technology because no longer does an individual have to read a script in front of a camera, or use a teleprompter. It can all be done by a computer generated image, without the person even being in front of the camera. Real-time facial expression swapping took off in 2015. Now, in 2016, CVPR just changed the game when it comes to live television. Real-time facial deformation technology is not new, but the use of such tech is expanding drastically. Combined with audio manipulation everything can be altered in real time.
- People Are Going To Prison Thanks To DNA Software — But How It Works Is Secret
A new breed of software claims it can find DNA matches for forensic cases with unprecedented accuracy. But if it’s sending people to prison, should its secret source code be revealed to the accused?Two days after Christmas 1977, police found Shelley H. dead in her apartment in Long Beach, California. The 17-year-old had been sexually assaulted and strangled: She was lying on the end of her bed, her feet touching the ground, with an electrical wire tied around her neck.Vaginal swabs were taken during her autopsy, but at the time, there was no DNA testing. So the samples went into storage, and the case went cold for the next three decades.Then in 2011, a private DNA lab matched the samples to a man who had lived in Long Beach at the time, Martell Chubbs. The DNA, according to his attorney, is the only evidence linking him to the victim.And these DNA samples were particularly tough to read, tangled with the genetic traces of one or two people in addition to Shelley. What were the chances that the match was correct? Dr. Mark Perlin, the CEO of a Pittsburgh company called Cybergenetics, said his computer program could figure it out.
In pop culture, DNA is often portrayed as a magical piece of evidence that links perpetrators to crimes and exonerates the innocent. But deciphering it is usually much messier in real life, especially in cases like Shelley’s that involve samples of more than one person’s DNA. Over the last decade or so, forensic scientists have come to realize that traditional methods for interpreting these “mixed samples” are often less reliable than previously thought.
Now, Cybergenetics and a handful of other companies are selling a solution: software that claims to interpret mixed DNA with a high degree of accuracy. These companies point to several peer-reviewed studies that describe the underlying mathematical concepts of their programs, as well as results of mock testing in which they correctly interpreted known samples.
But here’s the problem, according to some attorneys and geneticists: These companies claim that the details of how the computer programs carry out their calculations, spelled out in their source codes, are trade secrets. So there’s no way to independently verify that the programs are pinning the real criminal, critics say.
“It’s a black box,” said Angelyn Gates, an attorney based in Pasadena who’s defending Chubbs, now 56, from a murder charge for the 1977 crime. That trial is expected to happen this year in Los Angeles County, and she’s trying to prevent the prosecution from introducing Cybergenetics’ software, called TrueAllele, into court.
“You have a defendant’s right to cross-examine and determine, ‘How are you saying this is the result in my case?’” Gates said. In her view, “Perlin says, ‘Who cares about your constitutional rights? I want my money.’”
- A forensic lab tech caught fabricating results casts doubt on almost 8,000 criminal cases
At the end of last year, a lab technician working at a New Jersey State Police drug testing unit was accused of fabricating test results, and it’s now called into question – and could potentially overturn – the verdicts of almost 8,000 criminal cases that he’d worked on.
Lab tech Kamalkant Shah was caught recording results about a suspected marijuana sample in December without having properly analysing it first – which is known as ‘dry-labbing’, and is just about one of the worst things you can be accused of doing in a forensic lab.
- The Orange County informant scandal just got a lot nuttier
If you haven’t been paying attention, Orange County, Calif., is in the midst of a massive scandal involving the district attorney’s office and the use of informants. DA Tony Rackauckas and his staff have been berated by judges (one of whom recused the entire office from a murder case), had convictions overturned and even let accused killers go free rather than disclose how they use informants. It’s a massive scandal and ought to be national news.Most of this mess was uncovered by OC Weekly reporter R. Scott Moxley and public defender Scott Sanders. But recently, another defense attorney, James Crawford, won a big victory over the DA’s office in a case related to the ongoing snitch scandal. Then, this happened:
Official Organize Crime
- Sacramento County Family Law Court Operates as RICO Racketeering Enterprise, Charge Whistleblowers
The family court division of Sacramento Superior Court is controlled and operated by an illegal parallel government structure made up of local divorce lawyers who also work as part-time judges, court employees and clerks, and full-time judges, according to whistleblower leaked documents and court watchdogs.
The shadow government is without the same transparency and accountability required of legitimate Judicial Branch agencies, and meets the legal definition of a criminal racketeering enterprise, whistleblowers charge.
The alleged criminal organization reportedly has operated for more than 20 years under the direction of long-controversial Judge Peter McBrien, who has a prior Sacramento County criminal conviction and two misconduct convictions by the state Commission on Judicial Performance for violations of state judicial ethics laws.
- New Study Shows Even If Cops Commit a Crime on Video, 96% of the Time they Aren’t Prosecuted
Police in the United States managed to escape prosecution when facing allegations they violated civil rights an incredible 96 percent of the time. This is almost the exact opposite of the conviction rate for everyone else, as normal citizens are are prosecuted at a rate of 93 percent.
The investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (the Trib), based on an analysis of nearly 3 million federal records, found that from 1995 through 2015, federal prosecutors overwhelmingly opted not to pursue prosecution. Indeed, the 96 percent refusal to press charges sharply contrasts with the rejection rate for all other complaints — just 23 percent.
Investigators found the most common reasons given for refusing to prosecute officers were “weak or insufficient evidence, lack of criminal intent required under a 1945 Supreme Court ruling standard, and orders from the Justice Department.”
- Federal Judge Says Recording Police Not Protected By The First Amendment
Over the years, the nation’s courts have moved towards recognizing First Amendment protections for citizens who film public servants carrying out public duties. Nearly every case has involved a citizen arrested for filming police officers, suggesting far too many law enforcement entities still feel their public actions deserve some sort of secrecy — even as these agencies deploy broader and more powerful surveillance tools aimed at the same public areas where no expectation of privacy (under the Fourth Amendment) exists.
A rather disturbing conclusion has been reached by a federal court in Pennsylvania. Two cases involving people who had their photography efforts interrupted by police officers have resulted in the court finding there is no First Amendment right to film public servants. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh)
U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued his ruling in two consolidated cases filed against the city of Philadelphia by citizens whose cellphones were confiscated after they either photographed police activity or were barred from filming police activity.
Neither of the plaintiffs, Richard Fields nor Amanda Geraci, were filming the police conduct because they had a criticism or challenge to what they were seeing. For Fields, he thought the conduct was an interesting scene and would make for a good picture, Kearney said. And for Geraci, she was a legal observer trained to observe the police, Kearney said.
“The citizens urge us to find, for the first time in this circuit, photographing police without any challenge or criticism is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment,” Kearney said.
“While we instinctively understand the citizens’ argument, particularly with rapidly developing instant image sharing technology, we find no basis to craft a new First Amendment right based solely on ‘observing and recording’ without expressive conduct and, consistent with the teachings of the Supreme Court and our court of appeals, decline to do so today.”
The court has not yet discussed whether the actions of police in response to the filming violated the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights, leaving that for a jury to determine. But what it does say about the First Amendment isn’t encouraging.
According to this decision, the photography must be “expressive” to receive First Amendment protection.
Fields’ and Geraci’s alleged “constitutionally protected conduct” consists of observing and photographing, or making a record of, police activity in a public forum. Neither uttered any words to the effect he or she sought to take pictures to oppose police activity. Their particular behavior is only afforded First Amendment protection if we construe it as expressive conduct.
If taken on face value, this means informing cops that your recording is just a small part of a multimedia campaign highlighting the aggressive tactics of law enforcement or will be Twittered with #BTFSTTG or #BLM or whatever appended. The court apparently feels there’s no expressive value to simply recording public servants performing public duties — which would mean other efforts that routinely go unchallenged by the recorded, like city council meetings, etc., may now be shut down without worrying about First Amendment lawsuits.
- ‘Let Us Inspect Your Home For Dirty Dishes – Or We’ll Get A Warrant,’ City Says
A Minnesota city is asking a court for a warrant to enter a rental home in order to check to see if the place is clean. If the city wins the case, then inspectors apparently would be able to enter such a building anytime they wish.
The renters and tenants say they have nothing to hide but are opposing the city’s move based on principle. If they want to leave dirty dishes in the sink, they say, they it should be perfectly legal.
“Your home is your castle—irrespective of whether you rent it or own it,” said Anthony Sanders, an attorney for Institute for Justice, which is representing the renters and tenants. “What we do in our home is our business, not the government’s. The mere fact that someone rents a home, rather than owns it, should not give the government the right to disrupt their life, invade their privacy and search every nook and cranny of their home—all without providing a shred of evidence that anything is wrong. It is a fundamental violation of the Minnesota Constitution’s protection against illegal searches.”
Sanders is representing the renters as well as Jackie and Jason Wiebesick, the owners of the rental unit in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
The city of Golden Valley is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to grant the warrant even though there have been no allegations that ordinances have been violated. Instead, the city wants to see if the tenants are following minimal standards that include keeping the kitchen and toilet clean, the Institute said.
- DHS, the FBI and Intrado Communications are giving our homes threat assessments
Intrado Communications is the company behind assigning every home a threat rating and it’s run by two former deputies, the FBI and DHS.
“They brought on partners who have experience in areas of public safety and technology who they met while running Intrado – from their time as entrepreneurs and sheriff’s deputies when they launched 911-services company SCC Communications Corp. in 1979, later raising venture funding, changing its name to Intrado, going public on the Nasdaq exchange and being acquired by a larger public company for approximately one-half billion dollars.”
Intrado’s co-founders, (two former cops) were inducted into the Business Hall of Fame for creating a national home threat assessment program!
“Heinrichs and Meer were inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame in 2006. They are serving as PSV’s managing partners and have brought on operating partner Terry Gold, founder of Gold Systems, a communications and speech recognition software company in Boulder; general partner Jim Davis, a former FBI agent…”
Did you catch that? Intrado also has FBI agents helping them create a national home threat assessment program.
What is Smart911?
“With Smart911, citizens enter personal information online, which is then automatically available to a 911 call taker. The additional data provided is far more extensive than what is typically available to a 911 telecommunicator, and can include information about health, disabilities, family members or pets, and a home address affiliated with a cell phone number.”
“… Smart911 is a national system that provides citizens with the ability to create safety profiles online holding personal data that is automatically displayed to 911 only during emergency calls. Information can include children’s photos, medical conditions, disabilities, home addresses of cellphone callers, or other rescue-related information…”
Intrado is using clever word play to convince Americans to give police their family photos.
“Safety profiles can detail medical conditions, allergies and disabilities… law enforcement can have instant access to photos of children to save critical time when searching for a missing child, or key details about a household in the event of a silent call.”
Soon cops everywhere will be asking Americans to provide them with “SAFETY PROFILES“!
Smart911 is much worse than giving police your ‘safety profiles’.
Smart911 assigns every home in America with a color coded threat rating based on pizza deliveries!
“The database goes through all public information for the call’s location — from arrest records to pizza deliveries — and gives the address a rating. Green means minimal threat, yellow a possible threat and red a major threat.”
Smart911 is really about police showing up in force, when responding to anyone or anything the government deems a threat.
Clever Noo$e Tightening
- DARPA Will Pay You (Yes, You!) to Build a Homemade Bomb
In an effort to defend against improvised explosive attacks, the Pentagon’s research arm DARPA is looking to pay crafty hobbyists capable of turning household items into bombs.
Take a cursory look at the warning labels on the products beneath your kitchen sink and it will come as no surprise that danger-seeking chemists, engineers and ordinary citizens can turn common everyday objects into deadly weapons.
In an effort to stay one step ahead of possible improvised attacks, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will pay people who can develop deadly devices from consumer electronics, household chemicals, or other “commercially available technology.”
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In This Doge Eat Doge World
- The people know that they have created this farce and financed it with their own taxes (consent), but they would rather knuckle under than be the hypocrite.Factor VI – Cattle
Those who will not use their brains are no better off than those who have no brains, and so this mindless school of jelly-fish, father, mother, son, and daughter, become useful beasts of burden or trainers of the same.
- Mr. Rothschild’s Energy Discovery
What Mr. Rothschild  had discovered was the basic principle of power, influence, and control over people as applied to economics. That principle is “when you assume the appearance of power, people soon give it to you.”
The Law of War
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