Society's Child

Cardboard Box

Cook who serves some of the most powerful people on earth needs food stamps to feed his family despite working 70 hours weekly

© Jason Reed/Reuters
Tell us this, Mr Senator: when will all federal contractors be paid a living wage?
Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I'm a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they'll have to get their meals from someone else's hands, because I'm on strike.

I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty. Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating "opportunity" for workers and helping our kids achieve the "American dream" - most don't seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive.

I'm a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week - putting in 70 hours between my two jobs - I can't manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don't go to bed hungry.

I've done everything that politicians say you need to do to get ahead and stay ahead: I work hard and play by the rules; I even graduated from college and worked as a substitute teacher for five years. But I got laid-off and I now I'm stuck trying to make ends meet with dead-end service jobs.

Comment: It's a sad testament to American society that there are so many people like Mr. Olotara living in similar circumstances. The wealthy often portray those needing federal assistance as lazy and undeserving so that they do not have to take any responsibility for the heinous living conditions which vast numbers of people, including young children must endure. Only psychopaths could be cruel and heartless enough to ignore this suffering, and unfortunately there are far too many in the halls of power.

Alarm Clock

Paradise Stolen: The Myth of Terrorism

Stefan Verstappen's 5 minute video revealing the Myth of Terrorism: the real reason for the war on terror.

Alarm Clock

Becoming aware of internalized and societal oppression

Many Western therapeutic models suggest that ongoing emotional/psychological discomfort and dysfunctional relationships originate in individual traumatic life experiences. Addressing such personal hurts through individual healing methods is certainly helpful and necessary. Yet there are other traumas that we—and everyone - suffers from. We cannot separate ourselves from the collective wounding caused by oppression, and the disconnecting impacts of racism, sexism, and other oppressions.

Oppression grants some of us advantaged statuses associated with being white, male, heterosexual or middleclass, etc. However, none of us as children consented to living in a world of racial, gender, sexual, or economic inequality, or to being members of a dominant social group. And if we were asked, we probably would say, "No!" Children - and grown-ups - have a deep longing for fairness and connection with others. Oppression* thwarts this innate longing. It breaks our hearts.

HRC Blue

Pennsylvania students hold 'anti-gay' day at their high school

© Instagram
A band of Pennsylvania high schoolers in matching flannel shirts organized an "Anti-Gay Day," students said.
A band of Pennsylvania high schoolers in matching flannel shirts slapped hateful poster on gay students' lockers and drafted a "lynch list" to mark their self-concocted "Anti-Gay Day," students said.

As many as 100 students at Claysville's McGuffey High School took part in the Thursday protest a day after the school's Gay-Straight Alliance held its Day of Silence. GSA's day was organized to draw attention to and condemn bulling against gay students, according to the Observer-Reporter.

The homophobic students, mostly boys, wore flannel shirts on the same day and wrote "anti-gay" and drew crosses on the backs of their hands. The group stuck intimidating posters on gay students' lockers and scuffled with Gay-Straight Alliance members and their supporters, student Zoe Johnson told WPXI.

"Yesterday, there was pushing, posters hung on homosexual students' lockers. Teachers were having to run out and take them down," she said.

Other students said the group had a "lynch list," although they did not say what exactly the list meant. McGuffey Superintendent Erica Kolat said officials have not seen the rumored list, but that the school district was investigating the allegations.

The flannel-clad group wore red Friday to distinguish themselves again, students said. The band planned to continue its matching attire this week.

Comment: It's a shame that in 2015 young gay, lesbian and transgendered students still have to deal with bullying and harassment in our schools.


Outrageous! Chicago cops took clothes off dead body of DUI victim young woman, took pictures

Handout photo of DUI victim Jessica Mejia
Jessica Mejia, 20, was killed in the early morning hours of Dec. 31, 2009, while riding in a Mercedes driven by her ex-boyfriend, who was drunk when he crashed into a pole. The car rolled over in a ditch near 147th Street and Oak Park Avenue in unincorporated Cook County.

Now her family is filing a lawsuit and alleging that the Cook County Sheriff's Office improperly removed the clothing from Jessica's body and took roadside nude photographs after an accident is scheduled for trial next Monday, court records show.

The lawsuit, filed in late 2010 by Mejia's mother, Christina Mejia, and other relatives, alleges that responding sheriff's officers removed Mejia's clothes in violation of the department's own rules and took multiple nude photographs of her body. It alleges that the sheriff's office intentionally caused emotional distress to Mejia's family by shooting the photos.

Don Perry, the attorney representing Mejia's family, said the sheriff's office was wrong to photograph Mejia at the scene.

"This was a young lady that just died and was treated with less dignity than a deer carcass you find on the side of the road," Perry said.

Brick Wall

The role of police in U.S. public schools

© grab
A new video out of Mentor, Ohio, shows a white police officer seemingly starting a physical confrontation with a black high school student after the student was reportedly spotted with an electronic cigarette on campus.

In the video, captured by a fellow student, an officer is seen repeatedly pushing the student before tackling him to the ground and handcuffing him. The student backs away from the officer after the first shove, seemingly in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

"Wait a second, why is the cop starting shit with him?" remarks an off-camera student who is watching the incident unfold.

Possession of nicotine or a tobacco product by a minor is, by all accounts, a minor infraction. In Ohio, it carries the penalty of a $100 fine, having to attend a tobacco education program, or both.

Or, as they used to do in my high school, authorities would just take it away from you. Case closed.

But that's not what happened here. The 16-year-old student was arrested on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and given a smoking citation. He was also reportedly given a 10-day suspension, which the school later said it had reversed after video of the incident went viral.

In a press release, the Mentor Police Department said the student "became verbally abusive and physically defiant as he attempted to push his way past the officer in order to board a school bus," at which point the officer had to use force.

Comment: These so-called public servants are not held accountable to the very laws the citizens are. They are above the law. The presence of the police on school campuses is also about instilling fear and compliance with the emerging Police State. As society unravels, social unrest will spread, bringing with it more brutality and repression.


Texas trooper shoots motorcyclist in high speed chase, jump-kicks him off his motorcycle

© RT/Screengrab
In researching the Texas Department of Public Safety's history of using excessive force, the Austin American Statesman stumbled across footage of a high-speed police pursuit that lasted 38 miles and ended when the cop shot the suspect and forced him off his motorcycle with what the New York Daily News colorfully describes as a "leaping karate kick."

Just past midnight on December 23, 2012, in unincorporated Chambers County, Texas, 25-year-old Steven Gaydos ran a stop sign on his Suzuki 750. DPS Trooper Abraham Martinez, who happened to be waiting in a nearby parking lot, pulled out in his cop car in pursuit of the scofflaw motorcyclist.

But Gaydos didn't stop. And neither did Martinez. Hitting speeds of up to 130 miles an hour, Martinez followed Gaydos through nearly 40 miles of east Texas highway, and finally pulled alongside his target and, from the window of his vehicle, fired his .357 handgun four times. One of the bullets penetrated Gaydos' right thigh.

Injured, Gaydos finally pulled over and sat on his motorcycle to wait for police. Gaydos had been driving with a suspended license, and he hadn't wanted his motorcycle confiscated by police, but Gaydos' ability to flee had suddenly become more limited, what with the cop firing at him and the gunshot wound in the leg.

Martinez approached Gaydos on foot and launched an aerial kick directly into Gaydos' back, knocking the wounded motorcyclist onto the ground. Martinez promptly called for medical assistance, but the officer did receive three days of unpaid probation from DPS for violating excessive use of force regulations.

Comment: These cops are completely out of control. Cruelty and brutality are the norm and its only going to get worse - for everyone.
"Totalitarian systems accrue to themselves omnipotent power by first targeting and demonizing a defenseless minority. Poor African-Americans, like Muslims, have been stigmatized by elites and the mass media. The state, promising to combat the "lawlessness" of the demonized minority, demands that authorities be emancipated from the constraints of the law. Arguments like this one were used to justify the "war on drugs" and the "war on terror." But once any segment of the population is stripped of equality before the law, as poor people of color and Muslims have been, once police are permitted under the law to become omnipotent, brutal and systematically oppressive tactics are invariably employed against the wider society. The corporate state has no intention of carrying out legal reforms to curb the omnipotence of its organs of internal security. They were made omnipotent on purpose."

Oligarchic, corporate elites have created a society of captives


Chicago cop kills unarmed woman with impunity

© Reuters/ Pool
Chicago cops are rarely brought to trial when involved in fatal shootings. That's why the case of Detective Dante Servin gave people hope. But Servin has been acquitted, largely due to a minor miscalculation on the part of prosecutors: they may have charged him with the wrong crime.

While off-duty in 2012, Detective Servin was involved in a shooting which left an unarmed black woman dead. Sitting in his car parked along an alley on Chicago's West Side, Servin fired five shots, over his shoulder, in the direction of four individuals. The detective maintains that he felt threatened when one of the four, Antonio Cross, pulled a gun from his waistband and charged the car. Police on the scene found a cellphone on Cross, but no gun. Rekia Boyd, 22, was killed.

"Any reasonable person, any police officer especially, would've reacted in the exact same manner that I reacted," Servin told reporters on Tuesday. "And I'm glad to be alive. I saved my life that night. I'm glad that I'm not a police death statistic. Antonio Cross is a would-be cop killer, and that's all I have to say."

Comment: No reasonable person would behave or think this way. There was no gun! 'Feeling threatened' is apparently good enough for police to murder people. When you have trigger-happy, paranoid cops with little to no conscience trained to see the people they are supposed to protect as their enemy, it sets up the heinous conditions we're seeing play out today. To make matters worse we have the legal system and judges allowing this brutality through legalese nitpicking.

Despite going to trial for the shooting, Servin will now walk free after being acquitted by Judge Dennis Porter. That ruling came down to the prosecutors' decision to charge the detective with involuntary manslaughter instead of murder, and what many see as an unfair legal technicality.

Comment: How little judge Porter must value human life to pass such a judgment. A woman's life was taken, yet he quibbles over minutia. The judgement is clear: human life means nothing to the predators who govern society.


Heavy metal contamination found in water wells near Duke Energy coal ash dumps

A view of North Carolina's Dan River following a leak in a storm pipe at the bottom of a 27-acre coal ash pond operated by Duke Energy
Test results confirm that 'Duke's coal ash pits are leaking toxic pollutants into groundwater,' says attorney

North Carolina residents who live near Duke Energy coal ash dumps have been warned by state officials not to drink or cook with water from their wells, after testing showed evidence of heavy metal contamination exceeding state groundwater standards.

The nation's largest electricity company, Duke stores more than 150 million tons of coal ash—a byproduct of burning coal for energy—in 32 dumps at 14 power plants across the state. North Carolina's Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, passed in the wake of the devastating Dan River spill that released 99,000 tons of the toxic sludge, required Duke Energy to contract with private laboratories to collect samples at wells within 1,000 feet of power plants with coal ash ponds.

According to news reports, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Tuesday that tests of 87 of 145 private wells near eight Duke plants found elevated levels of substances including iron, chromium, and vanadium—all naturally occurring elements that are also found in coal ash.

The Associated Press reports that several of the letters sent to homeowners by DENR cited high levels of vanadium, with some readings "as high as 86 times the state groundwater standard." Vanadium is classified as hazardous by federal health officials; Duke's self-reported toxic release inventory from 2011 shows about 1.5 million pounds of vanadium released into the environment from Duke's coal-fired plants that year, with the bulk of it flowing into the company's ash pits.

Comment: As usual, the company is attempting to sidestep responsibility for its actions, in spite of the evidence of their culpability.

Last year's huge coal ash spill in North Carolina may cost Duke Energy $100M or the cost of a permit
Up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash spilled into North Carolina river from 'antiquated' storage pit


Michael Brown memorial tree destroyed, plaque stolen within a day of being dedicated in Ferguson

One of the Michael Brown memorials, Ferguson, MO.
A tree dedicated to Michael Brown over the weekend in Ferguson, Mo., was damaged within a day, while a plaque accompanying the tree was stolen, according to the city. This tree, a sapling, was purchased by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in Chicago. It was dedicated in January-Wabash Memorial Park on Saturday to Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed by a white police officer in the summer.

Comment: One has to wonder who's destroying all the Michael Brown memorials. Are these inconsiderate pranks by kids or something more sinister? Fans of Darren Wilson and those folks who hate minorities would be the better bet in this situation.