Society's Child

Red Flag

Global social decay: 36 million people worldwide subjected to slavery

© Reuters / Desmond Boylan
Nearly 36 million people across the world are involved in some form of slavery, from forced labor to forced marriage, a survey by a global human rights organization has revealed, describing modern slavery as a "hidden crime" and "big business."

Modern slavery contributes to the production of at least 122 goods from 58 countries worldwide, according to the report by the Australian anti-slavery campaign group Walk Free. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates the illicit profits of forced labor to be $150 billion a year.

"From the Thai fisherman trawling fishmeal, to the Congolese boy mining diamonds, from the Uzbek child picking cotton, to the Indian girl stitching footballs, from the women who sew dresses, to the cocoa pod pickers, their forced labor is what we consume. Modern slavery is big business," Walk Free states in its report, claiming it has found evidence of slavery in all 167 countries it surveyed.

The 10 countries with the highest estimated prevalence of modern slavery as a proportion of population are Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Syria and the Central African Republic.

For the second year running, India has turned out to be home to the greatest number of slaves, with over 14 million people in its population of 1.25 billion labeled as victims of slavery, spanning from prostitution to forced labor and making up nearly 40 percent of people in slavery worldwide.
Eye 2

Teacher pulls knife on students for talking during pop quiz

A middle school math teacher in New Mexico waved a big, sharp knife at two students who were talking too much during a pop quiz, police say.

The incident happened on Friday at Bernalillo Middle School in Bernalillo, a small suburb maybe 20 miles north of Albuquerque, area affiliate KOB-TV reports.

The teacher, Benjamin Nagurski, had the knife out in the middle school classroom because he was digging staples out of a bulletin board on the wall.

He approached the two unidentified students who were chatting during the pop quiz. "Stop talking," Nagurski, 63, said, while holding the knife perhaps four feet from the students. "Maybe next time I'll pull a machete on you," the math teacher later told one of the boys later, according to police.

"At one point, the teacher told the student the next time he could bring a machete," Bernalillo police chief Tom Romero explained, according to Albuquerque CBS affiliate KRQE.
Arrow Down

Unconscionable: US child homelessness sets new record

homeless child
© National Center for Family Homelessness
New report, America’s Youngest Outcasts, looks at child homelessness nationally, ranks the states, and examines causes of child homelessness and the solutions.
A new report on child homelessness in America finds that 2.5 million children experience homelessness annually.

The annual levels of homelessness among children have never been higher in the United States, according to a new comprehensive report released on Monday.

Prepared by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the report - America's Youngest Outcasts (pdf) - shows that with poverty and inequality soaring in recent years, approximately 2.5 million children in 2013 found themselves without a roof over their head or place to call home. That number equals one in 30 American children nationally, and constitutes an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

"Child homelessness has reached epidemic proportions in America," said Dr. Carmela DeCandia, director of the NCFH, in a statement. "Children are homeless to night in every city, county and state - in every part of our nation."

Comment: In their relentless fight to become the world's only superpower, the elites of the US waste billions of dollars on wars while the population at home is descending into poverty. Poverty, homelessness and food insecurity has grown exponentially, yet these same elites are still trying to maintain the illusion of US 'exceptionalism' when the signs are pointing to the demise of the empire for those who have eyes to see.

Eye 2

Masai people living in Tanzania facing eviction so that Dubai royals can hunt there

© AFP Photo / Joseph Eid
A Massai woman walks in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, northern Tanzania
Masai people living in northern Tanzania are facing eviction from their historical homeland, as the government has reportedly reneged on a promise and is proceeding with plans to remake the land into a hunting reserve for Dubai's royal family.

There are about 40,000 Masai people living on the 1,500 square kilometer "wildlife corridor" bordering Serengeti National Park. They are known for their semi-nomadic ways and have their own distinctive culture.

The original proposal by a company based in the United Arab Emirates to turn the land into a commercial hunting park was turned down last year.

But the deal seems back on track now and the Masai people were notified to leave their ancestral lands by the end of the year, the Guardian reported.

Tanzania's prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, is scheduled to meet with the Masai's representatives, who will speak out against the decision.

In their view, the sale of the territory will in some way or another impact the lives of at least 80,000 people and will leave those residing on the land without their heritage or livelihood, as Masai are reliant on the livestock living on the land.
Gold Bar

The 'homeland security industrial-complex's' huge business of endless war

Unintimidated by the efforts of two administrations to force him to reveal a confidential source who disclosed the betrayal of the public by the government, Pulitzer Prize- winning New York Times reporter James Risen exposes more about the reality of greed, power and endless war in his new book,
Pay Any Price. You can get the book now with a contribution to Truthout by clicking here.

In a revealing interview with Truthout about his new book Pay Any Price, journalist James Risen provides evidence of how the United States has become enmeshed in an endless war. He also discusses how the post-9/11, military-surveillance state has enriched - with little oversight or accountability - many opportunists. Risen tells Truthout: "Four trillion dollars is the best estimate for the total price tag of the war on terror, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and much of it has gone to shadowy contractors. It is one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, and yet it has gone largely unnoticed."

Mark Karlin: In your third chapter, you state that the "corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror." You refer to these people as post-9/11, corporate entrepreneurs and opportunists. Can you provide a couple of brief examples?

James Risen: In chapter three, I focus on corporate leaders who have largely tried to avoid the limelight, but have nonetheless been among those who have profited the most from the war on terror. People like the Blue brothers, whose company, General Atomics, has produced the Predator and Reaper drones, the signature weapons of the global war on terror.

I also write about J. Philip London, executive chairman of CACI, the huge defense and intelligence contractor that was caught up in the Abu Ghraib scandal but then managed to continue to thrive in the war on terror, and Robert McKeon, a clever Wall Street maven who acquired Dyncorp as it profited from rival Blackwater's problems. McKeon eventually committed suicide, and the sale of assets by his estate after his death provided a glimpse at the massive wealth accumulated by the corporate leaders who benefit from being on the top rung of the war on terror.
Bad Guys

80-year old man maced by police, dragged off tractor and beaten; suffers from broken ribs, bruised hip

Bill Swan, 80, was allegedly beaten by police last Thursday in Lone Star, Mo., after he objected to a utility crew digging on his land.

"Police got there and told him to get off his tractor, he was on his own property, and said, 'I don't have to get off my tractor,'" Swan's grandson Tim told told Fox 4 KC. "They maced him, then drug him off the tractor."

The grandfather and army veteran ended up with a bloodied face, bruised hip and two broken ribs (video below).

"He's 80, he's a veteran, and he has had cancer," added Swan's wife Libby. "It's obvious they used excessive force. He had abrasions on his face that were bleeding, he complained of pain on his right side."

However, police claim that Swan tried to drive over them with his tractor, physically assaulted the officers and tried to reach for one cop's gun.

Tim claims his grandfather is almost deaf and requires assistance just getting up stairs.

Swan was arrested for assault on an officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but his wife feels they are the victims.

"I'm afraid for us to even drive out of our driveway or to get on the street. I don't know what they will do," Swan's wife Libby told KCTV. "It's very unnerving that something happened to him,"

Comment: Police state: A natural result of collapse of moral leadership at the highest levels


What the richest .01 percent are up to

billionaire spending 1percent

The apartment atop Manhattan's newest "needle" tower, the 90-story One57, just went for $90 million.
The richest Americans hold more of the nation's wealth than they have in almost a century. What do they spend it on? As you might expect, personal jets, giant yachts, works of art, and luxury penthouses.

And also on politics. In fact, their political spending has been growing faster than their spending on anything else. It's been growing even faster than their wealth.

According to new research by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, the richest one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now hold over 11 percent of the nation's total wealth. That's a higher share than the top .01 percent held in 1929, before the Great Crash.

We're talking about 16,000 people, each worth at least $110 million.

One way to get your mind around this is to compare their wealth to that of the average family. In 1978, the typical wealth holder in the top .01 percent was 220 times richer than the average American. By 2012, he or she was 1,120 times richer.

It's hard to spend this kind of money.

The uber rich are lining up for the new Aerion AS2 private jet, priced at $100 million, that seats eleven and includes a deluxe dining room and shower facilities, and will be able to cross the Atlantic in just four hours.

And for duplexes high in the air. The one atop Manhattan's newest "needle" tower, the 90-story One57, just went for $90 million.

Why should we care?

Comment: It's no surpirse that the 1 percenters find it easy to tune out everything that doesn't serve their own interests in one way or another. Worse yet, it's an influence that multiplies over generations. Greed is a pathology that seems incurable, burning itself out only when everything that it can consume is gone. That day is not far off.


UK surveillance state has a problem with drones used by the public

© Reuters / Mike Segar
Unlicensed drones controlled by members of the public are being used to harass people, police chiefs have warned. They further warn the technology is being used in protected airspace.

Addressing the House of Lords, Chief Inspector Nick Aldworth said unmanned drones were "undoubtedly" being used in a "reckless" or "malicious" way.

The Lords Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment Committee is holding an inquiry into the civil use of unmanned aircraft.

Committee Chair Baroness O'Cathain expressed concerns about breaches of privacy caused by flying drones close to private property.

Aldworth, however, who is part of a group tackling the social implications of civil drone use, said police are unable to deal with or prosecute individuals because there is currently no law in place covering the misuse of drones.

Current rules by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) state there is no need to gain permission to use drones if there is no intention to fly close to people or properties, and you will not get "valuable consideration" (payment) from the flight.

The CAA also say permission is not required for 'practice' or demonstration flights.

Aldworth said legislation could be used to tackle suspected voyeurism where drones are found "hovering outside bedrooms for whatever nefarious reasons."

Comment: And what of the use of drones to commit war crimes and murder people?! Apparently, the UK surveillance state is okay with that.

Black Magic

Soulless St. Louis mother gets 78 years in prison for waterboarding (torturing) her children

Lakechia Stanley
A mother of three in St. Louis, Missouri has been sentenced to 78 years behind bars for waterboarding her children, as well as physically abusing them in other ways.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 34-year-old Lakechia Schonta Stanley admitted to carrying out the abusive acts - which included beatings, whippings, and, in at least two noted cases, hitting her children with a baseball bat.

"What the defendant did to three of her own children far exceeds the definition of child abuse and amounts to systematic torture," assistant circuit attorney Tanja Engelhardt wrote in a sentencing memorandum for the judge, as quoted by the newspaper.

"She was supposed to be their mother, the one person they could trust. Instead she became a symbol of betrayal and fear, using every tool at her disposal to beat and torture her own innocent children."

Comment: In a society run by psychopaths, normal human beings mimic the behavior of its psychopathic leaders. But if this mother gets a life sentence, where are the life sentences for the Bush junta?

Alarm Clock

Florida woman stabs, strangles neighbor - dismembers body with hacksaw, cooks remains

Husband and father: Sheaffer, who was married with three kids, was stabbed in the eye and then strangled; police were never able to locate all of his remains.
Angela Stoldt told officials she took a hacksaw to her neighbor's body last year and tried to cook away evidence of James Sheaffer.

One leg went in the oven. Other parts went into pots.

Stoldt's house in Deltona smelled of burning flesh, but she assured her daughter it was just a rat broiling in the oven, according to details made public last week after a grand jury charged her with first-degree murder.

"Thursday is when I was cooking him," Stoldt told investigators. "Friday is when I was dumping him."

The 42-year-old Deltona woman is accused of killing Sheaffer, 36, a limousine driver, in April 2013.

Court documents filed last week detail for the first time her alleged confession and attempts to make his body vanish. According to the documents, cooking didn't work. She allegedly ended up putting the remains into trash bags and dropping them into dumpsters in New Smyrna Beach.

Last week, a grand jury listened to those alleged details and upgraded the charges against Stoldt to first-degree murder. She previously was charged with second-degree murder.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, said Spencer Hathaway, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office.