Posts about things that happen in the news. Sometimes light, sometimes cynical. Often critical.

No, having tanks in the streets is not a ‘superficial concern’

Today, AG Jeff Sessions announced that Donald Trump will be using his executive powers to undo the ban on military equipment for police officers. After the irregularities in Ferguson, Obama made sure that his own citizens wouldn’t have to feel as though they were in a war zone.

Now, for so-called security purposes, Trump is reversing that decision.

We will not put superficial concerns above public safety…The executive order the president will sign today will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal. And we will save taxpayer money in the meantime.

Dixit Jeff Sessions, whom in one statement managed to insult citizens concerned over their own rights and have a total disregard for the way the US police force is actually acting. There have been so many violent incidents where police officers killed harmless citizens over nothing that one could say there’s a trend going on. Too often, the police organisations went above and beyond to protect the trigger-happy yeehaws that they call officers.

Tanks in your town

With a police force that biased and armed with a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’-mentality, who needs these guys driving mofoking tanks through urban areas?! Nobody, that’s who. And what are we supposed to make of the timing? Not weeks after the Charleston Nazi’s, the ones Trump refuses to condemn and uses ‘whataboutisms‘ to deflect (read here about the actual activities by alt-left during the Charleston attack), Trump reïntroduces military grade weaponry to be used against his own people by a force that targets minorities more than the white population. Do we want to question wether Trump is setting up a violent white supremacist takeover for the US? No. Do we need to? Maybe it’s time to do exactly that.

Whatever your opinion about that, though, it is definitely not a ‘superficial concern’ to worry about triggerhappy cops riding tanks in the streets of your town. And that measure is not intended for ‘public safety’ so much as for ‘cop safety’.

The law, lawyers and monkey business: how a selfie is ruining a photographer’s life

Okay, so we vaguely heard about the copyright conflict over some monkey’s selfies before, but we did not realise the extent to which this ridiculous affair is affecting the life of a man who has brilliantly provided the world with very popular photographs.

The Guardian reports that David Slater, the photographer that arranged for manaques to take selfies, has barely covered the costs of creating said photo’s. Why? Well, among others Wikipedia argues that he can’t have the copyright because the monkeys took the pictures themselves.

But it gets worse: he’s being sued. By a freaking monkey. Did the monkey file for a lawsuit? Of course not! Monkeys don’t know how to sue anyone. If they did, half the world’s corporations would be in legal trouble for destroying their homes. PETA, the “People for Ethical Treatment of Animals”, sued on behalf of the monkey.

This is ridiculous. For one thing: Monkey’s can’t sign a proxy or a power of attorney. How on earth can someone be filing a suit on behalf of an animal who neither has the actual capacity to command the English (or any other) language, nor the mental capacity to understand the meaning of legal representation? If this is allowed, then are we going to see people filing suits on behalf of dogs who feel they get less treats than other dogs based on their race?

But it’s even more ridiculous that PETA seeks to stretch the definition of ‘person’, as used in the Copyright Act of 1976 to include monkeys. Think about it. If that is to fly, then american-born monkeys get to vote. Bearing in mind last year’s election result, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but the implications would be huge. And I think we get to unequivocally state that the law was never written to have monkeys being identified as a person. Especially not in the legal sense of the word.

What’s more: if a monkey is a person, than does the same go for horses? Dolphins? Eagles? And how are we going to go about identifying which eagles are supposed to be on the no-fly list? Or get them passports? This may sound like a joke, but questions like these are being asked by an actual judge:

“There is no way to acquire or hold money. There is no loss as to reputation. There is not even any allegation that the copyright could have somehow benefited Naruto,” said Judge N Randy Smith. “What financial benefits apply to him? There’s nothing.”

It is beyond the point of ridiculousness. And it would be laughable, if not for the fact that a photographer who has done some incredible work and who should be credited and rewarded for his contribution, is now broke because of this. And he himself says:

“If everybody gave me a pound for every time they used [the photograph], I’d probably have £40m in my pocket. The proceeds from these photographs should have me comfortable now, and I’m not.”

Well, here we go. We’re using the photograph, so we’re paying you a pound, David. Because, ridiculous legal disputes aside, it seems only fair that the guy who actually put in effort and money to create these pictures, should earn something off it.

If you feel as we do, please consider helping David out by donating through his Paypal.

Theresa May willing to suspend human rights

What the fuck?! Theresa May actually tweeted this:

Can Theresa May kindly just GTFO? Nobody is waiting for yet another regime that doesn’t acknowledge human rights, there are plenty of those already. And Britain has had its fair share of being among them, to be honest. Let’s hope the British choose sensibly in the coming election because electing this Prime Minister is bound to be a disaster for human rights without having any effective anti-terror policies to show for it.

Prime Minister May speculates on more military action

In the wake of the London Terror Attack of last night, Prime Minister May’s first response has been “enough is enough”, and she intends to review the counter terror policies by her government in order to combat terrorism more effectively.

While the victims’ bodies are not yet cold and more victims are still hospitalized, May didn’t hesitate to announce that the campaigns for the elections will continue. Yet, we’re left wondering as to how all this is to pan out. Combatting segregation is a nice idea, but the practice is that the austerity enforced on the British people in fact increases segregation. And if terror breeds terror, then this can only be done by feeding on slumbering feelings of unhappiness. Happy, working people don’t commit terror.

The British Government has suspended the right to privacy on a massive level in the past to combat terrorism, yet every act of terror is found to be done by persons already known to the authorities. This type of governing, the big brother state, has not been able to prevent the increasing terror attacks. Nor will it, because it focuses on spying and repression while still promoting policies that increase unhappiness. The Brexit shows clearly just how xenophobic the British have become.

If Britain is to review it’s counter terror policies, let it start with reducing tensions within its own borders, rather than once again bombing the countries that have seen more of war and bloodshed than Theresa May’s worst English nightmare.

O’Rexit: Fox kills Bill

Controversial prime time Fox news talkshow host Bill O’Reilly is reportedy out. The show host has been under fire as a result of accusations of sexual abuse for some time now. And apparently Fox and/or Bill think it’s time the long time “O’Reilly Factor”-star gets out of the kitchen before he burns the whole restaurant down.

Due to the accusations, advertisers have started pulling their ads from the show, causing worry among the Fox News network about their revenue stream. CNN reports that talks about cancelling O’Reilly have commenced, now that Rupert Murdoch allegedly withdrew his support for Bill.

O’Reilly was known for his right-wing opinions, which he frequently utters on his talk show. Satirical comedians have often criticized him for opinions that have no basis in fact but were presented as such. Apparently, it’s not his alleged fact free politics that ultimately became his downfall, but accusations of sexual harassment by multiple women. Then again, actual rape is worse than raping the truth.

United Airlines

Yet another United Airlines people-removing

An engaged couple boarded a flight to Costa Rica, where they were to be married. Boarding a United Airlines flight apparently doesn’t mean that you’ll actually get to stay on the plane, even if you paid for seats. But we knew that already, of course…

According to Michael Hohl and his fiancée Amber Maxwell, they were the last of the passengers to board the United Airlines flight, and they found a person sleeping on their seats. Not wanting to cause any more delay, they found empty seats a few rows back and requested to pay an extra fee for the slightly more expensive, but unused seats.

Nope

Apparently the sleeping person was not removed from their original seats, and the lovebirds were not allowed to pay for other seats, so an officer from the U. S. Marshall Service escorted them off the plane. Hohl and Maxwell had to take another flight the next day. According to Unfriendly Airlines the couple just repeatedly tried to sit in more expensive seats for which they hadn’t paid. Also the lovers wouldn’t follow flight crew instructions. Whatever that means. If you find a discrepancy in this story, you’re not the only one.

Sue

David Dao, the 69-year old doctor who was dragged off another United Airlines flight, losing two teeth and gaining a concussion in the process, is likely to sue the airline for it’s scandalous conduct. United Airlines has been under scrutiny for a while now, memes popping up left, right and center. We’re wondering how much longer Unkindly Airlines will stay in business.

United Airlines

United Airlines

United Airlines

MOAB: Trump does Tony Stark

Trump attacks Syria, but did he shoot himself in the foot?

US President Donald Trump launched an airstrike of 50 missiles against an airfield in Syria. The strike was a response to the horrifying chemical attacks this week. The attack seemed like an appropriate and proportionate military response to the horrible violence. But what will come of it?

While the impact of this is yet unclear on a global scale, one thing is clear: this strike is getting Trump trouble at home. The missile strike is an act of war. Since the US was previously not at war with Syria, Trump needed congress to approve. But they didn’t. And he didn’t ask.

According to the United States constitution, Congress has the power to declare war. So, not very surprisingly, Senator Rand Paul took to Twitter to point out that Trump was amiss.

We’ll be very curious to see how this pans out. Ignoring Congress by ruling via executive orders got Obama accused of dictatorial leadership. How will Congress respond to a President actually ignoring the Constitution before going to war?

Israel claims to be sure Assad behind Sarin gas attack on Syria

Israelian Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Bashar Assad ordered the attack that reportedly killed over 100 people, including children. The attacks were carried out by planes and planned by the Syrian President, according to Israel.

The Israelian website Haaretz reports that Lieberman is critical of the international response. He also states that Israel sees no reason to get involved in the war in Syria. “This is the international community’s responsibility”, according to Lieberman. He furthermore states that Israel should rely on itself and is apparently suggesting Israel itself isn’t even part of the world. “Let the world take responsibility and do something rather than just talk”, he said, ignoring the fact that the US has indicated taking measures if the UN doesn’t.

Map of Middle-Earth, or some other-dimensional world, according to Lieberman

According to Haaretz, it is unclear whether Russia or Iran were involved in the planning of the horrendous chemical attack.

Parents did Nazi that coming: Dutch coloring book featured Hitler

A Dutch drugstore stopped sales on a coloring book for children after it was found out that one of the pictures was none other than Adolf Hitler, the former Nazi dictator who led Germany into the second World War and is responsible for the holocaust.

Customers pointed the drugstore to the inclusion of the mass murderer in the coloring book. It was released last monday and serveral dozen coloring books had been sold. The questionable picture featured Hitler doing a Nazi salute while wearing his Nazi uniform.

The publisher, a Belgian company, said in a response that the inclusion is an unfortunate mistake. The colouring book was made in India based on a book containing photos of famous people. According to the company, it’s possible the artist did not know who Hitler was. The publisher indicated the company doesn’t check each coloring page before publication.