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Sun, 29 May 2016
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Stormtrooper

Officers assigned to schools ask judges for authority to arrest and pepper spray 'unruly' kids for 'misbehaving'

Either accounts were recently presented to US District Judge Abdul Kallon in a lawsuit whose outcome is expected in a decision Monday. However the judge rules, it may end up determining whether police that work within schools as "School Resource Officers" are allowed to pepper-spray students for being "unruly."

The suit explains that schools should "have the tools to help calm down a conflict," but that should "not involve spraying chemicals in kids' faces."

Mother Jones reported that the suit was filed in 2010 by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It alleges that eight students, "suffered physically and emotionally from unnecessary use of pepper spray."

The suit specifically names six school cops, as Birmingham Alabama Police Chief A.C. Roper. The suit has class action status, meaning that the decision the judge hands down will apply to all of the district schools, and may indirectly impact decisions across state lines in the future.

"We want it to be declared unconstitutional because it allows officers to spray people, specifically students, without considering a wide variety of factors - such as whether they are in a school environment, the fact that they are in a closed environment, and the fact that these things that they are accusing kids of doing and acting on are actually just student misconduct issues," Ebony Howard, the SPLC staff attorney said.

Comment: Probably a good lesson to learn these days. Officers are anything but fair when responding to a situation. Occasionally folks may get lucky and interact with a genuinely nice officer who is doing his job without abusing his authority, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. It's a sad state of affairs when hundreds of kids have been pepper sprayed at school, land of the free? Hardly.


Attention

French volunteers explain why they're fighting for Novorossiya

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French volunteers see the war in East Ukraine as proof of NATO's imperial ambitions.

This article originally appeared at Lenta.ru. It was translated for Russia Insider by Johanna Ganyukova.

Lenta.ru spoke with French volunteers fighting in Donbass.

As the civil war in Ukraine continues, it seems the cause of the break-away republics of Lukhansk and Donetsk is attracting support not only from ex-military from the former Soviet bloc - such as Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia - but perhaps more unexpectedly from western countries such as France. Indeed when a French sergeant, Mael Shle, left his post in the French army last week to fight in Donbass, it caused nothing less than a scandal in the country. Mael, along with fellow 'deserters' Francois Mau D'Eme and Nicolas Perovich spoke about what motivated them to change allegiances, and the dissatisfaction with French society and the army which led to this:
All of us served in the French army as mountain shooters and we believe that we've done enough for our country, much more than the average French person would do, and yet we've not received any special recognition for it. France doesn't look after its military...So when we left France we didn't look back, but instead searched for something of our own, something entrenched in tradition and ideology. It is a classic literary scenario: leave everything in the past and start life again from scratch...

- Francois

Comment: Very bold of these soldiers risking their lives for a cause where they may find their compatriots fighting for Kiev.


Heart - Black

Family values? US is only industrialized nation without laws guaranteeing paid maternity leave

For a country so taken with the idea of "family values," the United States does a remarkably terrible job at helping people start families. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn't have a law guaranteeing that new mothers receive paid maternity leave, and only 12 percent of women are granted paid leave by their employers. In most workplaces, paternity leave remains unheard of. Though it is technically illegal to fire workers after learning they are pregnant, it is very difficult to prove the cause of termination, and discrimination against pregnant and nursing employees persists. Nationwide Insurance employee Angela Ames, who was fired last year for taking time to pump milk during the day, was told by her supervisor, "just go home to be with your babies." Yet in a mind-bending perversion of gender equality, Ames recently lost a sex discrimination lawsuit because judges pointed out that men can lactate too.

In the past two weeks, Mashable, The New Republic and Bloomberg Businessweek published in-depth feature stories about our profoundly flawed policies towards working mothers, two of which were penned by new moms who know firsthand how trying it can be to manage a career and pregnancy simultaneously. We expect women to work until the very end of their terms, take the least amount of time off possible and then return to and maintain busy careers while juggling the stresses of raising an infant. As Rebecca Traister put it at TNR, we are "a country that venerates motherhood but in practice accords it zero economic value."

Comment: Another reason that Congress stalls on passing bills to assist populations most in need is that it is largely controlled by corporate lobbyists who donate large sums to finance the campaigns of these politicians. These politicians are loathe to bite the hands that feed them. Corporations controlled by Boards and stockholders whose primary concerns are profits are unlikely to support any measures that might cut into those profits - the greater good is hardly their concern.


Pistol

Family asks cops to check on 74-year-old vet after surgery, they break in and kill him

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© WSOC
Mary Battle's brother was killed during a welfare check.
State officials in North Carolina have launched an investigation after a police officer in Gastonia shot and killed a 74-year-old man while performing a welfare check.

Gastonia police Chief Robert Helton explained at a press conference on Sunday that a family member had asked officers to check on James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Helton said that Allen's family had asked for the welfare check because the 74-year-old veteran had recently undergone surgery.

An officer first visited Allen's home at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, but there was no answer.

Gastonia police then contacted the Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services at 11:30 p.m. and a "decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance," Helton said.

Propaganda

I'm a U.S. veteran, and "American Sniper" is rife with lies

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© Warner Bros. Entertainment
Bradley Cooper in "American Sniper"
After watching the movie "American Sniper," I called a friend named Garett Reppenhagen who was an American sniper in Iraq. He deployed with a cavalry scout unit from 2004 to 2005 and was stationed near FOB Warhorse. I asked him if he thought this movie really mattered. "Every portrayal of a historical event should be historically accurate," he explained. "A movie like this is a cultural symbol that influences the way people remember history and feel about war."

Garett and I met through our antiwar and veteran support work, which he's been involved with for almost a decade. He served in Iraq. I served in Afghanistan. But both of us know how powerful mass media and mass culture are. They shaped how we thought of the wars when we joined, so we felt it was important to tell our stories when we came home and spoke out.

Comment: One of the problems with the movie American Sniper is that it helps glorify the lies surrounding the Iraq war and the fact that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed, many of which were civilians.


Heart

"Another West" and a small ray of hope


Lavrov answering questions at the Munich Security Conference.
I have said that many times on this blog and I will say that today: there is "another West" which we, all those who oppose the Empire, should never forget. This is a West which you will never ever see in the corporate media and it is formed by innumerable individuals who don't go into politics, don't organize demonstrations and who simply live a life of spiritual freedom, away from the degenerate, ugly, deceptive and evil order which the so-called "elites" have imposed upon us all. I mentioned this "other West" in my Submarines in the Desert post and I won't repeat it all here. I will just say that I get amazing letters from that "other West" almost every day.

These letters which, if I posted them here, nobody would believe are genuine and I would be accused of making them up. I show some of them to my wife, but even to her I say that "if I showed you how many such letters I get you would probably have a hard time believing me". I can sincerely say this: these letters have changed my view of humanity, quite literally, and now I know, I really *know* something crucial: we are truly everywhere (as David Rovics put it) and there are a lot of us (even if we often feel isolated).

Yesterday I got such a letter and it deeply moved me. I replied to its author and asked for his permission to share it with you (without revealing any personal details). He agreed. So here it is:
Dear Saker,
I am sorry to write you because I know that you are very busy and you provide such a valuable service to me and so many others that are seeking the truth about Ukraine. I hope my message does not burden you and disturb your work or leisure.

I am an American, so totally disgusted with my country and its leadership. What lies and propaganda that are directed at Russia, Novorussia, its citizens and its determined and honorable soldiers makes me ashamed of my country. In addition when I try to explain the truth to people just how the war in Ukraine started with our usual coup tactics I get blank stares of disbelief. No one wants to hear that our government is driven by evil desires that are ruining the lives of so many innocent people. It is so very sad.

I have been reading your site for a long time and just now have added Fort Russ, Novorussia Today, Colonel Cassad, and some others that are speaking and showing the truth.
I am a carpenter, but have no work now. I have not had work in many months and am on the verge of losing my home. I have no savings and feel sad that I can not contribute to your site or to the victims in East Ukraine that my country is helping to kill and destroy. Often at night as I try to sleep I think about those who are suffering so, that are being attacked by our stooge government in Kiev. It eats at me and makes me so sad for humanity, I have no way to help and my fellow Americans, or at least most of them seem to not care at all.
Please forgive me for reading your precious truth and insight and not sending you your rightful due. I promise, if I shall get work or become employed I will not forget you and never will I forget my brothers and sisters in East Ukraine. May God bless you always and may he distribute justice to my evil American government.
Sincerely your eternal friend,
"Carpenter"

Pistol

5 dead among 7 shot in Douglas County, Georgia

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Death investigation in Douglas County.
Douglas County investigators say five people are dead after what police call a tragic incident.

Deputies with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office were called out to Willow Tree Court Saturday afternoon.

Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes reported that investigators were keeping people far away from the scene because there were still victims in the street.

"We had multiple victims shot in the street," said Chief Deputy Stan Copeland, of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Residents told Fernandes they were traumatized by what they saw.

Police say at least seven people were shot in the street and in one of the houses. The seven people range in age from toddlers to adults.

"Some of those are siblings, so some (of) these (people) are related. We just don't know who is who right now," Copeland said.

Family

Arizona CPS takes 7 children away from parents after accident

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© Facebook
Shoars Family
The unthinkable happened to a family in Arizona. Their three-year-old daughter mysteriously collapsed while her parents were away from home, and she died shortly after. As horrible as that tragedy was, Khloe's death was only the beginning of the devastation to the Shoars family. Child Protective Services immediately came in and took away all seven of their other children, placing them in various foster home settings around the area.

The children now don't have their parents, or even each other, as they try to grasp what has happened to their sister. None of the children, ranging in age from 2 to 9 years old, have been placed with family or friends, and they cry to come home. They don't understand what has happened, and neither do their parents, Jeff and Tabitha Shoars.
"It's like a bad nightmare you can't wake up from," says Jeff.
No charges have been filed against anyone, yet the state of Arizona has already begun the TPR process, Termination of Parental Rights.

Bizarro Earth

Demobilized in the USA: Why there isn't a massive antiwar movement

© kalw.org
1969 Moratorium March on Washington
1969 --- Following a symbolic three-day "March Against Death," the second national "moratorium" opens with mass demonstrations in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Organized by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam ("New Mobe"), an estimated 500,000 demonstrators rallied in Washington as part of the largest such rally to date. It began with a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Washington Monument, where a mass rally and speeches were held. Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and four different touring casts of the musical "Hair" entertained the demonstrators. Later, violence erupted when police used tear gas on radicals who had split off from the main rally to march on the Justice Department. The crowd of about 6,000, led by members of the Youth International Party ("Yippies"), threw rocks and bottles and burned U.S. flags. Almost 100 demonstrators were arrested. The largest protest outside Washington was held in San Francisco, where an estimated 250,000 people demonstrated. Antiwar demonstrations were also held in a number of major European cities, including Frankfurt, Stuttgart, West Berlin, and London. The largest overseas demonstration occurred in Paris, where 2,651 people were arrested.
I.F. Stone, the urge to serve, and remembrance of wars past
Well, it's one, two, three, look at that amputee,
At least it's below the knee,
Could have been worse, you see.
Well, it's true your kids look at you differently,
But you came in an ambulance instead of a hearse,
That's the phrase of the trade,
It could have been worse.

-- First verse of a Vietnam-era song written by U.S. Air Force medic Bob Boardman off Country Joe McDonald's "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag"
There was the old American lefty paper, the Guardian, and the Village Voice, which beat the Sixties into the world, and its later imitators like the Boston Phoenix. There was Liberation News Service, the Rat in New York, the Great Speckled Bird in Atlanta, the Old Mole in Boston, the distinctly psychedelic Chicago Seed, Leviathan, Viet-Report, and the L.A. Free Press, as well as that Texas paper whose name I long ago forgot that was partial to armadillo cartoons. And they existed, in the 1960s and early 1970s, amid a jostling crowd of hundreds of "underground" newspapers -- all quite aboveground but the word sounded so romantic in that political moment. There were G.I. antiwar papers by the score and high school rags by the hundreds in an "alternate" universe of opposition that somehow made the rounds by mail or got passed on hand-to-hand in a now almost unimaginable world of interpersonal social networking that preceded the Internet by decades. And then, of course, there was I.F. Stone's Weekly (1953-1971): one dedicated journalist, 19 years, every word his own (except, of course, for the endless foolishness he mined from the reams of official documentation produced in Washington, Vietnam, and elsewhere).

"What's missing is any sense of connection to the government, any sense that it's 'ours' or that we the people matter."

I can remember the arrival of that newsletter, though I no longer know whether I subscribed myself or simply shared someone else's copy. In a time when being young was supposed to be glorious, Stone was old -- my parents' age -- but still we waited on his words. It helped to have someone from a previous generation confirm in nuts and bolts ways that the issue that swept so many of us away, the Vietnam War, was indeed an American atrocity.

Comment: Exceptionalism Acceptionalism This author may be correct in the idea that Americans no longer engage in life-mattering things. We have morphed into a subdued and unresponsive society, living vicariously through our cell phones, computer programs, WIFI and zombified television. We are monitored, spied upon, dumbed down, subliminally messaged, drugged, poisoned and lied to. Diversity has become a life-threatening word. We have lost hands-on tangibility, shopping online and never "fingering the cloth" before we buy it. We become more and more satisfied to settle for subpar, uncreative mass production which reflects our quality quantity of life and what we are willing to do, in other words, our comfort zone in the new normal. If it isn't convenient, we are too lazy to find it. We text in cryptic language bites instead of having real face-to-face conversation, discussion or debate. We live second-handedly, removed, insulated, believing we are actually alive, accepting what we are told, defying nothing. And the next generation is becoming even more "remote" while the beast, just below the surface, is growing stronger every day. Something should matter. If it does, we are labeled "radicals." So, really, we don't much give a damn. Too bad. We should.


Yoda

Ukraine women speaking out: Citizens resisting conscription

The fourth wave of forced conscription in Ukraine is going very poorly for obvious reasons:

First, everybody who wanted to go already went, and many of them have returned disillusioned, or haven't come back at all. The army stories about of lack of food, working weapons and vehicles, and basic human decency, as well complete absence of spare underwear, are all over the internet.

Second, the government has consistently lied to the conscripts, e.g. telling them that they would have to go for three weeks of training, and instead holding them for six months in the trenches.

On May 26th, the president has personally promised 1000 UAH per day to the soldiers, veteran's benefits, and that only volunteers would be sent to the frontlines; in reality, the majority of wounded conscripts can not even prove they've ever served, and none at all have seen the promised money. Now that nobody wants to serve, the president is promising 1000 UAH per day... yet again.

Third, the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country has led to general disillusionment with the "usurpers" in Kiev:


Comment: The women of Ukraine are bravely speaking out in defense of their families. Here is another who explains the wider implications of the "civil" war: