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kenway asked:

do you have any morel inks about what's happening in mexico? im part of a club at my school where we focus on international affairs and problems and id like to present something about it but i feel like i dont know enough yet

lenmccoy:

yes absolutely

What is happening in Mexico? 

  • How it began

On September 26, students our age (~19-22) were attacked by the local police and gangs in Iguala, Guerrero in Mexico. They were studying to become teachers at Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa. I have read many articles about how the students were in the town to ask for money to help pay tuition, to protest discrimination of rural school teachers, to travel to commemorate another student massacre of 1968, etc., so I am unsure of what is what here. But the students were on the buses and police blocked their way to get the students out. When they did, they opened fire on the students at once. Some students threw rocks back in self-defense, but the students were unarmed. Six people died and 17 were injured. Three students died, a taxi driver, a woman in a taxi, and a football player that was just 15 years old (x). The injured were taken away by an ambulance, local journalists came, etc but it was not over as more men came in plain clothes and rifles (x). These men are apart of Guerreros Unidos and work for the Beltran Leyva cartel. The students were forced into police vans and have since disappeared. 43 students are missing.

Some of the students escaped by hiding in nearby houses. One terrified student tried running away, but he was found later yet with his eyes gouged out and his face completely sliced away to the bone. A YOUNG MAN only 19 years old suffered through this. (As a warning, be aware that there are photos online and that while searching deep through articles and tags, they are present.) A survivor of the attack says this is “symbol of the cartel assassins” (x).

22 local policemen have been detained for suspicion of working with Guerreros Unidos. This is how authorities were then tipped on what has happened to some students. (x) (x)

  • The Mass Graves

~ More than a week later, on Saturday, authorities found mass graves nearby that has 28 burned remains with the tips (x). We fear that this may be some of the students. We won’t have DNA analysis to confirm anything for another two weeks, if not longer.

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MORE mass graves were found yesterday, but it is still unknown about how many remains these graves have (x). 

Keep in mind that the CITY MAYOR AND HIS WIFE are on the RUN. No one knows where they are. 

We still don’t understand the reason behind this violence. Why kidnap and kill these young men? There are several explanations online, but how do you explain something like this? One story is that the mayer’s wife was giving a speech that day and did not want to be disrupted by the students. Keep in mind that the wife is the head of the city’s family welfare department and also has family connections to cartels (x). There are other alternatives online, but I don’t know. I just don’t. 

  • You cannot be silent about what is happening in Mexico

You can’t. You just can’t. Social media has a big impact and this story has to spread. In the last 24 hours I have seen an incredible boost in coverage about Ayotzinapa.

On Wednesday, thousands protested the disappearance of the students in Mexico.

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Amounting pressure is being put on the Mexican government to find the missing students. There is also added outrage and demand ‘to punish politicians linked to organized crime’. It is no shock when considering the police corruption and brutality in Mexico. As Mexico bleeds, we all bleed. 

Americans cannot ignore the violence of drug cartels and place it as just a problem in Mexico. There is too much innocent bloodshed. And because BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars are collected in the United States by Mexican drug cartels, it is a shared responsibility (x). CHILDREN ARE DYING. Do not skim over these articles, do not just read them and do nothing, you have to act and spread the information. Do not be silent. Please, please, please help and pay attention. 

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TUMBLR TEXT POSTS (these have better information than I can explain)

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thinksquad:

Come and bake it.

Texas is enjoying a burst of entrepreneurship after enacting laws that let anyone turn a home kitchen into a business incubator. Under “cottage food” laws, people can sell food baked or cooked at home, like cookies, cakes and jams, if it’s deemed to have a very low chance of causing foodborne illnesses. Crucially, cottage food laws exempt home bakers from having to rent commercial kitchen space.

After winning Austin’s Best Chocolate Cupcake in the city’s Cupcake Smackdown, Amy Padilla decided to open a cupcake bakery in 2009. “At that time, a commercial bakery was my only option,” she said. But with rent averaging around $25 an hour, “it almost became cost prohibitive to continue.”

Not being able to bake at home posed other problems as well. Kelley Masters, a baker based in Cedar Park, found a rental kitchen for $15 per hour, but that rate was only available after 10 p.m. “So I would put my two-year-old son to bed,” she said, “pack a large laundry basket with supplies, and drive out to the commercial kitchen, and start baking, coming home around 1 or 2 a.m.” Sometimes she even had to waste time cleaning up after the previous renter.

After learning that other states had enacted cottage food laws, Masters became an activist, recruiting and rallying people to back legislation that would legalize selling homemade food. Their efforts paid off when Texas passed it first cottage food law in 2011.

Under the new cottage food law, Padilla reopened Bellissimo Bakery, so she could carry on customizing children’s birthday cakes and selling her cupcakes, in flavors like Kona Kahlua or Death by Chocolate. Since 2011, her sales have increased by 25 percent every year, and she’s predicting an increase of up to 50 percent this year. “Not only do I love creating custom cakes and cupcakes, but I love that my cottage food bakery has the ability to financially make a difference,” she added. “I couldn’t be happier that this law is in effect.”

The Texas cottage food law does not extend to “potentially hazardous” foods, like dishes that have meat or shellfish, so consumers have had few problems with home bakers. After contacting both the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and environmental health departments for the 25 largest cities and counties in Texas, the Institute for Justice found no complaints regarding foodborne illnesses from a cottage food business. By lowering regulatory barriers, the Texas cottage food law has made it easier for budding entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.

Unfortunately, cottage food laws in other states needlessly restrict entrepreneurs. In Minnesota, home bakers can only earn up to $5,000 a year, one of the lowest caps in the nation. That comes out to less than $100 a week. Selling too many cookies or cakes, or selling at a venue that isn’t a farmer’s market or community event could mean up to 90 days in jail or fines of up to $7,500. Arguing these regulations “restrict or defeat the ability…to earn an honest living,” Jane Astramecki and Mara Heck, two home bakers, filed a lawsuit with the Institute for Justice to challenge the Minnesota cottage food law (as shown in the video below). In June, a Minnesota judge dismissed the case, and IJ is now appealing that decision.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/09/22/texans-created-over-a-thousand-local-businesses-after-texas-eased-restrictions-on-selling-food-made-at-home/

thinksquad:

Hundreds of students walked out of classrooms around suburban Denver on Tuesday in protest over a conservative-led school board proposal to focus history education on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism and respect for authority, in a show of civil disobedience that the new standards would aim to downplay.

The youth protest in the state’s second-largest school district follows a sick-out from teachers that shut down two high schools in the politically and economically diverse area that has become a key political battleground.

Student participants said their demonstration was organized by word of mouth and social media. Many waved American flags and carried signs, including messages that read “There is nothing more patriotic than protest.”

"I don’t think my education should be censored. We should be able to know what happened in our past," said Tori Leu, a 17-year-old student who protested at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10411159

thinksquad:

XENIA, Ohio - A special prosecutor says a grand jury found officers’ actions were justified in the fatal shooting of a man at an Ohio Wal-Mart.

Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said Wednesday the Greene County grand jury in Xenia opted not to issue any indictments in the Aug. 5 death of 22-year-old John Crawford III.

A 911 caller reported Crawford was waving what appeared to be a rifle in the store. Police said he didn’t obey commands to put down what turned out to be an air rifle he had apparently taken off a shelf.

Crawford’s family says the shooting was not justified and wants federal authorities to investigate whether race was a factor. Crawford was black, the officers are white.

An attorney for Crawford’s family didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ferguson, Mo.-area residents in town to support local demonstrators -

See more at:http://www.cbsnews.com/news/no-indictment-in-ohio-wal-mart-shooting/

http://www.whio.com/news/news/crime-law/special-grand-jury-selected-john-crawford-case/nhRwM/#sthash.6Xhmsg6h.dpuf

thinksquad:

(Reuters) - Young people in rural Pennsylvania can buy heroin more easily than a bottle of wine and getting high with the opiate can be cheaper than buying a six pack of beer, according to an investigative report released on Tuesday.

Overdose deaths have climbed steadily since 1990, when drug deaths in rural areas of the state were at one per 100,000 population. As of 2011, that figure stood at 13 deaths per 100,000, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania said in the report.

"Heroin is cheaper and easier for young people to obtain than alcohol,” said State Senator Gene Yaw, the Republican chairman of the center, a joint legislative state agency.

Pennsylvania is not alone in its heroin problem. In rural Vermont, Governor Peter Shumlin said his state was experiencing a “full-blown heroin crisis,” while the overdose rate in New York City has surged as well, especially in the wealthiest neighborhoods.

In Pennsylvania, Yaw said a small packet of heroin costs between $5 and $10 and delivers a high lasting four to five hours.

The report, based on evidence submitted in hearings across the state this summer, listed Cambria County in central Pennsylvania as having the highest overdose death rate outside of Philadelphia, 22.6 deaths per 100,000 population. That is equal to Philadelphia’s drug death rate, the report said.

Putting more addicts in jail will not solve the problem, the report said.

State Representative Richard Marabito, a Democrat, said Pennsylvania has about 760,000 residents with addiction problems, but that only about 52,000 are receiving treatment. Only one in eight addicts can be helped with existing state resources, the report said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/23/us-usa-pennsylvania-heroin-idUSKCN0HI27520140923

thinksquad:

Your medical information is worth 10 times more than your credit card number on the black market.

Last month, the FBI warned healthcare providers to guard against cyber attacks after one of the largest U.S. hospital operators, Community Health Systems Inc, said Chinese hackers had broken into its computer network and stolen the personal information of 4.5 million patients.

Security experts say cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry, which has many companies still reliant on aging computer systems that do not use the latest security features.

"As attackers discover new methods to make money, the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit," said Dave Kennedy, an expert on healthcare security and CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. "Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud."

Interviews with nearly a dozen healthcare executives, cybersecurity investigators and fraud experts provide a detailed account of the underground market for stolen patient data.

The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information. Fraudsters use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold, or they combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers, according to experts who have investigated cyber attacks on healthcare organizations.

Medical identity theft is often not immediately identified by a patient or their provider, giving criminals years to milk such credentials. That makes medical data more valuable than credit cards, which tend to be quickly canceled by banks once fraud is detected.

Stolen health credentials can go for $10 each, about 10 or 20 times the value of a U.S. credit card number, according to Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at PhishLabs, a cyber crime protection company. He obtained the data by monitoring underground exchanges where hackers sell the information.

http://news.yahoo.com/medical-record-worth-more-hackers-credit-card-182251915—finance.html

thinksquad:

Angry Canadians are rare. But Patricia Moon qualifies.

Until 2012, Moon was actually an American – albeit one who had lived in Canada for 32 years. She settled in so well that in 2008, she added Canadian citizenship to her US one.

But Moon cut ties with America three years ago, after new banking laws aimed at tax evaders required expats like her to file more thorough US tax returns. She was five years behind on the news. “I was terrified we’d lose all our money,” she says.

After back-filing years of tax returns, Moon renounced her US citizenship in 2012. It was a defiant act she describes as being one of the first canaries to leave the coalmine as US banking laws make life more difficult for American expatriates. She wasn’t pleased she had to do it.

“It was like cutting off my right arm,” to not be American any more, says Moon, who only became a Canadian citizen in 2008. “Now, I’m simply angry.”

In February this year, the US and Canadian governments signed an intergovernmental agreement to co-operate on Fatca. The Foreign Accounts Taxation Compliance Act required all foreign banks to disclose the financial information of any American with assets over $50,000 sitting in banks outside of the US.

Steep penalties add muscle to the law. If a foreign bank – not just in Canada, but anywhere – fails to report even a single US citizen as a customer to the IRS, the US Treasury department would withhold 30% of the banks’ US income as penalty.

Foreign banks, some of whom earned a reputation as tax scofflaws, are now deeply afraid of the Internal Revenue Service.

The US government is policing foreign banks aggressively as it comes down hard on any company that helps tax evaders, money launderers and other criminals.

Scared of running afoul of US banking laws, foreign banks are taking extreme steps to limit US citizens to a narrow range of services.

The result for expats has been a chaotic brew of closed bank accounts, mysterious excuses and a scramble to find local banks that would allow them to park their money.

Even those Canadians who might be called ‘accidental Americans’ don’t like the long arm of the IRS.

Courtney Welch’s Canadian bank found out that he was, in spite of possessing a Canadian passport for the last 41 years, a dual citizen of US and Canada. He was naturalised as a child when his parents moved to Canada, but retains a dual-American citizenship because he was a minor.

To avoid breaking any laws, Welch will have to renounce his US citizenship and file five years’ worth of tax returns as well as possibly thousands of dollars to the US government in taxes on income he earned in Canada. He will have to foot bills for airplane flights and miss out on wages – and that’s not counting the $2,350 fee to renounce a citizenship he never assumed in the first place.

Welch, who has no intentions of living in the US, finds the idea that he has to pay taxes to the US government ridiculous.

“I feel about the same obligation to file US tax papers as you would if the supreme court of Uruguay all of a sudden decided you were a citizen and had to file a tax return there,” he tells the Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/sep/24/americans-chased-by-irs-give-up-citizenship-after-being-forced-out-of-bank-accounts

thinksquad:

Kansas state government is on the verge of a financial windfall with auctioning of thousands of sex toys seized by the revenue department for nonpayment of income, withholding and sales taxes, an official said Wednesday.

Online shoppers for adult DVDs, novelty items, clothing and other products can participate in a bonanza shopping experience resulting from the four-county raid on a Kansas company known as United Outlets LLC.

Owner Larry Minkoff, who was doing business under the Bang label, apparently resisted requests from the Kansas Department of Revenue for payment of $163,986 in state taxes. It’s unclear how much he still owes the state, because those precise records are not open to the public.

Agents took action in July to seize business inventory at outlets in Topeka, Wichita, Junction City and Kansas City, Kan., under Minkoff’s control. Two of the five business locations were in Topeka.

In a negotiated arrangement between the state and owner, the merchandise was released back to Minkoff. He subsequently entered into a contract to sell the holdings at public auction and apply the money toward payment of taxes owed the state of Kansas. The contract is with equip-bid.com auction company.

Consumers interested in the auction of “1000s of items” can examine the goods online or personally preview products Monday at a warehouse in Kansas City, Mo. The auction closes Tuesday.

The online site lists about 400 lots — individual lots contain can dozens of items — that include the Pipedream Fantasy Love Swing, books, hundreds of DVDs, sex and drinking games, a wide assortment of sexually oriented equipment, the carrying cases for devices, the Glass Pleasure Wand, bundles of lingerie and the Cyberskin Foot Stroker.

One of the lots contained 50 “premium” vibrators and a Teddy Bear. The bidding was at $10. Also available: two sets of sparkling sequin lounge pants, sizes large and small, as well as the the Good Girl, Bad Girl Wrist Cuffs.

"What is different is the titillation factor of what we’re selling," said Jeannine Koranda, spokeswoman for the Kansas revenue department. "This is an unusual lot of items."

Typically, she said, the mundane relics of a business are gathering along with bank accounts, on-site cash are confiscated when agents execute tax warrants despite lengthy action to recover the debt.

On Wednesday, attempts to contact Minkoff were unsuccessful.

The state revenue department executes warrants on debt when other collection attempts, including multiple letters, telephone calls, letters of impending legal action, tax liens filed with the district court, bank levies and on-site till taps were unsuccessful in satisfying the debt.

Only after exhaustion of other remedies does the state agency take action to close a business, Koranda said.

http://cjonline.com/news/state/2014-09-24/state-kansas-selling-sex-toys-online-recoup-tax-losses

thinksquad:

Boston is among three cities where the Justice Department will launch a pilot program aimed at deterring US residents from joining violent extremist groups, according to federal and local authorities.

The office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz offered few details about the program, but said in a statement Tuesday that it was “aimed at countering violent extremism using prevention and intervention-based approaches.”

The program, first announced last week by US Attorney General Eric Holder, will also be launched in Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Holder said pilot programs in cities across the country will be run in partnership with the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center. The White House is hosting a Countering Violent Extremism summit in October.

The pilot program comes as the Islamic State militant group that has occupied parts of Syria and Iraq has been aggressively recruiting members on social media, and a number of Americans have traveled overseas to join the Islamic State and other militant groups.

Ahmad Abousamra, who grew up in Stoughton and allegedly fled to Syria in 2006 after being questioned by authorities, faces terrorism charges in federal court in Boston and was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list last year.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and local law enforcement have launched numerous initiatives since the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, all of which are aimed at forging partnerships with the Muslim community and various community and religious groups.

The latest initiative will bring law enforcement, educators, mental health and public health professionals, and religious and community leaders together in an effort to share information, according to Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman.

“The intent is to identify and confront radicalization and deter it at the earliest possible point,” Raimondi said.

Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security project, voiced concerns about the new initiative.

“Our concerns are with counterterrorism policies and programs that incorrectly target entire communities based on religion, race and ethnic origin,” Shamsi said. “Encouraging communities to report to law enforcement when young people are engaged in religious activities, exploring faith, exploring their views on what exists in the world, raises significant concerns about targeting people not because they’ve done anything wrong, but putting them in the impossible position of proving they are not a threat.”

Mike German, a former FBI agent and ACLU staffer who is now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, said he is troubled by government initiatives aimed at uncovering radicalization.

“It targets people who are critical of things like US government policy,” German said. “That says nothing about whether someone is going to be committing unlawful activity.”

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/09/23/boston-site-program-prevent-residents-from-joining-extremist-groups/YpEpq2cYvITZ6u8AFkbarL/story.html

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