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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Florida Senate Apologizes for Infamous Dozier School for Boys

Wrote about this a while ago describing the recovery of bodies of boys from unmarked graves at the school

This school didn’t close until 2011!

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Florida Senate apologizes for abuse, deaths at reform school

The Florida Senate formally apologized on Wednesday to victims who suffered brutality, sexual abuse and even death after being sent as boys to a reform school with a history of troubles long denied by the state.

The infamous site, which opened in 1900 in Marianna as the Florida State Reform School and was later named the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, closed in 2011.

From its early days, the school was plagued by allegations of abuse. Senator Darryl Rouson, a Democrat who introduced the resolution expressing official regret and apology, said the state conducted six investigations in the school’s first 13 years after “reports of children being chained to walls in irons, severely beaten and used for child labor.”

A forensic investigation between 2013 and 2016 uncovered graves for 55 boys, 24 more sites than reported in official records, according to the Senate resolution. Most of the bones have not been identified and some of the deaths are believed to have resulted from abuse.

“These bones are telling the story,” Rouson said. “The story they tell is one of a shameful history.”

Boys were sent to Dozier for a wide range of alleged offenses from murder to smoking and skipping school. Many were not given a hearing or legal representation.

Fourteen men who had been sent to Dozier and a second reform school that opened in 1955 in Okeechobee, Florida, attended the Senate session on Wednesday.

“We apologize,” Rouson said to the men. “We are sorry, and this resolution on behalf of this Florida Senate commits to ensuring that the children of Florida are protected from this kind of abuse and violations of fundamental human decency.”

The Florida House of Representatives passed a similar resolution last week. Neither chamber is currently considering offering compensation to the victims, local media reported.

Investigative reports by the St. Petersburg Times newspaper starting in 2009 kicked off the increased attention in recent years to the scandal.

After U.S. Justice Department and state investigations revealed abuses by interviewing more than 500 former students, the two schools were shuttered.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in American Genocide

 

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Racism and Perception

Why do Police see guns in black men’s hands when there are none? Science attempts to explain.

Not sure I buy into the concept entirely, as many of the shooting situations were created by the Officers in the first place. That implies , differently from the science that perception may well have a component of pre-meditation.

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The shooting of Walter Scott involved no weapon in Scott’s hands. He was running away from the Policeman.

A neuroscientist explains how racism hijacks human perception

If you’re black in the United States, you’re more than twice as likely as a white person to be unarmed if you’re killed in an encounter with the police. Why? Some kind of racial profiling is at work, but the precise psychological mechanism is poorly understood. Investigations into police shootings show that the officers often perceive cellphones and other non-threatening objects as weapons in the hands of a person of colour. So do police officers misinterpret what they see, or are they actually seeing a gun where there is none?

The classic psychological account would ascribe these mistakes to a failure of executive control, provoked by some external stimulus. That is, the problem comes from the brain’s inability to resolve the conflict between an automatically activated stereotype, and a consciously held egalitarian belief. Seeing a black face might automatically activate the stereotype that black men are more dangerous, leading to activity in brain areas implicated in fear responses. But this automatic response, which could trigger a fight-or-flight reaction, should be suppressed when the fear is irrational. Yet the tensions between automatic and control processes are not always readily resolved, and result in errors.

New strands of work in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy of mind challenge this brain-centric orthodoxy. Researchers of ‘embodied cognition’ focus instead on the brain’s interdependence on physiological processes that allow an organism to sustain itself. From this point of view, the mind must be understood as embedded in a body, and the body as embedded in a physical, social and cultural environment. Reality is not simply out there for the taking, but is summoned via the constant fluctuations of our own organic matter. As the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote in Phenomenology of Perception (1945): ‘The body is our general medium for having a world.’

Among neuroscientists, it’s increasingly popular to think of the brain not as a passive organ that receives and reacts to stimuli, but as more of an inference machine: something that actively strives to predict what’s out there and what’s going to happen, maximising the chances of staying alive. But the body isn’t simply controlled top-down. Rather, its signals are constantly combining with the brain’s inferences to generate our perception of the world. Imagine you hear a door slamming: you’re more likely to picture an intruder if you’re watching a scary movie than if you’re listening to soothing music. You make that prediction (otherwise quite unlikely) because it accounts for your fast heart-rate and the sound of the door.

We still know very little about exactly how these processes might relate to the phenomenon of racism, but now we have some idea of where to look. If the predictive story of behaviour is correct, perception (including that of the police) suddenly seems a lot closer to belief, and is a lot more embodied, than we used to think. Recent studies highlight the influences of visceral signals across many domains, from emotional processing and decision-making to self-awareness. For example, scary stimuli are judged to be more fearful when presented during heartbeats, rather than betweenheartbeats.

At my lab at Royal Holloway, University of London, we decided to test whether the cardiac cycle made a difference to the expression of racial prejudice. The heart is constantly informing the brain about the body’s overall level of ‘arousal’, the extent to which it is attuned to what is happening around it. On a heartbeat, sensors known as ‘arterial baroreceptors’ pick up pressure changes in the heart wall, and fire off a message to the brain; between heartbeats, they are quiescent. Such visceral information is initially encoded in the brainstem, before reaching the parts implicated in emotional and motivational behaviour. The brain, in turn, responds by trying to help the organism stabilise itself. If it receives signals of a raised heart-rate, the brain will generate predictions about the potential causes, and consider what the organism should do to bring itself down from this heightened state. This ongoing heart-brain dialogue, then, forms the basis of how the brain represents the body to itself, and creates awareness of the external environment.

In our experiment, we used what’s known as the ‘first-person shooter’s task’, which simulates the snap judgments police officers make. Participants see a white or black man holding a gun or phone, and have to decide whether to shoot depending on the perceived level of threat. In prior studies, participants were significantly more likely to shoot an unarmed black individual than a white one.

But we timed the stimuli to occur either between or on a heartbeat. Remarkably, the majority of misidentifications occurred when black individuals appeared at the same time as a heartbeat. Here, the number of false positives in which phones were perceived as weapons rose by 10 per cent compared with the average. In a different version of the test, we used what’s known as the ‘weapons identification task’, where participants see a white or black face, followed by an image of a gun or tool, and must classify the object as quickly as possible. When the innocuous items were presented following a black face, and on a heartbeat, errors rose by 20 per cent.

Yet in both instances, when the judgment happened between heartbeats, we observed no differences in people’s accuracy, irrespective of whether they were responding to white or black faces. It seems that the combination of the firing of signals from the heart to the brain, along with the presentation of a stereotypical threat, increased the chances that even something benign will be perceived as dangerous.

It’s surprising to think of racial bias as not just a state or habit of mind, nor even a widespread cultural norm, but as a process that’s also part of the ebbs and flows of the body’s physiology. The heart-brain dialogue plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate, as well as motivating and supporting adaptive behaviour in response to external events. So, in fight-or-flight responses, changes in cardiovascular function prepare the organism for subsequent action. But while the brain might be predictive, those predictions can be inaccurate. What our findings illustrate is the extent to which racial and possibly other stereotypes are hijacking bodily mechanisms that have evolved to deal with actual threats.

The psychologist Lisa Barrett Feldman at Northeastern University in Boston coined the term ‘affective realism’ to describe how the brain perceives the world through the body. On the one hand, this is a reason for optimism: if we can better understand the neurological mechanisms behind racial bias, then perhaps we’ll be in a better position to correct it. But there is a grim side to the analysis, too. The structures of oppression that shape who we are also shape our bodies, and perhaps our most fundamental perceptions. Maybe we do not ‘misread’ the phone as a gun; we might we actually see a gun, rather than a phone. Racism might not be something that societies can simply overcome with fresh narratives and progressive political messages. It might require a more radical form of physiological retraining, to bring our embodied realities into line with our stated beliefs.Aeon counter – do not remove

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Alex Jones, The Chumph’s Source For Alt-Truth Legal Problems Mount

Yet another of the white-right Chumph media sources is facing major legal problems. On top of a bloddy divorce which is airing some really ugly underwear, companies harmed by “Infowars” fake “news” are beginning to fire back.

Chobani sues Alex Jones after Infowars host links yogurt company's welcoming of refugees to Idaho violence

Alex Jones…Soon to join the list of white-wing departed talking heads?

Chobani sues Alex Jones after Infowars host links yogurt company’s welcoming of refugees to Idaho violence

The Infowars host has made unfounded claims linking the company to a sexual assault committed by refugees

Alex Jones is already receiving bad press from his child custody case, and now he is on the receiving end of a lawsuit that could even further embarrass the right-wing provocateur.

Chobani, an Idaho-based company that makes Greek yogurt, is suing Alex Jones by claiming that the notorious conspiracy theorist falsely linked the company, its owner Hamdi Ulukaya, and the community of Twin Falls to a sexual assault case that occurred in the area, according to a report by the Idaho Statesman. The company employees more than 300 refugees both in Twin Falls and at another plant in upstate New York, and Ulukaya himself is a well-known advocate for the refugee community.

Unfortunately for him, Jones and other right-wing conspiracy theorists seized upon the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl by three refugees as fodder for their anti-immigrant agenda. Both police and prosecutors have dismissed many of their claims, including that the girl was raped (authorities say she was inappropriately touched by one of the men while the other two filmed him), that she was held at knifepoint (authorities say there was no knife present), and that the local police attempted to cover up the crime. As NBC noted:

During the video, an Infowars reporter republished statements that claimed the Chobani plant brought crime and tuberculosis since it opened the plant five years ago while also pointing out previous reports of its willingness to hire refugees in Twin Falls.

In one of the articles identified by Chobani as being fake news, Infowars claimed that “as the Turkish billionaire brings in foreign workers with tens of millions in taxpayer subsidies, Twin Falls, Idaho, has seen a 500 percent increase in tuberculosis and two high profile refugee rape cases in the last two months, including the gang rape of a 5-year-old girl.”

 In addition to $10,000 in damages (as well as attorney fees and punitive compensation), Chobani is demanding that Infowars retract its claims as incorrect. They are also accusing Infowars of violating the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.
 

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Depiddy Lawn Jockey Faces Criminal Investigation

Wonder if they will give the boy an orange cowboy hat to go with his new uniform?

Sheriff David Clarke, who is really the supervisor of the jail in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin is in serious trouble. At least four deaths have occurred in his jails under questionable circumstances. There appears to be a pattern of prisoner abuse and brutality at the jail, including an incident where a pregnant prisoner was chained to a bed during childbirth. In a case resulting in a Federal Lawsuit, a woman was confined to solitary, without medical attention. She was 8 1/ months pregnant, was denied medical care, and her baby, born alive, died soon after.

Evidence has also come out that the Depiddy also tried to get the County Coroner to cover up the causes of the deaths.

DA Begins Official Inquest Before Considering Charges

Prosecutors say Milwaukee County Jail officers cut off an inmate’s water for seven consecutive days before the man died of dehydration.

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Kurt Bentley told jurors at an inquest Monday that the inmate, Terrill Thomas, was mentally unstable and unable to ask for help before he died in his cell in April 2016.

The DA’s office is asking a jury for advice on whether there’s probable cause that a crime was committed in Thomas’ death. The medical examiner has already ruled Thomas died because of dehydration.

Testimony and documents at the inquest revealed Thomas was moved to a solitary disciplinary unit where his water was cut off after he used a mattress to flood his cell in another jail unit.

Separately, Thomas’ children have filed a federal civil suit, saying their father’s treatment by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and his staff amounts to torture.

Attorney Walter Stern represents three of Thomas’ children. As he left the courtroom Monday afternoon, Stern said it was an interesting day.

“There was a police report indicating that this man was asking for, or begging for water,” Stern said. “Put it all together and it looks like there was profound dehydration.”

Thomas’ death was one of four at the Milwaukee County Jail last year, but Clarke won’t be a witness in the inquest. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said don’t read anything into that.

“I don’t think anybody should draw any conclusions. This is really a fact-based investigation,and so, what you try to do is limit yourself to people who have direct knowledge of the incident itself,” Chisholm said.

The inquest may last all week. The prosecutor’s office will then decide whether to file charges.

Terrill Thomas

Terill Thomas, a mentally ill man was placed in solitary, and denied water for 7 days. He died of severe dehydration.

Kristina Fiebrink

Kristina Fiebrink died on August 28th after she was arrested and booked on August 24th. The lawsuit says “despite exhibiting signs and symptoms of acute heroin and alcohol intoxication, Fiebrink was never placed on preventative detoxification protocol, seen by a doctor, provided withdrawal medication or placed on a heightened observation level.”

Michael Madden

Michael Madden died on October 28th. The lawsuit says he was suffering from a heart condition which he had had since birth, as well as a heroin addiction. The lawsuit says he “received little to no health care while in the Justice Facility.” He suffered a seizure, rendering him unconscious, and passed away.

Shade Swayzer

Sade Swazer, a pregnant, mentally ill woman confined to solitary. No medical care was provided – her baby dies soon after birth in the cell.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Black Conservatives

 

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Faux News Racism Suit Gets a Lot Bigger and Adds to Federal Grand Jury Probe

To the white-right types who believe that racial discrimination and sexual harassment don’t have have any real teeth due to years of white-right judges watering down penalties and making the wall of proof required for plaintiffs to make a case much higher…

Guess what?

If the company is publicly traded you could be hit from two directions. The first is a shareholder lawsuit, based on loss of value and irresponsible handling of corporate finances. The second is a Federal charge based on loss of potential revenue, and as such shareholder return due to paying off lawsuits and continuing racist and misogynist behavior.

The fact that the network’s ratings are beginning to crumble reduces the “worth” of the company, and if I were a shareholder right now…I would be looking for some heads to start rolling. The beginning of which would be among the first and second tier senior management. You not only fire the asshole who caused the pain…You fire the assholes who enabled that behavior. Then you take a real close look at the Middle-Management hired by those Senior Managers, because they were likely selected for their sharing the same views.

Few companies are willing to do this sort of top-down housecleaning. Which is why a lot of these companies wind up as side notes of failed corporations in the history books.

The issue here is, you know and I know that AG Jeff Sessions isn’t going to pursue any sort of racial discrimination lawsuit – and likely will try and block the Federal Investigation to protect his KKK friends. He is the bigot’s biggest protector. So, it will  likely wind up that the SEC does the heavy lifting here.

Fox News anchor joins lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, harassment at network

The suit is now headlined by Kelly Wright, a black reporter and anchor who has been with Fox News since 2003. Wright claims that he “has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer.”

Wright’s allegations involve, among others, recently fired Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and current network co-president Bill Shine.

The suit claims that Wright was shunned from O’Reilly’s now-canceled program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” and that Shine “has demonstrated an obsession with race when it comes to discussions with Mr. Wright, including regularly asking him, ‘how do Black people react to you’ and ‘how do you think White viewers look at you?'”

In one alleged example, Wright claims that he was rebuffed in his efforts to show a series of positive stories about the African-American community on the “Factor” because, according to the complaint, “it showed Blacks in ‘too positive’ a light.”

Wright is one of 13 plaintiffs, all people of color who are either current or former Fox News employees, to sue the network in the last month charging racial discrimination.

The litigation began last month, when two black women filed a lawsuit saying they faced “top-down racial harassment” from Judith Slater, Fox’s now-former comptroller.

The two plaintiffs, Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, accused Slater of making a number of racially insensitive remarks. CNNMoney has been unable to reach Slater for comment.

Fox said that it fired Slater on February 28, upon learning of the allegations. Attorneys for the 13 plaintiffs say Fox’s assertion that it acted swiftly is “completely false.”

A separate complaint filed Tuesday on behalf of Adasa Blanco, a former senior disbursement coordinator in Fox News’ accounts payable department, alleges that “Slater was terminated because Fox knew this would become a public matter and wanted to salvage its reputation.”

Blanco, who claims her repeated complaints about Slater’s behavior were ignored, is seeking redress for “substantial monetary damages and severe mental anguish and emotional distress.” The suit targets Fox News’ top lawyer, Dianne Brandi.

Fox News pushed back hard on the allegations levied in each complaint on Tuesday.

“FOX News and Dianne Brandi vehemently deny the race discrimination claims in both lawsuits,” a Fox News spokesperson said. “They are copycat complaints of the original one filed last month. We will vigorously defend these cases.”

The complaints filed Tuesday also included allegations from Musfiq Rahman, described in the court document as “a dark-skinned Bangladeshi” who previously worked in Fox’s payroll department.

Rahman, the complaint asserts, “suffered unconscionable and unrelenting race discrimination,” including an awkward encounter in 2014 with former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

According to the complaint, Rahman mistakenly entered Ailes’s office on the second floor.

“The fallout for Mr. Rahman’s ‘mistake’ was swift and severe,” the complaint says. “Ailes was furious and his paranoia about being attacked came to the forefront. That same day, Ailes ordered that a wall be constructed immediately in his personal office to act as a barrier to entry.”

It goes on to say that, the following day, Rahman and “a number of Black employees in the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable Departments, had their security passes to the second floor revoked.”

Tuesday’s filings represent a continuation of what has been a nightmarish month for Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox. O’Reilly, long the top-rated host in cable news, was ousted last week following a New York Times report detailing settlements paid to five women who had accused him of sexual harassment or verbal abuse. O’Reilly has denied the merits of all the claims against him.

The revelations of O’Reilly’s settlements came nine months after Ailes was forced out of Fox amid sexual harassment allegations against him. Ailes has vigorously denied the allegations.

Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, the attorneys representing all 13 plaintiffs, said in a statement Tuesday that 21st Century Fox “has been operating as if it should be called 18th Century Fox.”

“We sincerely hope the filing of this race class action wakes 21st Century Fox from its slumbers and inspires the Company to take a conciliatory and appropriate approach to remedy its wrongs,” the attorneys said.

 
 

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ANOTHER Chumph Smackdown! Federal Judge Rules Executive Order Unconstitutional

I can imagine the Chumph can’t wait to get his stooges on the benches across America so he can twist and destroy the Constitution…

But right now he is stuck with those that are in place.

Image result for judge smacks trump

On the Chumph “Executive Order” on Sanctuary Cities, withdrawing all Federal funding...

“Although the Government’s new interpretation of the Order  is not legally plausible, ineffect it appears to put the parties in general agreement regarding the Order’s constitutional
limitations. The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds. Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that the total financial incentive not be coercive.Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”
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Suggest the Chumph have his wife move to the White House and read this to him

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Whoops! Flynn Broke the Law!

This has gotta hut those die-hard Chumph defenders!

More evidence of why Chaffetz is jumping the rotted, rusty, Chumph scow.

More evidence Flynn will be the first to sing!

Image result for Michael Flynn Stool Pigeon

Flynn likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign payments, House Oversight leaders say

Image result for Michael Flynn CanaryFormer national security adviser Michael Flynn likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign income he earned from Russia and Turkey, the heads of the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said they believe Flynn neither received permission nor fully disclosed income he earned for a speaking engagement in Russia and lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to reinstate his security clearance, after viewing two classified memos and Flynn’s disclosure form in a private briefing Tuesday morning.

“Personally I see no evidence or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz told reporters following the briefing.

“He was supposed to get permission, he was supposed to report it, and he didn’t,” Cummings said.

 

 

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