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Tacitus' Realm / The Mystery of Barack Obama Continues
« on: July 12, 2010, 10:31:48 AM »
This article has now been locked so that the general public can not read it. I had it copy and pasted in another forum and so have copied it here. I prolly wouldn't have bothered except they have  now locked this article.

The Mystery of Barack Obama Continues
By Steve Baldwin, Exclusive to Western Center for Journalism
Most Americans don’t realize we have elected a president whom we know very little about.
Pictured: Barack Obama’s Autobiography, Dreams from My Father.
Pictured: Barack Obama’s Autobiography, Dreams from My Father.
Researchers have discovered that Obama’s autobiographical books are little more than PR stunts, as they have little to do with the actual events of his life. The fact is we know less about President Obama than perhaps any other president in American history and much of this is due to actual efforts to hide his record. This should concern all Americans.
A nation-wide network of researchers has sprung up to attempt to fill in the blanks, but at every opportunity Obama’s high-priced lawyers have built walls around various records or simply made them disappear. It is estimated that Obama’s legal team has now spent well over $1.4 million dollars blocking access to documents every American should have access to. The question is why would he spend so much money to do this?
The president who campaigned for a more “open government” and “full disclosure” will not unseal his medical records, his school records, his birth records or his passport records. He will not release his Harvard records, his Columbia College records, or his Occidental College records—he will not even release his Columbia College thesis. All his legislative records from the Illinois State Senate are missing and he claims his scheduling records during those State Senate years are lost as well. In addition, no one can find his school records for the elite K-12 college prep school, Punahou School, he attended in Hawaii.
What is he hiding? Well, for starters, some of these records will shed light on his citizenship and birth.
Pictured: “Scott & Barry, 3rd grade 1969” Punahou School in Hawaii.
Pictured: “Scott & Barry, 3rd grade 1969” Punahou School in Hawaii.
For example, Obama’s application to Punahou School – now mysteriously missing – would likely contain a birth certificate. And, according to attorney Gary Kreep, “his Occidental College records are important as they may show he attended there as a foreign exchange student.” Indeed, Obama used his Indonesian name “Barry Soetoro” while attending Occidental. Kreep has filed lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility to be president and as part of his lawsuit he requested Obama’s records from Occidental. However, Obama’s lawyers quickly moved to stop Occidental from honoring this request.
Furthermore, now that at least three document authentication experts have declared the scanned “Certificate of Live Birth” Obama’s campaign team gave to a pro-Obama website to be an obvious phony; we know that he is hiding something here as well.
Over 49 separate law suits have been filed on the eligibility/birth certificate issue alone, with several of the suits making it all the way the United States Supreme Court, only to be denied a full hearing.
Pictured: Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talah
Pictured: Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talah
What’s more, there are questions about how he paid for his Harvard Law School education since, despite a claim by Michele Obama, no one has produced any evidence that he received student loans. The Obamas will not release any student loan details despite repeated requests from the Chicago Tribune. However, it appears that his Harvard education may have been paid for by a foreign source. Khalid Al-Mansour, an advisor to Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talah, told Manhattan Borough president, Percy Sutton, that he was raising money for Obama’s Harvard tuition. Incidentally, Prince Tala is the largest donor to CAIR, a Muslim group declared by the U.S. Government in 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist financing trial. At least three of CAIR’s leaders have been indicted for terrorist activities. Al-Mansour’s admission opens up speculation as to whether Muslim interests have assisted Obama’s career in the hope he would eventually be in a position someday to promote their interests.
More recently, it was discovered that Obama’s Selective Service card may have been doctored. Federal law requires all American males to register for the Selective Service (the draft) in case a major war broke out. Blogger Debbie Schlussel has discovered solid evidence that Obama’s Selective Service registration form was submitted not when he was younger as required, but rather in 2008 and then altered to look older. Indeed, the forgers forgot to alter the “Document Location Number” which shows that it is clearly a 2008 form. This is fraud and it’s a felony and Schlussel allegations are backed up by Stephen Coffman, a former high-ranking Federal agent. Moreover, the document shows a September 4th, 1980 date and the location of the transaction as Hawaii, but at that time Obama was thousands of miles away attending Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Pictured: Barack Obama’s 2008 Selective Service Card. “Blogger Debbie Schlussel has discovered solid evidence that Obama’s Selective Service registration form was submitted not when he was younger as required, but rather in 2008 and then altered to look older.”
Pictured: Barack Obama’s 2008 Selective Service Card. “Blogger Debbie Schlussel has discovered solid evidence that Obama’s Selective Service registration form was submitted not when he was younger as required, but rather in 2008 and then altered to look older.”
The real reason why Obama probably did not submit this form as a teenager is that he assumed his Kenyan or Indonesian citizenship exempted him from this requirement. But clearly, as he grew older and entered politics, he saw that any documents revealing a foreign birth – Selective Service registration, birth certificate, school applications, etc – would be problematic if he ran for the presidency. Thus, it is not a coincidence that every document which contains information about his birth or citizenship is either missing, sealed, or has been altered.
Indeed, everywhere one looks into Obama’s background, we find sealed records, scrubbed websites, altered documents, deception and unanswered questions. Can anyone imagine for a second if John McCain or George Bush had blocked access to his school, medical, and birth records? It would have been headlines but as with everything else concerning Obama, the media has given him a pass on this.
Of all these marvels, the latest mystery and probably most perplexing is that of Obama’s social security number. It appears that Obama has multiple identities in term of possessing numerous social security numbers. Orly Taitz, an attorney who has filed numerous suits against Obama regarding his eligibility to serve as president, appears to be the first to discover this. In her suit, representing a number of military officers who are refusing to serve under an ineligible commander in chief, she hired private investigator Neil Sankey to conduct research on Obama’s prior addresses and Social Society numbers. Using Intelius, Lexis Nexis, Choice Point and other public records, Sankey found around 25 Social Security numbers connected with Obama’s name.
However, it may not be as many as 25, since Sankey also searched using closely related names such as: “Barak Obama,” “Batock Obama,” “Barok Obama,” and “Barrack Obama.” There may very well be some Kenyans living in America with the same last name and a similar first name. In any case, I will exclude these records for the purpose of this research and focus only on names spelled exactly like his name. Moreover, we can verify many of the Social Security numbers as valid since they’re connected to addresses at which we know Obama resided. Needless to say, there are also a slew of address and social security numbers connected to addresses in states that Obama has no known connection to.
In Obama’s home state, Illinois, Sankey tracked down 16 different addresses for a Barack Obama or a Barack H. Obama, of which all are addresses he was known to have lived at. Two Social Security numbers appear for these addresses, one beginning with 042 and one starting 364.
In California, where Obama attended Occidental College, there are six addresses listed for him, all within easy driving distance of the college. However, there are three Social Security numbers connected to these addresses, 537 and two others, each beginning with 999.
There are no addresses listed in New York where he attended Columbia University, but there is one listed for him in nearby Jackson, NJ, with a Social Security number beginning with 485.
Pictured: 713 Hart Senate Office Building.
Pictured: 713 Hart Senate Office Building.
In Massachusetts – where Obama attended Harvard Law School – we find three addresses, all using the 042 Social Security number. After Obama was elected to the United States Senate in 2005, he moved into an apartment at 300 Massachusetts Ave NW; the Social Security number attached to that address is the 042 one. Yet, three years later, Obama used a different Social Security number for an address listed as: 713 Hart Senate Office Building. This was the address of his United States Senate office. This Social Security number began with 282 and was verified by the government in 2008.
This mystery grows even stranger as other addresses and Social Security numbers for Barack Obama appear in a dozen other states not known to be connected to him. Again, I am excluding those records names not spelled exactly like his name.
Tennessee, one address with a Social Security number beginning with 427
Colorado, one address, with a Social Security number beginning with 456.
Utah, two addresses, with two Social Security numbers beginning with 901 and 799.
Missouri has one address and one Social Security number beginning with 999.
Florida has two addresses listed for his him, three if you count one listed as “Barry Obama.” One is connected to a Social Security number beginning with 762.
In Georgia there are three addresses listed for him, all with different Social Security numbers: 579, 420, and 423.
In Texas there are four different addresses listed for him, one is connected to Social Security number 675.
There are two addresses listed for Barack Obama in Oregon and one address listed for him in
the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
All told, there are 49 addresses and 16 different Social Security numbers listed for a person whose name is spelled “Barack Obama.” In some cases, the middle initial “H” is listed. If you were to expand the search to include closely related names such as: “Barac,” “Barak,” and “Barrack” Obama, you would find more than a dozen additional addresses and Social Security numbers.
Finally, the one Social Security number Obama most frequently used, the one beginning with 042, is a number issued in Connecticut sometime during 1976-1977, yet there is no record of Obama ever living or working in Connecticut. Indeed, during this time period Obama would have been 15-16 years old and living in Hawaii at the time.
Pictured: Ann, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham
Pictured: Ann, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham
Nevertheless, all this mystery surrounding Obama appears to be a generational thing. Researchers have discovered nearly a dozen aliases, at least two different Social Security numbers, and upwards of over 99 separate addresses for Ann Dunham, his mother. We do know she worked for the ultra liberal Ford Foundation but we also know she may have earned some income from pornographic poses, as evidenced by photos recently discovered by some researchers—how embarrassing. The only thing researchers are able to find out about Obama’s mother is the fact she made porn. I’m sure that’s a first for presidential mothers.
But we also know that Obama’s mother and grandparents associated with Communist Party leaders such as Frank Marshall Davis, a man who, according to Obama’s book, Dreams from my Father, was his main mentor during much of his Hawaiian boyhood (although Obama tried to disguise his identity in his book). During the Cold War, Davis was named by congressional investigators as a key member of a secretive pro-Soviet networked that existed in Hawaii at that time.
Pictured: Communist Party leader, Frank Marshall Davis.
Pictured: Communist Party leader, Frank Marshall Davis.
The lack of documents regarding Obama also extends to his mother and to his grandparents. Indeed, researchers have been unable to find marriage licenses for his mother’s two marriages, assuming she was ever legally married. Ditto goes for the marriage license for Ann’s parents. They cannot find birth certificates for her, her parents, or for even for her grandparents. Even more so, despite Obama’s boast of his grandfather’s military service, there’s no record of that either. For reasons no one knows, much of Obama’s life, his mother’s life and his grandparent’s life has been erased from the records as if they never existed.
But why would someone obtain so many Social Security numbers? According to investigators, those who create additional Social Society numbers are typically engaged in criminal activities such as Social Security fraud, tax fraud, real estate fraud, campaign contributions fraud, voter fraud and so on. While the private investigator who compiled this list says multiple social security numbers does not automatically prove there’s criminal activity involved, he states that “having said that, I have personally experienced many, many cases where such information has led to subsequent exposure of fraud, deception, money laundering and other crimes.“What is interesting to note is that Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, was a volunteer at the Oahu Circuit Court probate department and had access to the Social Security numbers of deceased people.
Pictured: Barrack Obama and his Grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. “Madeline Dunham was a volunteer at the Oahu Circuit Court probate department and had access to the Social Security numbers of deceased people.”
Pictured: Barrack Obama and his Grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. “Madeline Dunham was a volunteer at the Oahu Circuit Court probate department and had access to the Social Security numbers of deceased people.”
It is clear that more research needs to be done on this issue. The Western Center for Journalism
( is inviting our readers to join the search for the truth. If you have any information about any of the addresses listed, we would love to hear from you. To find a complete list of all the addresses and Social Security numbers listed in the public record for Obama and family, please go to the Western Center for Journalism.

Tacitus' Realm / The Manning report -
« on: July 05, 2010, 12:40:38 PM »

Tacitus' Realm / BP Oil Spill: Kindra Arnesen Venice
« on: June 27, 2010, 01:38:28 PM »

Everyone ought to watch this and hear this lady out.

What to do about what she says - I don't know.  I wish I did.

News Items / Taliban executes 7-year-old child for ‘spying’
« on: June 09, 2010, 11:40:34 PM »
Taliban executes 7-year-old child for ‘spying’

By Abdulhadi Hairan

KABUL–Taliban militants executed a 7-year-old child June 8 for “spying for the government” in the volatile Helmand province of Afghanistan.

Dawood Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Central Asia Online June 9 the insurgents kidnapped the child and hanged his body from a tree after killing him in the Sarwan Kala area of Sangin District.

“The innocent boy was not a spy, but he may have informed the police or soldiers about planted explosives”, Ahmadi said.

A resident of the Sangin District told Central Asia Online by phone, “The child was the grandson of a local elder; tribal elders, particularly those who support the government or the reconstruction programmes, often get killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan”.

Militants regularly kill students, teachers, women, and farmers on charges of spying for the government. Local residents claim foreign militants are involved in most of these brutal acts. Local officials say the militants do so to instil fear and terrorise the population.


Tacitus' Realm / Heads up 1st amendment junkies
« on: May 19, 2010, 09:05:59 PM » ... nstitution
It was President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, who hired radical regulatory czar Cass Sunstein as a Harvard law professor.

 Kagan called Sunstein "the preeminent legal scholar of our time."

WND previously reported Sunstein drew up a "First Amendment New Deal" – a new "Fairness Doctrine" that would include the establishment of a panel of "nonpartisan experts" to ensure "diversity of view" on the airwaves.

Pay Attention:
WND also reported that in a recently released book, "On Rumors," Sunstein argued websites should be obliged to remove "false rumors" while libel laws should be altered to make it easier to sue for spreading such "rumors."

In the 2009 book, Sunstein cited as a primary example of "*absurd" and "*hateful" remarks, reports by "right-wing websites" alleging an association between President Obama and former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.  [*Absurd=True ; *Hateful=Inconvenient]

Meanwhile, in a lengthy academic paper, Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban "conspiracy theorizing," WND reported.

Among the examples of speech that should be banned, Sustein offered, is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud. [This man is much offended by inconvenient truths]

Sunstein also recommended the government send agents to infiltrate "extremists who supply conspiracy theories" and disrupt the efforts of the "extremists" to propagate their theories.

Just yesterday, a video at showed Sunstein proposing that Congress hold hearings about mandates to [Pay Attnetion] ensure websites post links to a diversity of views on issues.

Meanwhile, when it comes to other First Amendment issues, Kagan shows strong beliefs for court intervention in speech, going so far as to assert free speech should be weighed against "societal costs."

 in a 1996 paper, "Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine," Kagan argued it may be proper to suppress speech because it is offensive to society or to the government.

The paper asserted First Amendment doctrine is comprised of "motives and … actions infested with them," and she goes so far as to claim, "First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting."

Kagan's name was also on a brief, United States v. Stevens, dug up by the Washington Examiner, stating: "Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs."


Thayer Learning Center / Former Thayer Learning Center closes doors
« on: September 04, 2009, 10:39:04 AM »
Former Thayer Learning Center closes doors

By Andrew Bottrell, editor

An anonymous source has told that the former Thayer Learning Center, now known as Teen Life Skills Center, in Kidder, has closed.

According to papers filed in a court ruling on Aug. 1, Thayer Learning Center, L.L.C., has been dissolved. It is unclear at this time if ownership and management of Thayer Learning Center and Teen Life Skills Center are the same. An unidentified spokesperson with the Center refused to comment. There were two vehicles in the parking lot Thursday, but there appeared to be little activity at the Center, and no students were visible.

A number for Thayer owner Willa Bundy has apparently been disconnected, and attempts to reach Kirby Brelsford, who had been director at Thayer, resulted in a wrong number. The spokesperson at the Center would not comment about Brelsford.

Two students tied up a guard and escaped in July of 2008. They were apprehended at McDonald's in Cameron later that night and sent back to the Center.

The Center had fallen under some other scrutiny, and in researching the story, found, which documents a current lawsuit against Bundy. According to the web site, on Aug. 1, a Missouri judge ruled that the lawsuit will continue after a motion to dismiss was filed by the Center. The lawsuit, filed by five former employees, accuses the program and Bundy of malicious prosecution.

The web site also documents the death of 15-year-old student Roberto Reyes on Nov. 3, 2004. And according to the web site, Reyes' parents settled a wrongful death lawsuit out of court and signed a confidentiality agreement. ... 995328.txt

News Items / By Maia: Oregon School for Troubled Teens Under Scrutiny
« on: April 17, 2009, 10:48:02 AM » ... 88141.html ... 82,00.html

Friday, Apr. 17, 2009
An Oregon School for Troubled Teens Under Scrutiny
By Maia Szalavitz

On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that has caused anguish in the world of special education and children's mental health.

The case, Forest Grove v. TA, centers on the question of whether the families of disabled children have the right to seek reimbursement for private school tuition from the state, if the child has not first received special education services in public school. The legal question is a narrow one, but the case raises larger, more troublesome issues about student safety and the quality of educational services that families should expect when they place their children in private residential care, because the school involved in the case, Mount Bachelor Academy, near Prineville, Ore., is currently under state investigation based on allegations of abuse reported by students and one employee. (See pictures of being 13 in America.)

A spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) declined to discuss the details of the ongoing investigations of Mount Bachelor, which include a second inquiry based on possible licensing violations. But according to 10 students, two separate parents, and a current part-time employee interviewed by TIME — some of whom are involved in the state inquiry — Mount Bachelor Academy regularly uses intensely humiliating tactics as treatment. For instance, in required seminars that the school calls Lifesteps, students say staff members of the residential program have instructed girls, some of whom say they have been victims of rape or sexual abuse in the past, to dress in provocative clothing — fishnet stockings, high heels and miniskirts — and perform lap dances for male students, as therapy.

Sharon Bitz, the executive director of Mount Bachelor Academy, denies the charges. In an e-mailed statement to TIME, she said the reports of abuse are "inaccurate representations of Mount Bachelor Academy's therapeutic approach for struggling or underachieving teens. Some of the accusations are demonstrably false, while others have been exaggerated for shock effect."

In response to the accusations of sexual humiliation, Bitz told the Oregon Bend Bulletin newspaper in a recent interview that school officials have never instructed students to act in a way that would "sexualize them," and that the students' costumes came from their own dorm rooms and were chosen by the students. "We would never ask a student to give a lap dance," Bitz told the Oregon paper.

When the Supreme Court hears arguments in Forest Grove v. TA this month, it will not determine whether Mount Bachelor Academy — or any specific facility chosen by families — offers appropriate care. The parents of the student, TA (because he was a minor at the time the case was filed, the student is identified only by his initials and his parents have not made their names public), stand to gain only the right to seek reimbursement for the child's stay at Mount Bachelor under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

A ruling for the parents could have serious financial implications for cash-strapped school districts. Federal funding for private special-education placements, including residential and nonresidential programs, totaled $5.3 billion in the fiscal year 1999-2000, the most recent year for which data is available from the Special Education Expenditure Project, a national study begun in 1999 and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education. In New York City alone, the number of reimbursement claims by parents who have unilaterally placed their kids in private special education rose from 3,023 to 4,068, and the city's spending on private placements went from $53 million in 2005-2006 to $88.9 million in 2007-2008, after the Second Circuit Court ruled in favor of the families in two similar cases in 2005 and 2006.

It is not known how many of the thousands of families who send their children to so-called therapeutic boarding schools each year receive tuition reimbursement via IDEA. The exact number of therapeutic boarding schools operating in the U.S. is also unknown, since no official body tracks them, but some estimates put the figure at between 150 to 300. Tuition is far from cheap. Monthly costs at residential facilities are $5,000 and up; Mount Bachelor, which houses up to 125 students, currently charges $6,400 per month, and in 2008 revenue for the Aspen Education Group, which owns Mount Bachelor and is one of the largest chains of residential facilities for problem students in the U.S., topped $132 million.

The proceedings of Forest Grove are being watched with intense concern by school administrators and the teachers union, as well as children's advocates. Most advocates argue that families should have access to private schools when public schools cannot provide free and appropriate public education for a disabled child, but most also say that public funds should not be used to pay for residential schools like Mount Bachelor. Such programs, they say, are overly restrictive and unproven, and virtually all of their students — who typically have depression, substance use, behavioral problems or ADHD — can be safely treated within the community.

"We feel very strongly that for-profit residential facilities are completely inappropriate for special education. They have been shown to be ineffective and commonly employ practices that do harm," says Alison Barkoff, senior staff attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

But because the programs are privately run, what happens within their walls is largely a mystery. No one knows whether the programs succeed or fail.

See pictures inside a juvenile detention center in Texas.

See TIME's pictures of the week.


TA's case began in elementary school. He had trouble learning basic math, struggled to pay attention in class and could not finish his homework without his parents' help. In September 2000, he began attending Forest Grove High School. By December, he was failing or nearly failing most subjects. His parents had the school evaluate him for special education.

This is where the major disagreements arose. TA's mother originally agreed with Forest Grove's assessment that her son did not have the type of learning disability, such as autism or mental retardation, that typically qualifies a student for special education. Notes taken by the school district in a January 2001 meeting about TA include a comment that says "maybe ADD [attention deficit disorder]/ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder]?," but TA's parents say they were not informed that a diagnosis of ADHD could have qualified him for special education if the condition affected his academic performance. The school did not further evaluate him for attention disorders. (See pictures of teenagers in America.)

TA's behavior and grades continued to deteriorate. He began smoking large quantities of marijuana. He was briefly suspended for bringing a knife to school. In January 2003, his parents took him to see a psychologist, who recommended they enroll him in a wilderness program and then place him in Mount Bachelor Academy.

Later in 2003, TA's parents sought reimbursement from the school district for Mount Bachelor's tuition, claiming that Forest Grove never properly evaluated their son for special education and therefore could not provide him the free and appropriate public education that was legally required. The district countered that, under IDEA, as revised by Congress in 1997, parents may seek reimbursement only after the child has already tried special education within the public system.

The Ninth Circuit heard Forest Grove in 2008 and found that TA's parents had the right to seek reimbursement; otherwise, the court said, school districts could essentially avoid paying for special education simply by refusing to classify students as disabled. Presiding over a separate but similar case, however, the First Circuit Court came to the reverse conclusion, saying that the law requires the child to try public special education first. In such instances, when the lower courts disagree, the Supreme Court is often called upon to clarify the law.

Should the Court decide in favor of TA, says Naomi Gittins, deputy general counsel for the Natioanl School Boards Association, "It would be detrimental to the whole framework of collaboration to figure out what an appropriate education for a particular child is. ... A lot of private schools for which parents want reimbursement don't have to meet state standards. How does that really serve the interest of children?"

See TIME's pictures of the week.


Mount Bachelor's executive director, Bitz, says her school uses widely accepted psychological treatments to help children overcome their problems. "We also use a psychodrama treatment approach designed to do one or both of two things," said Bitz in her statement, "get a student to embrace qualities of their character (such as beauty or courage) about which they have doubt, or assist them in recognizing qualities that are unproductive (such as selfishness or conceit) about which they have little insight."

There are plenty of parents, including TA's, who say they are happy with the services provided to their children. Former students have also praised the school for turning their lives around, in comments on online message boards and in letters to regulators.

"All methods of therapy are done in a supportive atmosphere with trained professionals and the intent to raise self-awareness and self-worth," said Bitz.

But other students and parents describe a different experience. The students interviewed by TIME, who attended the school at separate times in recent years, said that humiliation, not support, was the foundation of much of the treatment at Mount Bachelor.

One 18-year-old former student and victim of rape wept while recounting what happened to her during a Lifestep seminar. Jane, who asked not to be identified with her real name, left the school in March. "They had me dress up as a French maid," she said, describing an outfit that included fishnet stockings and a short skirt. "I had to sit on guys' laps and give them lap dances," while sexually suggestive songs, such as "Milkshake" by Kelis, played at high volume.

"They told me I was dirty and I had to put mud on myself for being raped," she said, in reference to a separate Lifestep session. "They basically blamed me for getting raped."

Bitz dismissed Jane's story and called it "very suspect" in an interview with the Bend Bulletin, which also spoke with Jane. "We know that some current students have made a conscious decision to lie about our school, hoping that it will be closed as a result, and that they would then be sent back home," Bitz told TIME.

Amber Ozier, now 23, attended Mount Bachelor Academy from the summer of 2002 to October 2003 — at about the same time as TA. Her parents enrolled her after she started sneaking out at night and drinking as a teenager. She had also begun smoking marijuana and her grades were suffering. Several years earlier, Ozier says, her 10-year-old sister had drowned in a lake during Amber's 12th birthday party.

Ozier describes being made to retell the harrowing story of her sister's death repeatedly in groups. In a role-playing session, Ozier says her closest friend was asked to pretend to be her sister, so Ozier could again relive her death.

According to Ozier and others, in a Lifestep called "Forever Young," students were placed on a mattress and taunted with painful information about their childhood that they had previously revealed, an apparent attempt to trigger regression to infancy. Once more, Ozier was instructed to recall her sister's death against her will. "That was probably the thing that traumatized me the most," she says, describing how she thrashed on the mattress until she vomited. "They prey on people who have already been hurt."

When teens tried to complain in phone calls to parents, the calls were cut off, according to several students interviewed by TIME. Even with good behavior, students say they were permitted only one monitored, 10-minute phone call every other week.

"We were worried about Amber's life," says Jody Ozier, Amber's mother, regarding her decision to send her daughter to Mount Bachelor. But after hearing Amber's account of her experiences, she says, "I couldn't believe that they did that. I see where it's done her mental harm."


This is not the first time students have accused Mount Bachelor of abuse, nor is Mount Bachelor the only such program to face allegations of mistreatment. Similar allegations of abuse were documented by the Government Accountability Office at numerous programs in 2007 and 2008, when the agency investigated the troubled-teen industry at the behest of California congressman George Miller.

In 1998, Mount Bachelor was investigated by the Oregon DHS based on claims by several former employees that students were "subjected to frequent obscenity-laced screaming sessions by staff members; students were deprived of sleep; a group of girls emerged from one group therapy session with bruising on their arms after they were ordered to clasp their hands in front of them and pound a mattress for an extended period," according to the Bend Bulletin. The Oregon DHS cleared the program following the investigation.

"I am in a state of shock," says Sharon Ferguson, whose complaints about her son's treatment at Mount Bachelor in the 1990s helped spur the earlier investigation. "I can't believe that school is still open and the same things are being said and the same people are running it."

A former student, Melissa Maisa, now 32, married and a mother of two young children in San Diego, had a similar response when informed of the present investigation. Maisa attended Mount Bachelor between 1992 and 1994 under largely the same management that runs the school today, and graduated the school with honors. She was sent there in part because of promiscuous behavior as a teen, which Maisa associates with being a victim of child sexual abuse and date rape. "Mount Bachelor made me feel even more dirty and more shameful than either one of those experiences ever did. I just want to make sure the things I suffered through there never happen again," Maisa says.

She describes a Lifestep in which she says she was required to perform an exercise called "the holidays." "I had to stand up in the sluttiest way possible and strut over to every male in the room," including the counselors, Maisa says. She was instructed to sit on the floor before each man, place her left foot on his right knee and say, "This foot is Christmas." She then placed her right foot on his left knee and said, "This foot is New Year's. Do you want to meet me between the holidays?"

Maisa says she performed the holidays more than 250 times. When she failed to show sufficient enthusiasm, Maisa says she and her peers were punished, each having to repeat their own humiliating skit. When Maisa tried to tell her mother about it on the phone, she says a staff member terminated the call.

Susan Owren, a part-time driver for Mount Bachelor, has heard similar stories from dozens of students. Owren spends several hours several days a week shuttling the school's students to doctor's appointments in town; during the rides, she says, students open up to her. She says she's seen teens being made to run in the snow without adequate footwear and forced to move rocks back and forth, apparently as discipline. "Every single kid has told me something horrifying," she says, adding that students who spoke with her independently corroborated each other. In mid-March, Owren went to the authorities, prompting the current state investigation.

See TIME's pictures of the week.


The techniques that Mount Bachelor allegedly uses, while unconventional, are not new. They are similar to the tenets of the once popular "human potential movement" of the 1960s and '70s, which purported to change people's lives through intense emotional experiences. The movement grew out of the practices of Synanon and other California experiments in Utopian living, which later helped spawn so-called large group awareness training programs, such as LifeSpring and est.

Synanon began as a drug rehabilitation program before morphing into a controversial cult and is credited with putting forth the idea that confrontation and boot-camp-style breakdown tactics could cure teen misbehavior and addiction. Synanon's confrontational techniques influenced est and LifeSpring, which began selling weekend seminars designed to prompt emotional breakthroughs in participants.

Food, sleep and access to the outside world — sometimes even to the bathroom — were strictly controlled. Using intense role-playing, humiliation and physical experience, the seminars attempted to liberate people from victimhood by teaching them that they are ultimately responsible for everything that happens to them, including being a victim of child abuse or rape.

Mount Bachelor's Lifesteps appear to share these tactics and philosophy. Several of its top employees formerly worked at a now defunct chain of troubled-teen programs known as CEDU, which was founded by former Synanon members. "The process of breaking kids down is very much integrated into the therapeutic milieu," says Kat Whitehead, executive director of the Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth, an expert on such abuse, who has testified before Congress on the topic. "Unfortunately, that seems to be very common, at least in the private facilities."

Although many people report being helped by cathartic seminars, studies suggest that programs like LifeSpring do not produce lasting change. Indeed, in the 1980s and early 1990s, LifeSpring lost millions of dollars in lawsuits related to suicides and psychiatric hospitalizations of participants.

Most mental-health experts today strongly disagree with the use of brutal confrontation or humiliation as therapy — particularly for vulnerable youths who have troubled pasts. Research suggests that feelings of being out of control characterize the typical patient's response to traumatic life events; consequently, recovery requires the avoidance of coercion. Experts say that pressuring trauma victims to retell their stories against their will tends to increase stress symptoms, rather than alleviate them. And brain research associates feelings of shame and humiliation to stress responses that exacerbate depression and anxiety and may contribute to physical illness. In addition, isolation from parents, except in situations where they are abusive, can increase trauma further.

"There is absolutely no role for shame and humiliation in the treatment of youth," says Christopher Bellonci, medical director of the Walker School, a nonprofit serving children with serious mental, behavioral and learning problems. "I know of no clinical rationale for treating youth for any condition in that fashion. ... They are engendering new trauma, not repairing it."

Whatever the Supreme Court decides in Forest Grove v. TA, the case will put the spotlight on questions surrounding these troubled-teen programs. And while Oregon's investigations continue, yet more change may be forthcoming: A bill introduced by California congressman George Miller to regulate private teen programs and ban "acts of physical or mental abuse designed to humiliate, degrade or undermine a child's self respect" passed the House of Representatives on February 23. It is expected to be introduced in the Senate this year.

Maia Szalavitz is a freelance journalist in New York City and author of the book Help At Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead, 2006).

Feed Your Head / The Center Cannot Hold
« on: December 26, 2007, 06:15:29 PM »
I've not yet read this, but I thought it sounded like something some folks here might want to read.

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

Elyn R. Saks

From Booklist
At eight years old, Saks began suffering hallucinations and obsessive fears of being attacked. An adolescent experimentation with drugs provoked her parents to enroll her in a drug treatment program.  But Saks' incredible self-control masked the fact that she was suffering from a debilitating mental illness. By the time she entered graduate school at Oxford University, her symptoms were so severe—including full-blown psychotic episodes and suicidal fantasies—that she was hospitalized. Through Oxford, law school at Yale, and a move to Los Angeles to work in the law school of the University of California, Saks struggled mightily to balance her ambitions with her illness, which was eventually diagnosed as schizophrenia. Never wanting to concede to her mental illness, Saks founds calm and comfort in a rigorous work routine. An analyst characterized her as having three lives: as Elyn, as Professor Saks, and as the Lady of the Charts mental patient. As Saks battled to get off medication and leave behind the Lady of the Charts, she fought for the rights of mental patients, and came to terms with her own limitations. Bush, Vanessa
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Me: I am currently reading "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout. I'm only on the second chapter - but it has been very interesting.

Open Free for All / and speaking of creepy dogs. . .
« on: December 03, 2007, 03:37:45 PM »

A Colorado man reports he was able to kick his drug habit after a photograph of him at a relative's anniversary celebration showed – literally – a demon on his shoulder.

Joe Martinez told Fox 31 News in Denver that drugs were killing his soul.

But he's now on the road to recovery because of the photograph.

"I look at it and I carry it wherever I go," he told the television station.

The photo showed a typically smiling couple at a anniversary reception. What it also shows is what Martinez's wife, Patty, describes as "Satan."

"Right away I really thought, I said, 'You're really walking with Satan'," she said.

The photo was taken at a family anniversary celebration several years ago. It was in an album until just months ago, but Martinez says he won't be without it now because of the reminder it provides.

What appears to be a dog is looking over Joe's shoulder, in a closer view of the anniversary reception photo:

 "There's good and evil in life. The good on the right hand side of me, and the evil on the left side of me," Martinez told the station.

The photograph, on close examination, appears to include the image of a dog peering over Martinez's shoulder.

Brian Bonner of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society said most such cases are explained relatively simply. But for this one, he said, there's not enough evidence to support a conclusion.

A photographic expert, John Davenport of Roach Photo, told the station the picture did not have evidence of tampering.

"It doesn't look like it was double-printed or spliced in," he said. "The grain is uniform."

Martinez admits having battled drugs.

"I always prayed to the Lord and told him, 'I can't do it alone,'" he said to the station.

He and his wife credit the appearance of the image in the photo for his recovery from addiction.

"There's not another high left in me," Martinez said.

Feed Your Head / Thirteen Moons
« on: November 29, 2007, 12:30:49 PM »
I'd like to suggest: "Thirteen Moons" by Charles Frazier.

If you've not yet read it, you may want to get a copy and dig in. It has to do with the Cherokee nation in the Carolina Smokies, and how a small group managed to resist the Government's efforts to send them on the trail of tears.

It is also a story of friendship and enmity, love and hate.

It is so wonderfully crafted, beautifully written, that IMO it rises to the level of fine art. I personally feel the author is writing what will one day be recognized as great American Literature. His books (Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons) rise well above the rank and classification of popular novel.

Open Free for All / A Dog's fate
« on: November 15, 2007, 05:14:38 PM »
If you'd like to help save a good dog from a bad judge, please sign the following petition.

Dog's fate devastates family
Judge orders shepherd destroyed after vicious attack

Thursday, November 08, 2007


PRINCETON TOWNSHIP -- A family whose beloved German shepherd faces death for having led a dog attack on a landscaper is devastated by the news but vows to continue to fight to save him.

"He needs to come home," said Guy James, the Princeton homeowner who managed to call his dogs off the landscaper, but only after the worker was severely mauled in the June 5 attack.

"He's innocent. He did nothing more than protect my wife. He never bit anyone until she was grabbed and pulled to the ground," James said.

Congo has been ruled vicious by a municipal judge and ordered put down.

"As a family, it's destroyed our way of living," said James, 46. "We're just consumed with the whole thing."

The landscaper, Giovanni Rivera, has won a $250,000 insurance settlement as a result of serious injuries he sustained in the attack, which occurred when he and others disobeyed instructions from James not to get out of their car until Congo and several other dogs on the property could be sequestered for safety.

Rivera, a Trenton man, was on the 10-acre, fenced property on Stuart Road to do yard work. The landscaping crew had arrived before 7 a.m., about an hour before they were expected.

James, who was about to take a shower, called out a window to them in Spanish, telling them to get back in their car and wait because the dogs were in the backyard being fed.

While the dogs, two 2 1/2-year-old German shepherds and their four 6-month-old puppies, had not had problems with people on the property before, James said in an interview that he didn't want them to interfere with the workers. Also, he wanted the workers to wait until he was dressed so that he could tell them what to do, he said.

Instead, Rivera and another worker got out of the car after a few minutes and the dogs began to bark. That worker began to hit the dogs with a metal rake and Elizabeth James, Guy James' wife, yelled for him to stop. Meanwhile, Rivera, who was afraid of the dogs, grabbed her from behind and pulled her to the ground, causing her to scream. At that point Congo began to bite and scratch Rivera and some of the puppies joined in.

"The whole thing was pretty terrifying," Elizabeth James said. "You can't imagine. I was scared. It happened extremely fast. I didn't have time to think."

Meanwhile, her 8-year-old son, Ben, ran into the house to get his father. Moments later, Guy James hurried out and called off the dogs.

Rivera, who was treated for bites at a local hospital, settled with the couple's insurance carrier for the $250,000, Guy James said.

Rivera's lawyer, Kevin Riechelson, said his client has scars from the dog bites and scratches that may be permanent on his arms, legs and torso. Rivera still suffers from numbness in his leg but is able to walk.

"He had a really deep wound on his right thigh," Riechelson said. "Luckily, his face wasn't touched."

In addition to the $250,000 settlement, the Jameses' insurer agreed to pay medical bills and worker's compensation claims for Rivera, Riechelson said.

The Jameses' children, especially Ben who witnessed the attack, have been "crying nonstop," Elizabeth James said. "They've been on an emotional rollercoaster." Their dog has been placed in a shelter while the court process plays out.

Hannah James, 11, wrote a letter to Judge Russell Annich Jr. saying in part, "I am so upset seeing my dog locked up in jail for doing his job. When my friends are over they play with and around Congo and have no problems. I want you to know that this is coming from my heart and I mean it with all my heart and soul. Actually, my broken heart. We will never ever forget this for the rest of our lives. You have made the wrong decision in my eyes."

And Congo, who is being held at Save a Friend of Homeless Animals, is depressed and anxious, Guy James said. He now has to be hand-fed or he will not eat.

Meanwhile, James' lawyer, Robert Lytle, argued at a hearing in Municipal Court that the attack had been provoked and under New Jersey law, the dogs had a right to protect themselves and their owner.

But some, including municipal prosecutor Kim Otis, argue that the Jameses should have had control over the dogs and were negligent.

Indeed, Judge Annich found that "the prevailing circumstances did not constitute provocation and that the attack upon Mr. Rivera, initiated by Congo and subsequently by the other dogs present, continuing unabated for three minutes, was a response grossly disproportionate to the prevailing situation."

Guy James pointed to testimony from dog behavior expert and University of Pennsylvania professor Ilana Reisner, who said that in her professional opinion James' dogs were "clearly provoked."

"Based on these threats (unfamiliar individuals, perceived threatening position, the attack on the puppies with a metal rake, grabbing the owner from behind and pulling to the ground) the dogs were compelled to defend themselves and their owner," Reisner wrote.

"I am so sorry for what happened but it was not out of viciousness," Guy James said. "This was a provoked attack and any dog would protect its owner in the same manner. I can't imagine that any dog -- who was beat with a rake, hard enough to cause bloody gashes, and then had its owner grabbed from behind -- would walk away without action."

Guy James also garnered statements from several people who had been on his property and attested to the dogs' friendly behavior, including John Pettenati, the township building inspector. In fact Pettenati nicknamed them "the happy dogs" because they were so pleasant.

Guy James said that while he and his family were waiting for their house to be finished they lived for several months at a hotel. During that time Congo and his mate, Lucia, interacted with maids and others and never caused a problem, he said.

James also sent Congo and Lucia to the American Dog School in Denver for obedience training. James stressed that the dogs were trained for obedience, not as guard dogs. The four puppies are currently at that school, he said. Five of their siblings were adopted and one of those dogs is being trained to be a police dog in Pennsylvania, Guy James said.

Meanwhile, an article in The Times and reports in other media outlets have spurred the public into action on Congo's behalf.

Kat McAfee of the Coalition for Action in the Interests of Animals has organized the Coalition to Free Congo. She expects hundreds to come to a rally Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the municipal building at 400 Witherspoon St. in Princeton.

McAfee said they hope to save Congo's life by "bringing pressure on the powers that be."

Annich is expected to place his ruling on the record Tuesday afternoon.

For his part, Guy James said he has received thousands of letters and e-mails and thanked those who have offered their support.

"Congo is a fantastic family pet who is loved by everyone we know and many we don't," James said. "We will not let this rest for the sake of all dogs and their owners, and most of all, our family and Congo."

Guy James plans to appeal Annich's ruling to Superior Court.

"We will fight with all our love and support from friends and strangers until he is back with us," he said.

Linda Stein can be reached at [email protected] or (609) 989-6437.

Open Free for All / Product review
« on: October 15, 2007, 04:42:59 PM »
I just received my Fornits logo T-shirt. I ordered it on a man's large, organic cotton, by American Apparel. It is true to size, and the logo looks great on the organic cotton - and it is very soft. I'm happy with it.

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