Saturday, August 30, 2014


Dig deeper into Finland's public education system, click here.

Kuopio -- Finland can be a shock to a visitor from America. The cities are clean, the highways and byways are smoothly paved and pothole-free despite the punishing winter climate faced by a country that straddles the Arctic Circle, schools look shiny and new, and it’s hard to see anyone who looks destitute.

It’s also incredibly hard to spot a police car or a police officer. Indeed, despite my spending two weeks in Finland earlier this month, including driving over 2000 miles from the city of Kuopio to the upper reaches of Lapland and back, I never saw one law enforcement officer, except at the Helsinki airport on my way home, when an elderly tourist from Turkey insisted that an airport cop accompany him to the tax rebate desk so he could file a complaint about the alleged misconduct of a woman behind the counter (the officer gently explained to the man that the law only provided for rebates of the value added tax to tourists for their purchases of goods valued at over 100 Euros, not for services).

It’s not that Finland doesn’t have its share of crimes, including violent crimes, but police are not swarming the streets, they don’t carry semi-automatic rifles on patrol, and they are even polite when they make arrests. When the teenage son of a friend of ours in Finland was caught with friends one evening a year or so ago smoking marijuana in a playground, the police simply called his parents, who came in and were advised to reprimand him and talk with him about the seriousness of taking drugs. There was no arrest or appearance before a judge, no fine, and no handcuffing.

One evening in Rovaniemi, a city in the south of Lapland, I found myself in a kabob joint, watching a Finnish TV reality cop show while I ate. Man, was it boring! Two cops joked in their patrol van. Eventually they happened on what appeared to be a young prostitute being propositioned by a young man. They pulled over and got out, not even putting their flashing lights on. Strolling up to the pair, they were all smiles. They questioned the two, informed them that they were engaging in an activity that was illegal, and told them to move along. Nobody was arrested. Nobody was yelled at. Then, still joking, they went back on patrol. Next they encountered a young man wearing (gasp!) a hoodie. Although he had a dark complexion, indicating he was part of that tiny minority of people in this country where 99.5% of the citizens are white, their approach was again polite. When they questioned him about why he was hanging around a closed shop, he tried to leave. At that point, the two cops each grabbed an arm, but there was no roughing him up, no slamming him face first on the ground with a one cop’s knee in his back, no punching or kicking. They just held him firmly and led him over to the van. In the US, that arrest would have looked totally different, and the suspect would have sustained at a minimum facial injuries and back injuries, plus he would have been cuffed. If a suspect receiving such abuse in the US were to try to resist at all, the consequences could be far worse -- perhaps even death at the hands of the officers via choke hold or bullet...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromising, four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to:


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John Grant: "WHY WE SHOULD NOT GO TO WAR OVER JAMES FOLEY" @ This Can't Be Happening!


Dion Lefler: "Women for Kansas Protest Rally Highlights Complaints In Health Care, Education & Politics" @ Wichita Eagle

Hey f**k you, we're from Kansas too!
[Excerpt] " ... Stephanie Harsin, a Topeka special education teacher, said she was at the Capitol protesting when the Legislature passed a law to remove teachers’ due-process protection from firing, but lawmakers refused to listen. Instead, she said, they sneaked into the chamber through back stairways to dodge the teacher protest and passed the law in the dead of night.

“These people were disrespected publicly and viciously by the very people who were elected to represent them,” Harsin said.

About 500 women and a few men gathered for the Women for Kansas protest rally that began on the hillside at A. Price Woodard Park on the east back of the Arkansas River. But rain forced the event inside, where it continued for registrants at the group’s “Take back Kansas” convention. ... "  [End of Excerpt]

Read more at the Wichita Eagle.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

KS News Black-out: "Gang of Ottawa Cops Shoot Unarmed Kid"

M. G. Lee: "FBI Files Reveal That Televangelist Crouch Had Ties To .... Everybody" @ Muckrock News

Mary Clarkin: "Gov Says He Regrets Adversarial Relations With Teachers" @ Hutchinson News

Reporter Clarkin did not quote his "regrets" instead sailed through safe waters, the better to preserve access to the Dear Leader whoring more classroom images for badly needed re-election campaign ads.

Tim Dickinson: "The Biggest Tax Scam Ever" @ Rolling Stone

Sam Stein: "At Koch Retreat, Top GOP Senate Candidates Credit Network for Rise" @ Huffington Post

[Excerpt] ... Levi Russell, director of public affairs at Americans for Prosperity, said, "It is common knowledge that AFP is fighting to advance economic freedom policies in many states around the country. Our staff and grassroots activists have knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors and made millions of phone calls. The comments from Tim Phillips reflect AFP's dedication to fighting for policies that result in more prosperity and well-being for everyone."

None of the three candidates returned a request for comment for this article. But their attendance at the retreat offered both reward and risk.

A few days after Ernst's appearance, Charles Koch, his wife, his son and his daughter-in-law each gave the Iowa candidate the legal maximum contribution of $2,600.

Cotton, meanwhile, took heat for backing out of the local Pink Tomato Festival to attend the Koch affair, with his opponent, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), all but accusing him of lacking home-state sensibilities. A willingness to go against the prevailing winds at home has endeared Cotton to the Koch brothers' crowd, however. At the California retreat, Phillips praised the congressman for voting against the congressional farm bill (on grounds that it was loaded up with corporate giveaways) even though it was popular in Arkansas. ... [End of Excerpt]

Read more at Huffington Post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Uncle Academic's Big List On Ferguson

A few of these are not directly about events in Ferguson, but are in one way or another connected with issues raised there (a rich variety of toxins in the atmosphere of the land). Unless otherwise indicated, articles are at the Daily Kos. For the latter, the dates under which they are listed are those on which they appeared in the daily bulletin; their original publication is sometimes earlier. Within a given article are likely to be links to further sources worth a look. -- Uncle Academic

25 August

==> Melissa Harris Perry destroys Time's Joe Klein's attempt to malign Michael Brown
'Sir, what's going on? Oh my God! You will terrify my children!'
==> Has the mainstream media just obliterated Darren Wilson along with the entire Ferguson Police Department?
Cartoon: Approved responses
How often are unarmed black men shot down by police?
Clemson student starts campaign for racial reconciliation; Clemson professor calls him a fascist
Ferguson protesters chanted, 'Hands up, don't shoot' Darren Wilson supporters replied, 'Shoot!'
Washington Post: Darren Wilson's previous job was at disbanded PD fraught with racial tension like Ferguson
==>Six Vital Conversations Jumpstarted on the Streets of Ferguson (Bill Moyers op-ed, Nation of Change)
Jelani Cobb: Bullets and Ballots (The New Yorker, online today [1Sept 14 print issue])
NY Times' Dishonesty on Ferguson Called Out on MSNBC, and at Times(ReaderSupportedNews)

23 August

The Uncivil War Escalating Across America (Nation of Change)

From Ferguson to Palestine Occupation is a Crime (Nation of Change)
Ferguson, Missouri: The case of the vanishing fractured orbital bone and journalistic integrity
Cartoon: Post-Racial America Alert

St. Louis County officer suspended after tape of racist, violent speech surfaces

Conservatives literally make stuff up to smear Michael Brown

A woman shot during Ferguson protests says police are not investigating

The Profits of Racism: The coward Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown has now raised $170,000

Pat Robertson on Ferguson incident: Maybe Michael Brown was on PCP

22 August

CNN reports 'Broken Eye Socket' didn't happen
Police raid Ferguson church for third time. Platoon of cops claim people illegally sleeping there
Keystone Cops or liars? Ferguson police now say there is no incident report on the shooting
Prosecution of Michael Brown's killer may be 'basically impossible'?
Paige Williams: I Love Ferguson (The New Yorker)

21 August
Ferguson PD confirms Officer Wilson shot at Brown as he ran away

Ferguson hired police officer with horrendous history of violence against citizens

Republicans find it 'disgusting' that blacks could vote

I finally 'get' white privilege and I'm sorry
Black Texas gun club stages open carry protest against killer cops
Conservatives to media: Stop covering Ferguson

Graphic video: Apparently, if you ask St. Louis cops to kill you, they will. This is a story of cops gone wild.
Police officer who threatened to kill demonstrator removed and suspended20 August

Officer to protesters: ‘I will f--king kill you!’

Artist Mary Engelbreit vilified on Facebook for Michael Brown donation

A cop’s take on Ferguson
In solidarity with Ferguson, here is how you can support the fight

Cartoon: Fear of a black victim

Actor gets real on CNN about the dehumanization of black men

Paul Ryan thinks it’s the police’s job to shoot unarmed teens

Killing four people while white gets you probation

No, Capt. Ron Johnson was not ‘flashing gang signs’

Former Ferguson police officer accused of brutality is now on the City Council

St. Louis Police releases incident report from yesterday’s shooting. On Michael Brown, still nothing.

Don’t lecture people on ‘due process’ when you’re pointing guns at their heads19 August

PHOTO: The photographer who captured the iconic image of Ferguson was arrested last night

What could possibly go wrong just did. Georgia's Carry Protection Act in action
CNN's Don Lemon gets a little taste of Ferguson

The seamy underbelly of Ferguson starts to appear

Cartoon: It's the excessive force, stupid

90-year-old Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, arrested in Ferguson protest

Ferguson officers arrest Getty photographer, others

Arrested at gunpoint for smoking cigarette in aunt's driveway during Ferguson curfew

Tear gas, stun grenades flying in Ferguson after ... uh ...18 August

So Darren Wilson has a clean record?

Nurse on site was not allowed to tend Mike Brown

Three paragraphs from Charles M. Blow hit the nail firmly on the head

Chief Jackson contradicts Chief Jackson on details of robbery, shooting of unarmed teen

Study from 1953 sheds light on Michael Brown Killing
Large protest in support of Darren Wilson policed by five cops on bikes

Ferguson, Clive Bundy, and the Second Amendment

'Show Me' Missouri racism

WSJ: Joseph Epstein whitesplains all that's wrong in Ferguson

Michael Brown autopsy released, children tear gassed and people injured in Ferguson last night

Latest from Ferguson: Brown was shot six times, reporters being threatened, National Guard called in17 August (Sunday)

16 August

Dumbest Police Chief in America
Captain Ron Johnson unhappy with Ferguson press conference

Ferguson police beat a man and then charged him with 'destruction of property' for bloody uniforms

The demonization of a dead, unarmed teenager is well underway ...
15 August

Ferguson is not just about Michael Brown, it's about the America we were promised, yet still denied

Tonight Ferguson MO is a different place and not alone

Let's give credit where credit is due: Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol
Head of Missouri Highway Patrol walks with protesters

Executive director of Fraternal Order of Police takes a poke at Obama over Ferguson comments

Michael Brown's killer identified

Demonizing suicide victims and those who mourn them is NOT acceptable

Rep. Steve King notes Ferguson protestors all have the same 'continental origin'

Ferguson, Missouri, demilitarized, peaceful protests ensue. Go figure.

ACLU files suit to obtain St. Louis County police records related to the Michael Brown shooting 14 August

Ferguson Police Department releases statement asking residents to protest only during daytime

Family of man gunned down in Walmart still seeking answers

Overnight, all hell broke loose in Ferguson, Missouri

PHOTO: Am I next?
Ferguson police tear gas reporters then disassemble their TV equipment

Police in tank with megaphone says 'Your right to demonstrate is not being obstructed'

Remember: If some white right-wing a**hole aims a high-powered rifle at a cop ...

White guy starts fight, black guy gets pepper sprayed

No, it's not Baghdad, it's in America last night

Todd Starnes laments President Obama sent condolences to murdered teen but not to his murderer
Jelanie Cobb: What I Saw in Ferguson (The New Yorker)

Rick Dean: "Libertarian's pitch for spot in radio debate falls on deaf ears" @ Topeka Capital Journal

[Excerpt]  ... WIBW Radio's decision, Umbehr said in his statement, "denies thousands of Kansas voters the opportunity to hear the exchange of ideas on the serious issues facing the state of Kansas, such as: the governor’s discriminatory income tax plan, school finance and the denial of due process for teachers, RPS funding, the SEC complaint against Kansas, and governmental accountability and transparency — just to name a few.”

Even so, Umbehr added, he appreciates that a radio station is free to set the standards for a debate it is organizing. “This is what liberty is about,” he noted.

Umbehr said he meets the station's other criteria for inclusion, including the stipulation that a candidate poll at 5 percent or better in an independent pre-election poll. Nine percent of respondents to a Public Policy Poll said Umbehr would be their choice as governor, the polling agency announced recently. ... [End of Excerpt]

Read more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Center for Media & Democracy Targeted by Attack-Dog "Journalists

August 22, 2014
Dear CMD/Progressive supporter,



At the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) there is an awful lot of good fortune coming our way.

First, a mysterious Middle East millionaire wanted to give us a boatload of money to produce a documentary on fracking and global warming (we declined).

Then our Lisa Graves was showered with compliments on our investigations into undisclosed election spending as a team repeatedly tried to get her on film at a recent Netroots Nation conference. When she asked them for their contact information, they claimed to have no email or Twitter accounts (at Netroots? Really?). The duo followed her to a private party and one stalked her down a hotel hallway at 2:00 in the morning, prompting another writer to intervene.

Now another deep-pocketed mystery funder wants to bankroll us to help with a film about the impact of dark money on the African American community -- a great idea frankly as the Koch-fueled attack on health care is resulting in governors, like our own Scott Walker, rejecting federal funds for expanded health care coverage.

But alas, we fear that the film idea is yet another scam designed for another phony "gotcha" moment.

When I met with the film maker it quickly became clear she knew very little about the topic of undisclosed dark money in campaigns and elections. She had no candidates, races or specific issues in mind. She did seem willing, however, to send us money to help her with her film. The incident has all the hallmarks of a James O'Keefe stunt.

If you don't know Mr. O’Keefe, he first hit Fox News wearing pimp garb and peddling a distorted video targeting ACORN, a nationwide association of community groups which had a long track record of effectively registering low income Americans to vote. That effort was followed up by more video lies about USDA official Shirley Sherrod, plus hatchet jobs on NPR and Planned Parenthood. And how can we forget O'Keefe's effort to “probe” U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s office? A spectacular move that got him arrested by the FBI.

It was O’Keefe who was behind the fantasy Middle Eastern millionaire. He attempted, but failed to sting "Gaslands" producer Josh Fox with that one.

Now O'Keefe or one of his ilk appears to have CMD in his sights.

Will you take action now to support our investigations that these groups are trying to suppress?

O’Keefe is known to get some portion of his funding from the Koch-funded Donor’s Trust and Donor’s Capitol. The twin donor-advised funds were specifically designed to allow politically motivated right-wing individuals and corporations to remain hidden when "funding sensitive or controversial issues.”

CMD is an expert in these type of dark money flows and we have profiles of all the major groups (and O'Keefe) in our Sourcewatch wiki.

We can't continue to be independent and report on the undisclosed money undermining our democracy with out your help. Will you consider a $25, $50 or $100 dollar donation today?

Thank you for all you do to make our democracy stronger!


Mary Bottari and the whole team at CMD and The Progressive

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rick Dean: "Statewide Radio Network Hosting Gubernatorial, Senate Debates" @ Topeka Capital Journal


A single debate next to a carnival, broadcast from a station owned till the mid-nineties by Gov. Brownback's in-laws, and "moderated" by commodity market announcers sponsored mostly by agrochemical advertisements.

[Excerpt]   The Kansas gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate debates, both scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, will be broadcast live over a statewide radio network, officials at WIBW 580 Radio announced Wednesday.

The debate among candidates for Kansas governor is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the U.S. Senate debate to follow at 11. The debates will be conducted in the Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers Arena, according to the official Kansas State Fair schedule. ... [End of Excerpt]

Read more at the Topeka Capital Journal.