But it’s for the children, we need to protect them…….

AP INVESTIGATION: Feds’ failures imperil migrant children


As tens of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America crossed the border in search of safe harbor, overwhelmed U.S. officials weakened child protection policies, placing some young migrants in homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved, or forced to work for little or no pay, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Without enough beds to house the record numbers of young arrivals, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered its safety standards during border surges in the last three years to swiftly move children out of government shelters and into sponsors’ homes. The procedures were increasingly relaxed as the number of young migrants rose in response to spiraling gang and drug violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to emails, agency memos and operations manuals obtained by AP, some under the Freedom of Information Act.

First, the government stopped fingerprinting most adults seeking to claim the children. In April 2014, the agency stopped requiring original copies of birth certificates to prove most sponsors’ identities. The next month, it decided not to complete forms that request sponsors’ personal and identifying information before sending many of the children to sponsors’ homes. Then, it eliminated FBI criminal history checks for many sponsors.

Since the rule changes, the AP has identified more than two dozen children who were placed with sponsors who subjected them to sexual abuse, labor trafficking, or severe abuse and neglect.

“This is clearly the tip of the iceberg,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, research director at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. “We would never release domestic children to private settings with as little scrutiny.”

Advocates say it is hard to gauge the total number of children exposed to dangerous conditions among the more than 89,000 placed with sponsors since October 2013 because social workers could not find many of the migrants designated for follow-up. The advocates and contractors also say they repeatedly warned HHS beginning in 2012 about the steady increase in children arriving at the border. Even the agency warned case management staff the following year of “fraudulent sponsors” in Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota who had sought to claim multiple, unrelated minors.

Federal officials won’t disclose details of how the agency was stretched so thin, but say they are strengthening procedures as the number of young migrants once again rises, and recently signed a contract to open new shelters.

“We are not taking shortcuts,” HHS spokesman Mark Weber said. “The program does an amazing job overall.”

One of the cases reviewed by the AP involved a then-14-year-old from Guatemala who arrived in the U.S. in September 2014 and was sent to a sponsor’s apartment in Los Angeles, where he was held for three weeks. In an interview, Marvin Velasco said his sponsor, a distant relative who he had never met, deprived him of food.

“He told authorities that he was going to take me to school and help me with food and clothing, but it wasn’t like that at all,” said Velasco, who since has been granted special legal status for young immigrants. “The whole time, I was just praying and thinking about my family.”

Unlike the extensive screenings required in the U.S. foster care system, HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement had stopped requiring that social workers complete extensive background checks or fingerprint most sponsors when they placed Velasco with his brother-in-law’s father. Social workers never visited the apartment before Velasco arrived or checked on him afterward, said Gina Manciati, the boy’s attorney.

Velasco said there were nine others living in the apartment and the sponsor demanded rent and told him he would be punished if he left. When Velasco told the sponsor he wanted to study, the man called the boy’s parents in Guatemala, threatening to kick him out if they didn’t pay.

With help from the sponsor’s son, Velasco escaped and sought sanctuary in a nearby church, where he met a parishioner who became his legal guardian. He now is living with a Guatemalan immigrant family that is raising him as their son.

Other accounts uncovered by the AP include:

— A 14-year-old Honduran girl whose stepfather forced her to work at cantinas in central Florida where women drink, dance and sometimes have sex with patrons.

— A 17-year-old from Honduras sent to live with an aunt in Texas, who forced her to work in a restaurant at night and clean houses on weekends, and often locked her in the home.

— A 17-year-old Guatemalan placed in the home of a friend’s brother in Alabama, where he was made to work in a restaurant for 12 hours a day to earn rent.

— A Central American teen placed with a family friend who forced her to cook, clean and care for younger children in a Florida trailer park.

Experts including a psychologist and an attorney cited cases in which unaccompanied children were raped by relatives or other people tied to their sponsors.

Weber said ORR has added more home visits and background checks since July, when federal prosecutors charged sponsors and associates with running a trafficking ring in rural Ohio that forced six unaccompanied minors to work on egg farms under threat of death for up to 12 hours a day.

“I know we learn from lessons and keep trying to improve the system to ensure the child is placed in a safe place, and I’m confident the vast majority of the kids are,” Weber said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the Senate’s bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said he will hold a hearing on the agency’s child placement program Thursday because he is concerned that the failures are systemic.

“We think reforms are necessary and urgently required because there are kids right now who are coming in over the border,” Portman said. “This is a problem that has to be addressed.”

Grand jury indicts 2 behind Planned Parenthood videos


A Texas grand jury investigating video-recorded allegations that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue instead indicted two of the people who made the controversial undercover videos.

The grand jury in Harris County indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record. Daleiden was also indicted on a misdemeanor charge of “prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs,” Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement.

The grand jury declined to indict anyone from Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast — the initial target of the investigation. Planned Parenthood officials said violence against clinics rose dramatically as the videos were released in mid-2015.

“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Anderson said in a statement. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

Daleiden and Merritt created a fake human-tissue company and secretly recorded Planned Parenthood workers discussing the disposal of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood officials, who have sued the two and several others involved in making the videos, say the recordings were deceptively edited and falsely portrayed the highly regulated process by which tissue from aborted fetuses can be donated for medical research.

“These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda. As the dust settles and the truth comes out, it’s become totally clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the criminals behind this fraud, and we’re glad they’re being held accountable,” Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

Last week, Planned Parenthood filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Daleiden and Merritt, along with the Center for Medical Progress and BioMax, and several others identified as helping create the videos. The lawsuit filed in San Francisco claims the defendants “engaged in a complex criminal enterprise to defraud Planned Parenthood and prevent the health care organization from providing preventive and reproductive health services to millions of women and men.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last summer called for the grand jury investigation, calling the allegations contained in the videos “repulsive and unconscionable.” Reacting to Monday’s announcement, Abbott wrote on Twitter: “Despite today’s decision in Harris Co. about Planned Parenthood, Texas will continue to protect life & investigate@PPact practices.”

What the fuck is wrong with people these days?

More from the indoctrination camps (used to be called schools)

More from the indoctrination camps (used to be called schools)

Texas eighth-grader suspended for rescuing classmate during asthma attack

Anthony Ruelas watched for what seemed like an eternity as his classmate wheezed and gagged in a desperate struggle to breathe.

The girl told classmates that she was having an asthma attack, but her teacher refused to let anyone leave the classroom, according to NBC affiliate KCEN. Instead, the teacher emailed the school nurse and waited for a reply, telling students to stay calm and remain in their seats.

When the student having the asthma attack fell out of her chair several minutes later, Ruelas decided he couldn’t take it anymore and took action.

“We ain’t got time to wait for no email from the nurse,” a teacher’s report quotes him as saying, according to Fox News Latino.

And with that, the 15-year-old Gateway Middle School student carried his stricken classmate to the nurse’s office, violating his teacher’s orders.

The teenager later texted Ruelas to let him know she was fine, according to KWTX, but that didn’t stop school officials at the alternative school in the Killeen Independent School District from punishing him. Ruelas was written up by his teacher and eventually suspended for two days, according to KCEN.

“I was like what?” Ruelas told the station. “I’m suspended for this? Like, I was trying to help her.”

A teacher’s report documenting the incident appears to correspond with Ruelas’s version of what transpired:

“During 5th period another student complained that she couldn’t breathe and was having an asthma attack,” the report states. “As I waited for a response from the nurse, the student fell out of her chair to the floor. Anthony proceeded to go over and pick her up, saying ‘f—k that, we ain’t got time to wait for no email from the nurse.’ He walks out of class and carries the other student to the nurse.”

Mandy Cortes, Ruelas’s mother, told KCEN that she assumed her son — who has been suspended in the past — was to blame when the school informed her that he had been suspended again.

“I wasn’t trying to hear it,” she said. “I was like, ‘No, they already told me what happened — you walked out of class.’ And he was like ‘Okay, forget it.’ But I can tell — you know, you know your kids — I could tell he was upset.”

Cortes told KCEN that when she found out what prompted her son to walk out of class, she was proud of him but frustrated by the school’s response.

“Especially with it being an alternative school I feel like the kids hear enough of ‘they’re bad’ or their behavior,” she added. “For them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave, you know, he is a hero to me.”

“He may not follow instructions all the time, but he does have a great heart,” she said, noting that she was now considering home-schooling him.

John Craft, superintendent of the Killeen Independent School District, released a statement on Wednesday addressing the incident:

“The District is unable to provide details related to the matter as it pertains to information involving student discipline and/or health records,” the statement said. “In an effort to protect students’ rights to confidentiality granted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the details of the investigation and/or disciplinary actions may not be provided by the district at this time. The Killeen ISD maintains the safety of our students, staff and campuses as a priority and applauds the efforts of students who act in good faith to assist others in times of need.”

Ruelas told KCEN that he’s more concerned about his classmate’s health than his suspension. Asked whether he would make the same decision again if he was given the chance, he sounded confident.

“Most definitely,” he said

When Will You Die? ‘Death Clock’ Says It Knows


Would you want to know how long you’d live? How about if you could do something to extend your days here? Although I’m not sure how I feel about the first question, I do know the answer to the second: By all means, yes!

Your dream (or perhaps your nightmare) has come true: The Death Clock is a site that bills itself as “the Internet’s friendly reminder that life is slipping away… second by second. Like the hourglass of the Net, the Death Clock will remind you just how short life is.”

“Eek,” I thought to myself — but at the same time I started to answer the handful of basic questions: Date of birth, sex, BMI (body mass index), whether you smoke or not, and your general state of mind (from “normal” to “sadistic”). No, it’s not the most exhaustive or scientific diagnostic, but it’s very fast, kind of fun (if dark humor is your thing), and a good wake-up call.

I answered all the questions truthfully (58, non-smoker, a healthy BMI, and a “normal” outlook on life), and the Death Clock dutifully ran its algorithm.

In seconds the clock revealed what it calls my “personal day of death.” Apparently that’s April 23, 2031, just 15 years from now. I’ll be 73. Egads!

That is—or it was when I took the quiz—481,730,933 seconds away. Tick tock. Tick tock. Yes, I hear you, O Death Clock, especially the warning about “the lethal danger of being fat,” which read: “Excess weight has a dramatic impact on one’s health.” All right, maybe I should reconsider using my Fitbit, which I dissed in last week’s column.

I also played around with the variables to see what I’d learn: If I were female, I’d be given another five years to live. Smoker, minus six. Obese, minus four. And when I checked “sadistic” for personality type, the Death Clock responded bleakly: “I am sorry but your time has expired. Have a nice day.”

I needed a little reassurance that the clock didn’t really know my future quite that well. “Some calculators give exact dates: these shouldn’t be taken very seriously,” Dean Foster, an emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told me. “Further, most of your life will be lived in the future, where health care will be getting better and better. So many simple life-table calculations ignore this and so you will likely outlive many life-table calculations.” I asked Foster what someone could do to improve life expectancy, and he responded: “Don’t smoke. That is still the biggest.” Good, as a non-smoker, I feel a little better.

Fortunately, there are more scientific “life expectancy calculators” that ask more of you and provide a more customized result, including the one developed by Foster,the “How long will I live?” tool. After asking the basics plus about a dozen additional questions (about education, income, marital status, fitness, and diet), the calculator ran its program and — hooray! — spit out a much more optimistic result: I’d live to be 90.

I also tried Northwestern Mutual’s Life Expectancy Calculator. Thirteen questions later I got the best result to date—or at least the one suggesting the greatest longevity: 97 years. Of course, Northwestern is an insurance company that helps “people manage risks and achieve financial security,” so I wasn’t completely surprised when I was asked: “Are you financially prepared to live that long?”

Good question. Probably not, but I’m not even I sure I want to live quite that long. As Foster notes, though, “one of the most important uses [of these calculators] is for planning for retirement. You need to plan for the larger end to make sure you don’t run out of money early.”

THE TAKEAWAY:

Three quizzes, three different results: I could live to be 73, 90, or 97. There were definitely some common trends: Smoking is not good for your life expectancy. Exercise and healthy eating matter a great deal. So, too, does your mood. Race, income, and education also play a role in wellbeing and longevity.

I’m left wondering which would be worse: Dying too soon, or so late that I outlive my money. Now I’m worried this will negatively affect my mood… and my lifespan.