Saturday, November 15, 2014

REHTAEH PARSONS IS HER NAME! YOUR NAME WILL NOT BE BURIED OR KEPT SILENT. WHAT ARE THE ACCUSED NAMES?

Rehtaeh Parsons's is her name!..we will never forget you and your name will not be buried or silent. She was a human being who lived.
REHTAEH PARSONS-17 YEARS OLD-BORN DECEMBER 9th, 1995 AND TRAGICALLY DIED ON APRIL 7th, 2013

                REST IN PEACE REHTAEH PARSONS 

The name Rehtaeh Parsons has been synonymous with cyber bullying and sexual exploitation ever since the Canadian teenager killed herself in April 2013. 

Rehtaeh suffered through 17 months of severe harassment after a photo of her being sexually assaulted while vomiting and half naked circulated around her school in 2011, when she was only 15 years old.

I previously wrote a blog story about Rehateh's case -For more complete information-CLICK HERE.

The now 20-year-old from Eastern Passage who took the photos pleaded guilty in September to making child pornography involving a teenage girl.

The trial of this young man who took these photos of her being gang raped, was held this week on November 13, 2014. 

Once again Rehateh Parsons and her family were victimized by a blind, cruel, dysfunctional legal system. 

Once again this is Canada's SHAME. 


As for the trial, the Judge acting as the ringmaster of this circus of injustice sentenced this young man to a one-year conditional discharge.

When the now-20-year-old man who took the photo of his friend penetrating Rehtaeh from behind while giving a thumbs-up sign pled guilty to one count of manufacturing child pornography, no Canadian media outlet was allowed to refer to Rehtaeh by name.

The media ban is due to a Canadian law that requires judges to prohibit the publication of information that could identify victims of child pornography under any and all circumstances. Nor could they name her parents, who have been actively fighting for justice since her death, or provide any background details about the notorious case.

Rehtaeh’s mother, Leah Parsons, said that, in life, her daughter wanted her name to be shouted as loud as possible.“She’s being silenced for the second time,” Leah said. “What happened to Rehtaeh matters, and it’s not right to silence her". 

This law is a perfect example of how criminals and their Lawyers are allowed to manipulate the Court system to erase, dehumanize victims, while hiding behind the words of legal language that end up protecting the evil.

In treating Rehateh Parsons , the victim as a non person, referring to  her as "the girl who was allegedly raped" she becomes non existent, her life dismissed as if she never lived.

In treating the accused boys by referring to them as "the young men" they are allowed to avoid the accountability for their actions. They are not men, but are beasts, who certainly have no remorse for what they did to Rehateh.

These "young men" have never been identified by the mainstream media and have been taught by the Canadian law enforcement agencies, the Court system that they can do as they please to torture another human being, with no fear of punishment for what they have done.

Rehtaeh Parsons's is her name!..we will never forget you and your name will not be buried or silent. She was a human being who lived.
  
I felt compelled to write my Blog today about Rehateh and the attempts by those in Authority to erase her name and her life. I also feel compelled to reblog you the names of the accused (identified by the group "ANONYMOUS"), "young men" who tortured Rehateh and have hidden behind the law to avoid being known for their evil.

The information below has been REBLOGGED (CLICK HERE) from  "Obscene Works Website" which posted the names  and information of the accused ON NOVEMBER 14th, 2014.

Please note: While my blog publishes outside Canadian jurisdiction, I have avoided any direct or inadvertent violation of sections 110(1) and 111(1) of the Canadian Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) and other pertinent statutes, by simply reblogging the following information as it is written directly on the website "Obscene Works".

Since I am unaware of the true identities of any individuals involved in any secret proceedings, I can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of their written information post and merely reblogging this information as is stated by them. 
  If you have evidence that the "Obscene Works" post does indeed breach the provisions of the YCJA, please contact them directly at obsceneworks@gmail.com so that they may alter or delete their post as required to ensure compliance with relevant statutes.

The Obscene Works" Website post stated as follows: 

"Kyle Brimicombe, Cody Allen Gosbee, Hunter Shippien and Cole Shippien raped Rehtaeh Parsons.

Anonymous, however, seems to have an agenda outside the bonds which bind the mainstream Canadian press.

Members of this stand-alone complex have been investigating the case ever since Warren Kinsella demanded their assistance in April of 2013.

The results of their research have now been posted to the text-sharing site Pastebin.

Specifically, in addition to identifying Rehtaeh Parsons as the victim of a heinous assault, they name one Cole Shippien as the photographer.  Also accused of sexual assault are Kyle Brimicombe, Cody Allen Gosbee and Cole’s younger brother Hunter Shippien. 

In addition, the document lists several other suspects who were ruled out over the course of the investigation, along with further “dox” information and evidence.

Of course, the probative value of information gleaned from anonymous sources is almost always zero. All reporting on the court case recently concluded has been so heavily redacted that we can’t know if it’s even related to Parsons’ tragedy at all. 

That said, however, given the current push towards an open dialog surrounding sexual assault in Canada, and whereas Rehtaeh is dead and unable to seek recompense at her own behest, and whereas even her own parents are barred from publishing her name, by a law ostensibly enacted in her honour, our moral duty to act as her voice overrides our possible proscribed duty under statute to shut the fuck up and not talk about it.

Are these boys actually guilty? Are they even related to the proceedings that just concluded? We have no idea. 

Perhaps journalists in Canada should stop hiding behind the law, and ask them."

mask

“We speak for the dead,
to protect the living.”
(End of Reblog from Obscene Works Website)

Filed with the Court were victim impact statements by the parents of Rehateh Parsons. Even their daughters name has been redacted by the Court from their heartfelt statements and Rehateh is referred to as "the girl".

This disgusting vulgar and cruel dehumanization by the Canadian courts in removing Rehatehs name by redacting her humanity in calling her "the girl", even in these victim impact statements written by her loving parents, is the ultimate mockery of any legal, moral, ethical pretense of justice served by the law.

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS: Read the victim's parents' words

TRENDING: The hashtag #youknowhername

Judge Gregory Lenehan also ordered the young man to provide a sample of his DNA for a national data bank.

Prosecutor Alex Smith told the judge his sentencing options were a conditional discharge, which was favoured by the defence, or a period of probation.

Lenehan, in his decision, said the young man “should never forget the promising, vibrant young life that was eventually destroyed by his choice to record an act of sexual degradation.”

“In a few seconds, (you) set in motion a series of events that led to a great deal of shame, humiliation, anger, despair, anguish, loss, hurt and destruction for (the girl), for her family, for you, for your family, for the entire community.”

The judge said the young man should have intervened to protect the girl rather than snap the photo for his friend, who was smiling and giving the thumbs-up sign while he penetrated the girl from behind.

“The act depicted in that photo that you took is vile,” Lenehan said. “It is degrading. It is dehumanizing.

“There no measures, no sanctions, no conditions that this court could impose that could come close to restoring the (girl’s) dignity, nothing that I can do to compensate for her tragic loss of life.”

The man chose not to address the court before he was sentenced. Defence lawyer Ian Hutchison, in his submission, said his client has battled mental health issues since the incident and is remorseful for his actions.

“I do accept that (the accused) is genuinely remorseful for what he did,” the judge said.

“I’m also convinced that he is quite sickened by the realization that his decision eventually led (the girl) to fall into a deep, dark hole of despair from which she could not extricate herself.

“His actions led to a series of events that eventually drained her of her very essence.”

Before the sentence was delivered, the girl’s parents gave victim impact statements saying she was destroyed after the sexually explicit picture was taken and distributed.

“I can honestly say I lost my child that night,” the girl’s mother told the court. “That photo ruined her life. She was never the same again. We saw glimpses of (her) from time to time, but the impact and trauma that followed for her was enormous.

“The following 17 months were a struggle. (She) struggled to live.”

Her father said his daughter sank into a depression.

“I had to watch my promising, intelligent, full-of-life child turn into an empty ghost — her dreams turn to ashes, her laughter turn to anger and cries,” he said through tears.“This is not the way this had to end.”

The judge ordered the offender to write a letter of apology to be given to the girl’s parents by his sentence supervisor.

Otherwise, he is to have no contact with them or the friend depicted in the photo, a 19-year-old Eastern Passage man scheduled to stand trial later this month on two charges of distributing child pornography.

“There is no sentence that would be good enough or strong enough to ever reflect what this did to my daughter,” the father said. “There just won’t be.

The father said he wished the young man would have apologized to them in court rather than be commanded to do it in writing.

“He should have said it right there. It would have meant a lot to us.”

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS

Mother:
"I sat in the courtroom on Sept. 22 and heard the words that the accused wished to change his plea to guilty. Then came the description of the photo that was circulated and what was occurring in that photo. Suddenly before my eyes flashed my daughter as a baby, as a little girl and finally the image of my daughter one evening curled in a ball on my kitchen floor in a fetal position, rocking, crying and saying her life is ruined.

Then out came all the events that she could recall of that evening back on Nov. 12, 2011. I recall vividly holding the door frame to my kitchen to steady myself as I could not believe what I was hearing.

I can honestly say I lost my child that night. That photo ruined her life. She was never the same again. We saw glimpses of (her) from time to time, but the impact and trauma that followed for her was enormous. So too was the impact emotionally for me and for her family. The following 17 months were a struggle. (She) struggled to live.

You may say how can a photo contribute to the death? Often, I hear, “Well, she must have had other major issues before this photo was taken and circulated.” No, she never had mental health issues before this happened to her. She was looking forward to her years in high school because she loved to learn and was a straight A student. She wrote about her excitement in her first month of high school. If (she) was the definition of a “troubled teen,” then every teen I ever met is a troubled teen.

(She) was at an age where she was feeling out who she was going to be in this life. She was building the foundation of who she was to become. That foundation and exploration was taken from her. She started to crumble. It was like a wrecking ball hit her, leaving pieces of bricks and mortar in its place. I know deep in my heart (she) had so much to contribute to this world and now that will never happen.

I can’t help but hear the words of her little sister after (she) died. “Mommy, why would someone want to hurt (her).” How do I explain this to her sisters? She says, “Mommy, don’t the people that hurt her know that we love her?” I asked myself the very same questions why?

When a family member suffers a trauma, so too does the entire family. My relationship with (her) also changed as she began to self-medicate, steal money and act rebellious. She acted completely different and her soft sensitive demeanour began to (submerge) into a protective shell. She became a troubled teen. I was unable to work and found my time and energy going into trying to find help for (her). Assessment after assessment determined I was not able to work.

Some may think I want the people involved and the guilty party to go to jail and be punished severely. Truth is, I don’t want that for him at all. I don’t feel jail time would serve anyone in this situation. My wish is that the accused actually felt remorse, that the accused does see the wrongdoing in this situation, not because he was caught and held accountable but because he actually FELT accountable.

I wish that he make a life for himself where other females he encountered are treated with respect and dignity. That he somehow learns to value females and that he does so in memory of my daughter. To me, that is the only way to move forward in a healing manner. What I do know is that I have to forgive him. I know this to be true".

Father:
"It would be impossible for me to sum up the impact this crime has had on my life and the life of my daughter. My life has been forever changed and her life ended. Every day, I wake up with the realization that she’s gone. I will never hear her voice again. She will never call me, spend the day with me or watch a movie that we both looked forward to seeing together. I won’t see her graduate from university. (She) was my only child. I will never walk with my daughter down an aisle at her wedding. I will never be a grandfather and enjoy the laughter of a grandchild.

I had to watch my promising intelligent, full-of-life child turn into an empty ghost, her dreams turn to ashes, her laughter turn to anger and cries. This is not the way it had to end.

I fight every day not to turn into a dark, empty shell. I’m not able to work. The hobbies I had that were important to me are all long forgotten and sit on shelves in the basement. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I often fear being alone.

It’s hard knowing that (my daughter), being the person she was, would have forgiven you if you’d only said you were sorry".

After the judge gave the now-20-year-old a conditional discharge in the case, the hashtag soon began to trend across the country. It was a protest against what many see as further silencing the victim and her memory. 

Some Twitter users used the victim's name along with the #youknowhername tag.

To all those media entities, your lack of courage in not publishing Rehateh parson's name is despicably cowardly. You are all guilty of being part of the victimization of a dead child. Shame on YOU!

If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity. -Albert Einstein.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

THE INVISIBLE OF I DON'T KNOW

 

What if we answered questions with "I don't know, but here's what I think?"

Instead, most of us anoint ourselves as mavens, experts in everything and masters of nothing.

We create illusions, walls of mirrors to hide behind and explain away whatever it is that confronts us, confounds, confuses, frightens, victimizes the world as we see it.

The best answer is I don't know:

It allows for invisibility, empty space and unknowing.

It allows for an eternal perspective.

It allows for accepting that the visible has a meaning in the invisible.

It allows for the peaceful "maƱana way of life" to thrive in yourself.

INVISIBLE:
Gravity; Consciousness; Future/Past; Memories; Atoms; Light; Electricity; All But 5 Galaxies; Radio Waves; All We Don't Know; The Point Of This; The Point Of That; The Point Of Anything.

"We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know." 

W. H. Auden



Thursday, October 23, 2014

"IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE" LAWYER SAYS, BUT CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING WEBSITE "IS PERFECTLY CONSTITUTIONAL".?

The legal system in the U.S. as I have said many times before is a systemically dysfunctional cesspool of injustice, in particular when it involves the rights of victims.

Just when you think that the legal system has sunk as low as it can go, guess what, it sinks even deeper into the shit hole of the out of touch with reality, seemingly insane minds of those in this system who supposedly are there to protect us by upholding the justice that we are all entitled under the laws of our Country.

There aren't many things in this world that stink more than the human trafficking of children for sex and profit. Child sex slaves are thought of as something that happens in "other countries" not here in the United States. Wrong!

The Supreme Court of the State of Washington is currently considering arguments on behalf of a group of former child sex slaves.

In a continuing mockery of our sicko legal system, a lawyer told the Washington State Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 that a lawsuit filed by three young girls in the 7th and 9th grades, who were sold as prostitutes on a website, should be thrown out because the website didn't write the ads, so it's not liable for what happened to them.

But the victims' lawyer said the website, doesn't have immunity under the federal Communications Decency Act because the website markets itself as a place to sell "escort services" and provides pimps with instructions on how to write an ad that works, making them a participant in the largest human trafficking website in the U.S.

These children were rented out as "escorts" using a website known as Backpage.com.

The pimp who took out the ads in this case went to jail, so that's not the issue.

The issue now is whether the website itself can be held responsible for ads placed by those pimps and the fact that this Case has still survived despite the obvious complicity of that website in promoting the slave sex trading of children.

Clearly, to any civilized human being, this is all about selling children for sex and shamelessly profiting in advertising dollars by the Backpage.com owners who are in my opinion considered pimps as well.

To make matters even worse, these website pimps are cowardly, their heads deliberately up their greedy ass, trying to hide behind the manipulation of certain words used by their Attorney, essentially attempting to justify their own moral, ethical, and legal accountability in actively promoting the human sex trafficking of children.

The lawyer for the children has argued that the website owners are guilty because the site posted rules on how to write the ad in a way that "One of the rules says, 'Don't advertise time increments in 15 minutes. It's actually instructions to pimps on how to post an ad that works."

But the lawyer for Backpage says, don't be ridiculous. Escort services are legal, and those advertising guidelines are actually designed to deter the sleazeball element from misusing the site.

"Because the plaintiffs admitted that the ads that are written here were authored, created, posted by the pimps that actually victimized them," says Backpage's lawyer.

He's saying just because a site allows ads for escort services and a lot of those escorts turn out to be 14 or 15 year old children, it might be uncomfortable, but it's perfectly constitutional.

Prompting one justice to comment under his breath, "It's somewhat of an ostrich defense." He continues, "That (Backpage) escapes liability by sticking (its) head in the sand and just don't pay any attention to what's being done.


People opposed to child sex trafficking rally outside of the Washington state Supreme Court on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Olympia, Wash. The court was hearing a case filed by three victims who say the website Backpage.com helps promote the exploitation of children. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

A similar case was filed last week in federal court in Boston, but a previous case in Missouri was dismissed, said Yiota Souras, a lawyer with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "The Washington state case has gone further than any previous case," she said.

Suggesting they might be skeptical about Backpage's argument, the justices asked lawyer Jim Grant about the website's content."Your client wouldn't say with a straight face that 'escort service' doesn't mean something else most of the time," Justice Steven Gonzalez asked.

Justice Charles Johnson asked whether this was an "ostrich issue." We escape liability if we stick our head in the sand and not pay any attention, as long as you don't affirmatively contribute?" Johnson asked.

Grant said when Congress wrote the communications act, it wanted to preserve free speech on the Internet so it gave immunity to websites like Backpage for things posted by users or members of the site."Backpage did not create or develop the ads," he said. And holding it responsible would chill that speech, he said.

But Erik Bauer, the victims' lawyer, said his clients were children, when adult professional sex traffickers sold the girls as prostitutes on Backpage. The pimps knew they could run their ads anonymously, he said.

"They claim they have immunity from having pimps sell children on their website," Bauer said. "There's a massive amount of human sex trafficking on their website."

While Backpage didn't write the ads, it helps develop them in part, he said. It also gives advertisers specific instructions on what the ads should say in order to be successful, Bauer said.

Justice Debra Stephens asked Bauer if the website has a tool to scrub information to make it anonymous. If it did, it might be liable for that tool, she said.

Justice Mary Yu asked if Bauer thought he would find more evidence that Backpage was creating or writing ads if the case went forward and he said he believes the records reveal how deeply it's involved in the developing and marketing the ads.

Sadly, it is these Justices, like so many before them, who minutely, intellectually dissect word by word argued by others whose sole purpose is to avoid the true intent of the law in protecting us and punishing those who are evil and harm others.

Who speaks up for these abused victimized children?

Who speaks up for justice given to all victims of crimes?

It is the esteemed "Justices" who will speak to rule on the case at a later date. 

Since Backpage has won all of its cases so far, the courts seem to be saying that's just what the Founding Fathers intended. 

Unless the Washington State case goes differently but in the circus of the legal system, don't expect much.

Friday, October 3, 2014

WHEN DOES "YES" REALLY MEAN "YES"?

In the male social culture of relationships with women, when I was growing up it was believed by most men, that when initiating different stages of sex with a woman and she says "no", that it is her playing "hard to get" and the real meaning is yes.

No woman wants her reputation to be that she is "easy" and so the belief was that this was simply part of the interaction. This was and is especially true of the younger generation in the past, as well as today's world.

Clearly, "no" means "no, and any other interpretation is an assumption that has led to numerous horrific cases of rape, criminal charges, suicide, trauma, and ruined lives.

California now has a "YES means Yes" law-Click Here- intended to deter sexual assault on campus. Under this law, to make love legally, each partner must agree as they "tag each base". 

This law attempts to define when yes means yes in College assault cases.

Just because a female said yes to being kissed doesn't mean she has said yes to having her breast or any other part of her body touched.

It seems absurd to me that anybody who thinks you can replace lust with a logical step by step government questionnaire, just hasn't been to college lately, or had contact with the younger generation.

In reality, the root of the problem is the serious cultural permission concerning the out of control drinking of alcohol, substance abuse among young people in "modern" society.

Today's party culture is so out of control that before the typical hookup, the average girl has had four drinks, and the average guy has had seven.

So yes, the law states that an intoxicated girl is incapable of giving legal consent even if she said "yes." But the guy she's with is too drunk to realize that, and often, too drunk to realize he's too drunk.

Certainly there have been many publicized cases world wide of horrifying incidents of date rape, gang rape, and forced rape by men of women victims which defy any sense of humanity.

There are many other times that these rapes go unreported by its victims due to embarrassment, shame, severe trauma, cultural mores, and genuine fear of retaliation.


Clearly this is a terribly critical, complex issue without easy answers, but is legislation by Governments, of "yes means yes", the answer?

Personally I think that it's unfair to  automatically assume the guy is always at fault when the girl also decided to drink too much.The woman is not always the losing person in this situation.

Any son, or their parents does not want their child to be accused of rape, and labeled a sexual predator for the rest of his life.

Bottom line: if colleges really want to prevent sexual assault, they have to understand the real issue isn't the sex.

The issues are about alcohol, substance abuse.

Most colleges pay "lip service" to the abuse of substance and alcohol abuse by their students. Binge drinking is common and openly done, often a way of initiation by Fraternities and Sororities. 

It's been this way for decades and remains unchanged.
 
The problem with "yes means yes" legislation, while the rules/laws although clearly stated should be respected by all, they are hard to recall when both of you are dead drunk and naked.

You cannot legislate away these types of problems by legal semantics.  

If Colleges, Society, Parents, People, want to seriously address the real issues, then there has to be meaningful, systemic, direct actions on their part, that are directed to educating and teaching personal accountability of all for their actions when violating the rights of others, no matter what a piece of legislation states.

Don't hold your breath for that to ever happen in a world such as we live in, where taking personal accountability and confronting the real issues, rarely is part of the way solutions are found. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

STEVEN- HOW COULD I HAVE KNOWN THAT YOU'D NEVER SAY GOODBYE.

                                                 




My son Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff would have been 37 years old today. Instead he lies dead in a grave because of the negligence and indifference of those who killed him, stole his life at the age of 30, and have tried to erase that he ever lived.

Most others don't think about Steven anymore, but our family and some of his friends miss him every second, of every day.

I mourn what was, what could of been, and what will never be.

You deserved so much better my son, it just wasn't meant to be.

Steven, "Forever Loved, and Remembered" is written on the necklace I wear on my neck for the world to see.

 I will always love you Steven.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

U.S. CONGRESS RETURNS FROM VACATION, NO-ONE NOTICES.



Has anyone noticed that the do nothing U.S. Congress is back in session after being on vacation all of August until now.
 
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just six percent (6%) of likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, unchanged from a month ago

Sixty-five percent (65%) rate its performance as poor. 

Just eight percent (8%) of voters think most members of Congress get reelected because they do a good job representing their constituents. Sixty-seven percent (67%) think it’s because election rules are rigged to benefit incumbents, but 25% are not sure. 

Only 25% think their own member of Congress deserves reelection, the lowest finding in nearly five years.

74% of voters believe Congress has been unproductive this year.

And they’re right. As of last Wednesday this Congress had enacted only 142 laws, according to Pew Research Center. 

That’s the fewest of any Congress in 20 years. And just 108 of them were substantive pieces of legislation. Pew also found that the House and Senate have been in session for fewer days and hours this year than most sessions of Congress.
 
Members of Congress used to spend much of their time away from Washington holding open forums and town-hall meetings as well as campaigning in public. But those activities have waned. Fewer members hold truly open meetings. Most fill their district schedules with events with business leaders, local and state elected officials, supporters and fundraisers.

Avoiding disaffected voters and the opportunity for unpleasant sound bites has taken precedence over meeting constituents.

Congress is the institution that's supposed to protect us from dictatorship, and yet we hate it.

So, Congress will meet now for less than three weeks, just long enough to keep the government going until December, and then go back home to try to get re-elected.

During their upcoming campaigns, you'll hear a lot about various crises which may require us to bomb countries for their own good.

But no-one will seriously address the most important issues victimizing many of us, the economic crisis especially related to the question of jobs: what to do about jobs and incomes as the old industrial economy continues to shed middle class jobs? 

As the rich get richer, the gap between them and the rest of us is increasing, spiraling out of control. It is becoming increasingly difficult to financially survive for most Americans.

The manufacturing economy is dead at least from the standpoint of providing middle class incomes and long term job security for a third of the American workforce. 

If America can’t create new, post manufacturing jobs to replace the old ones, nothing we do will turn out very well.

Then there’s the service and infrastructure crunch. The country’s demand for services like education, health care, better systems of transportation, energy  is growing rapidly, but our ability to produce the quantity and quality of services demanded can’t match the need. 

The systems we have to produce and deliver these services are increasingly dysfunctional. As a result, we are seeing ruinous inflation in costs like college, university tuition and the health care system.

These problems must be addressed; health care costs are on course to bankrupt the country and education costs have already saddled the younger generation with crippling debt. 

These problems won’t go away on their own; as time goes on the country is going to need more health care, more education, rather than less, and we also want the quality of both to improve. 

In too many ways, all levels of government in the United States are too expensive, too cumbersome and too clumsy.
 

It’s both ironic and unsettling that just as the United States is leading the world towards a new kind of service based economy, our largest and most important service based industries are so inefficient and poorly organized. 

Technology, poor education, alienation has so dumbed down the average American, that mediocrity is the new norm, and work ethic pride is all but gone.

We can’t be a successful service economy until our biggest service sectors start working well.

Then there’s the demographic transition. Public and private pension systems and entitlement programs face a variety of challenges as the competition between retirees, elderly, disabled, poor, other vulnerable deserving members of our Country, and the rest of the population for resources is getting fierce.
 

One of the ways that a society should be judged is how it treats the most vulnerable of its members. These are supposed to be decided by cultural, social and spiritual values. 

They cannot be solved by callous ideas or government policy changes. But they are real, and unless we address them wisely the country is unlikely to thrive.
 
Getting back to our bombing other Countries for their own good.

I find that concept pretty weird because you look at many of the current worldwide crises: Ukraine vs Russia, the Islamic State versus everybody else, Middle Eastern, African conflicts, and what they boil down to is various religious and ethnic groups that have been shut out of the political systems that controls their lives.

Yet here in the United States we have huge numbers of citizens who can vote, but don't, so that government "by the people" is turning into government by the angriest people, because they're the only ones ticked off enough to pick up a pencil.

You only have to look around to see where that kind of system leads. So I hope we fix this soon. 

Because I would really hate to see the day when some other Country or Group decides it has to bomb us for our own good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

AIRLINE SQUEEZE, RECLINE YOUR SEAT OR NOT?

A battle broke out this week on Sunday, August 24th aboard a jetliner, two passengers fighting over the small space that separated their seats

Imagine taking 200-300 people, packing them into narrow seats in rows sometimes as close as 28 inches apart, then locking the door and sending the whole assembly five miles into the sky with only vending machine snacks for food.

What could possibly go wrong?

There is a plastic wedge sold online called "The Knee Defender"

It was created by Ira Goldman, who stands 6'3'' and was tired of being on a flight and having the person in front of him recline the seat smack into his knees.
kneedefender.jpg


So, Ira Goldman invented a wedge that fits between the tray table supports and the seat back preventing the passenger in front of you from reclining their seat.

You can then just cross your fingers that they'll think the seat is broken or you can offer the card that comes with The Knee Defender, explaining what you've just done.

It's hard to know which approach is more arrogant.

A passenger used Ira's invention on United Airlines Flight 1462 from Newark to Denver only to discover that the woman in front of him was having none of it.

Both passengers were sitting in United's Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.

The fight started when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.

A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.

Once they arrived at O'Hare, Chicago Police and TSA officers met the flight, spoke to the passengers,a man and a woman, both 48 and "deemed it a customer service issue".

The TSA would not name the passengers.

The plane eventually landed in Denver, arriving 1 hour and 38 minutes late, according to the airline's website.

The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.

If you are on a flight, particularly a long one, you know about the "seat of torture". Personally, I cannot feel my numbed ass or feet half way through any flight because of being packed into my seat like a sardine in a can.

For something as seemingly simple as stuffing rear ends between two armrests inside a flying metal tube, it kind of feels like there's some anger up there.

And things could get even more heated. Changes are happening now, as major U.S. carriers look for new ways to pump up profits by either adding to or reducing the number of coach seats, increasing legroom or cutting the distance between rows.

You might call it a game of aeronautical chairs that will directly affect passenger comfort, convenience and cost.

Are the seats getting smaller? Closer together? Are passengers getting bigger? Are we getting angrier?
Well, no. Yes. Yes. And it's unclear.

Americans are getting bigger, says Kathleen Robinette, who's studied human body measurements for the U.S. Air Force for three decades.

But in general, the problem's "not you-it's the seat," she says.

Since Robinette's first airline seat study for NASA and the FAA in 1978, she has a different perspective when she boards an airliner. "I always see all kinds of arms hanging out into the aisles. That means the seats are too narrow, and there's nowhere for the shoulders and arms to go except into the aisle because there's not enough room in the seat."

When "you keep getting your arm whacked by the cart as it comes down the aisle," don't feel guilty, she says. It happens to everybody. "And it's because of the seats."

In 1962, the U.S. government measured the width of the American backside in the seated position. It averaged 14 inches for men and 14.4 inches for women. Forty years later, an Air Force study directed by Robinette showed male and female butts had blown up on average to more than 15 inches.

The truth is that an airplane seat is a revenue generator. If you look at a 737 or A320 there are three seats on each side. 

If you wanted maximum comfort you could do two on each side and make the seats a lot wider. But with the reduced head count the operational costs don't generate enough profit for the Airlines.

However, the American rear end isn't really the important statistic here, Robinette says.

Nor are the male hips, which the industry mistakenly used to determine seat width sometime around the 1960s, she says.

"It's the wrong dimension. The widest part of your body is your shoulders and arms. And that's much, much bigger than your hips. Several inches wider." 

Furthermore, she says, women actually have larger hip width on average than men.

The industry used the male hip as a seat measuring stick "thinking that it would accommodate the women too, but in fact they don't accommodate the larger women."

The result: Airline seats are approximately 5 inches too narrow, she says. And that's for passengers in the 1960s, let alone the super sized U.S. travelers of today.

Current standard coach seat widths range from 17 to 19 inches between the armrests, and that little piece of real estate is known in the airline industry as "living space."

The term seems appropriate for some non-stop transoceanic flights that will have you inhabiting your "living space" for up to 18 hours.

"One of the most important things about a comfortable seat is the ability to move in it," Robinette says. "You have to be able to readjust your posture every so often for it to stay comfortable." Otherwise, she warns, passengers put themselves at risk of deep vein thrombosis, a serious health condition affecting people prone to blood clots. 

Sitting in place for long periods can lead to clotting in veins. Clots can break loose, travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs, blocking blood flow.

Although America's butts are bulging, it doesn't appear that economy class seats are following suit.

"Our seating surfaces are contemporary appropriate," says a spokesman for Southwest Airlines. The airline is in the process of reconfiguring seating on its entire fleet. But it's not changing the width.

Seat rows aboard Southwest Boeing 737-700s are moving closer together. In airline-seat speak the operative word is "pitch."

Pitch is defined as the distance between one point on a seat and the same point on the seat behind. A typical seat pitch in coach measures from 31 to 35 inches.

Southwest's new pitch configuration moves its rows about an inch closer together, from 32 to 31 inches, according to the airline. In addition, economy seats will move only two inches during recline instead of three, the airline says.

Bottom line: Southwest's new economy class seats will allow for six additional coach seats per plane. Bonus: The new seats weigh less, which will save about $10 million in yearly fuel costs.

Now, if rows are moving closer together, we're playing footsie with legroom.

Over the past few years carriers have been moving toward a standard of charging more for seats with extra legroom.

These include seats in the forward coach cabins and emergency aisles that used to cost the same as other economy class seats. 

Also, some airlines have reconfigured seats to add a bit more legroom in certain aisles, for a price.

It looks like coach seats won't be getting any bigger any time soon. That's largely because consumers don't demand bigger seats, Robinette says. 

Instead, most consumers demand low fares while airlines consider profits as their first priority, so that's what airlines focus on, making money.

"The manufacturers are perfectly willing to make the wider seats," Robinette says. "They understand the issues". 

But their customers are the airlines. They're giving the airlines what they ask for which is to test the extremes of how far passengers allow themselves to be squashed into smaller and smaller spaces of discomfort.

This will continue until, and if ever there are enough passengers who also demand that airlines treat them like human beings, not as cows herded into a "cattle pen".

 A "cattle pen" is defined in the dictionary as an enclosure for holding livestock. The term describes multiple types of enclosures that may confine one or many animals. It also fits the manner in which the Airline Industry views us as its customers.

All of us need to finally come to understand the only difference between air travel and a cattle pen, is that the cows get nutritionally healthier food to eat than we do.