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Fri, 02 Dec 2022
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Snakes in Suits

Out in the cold: How one of the wealthiest cities in America treats its homeless

© Shutterstock
Hayes Mansion, San Jose.
The city refuses to provide affordable housing, yet won't tolerate people living outdoors.

When San Jose dismantled the "Jungle," the nation's largest homeless encampment, many of its residents with nowhere to go scattered. They found hiding places in the scores of small, less visible encampments within the city, where more than 5,000 people sleep unsheltered on a given night.

But one group of about three dozen evictees gathered what they could salvage in backpacks and trash bags, and crossed a bridge to a spot about a mile away. They found a clean patch of grass near Coyote Creek, the same creek that the Jungle abutted. There, they pitched tents donated by some concerned citizens, assigned themselves chores and hoped for the best.

Instead, they got marching orders. After weathering the hardest rains to fall in these parts in a decade, the campers found 72-hour eviction notices on their tents. Once again, a little more than a week after their forced flight from the Jungle, they had no idea where they might live.

Comment: The rich don't want to help the down and out, they just want them to disappear. Of course not seeming to realize that they helped create the situation in the first place with their psychopathic greed.


Adolescence Interrupted: The unregulated, abusive war on troubled teens

Much has been written about the troubled teen industry by former clients, advocates and journalists. On a daily basis the "still-traumatized" post their experiences on social media platforms. They bear witness to friends who died during or after abuse at facilities that were supposed to help create lives of meaning and purpose. The community of survivors publish online to help make sense of their struggles. They also want to raise awareness about punitive and damaging treatments doled out by certain institutions.

The industry that has arisen around troubled teens is a profitable one, estimated at over two billion dollars a year. A wide range of behavioral and psychological issues affect adolescents who are remanded to residential facilities. They include substance abuse, ADHD, oppositional defiance, conduct disorder, and many other diagnoses. A common thread runs through family narratives; they can no longer manage the behavior of their children. Parents are fearful, bewildered, overwhelmed and often angry about their children's actions. Teens, on the other hand, may see their parents' responses as hand-wringing overkill. When these conflicts come to a head, an adolescent can find himself awoken in the middle of the night by strangers with restraints, and forcibly taken to a residential boarding school far from home.

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Deterioration of society: Five people stabbed inside popular Washington DC restaurant

© Stephanie Ramirez, WUSA9
The Northwest D.C. Restaurant and Saloon where five people were stabbed early Saturday morning.
Five people were stabbed early on Saturday in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., police said. The incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. at McFadden's, a popular restaurant and nightclub on Pennsylvania Avenue, eight blocks from the White House in the nation's capital.

All five victims were taken to hospital with knife wounds, a police spokesman said Saturday. Their identities have not been released.

Police said the stabbing happened inside the bar. Photos posted on Twitter Saturday show a blood-splattered sidewalk.

Comment: There have been multiple incidences of stabbings this year. Oddly, there was a rash of such incidents back in 2010, and hopefully this is not an indication of more to come.


The application of law in feudal America - know your place

Know Your Place
© www.digitalmediatree.com
It's no revelation that the majority of America is asleep at the wheel (both figuratively and literally). I get it. People are really busy taking the kids to soccer, sitting glued to American Idol, and buying up $300 pairs of Nikes manufactured in Vietnam for $1.68/each.

No one has the time or energy to care about trivial things like the killing of 5,000+ Americans or heads of state breaking international law.

The common folks are just too preoccupied to realize that they're paying multi-billion dollar companies welfare, all while complaining about "ghetto queens" buying a $3 Red Bull with an EBT card.

I feel for these people whose few spare moments are consumed with the socially necessary memorization of sports statistics and analysis of who sportsed the hardest at sports this week.

It is because of this empathy that I felt compelled to write a summary public service announcement which will inform people on proper behavior in our newly transformed society. I'm calling it...

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A creative list of ways to be killed by the cops

OWS Protesters
© thewhiteboardpig
If only tittie grabs were the worst of our issues...
If only cops feeling up OWS girls were the worst of our problems...

First off, this is not a violation of my blog's foundational rules. This post merely contains a list. It is not a "list post".

My previous post that pointed out the destructive-to-the-cause nature of turning "all lives matter" into "black lives matter" ended up being quite controversial. Of course, it must be noted that "the cause" refers to the desire that many of us have to end America's police state and hold police to the same standards they hold the public. If your cause is to divide people, then this "black lives matter" narrowing of the issue is doing that beautifully.

The latter holds true for an unfortunately large number of people who are fully convinced that police brutality and police state America are solely black community issues and white people should mind their own business because these things don't affect them. Then of course there's this other large group of people, the "cops are just doing their jobs" and "being a cop is so stressful" and "there isn't actually a problem, it's being blown out of proportion" people.

I wanted to do something for both these groups of people, to help them see reality, to help them see the absurdity of their positions, and to reinforce my previous post. Both groups are doing harm to a cause that is ultimately going to decide whether future America will be a free country or not. They need to get back in touch with reality.

So, without further adieu, I give you my list...


Paying it forward: Attorney pays stranger's fine to help him avoid felony conviction

© Colin Murphy and Castor Conley
Castor Conley and Colin Murphy
An attorney paid a stranger's $983 fine so he could help the man avoid having a felony conviction on his record.

Colin M. Murphy, a civil attorney in Portland, OR, was sitting in the gallery of a courtroom waiting for his case to begin when he overheard the attorneys and judge from a separate case discussing the defendant, who was about be convicted as a felon simply because he couldn't pay $983 in restitution.

Castor Conley, 27, a married father with a 17-month-old child, would have faced a misdemeanor sentence if he were unable to pay the fine.

Murphy, having never met Conley before, said he could tell that the court did not want to overly penalize the man and were just looking to compensate a man whose truck was damaged. He also realized that a felony conviction could seriously hurt Conley's ability to get a job or rent/buy a house. Murphy was compelled to help, approaching the judge and offering to pay the fine himself.

Comment: This was an incredibly kind gesture, and one that will likely change this stranger's life. Many people are being thrown in jail in the US these days, simply for being too poor to pay fines imposed by the courts, often for minor infractions. As an attorney, he is no doubt well aware of the descending spiral that the stranger faced for nothing more than being poor, and had a heart big enough to change this. Kudos!!


Police officer arrested for robbing businesses and homes on duty

© Edwardsville Police Department
Officer Brian Barker
An Edwardsville, Illinois police officer was arrested on charges of having burglarized homes and businesses while on duty and in uniform, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

Officer Brian Barker, a 19-year veteran, was arrested after being accused of entering Reality Salon and Spa and removing money from the cash register while on duty. When the Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven discovered that the suspect was one of his officers, he turned the investigation over to the Madison County Sheriff's Department.

"It isn't that I don't have faith in my investigators, but for the public trust, it's best to have an independent agency investigate your agency," Keeven said.

Officer Barker is also accused of stealing money and weapons from a private residence, as well as a number of Edwardsville businesses, including Afsanehs Alterations, Edible Arrangements, Edison's Entertainment, Extreme Vapor, Headstrong Hair, The Little Gym, and Pedegos.

"We put all this trust, faith and power in police officers, but with that comes gigantic stresses," Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons told the New-Democrat. "When they breach that trust, it's so much worse. The magnitude of this breach of public trust necessitates a very harsh penalty, and we will be seeking prison time."

"It's really sad to see someone who's supposed to be the good guy go wrong. But the measure of character of leadership is what they do when it happens," he added. "In this case, [the Edwardsville Police Department] absolutely did the right thing."

Officer Barker stands accused of 10 counts of burglary, one count of residential burglary, and one counted of aggravated possession of stolen firearms.

Comment: Another example of police thinking they are above the law. Hopefully this officer is prosecuted for his crimes and realizes that even police officers are held to the standards of law like everyone else.


Sheriff deputy allegedly shoots and kills son on Christmas Eve


Khamis Shatara
An off-duty sheriff's deputy from Palm Beach, Florida reportedly shot and killed his 21-year-old son on Christmas Eve at an apartment complex in Delrey Beach.

According to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times' Pulp blog, Khamis Shatara was shot and killed by his father, a Palm Beach Sheriff's Office deputy, in a dispute that took place on Wednesday.

The deputy's name is Shatara K. Shatara, who has been with the sheriff's department since 2006.

Khamis Shatara was a criminal justice major at Palm Beach State College and a staunch supporter of the police. He intended to enroll in the police force after graduation to follow in his father's footsteps.

Police were called to the apartment complex shortly before 8 a.m. on Wednesday. When they arrived they found Deputy Shatara and his son, who was dead of a single gunshot wound.


Cop to driver recording stop: 'I'll find a way for the DA's office to arrest you'


New York State Trooper Rosenblatt making traffic stop
A New York State Trooper, annoyed that a motorist was recording their interactions, threatened to "find a way to arrest" him during a recent traffic stop.

In the video recorded by John Houghtaling, the trooper - identified as Officer Rosenblatt - walks up to the car and immediately holds his hand up to block the view of his face from the camera.

"Put the phone down," The trooper tells Houghtaling, who asks the officer "why?" adding, "Am I not allowed to record, officer?"

After asking the trooper for his badge number, Houghtaling asks, "Am I being detained?"

The officer claims he stopped the car for a traffic violation and requests Houghtailing's license and registration, before once again complaining about being filmed and threatening Houghtaling.


2014: The year propaganda came of age

© Dorothea Lange
Drought hit OK farm family on way to CA Aug 1936.
From just about as early in my life as I can remember, growing up as a child in Holland, there were stories about World War II, and not just about Anne Frank and the huge amounts of people who, like her, had been dragged off to camps in eastern Europe never to come back, but also about the thousands who had risked their lives to hide Jewish and other refugees, and the scores who had been executed for doing so, often betrayed by their own neighbors.

And then there were those who had risked their lives in equally courageous ways to get news out to people, putting out newspapers and radio broadcasts just so there would be a version of events out there that was real, and not just what the Germans wanted one to believe. This happened in all Nazi - and Nazi friendly - occupied European nations. The courage of these people is hard to gauge for us today, and I'm convinced there's no way to say whom amongst us would show that kind of bravery if we were put to the test; I certainly wouldn't be sure about myself.

Still, without wanting to put myself anywhere near the level of those very very real heroes, please don't get me wrong about that, that's not what I mean, I was thinking about them with regards to what is happening in our media today. I've mentioned before that I don't think Joseph Goebbels had anything on US and European media today.

Comment: That is exactly what we try to do here at SOTT: bring you the real news and the state of our world as objectively as possible.