Society's ChildS


Welcome To The United Police States of America, Sponsored By Twitter

Imagine my surprise this morning when, without warning, my shiny new Twitter account (@d_seaman) was suspended and taken offline.

No more tweets for you. You now have 0 followers.

My crime? Talking too much about Occupy Wall Street (I'm not an Occupier, but as a blogger and journalist it strikes me as one of the most important stories out there -- hence the constant coverage), and talking too much about the controversial detainment without trial provisions contained in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would basically shred the Bill of Rights and subject American citizens to military police forces. The same level of civil rights protection that enemy combatants in a cave in Afghanistan receive!


Mystery Kidney Disease in Central America

Mystery Disease
© Anna Maria Barry - Jester
A mysterious epidemic is sweeping Central America - it's the second biggest cause of death among men in El Salvador, and in Nicaragua it's a bigger killer of men than HIV and diabetes combined. It's unexplained but the latest theory is that the victims are literally working themselves to death.

In the western lowlands of Nicaragua, in a region of vast sugar cane fields, sits the tiny community of La Isla.

The small houses are a patchwork of concrete and wood. Pieces of cloth serve as doors.

Maudiel Martinez emerges from his house to greet me. He's pale, and his cheekbones protrude from his face. He hunches over like an old man - but he is only 19 years old.

"The way this sickness is - you see me now, but in a month I could be gone. It can take you down all of a sudden," he says.

Maudiel's kidneys are failing. They do not perform the essential function of filtering waste from his body - he's being poisoned from the inside.

When he got ill two years ago, he was already familiar with this disease and how it might end. "I thought about my father and grandfather," he says. Both died of the same condition. Three of his brothers have it too.

All of them worked in the sugar cane fields.

Cowboy Hat

US: The Fight to End Corporate Personhood Heats Up

Occupy wall street coporate personhood
© dopey, via Flickr
It's been nearly two years since an intensely divided Supreme Court solidified the idea of corporate personhood by ruling that political spending by corporations is protected as a form of free speech under the First Amendment. Since then, that landmark decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Committee has allowed for unrestricted and undisclosed campaign spending by corporations, a concept that we are just starting to see the effects of as the 2012 election draws near.

Since the Occupy Wall Street protests began in September, there has been a lot of attention on the potential for political corruption by powerful corporations and the subsequent gross imbalance of wealth and power it creates. Over the past few weeks, it looks like there is finally some momentum starting to build in efforts to overturn the landmark Citizens United case, cut the ties between corporations and the government, and put an end to the idea that Corporations should enjoy the same rights as people.


US: The scandal of the Alabama poor cut off from water

poor no water
© UnknownThe poorest citizens in Birmingham, Alabama, say they can no longer afford running water.
Banks stand to lose millions of dollars in debt repayments if the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history is allowed to proceed.

But the real victims of the financial collapse in the US state of Alabama's most populous county are its poorest residents - forced to bathe in bottled water and use portable toilets after being cut off from the mains supply.

And there is widespread anger in Jefferson County that swingeing sewerage rate hikes could have been avoided but for the greed, corruption and incompetence of local politicians, government officials and Wall Street financiers.

Tammy Lucas is the human face of a financial and political scandal that has brought one of the most deprived communities in America's south to the point of what some local people believe is collapse.

She says: "If the sewer bill gets higher, my light might get cut off and if I try to catch up the light, my water might get cut off. So we're in between. We can't make it like this."

Mrs Lucas's monthly sewerage rate bills - the amount levied by the county to flush away waste and provide water for baths and showers - has quadrupled in the past 15 years. She says it is currently running at $150 (ยฃ97) a month, which leaves little left out of her $600 social security cheque for food and electricity.

"We need to keep the water running because we're women," she says. "We need to take baths. I try to pay the sewer bill and the water bill together and then what little I got left I try to put on my lights. I got to have lights."


Will Russia let the United States start a war in mid-January?

The Western media has showcased the latest report from Human Rights Watch, "By All Means Necessary!", wherein it is alleged that crimes against humanity were committed under the authority of President Bashar al-Assad. At no time does the press inquire about the identity of the authors or the methodology of the report.

The Atlanticist press has hailed the Russian resolution proposal to the Security Council as a sign that Moscow has come around to Washington's views. However, the newspapers have not seen the full text, but only a few sentences quoted by Reuters.

The Canadian press echoes the call of its Foreign Minister for all Canadian citizens to leave Syria not later than mid-January, when their evacuation will become problematic. It is not clear what disaster is anticipated around this date.


Best of the Web: Occupy Psychopaths 1 (OWS vs. the Pathology of the 1%)

An Occupy Wall Street activist explains why he thinks it is very important to spread knowledge about psychopaths and psychopathy.

Find out about the important connection between psychopaths and the ruling 1%.

This is not taught in schools (but should be).


Iceland recognizes state of Palestine

Iceland has become the first Western European country to formally recognize the Palestinian Territories as an independent state. The announcement was made by Iceland's Foreign Minister, in the presence of his Palestinian counterpart.

Ossur Skarphedinsson, Iceland's Foreign Minister said, "This is the day when we formally submit to you our declaration where we say that Iceland recognizes the full sovereignty of the Palestinian people of Palestine on the basis of the borders pre 1967. And Iceland didn't only talk the talk, we walked the walk, we stood by our word, we have supported the Palestinian cause and today will not be the end of that. We will continue to do so."


Trust me, an infamous serial liar says

© CNNStephen Glass was considered a brilliant 25-year-old Washington journalist before he was unmasked as a serial faker.
Stephen Glass, the whiz-kid magazine writer exposed 13 years ago as a serial fabricator, is telling what may be his most compelling story yet -- his own. He swears he's not making it up, and he's asking California's highest court to believe him and give him a chance.

Glass, who graduated in 2000 from Georgetown's law school, works as a paralegal for a firm in Beverly Hills, California. But he really wants to be a lawyer, and he insists he's remorseful, reformed and committed to telling the truth. Others aren't so sure, which is why a bar application that usually would be a no-brainer is taking five years and counting.

There is no question that Glass is brilliant, and he easily passed the bar exams in New York and California. But his budding legal career has become snagged on the jagged rocks of good character and moral fitness.

The latest installment in the infamous fabulist's saga is contained in a thick file at the California Supreme Court. Opened to the public late last month, it finally offers an explanation for why Glass once felt driven to publish lie after lie, and then lie some more to cover it all up. But this case also raises some difficult questions: Can he, should he be forgiven? Is his redemption even possible? Or, once a liar, always a liar?


Catholic Church Rocked by Dutch Abuse Scandal

Another child abuse scandal has hit the Catholic Church - this time in the Nertherlands.

Two of the church's organisations gave an independent commission the task of investigating incidents ranging from touching to rape within the Dutch church between 1945 and 2010. The church's response to these matters was also examined.

Chairman of the investigating committee, Wim Deetman said there was a large amount of victims: "The number of children under the age of 18 that were sexually abused while spending part of their lives in a catholic orphanage or boarding school in the Netherlands is between 10,000-20,000."

Findings from the commission detailing cover-ups by authorities have lead to the Dutch church offering a 'heartfelt apology' for the way previous abuse was handled.


Palestinian women: Our problems are worse in Jerusalem

For Palestinian women, life in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere can be difficult but it is especially challenging for those living in Jerusalem.

"Palestinian women in Jerusalem live a conundrum of being stuck between being directly governed by the occupying Israeli authorities and the traditional, patriarchal structure of Palestinian families," said Eida Eisawi, a women's rights researcher at the Women's Studies Centre in Jerusalem.

Mrs Eisawi spoke at a conference last week attended by 200 Palestinian mothers, daughters and sisters, who shared stories about trauma and abuse.

The male-dominated family structure in Jerusalem has in many ways been "reinforced" by Palestinians' mistrust of Israeli authorities in the city, she said. Rather than report crime such as rape to Israeli police, families tended to sort out issues at home. But that usually meant that men were left to arbitrate disputes, a process that rarely favours women.