Society's Child


This Thanksgiving, we should be saying 'no thank you' to the tyranny of the American police state

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."

—Daniel Webster
Thanksgiving is not what it once was.

Then again, America is not what she once was.

Americans have become so enthralled by the "bread and circuses" of our age—tables groaning under the weight of an abundance of rich foods, televisions tuned to sports and entertainments spectacles, stores competing for Black Friday shoppers, and a general devotion to excess and revelry—that we have lost sight of the true purpose of Thanksgiving.

Comment: Sadly, when the economy finally does irretrievably implode we can expect all of the fascistic forces mentioned here to go into overdrive. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.


UN Human Rights Council leader Saudi Arabia sentences poet to death


"... and when they complain about not being able to watch the films they want - 50 lashes in public!"
A Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia's nascent contemporary art scene has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.

Fayadh, 35, a key member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia, was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014.

But after his appeal was dismissed he was retried last month and a new panel of judges ruled that his repentance did not prevent his execution.

Fayadh's supporters believe he is being punished by hardliners for posting a video online showing the religious police (mutaween) in Abha lashing a man in public. "Some Saudis think this was revenge by the morality police," said Kareem.

The case highlights the tensions between hardline religious conservatives and the small but growing number of artists and activists who are tentatively pushing the boundaries of freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia, where cinema is banned and there are no art schools.

Comment: Saudi Arabia: Totalitarian iron-fisted dictatorship. Barbaric "religious" extremists. Terrorist supporters extraordinaire. Best buddies with the U.S. Gov't, oil industry and military-industrial-complex. Getting the picture?

Cloud Precipitation

All out war on self sufficiency: Several U.S. States criminalizing rainwater collection

Collecting rainwater is classically seen as a safe and sustainable way of supplying your household with an off-the-grid water supply. Some people collect rainwater only for a backup reservoir, while others prefer to go all the way and maintain their household with pure off-the-grid rainwater collection. This method ensures water during emergencies, can help control floods, saves money and liberates us from company-dependence for our water.

Consequently, this freedom to collect our own rainwater is currently under attack. State laws have been set up in several U.S. States including Oregon, Utah, California, Florida, Colorado and Washington that prohibit the collection, or "diversion" of rainwater, including water that is falling on your own property and is to be used for your own private use or as an environmental conservation technique.


Russia shuts down Church of Scientology

© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Scientology church in Moscow.
The Moscow City Court on Monday ruled to shut down the local Church of Scientology at the Russian Justice Ministry's demand.

According to the ministry, the church regulations contradict the federal law on the freedom of religion.

The Moscow Church of Scientology registered in the capital in 1994 has been ordered to set up a commission to handle its liquidation within six months.

The organization's lawyers said the Justice Ministry gave no serious reasons which "could influence the liquidation."

"The organization violated no bans," lawyers said.

Comment: Another country banning the Church of Scientology.


Should we pay for the Syrian refugees?

© Muhammed Muheisen/AP Photo
Last week the US House dealt a blow to President Obama's plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland. On a vote of 289-137, including 47 Democrats, the House voted to require the FBI to closely vet any applicant from Syria and to guarantee that none of them pose a threat to the US. Effectively this will shut down the program.

The House legislation was brought to the Floor after last week's attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility. With the year-long US bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, there is a good deal of concern that among those 10,000 to be settled here there might be some who wish to do us harm. Even though it looks as though the Paris attackers were all EU citizens, polling in the US shows record opposition to allowing Syrian refugees entry.

Star of David

Australian journalist detained by Israeli security for carrying details of Syrian fighters secretly treated in Israeli hospitals

© Eva Rinaldi
Sharri Markson, journalist at the Australian, was taken aside by Israeli security while visiting a hospital
Sharri Markson, a senior journalist at News Corp's the Australian, has said security forces in Israel were "heavy-handed" when they briefly detained her during a press tour after she collected personal details of wounded Syrian fighters being secretly treated in a hospital.

Sources said the chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, stepped in to defuse the tense situation when Markson was questioned about breaking the hospital's strict rules on protecting the identity of the 500 patients, some of whom are fighting in the Syrian war.

"The primary concern of the Israeli security personnel and hospital authorities was to protect the identities of the Syrian patients because disclosing their personal details would put them in danger," Alhadeff told Guardian Australia.

"There was an unfortunate misunderstanding but the situation was quickly defused and resolved."

Comment: Perhaps the Israelis were so interested in protecting the identities of the patients because the 'Syrian fighters" are really undercover Israeli agents or even paid mercenaries, and they can't have that knowledge being spread by the media. It wouldn't be surprising if she got a not-so-subtle message sent to her by the "heavy-handed" Israeli security.

Eye 1

Why are police part of the public school system and how do we get them out?

© Monica Almeida / The New York Times
Police officers with the Los Angeles United School District stand outside Venice High School in Venice, Calif., March 16, 2015.
Charges have yet to be brought against Ben Fields, the white police officer in South Carolina who slammed a 16-year-old Black student to the floor of her classroom at Spring Valley High School, injuring her face and neck and breaking her arm.

Nearly a month has passed since the video of the October 26 incident went viral, and while Fields was fired from his job on October 28, he has not been arrested or charged with assault or battery under South Carolina law.

Fields had previously been sued for use of excessive force and currently faces a federal lawsuit in which attorneys claim that he "recklessly targets African-American students." A federal investigation to determine whether or not any federal laws were violated during the incident is underway.

Comment: Public education and hystericized society: For children in the U.S., school is the first indoctrination into the American police state


At least sixteen shot during parade after-party in New Orleans, Louisiana

© Michael Democker/AP
The after party that followed the Nine Times Social Aide & Pleasure Club's annual second line was in full swing at Bunny Friend Park when gunfire erupted within a crowd of hundreds of revelers, several witnesses recounted Sunday.

Music from a DJ was playing. As many as 300 people were wandering throughout the Upper 9th Ward park when the shots rang through the air. One witness, a nurse who would not give her name, said it sounded like New Year's Eve, when celebratory gunfire often occurs, all over again

People scattered everywhere. Three witnesses said they saw a man with a silver-colored machine gun head toward Louisa Avenue. They also heard more gunshots coming from within the crowd as he ran away.

New Orleans police officers had been monitoring the second line, but witnesses say they were beginning to disperse as the after party kept going. As soon as gunshots were heard, however, officers were on the scene immediately, witnesses said.

Several victims were lying on the sidewalk along Gallier Street sidewalk after the chaos died down a bit.
© Michael Democker/AP
Police remove a victim from the chaotic shooting scene.


Delta will no longer accept pets as checked baggage

Following the deaths and disappearances of dozens of pets in the last 10 years, Delta has recently announced that beginning in March of 2016, they will no longer make pets fly in the cargo hold of their passenger planes.

"Delta will no longer accept pets as checked baggage, but will continue to transport allowable pets in all cabins of service except Delta One, effective March 1, 2016," Delta said in a statement. "Customers may also ship pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo."


Funding cuts to mental health services triples number of emergency psychiatric visits

© Unknown
Countywide reductions in psychiatric services -- both inpatient and outpatient -- led to more than triple the number of emergency psychiatric consults and 55 percent increases in lengths of stay for psychiatric patients in the emergency department. The before and after study of the impact of decreasing county mental health services was published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine ('Impact of Decreasing County Mental Health Services on the Emergency Medicine').

"As is often the case, the emergency department catches everyone who falls through the cracks in the health care system," said lead study author Arica Nesper, MD, MAS of the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento. "People with mental illness did not stop needing care simply because the resources dried up. Potentially serious complaints increased after reductions in mental health services, likely representing not only worse care of patients' psychiatric issues but also the medical issues of patients with psychiatric problems."

Comment: This is worrisome at a time when the economy is already taking its toll on mental health. If the expected economic and social turmoil continues to increase, emergency facilities will be quickly overwhelmed.