Society's ChildS


The disturbing history of police in schools: More than a few rogue cops

school cpos
Another week, another video of police abuse surfaces. This time the video shows San Antonio school resource officer Joshua Kehm body-slamming 12-year-old Rhodes Middle School student Janissa Valdez. Valdez was talking with another student, trying to resolve a verbal conflict between the two, when Kehm entered and attacked her. "Janissa! Janissa, you okay?" a student asked before exclaiming, "She landed on her face!" In a statement on the incident, co-director of the Advancement Project Judith Browne Davis wrote, "Once again, a video captured by a student offers a sobering reminder that we cannot entrust school police officers to intervene in school disciplinary matters that are best suited for trained educators and counselors."

This senseless attack on a student is immediately reminiscent of video taken by kids at a South Carolina high school in October. While classmates looked on, school resource officer (SRO) Ben Fields slammed a 16-year-old student to the ground and then dragged her by her hair across the floor after she refused to hand over her cellphone.

Comment: The school-to-prison pipeline: It's time to get cops out of schools


Power restored after massive power outage in Zurich

© Reuters
A massive power outage struck the Swiss city of Zurich, electric officials have confirmed, adding that the city center lost electricity and traffic was halted. Almost an hour after the blackout, the power was back.

The Zurich Electricity company (EWZ) tweeted that the blackout took place shortly before 2pm local time (12:00 GMT).

The company added that two transformers had been shut down due to "unknown reasons."

The lights were off on Zurich's main downtown street, Bahnhofstrasse, Swiss 20 Minuten newspaper reported.

Several shops had increased security measures, according to the paper.


Poll shows more than half of Americans think presidential nominating system 'rigged'

US polling place
© Reuters/Charles Mostoller
More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties - a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair.

The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway.

Comment: Half the US population thinks the voting system is more or less rigged? Where does that leave the vaunted US 'freedom and democracy' when the 50% of the supposed fount of those values believe them to be utterly corrupted?

Light Saber

Author Michael Chabon: Israeli occupation is 'the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life' and I am 'culpable'

Michael Chabon
Celebrated author Michael Chabon
A lot of people are passing this interview around today, and they should be. It will bring tears to your eyes: the US novelist Michael Chabon speaking sincerely and eloquently about the horrors of the occupation, which he has just toured with Breaking the Silence. Chabon is preparing a book of essays by novelists about the occupation. He was interviewed by Naomi Zeveloff of the Forward. Key excerpts:
Once you see for yourself it is pretty obvious I think to any human being with a heart and a mind, it is pretty clear what to feel about it. It is the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life. I have seen bad things in my own country in America. There is plenty of horrifying injustice in the U.S. prison system, the "second Jim Crow" it is often called. Our drug laws in the United States are grotesquely unjust. I know to some degree what I am talking about. This is the worst thing I have ever seen, just purely in terms of injustice. If saying that is going to lose me readers, I don't want those readers. They can go away and never come back.
What a beautiful statement, let's honor Chabon for it. He is bearing witness, he is being in the moment. Yes we can criticize him for showing up late; this horror show was evident many many years ago, behind the wall, decades ago to Palestinians. But he went and he saw and he is surely going to take action.

Comment: This last sentiment by the author of the article seems very much like wishful thinking, but certainly it would help greatly if the Michael Chabons of the world spoke out and wrote on what they're seeing - thereby helping others of his generation to understand.


Oscars of the web: RT wins 'People's Voice' award at Webbys for work in social media

RT Webby winner
RT Social Media has won its first-ever Webby Award, after beating established rivals in the popular vote for the world's most prestigious internet accolade. And it's all thanks to you!

After three weeks of online voting, RT scored a confident popular victory over BBC News, the New York Times, NBC News & Nightly News, and ABC News in the Social Media News & Information category.

"To be nominated in the first place means we're doing things right. To win the People's Voice award - and to win it by a landslide - means our community is engaged and close to us. And we thank every person who voted and brought this victory!" said RT's Head of Online Projects Kirill Karnovich-Valua.

The prize from the judges went to the New York Times, which also captured the award for best news website. Notably, it was also beaten in the popular vote in that category - by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill's The Intercept, another relative newcomer.

Comment: Congratulations, RT! It's interesting to note that RT is not only one of the most innovative news sites out there, but also one of the most helpful in terms of deconstructing the lies of Western governments. On a related note, we at are still waiting for the folks at the Webbys to create a best website category for awareness in macrocosmic change...


'Highway robbery': Police in Oklahoma seize $53k of funds for Thai orphanage

Eh Wah
Eh Wah, musician
After being accused of "highway robbery" for seizing over $53,000 from a Christian rock band fundraising for a Christian school in Burma and an orphanage in Thailand, police in Oklahoma have been forced to backtrack on felony charges they had initiated against the man safeguarding the money.

Eh Wah, a native of Burma but a US resident since the mid-2000s, was stopped by police in Muskogee County on February 27 for a broken taillight but it quickly became more than a routine traffic stop.

When a police K-9 sniffed a "positive alert" on Wah's car, the vehicle was searched. It was then that officers discovered $53,234 in cash in various travel bags, gift bags and envelopes.

According to the nonprofit advocacy group Institute for Justice (IJ), who took the case against the police, Wah told officers that the money had been raised during the course of a five-month US tour with the band Klo & Kweh Music Team and as the band's tour manager, it was Wah's responsibility to mind the cash.


Asset forfeiture reform signed into law in Nebraska

This past Tuesday, Nebraska made history when Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 1106 into law, completely reforming the state's asset forfeiture system. In doing so, Nebraska has become the 10th stateto require a conviction before property can be seized. What's more, the reforms are so sweeping that Nebraska has become the third state, following New Mexico and North Carolina, to essentially disband its civil asset forfeiture system, a great boon for innocent citizens and private property.

Evil Rays

Bad publicity: Meet the PR firm that murderous foreign regimes hire to sell themselves to the American public

Ketchum PR firm
Ketchum was hired to improve the Honduran government's image, which is stained by human rights violations.

Hillary Clinton is not the only person doing P.R. to legitimize the government of Honduras that rose to power in the wake of the U.S.-backed 2009 coup, overseeing a dramatic escalation in violence against Indigenous, human rights and environmental defenders.

The powerful U.S.-based P.R. firm Ketchum—which is owned by Omnicom—was paid $421,333 last June for a one-year contract with the Honduran government that continues into the present. One of the largest such agencies in the world, the firm is headquartered in New York and claims to operate in 70 countries on six continents. It describes itself as "a global communications firm that loves to do break through work for clients" and boasts: "we're just crazy enough to believe you can actually change the world."

The company is representing the government of Honduras in the midst of an escalating human rights crisis defined by a spate of assassinations of Indigenous environmental activists, including the renowned social movement leader Berta Cáceres. Today, Honduras is one of the most dangerous places on earth for environmental defenders, with activists reporting that death squads are making a comeback. Human rights and environmental groups from around the world are calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to halt military aid to the Honduran government until an investigation into Cáceres' murder is fully carried out. Meanwhile, new reporting from the New York Times shines light on police leaders' unchecked power to order assassinations.

Comment: For more context, see: Celebrated Honduran indigenous rights leader Berta Cáceres murdered. The people Ketchum is being paid to image-manage are evil murderers, pure and simple. How's that for bad publicity?

Comment: For more on the type of work companies like Ketchum put out see:

Turkey's information war: Wall Street Journal runs massive ad denying Armenian genocide

Arrow Down

Railroad crossing arm crashes through LA school bus windows while carrying seven special-needs students

school bus
A railroad track crossing arm crashed through a passenger window of a school bus carrying seven special-needs students and came out a window on the other side Tuesday in Los Angeles.

No one was injured in the accident southeast of downtown, which was reported at about 7:30 a.m., authorities said. Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said the crossing arm and some broken glass ended up on one student's lap.


Rescue dog dies after saving seven from quake rubble

Dog saves people
Dayko searches the rubble for survivors.
A brave 4-year-old rescue dog lost his life in line of duty not long after saving at least seven people from the rubble of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated Ecuador on April 16.

Dayko, a Labrador retriever, suffered a heatstroke last week, the City of Ibarra Fire Department had posted on its Facebook page, which led to a fatal heart attack.