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Messages - AtomicAnt

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Feed Your Head / Mental Illness or Political Philosophy?
« on: June 16, 2013, 02:50:04 PM »
Are the Young People That Shrinks Label as Disruptive Really Anarchists with a Healthy Resistance to Oppressive Authority?


Thought Reform / Mental Illness or Political Philosophy
« on: June 16, 2013, 02:48:45 PM »
Are the Young People That Shrinks Label as Disruptive Really Anarchists with a Healthy Resistance to Oppressive Authority?


Feed Your Head / Behaviorism and Consumerism
« on: November 11, 2012, 05:47:07 PM »
I haven't logged into Fornit's in a very long time, but I came across this article and had to post the link.

Torture Alleged at Chain of Children's Homes

    SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - Hundreds of parents claim a group of boarding schools tortured their children: locked them in dog cages, forced them to lie in feces and eat vomit, masturbated them and denied the troubled teens any religion "except for the Mormon faith."
     The Utah-based World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools and its owners - Robert Lichfield, Brent Facer and Ken Kay - went to great lengths to hide the "torture," which began in the mid-1990s and continued for a decade, the 357 plaintiffs claim in Salt Lake County Court.
     The plaintiffs say that 59 schools and owners tied to the company "jointly promoted, advertised, and marketed defendants' residential boarding schools as a place where children with problems could get an education while receiving instruction and direction in behavior modification for emotional growth and personal development."
     But they say the children were subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the schools including, Cross Creek Center for Boys, Brightway Adolescent Hospital and Red Rock Springs. They say the abuses inflicted upon some children for years "could be accurately described as torture."
     According to the complaint, students were locked in boxes, cages and basements at the schools, denied medical and dental care, and forced "to carry heavy bags of sand around their necks or logs throughout the day over many days."
     They were sexually abused, "which included forced sexual relations and acts of fondling and masturbation performed on them," according to the 119-page complaint.
     Students were "forced to eat their own vomit ... bound and tied by hands and/or feet ... chained and locked in dog cages ... forced to lie in, or wear, urine and feces ... forced to sleep on cold concrete floors, boxspring, or plywood," and put to forced labor, the complaint states.
     Children were "kicked, beaten, thrown and slammed to the ground ... forced to eat raw or rotten food ... poked and prodded with various objects while being strip searched ... denied any religious affiliation, except for the Mormon faith ... [and] threatened [with] severe punishment, including death, if they told anyone of their abuses and poor living conditions," according to the complaint.
     Their mail was confiscated, and personal visits and telephone calls were forbidden or discouraged, the parents say.
     "At all times relevant, defendants did not disclose to the parents the physical, emotional, mental, and/or sexual abuse to which their children were subjected at their facilities and conspired, even to this day, to prevent them from discovering such abuse," the complaint states.
     The defendant company still operates residential centers in Utah, South Carolina and Costa Rica, but has faced school shutdowns in Mexico, Jamaica and Samoa amid child abuse investigations, according to the complaint. It says that more than 2,100 students were enrolled in its schools in 2003.
     The plaintiffs filed a similar lawsuit in Federal Court in 2006, which U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups dismissed in August for lack of jurisdiction.The parents seek punitive damages for fraud, gross negligence, false imprisonment, assault and battery, and breach of contract, and a protective order to prevent spoliation of evidence.
     They are represented by Windle Turley of Dallas, Texas and James McConkie II with Parker & McConkie of Salt Lake

Feed Your Head / More Addiction "Cures"
« on: August 06, 2009, 09:56:40 PM »
Chinese Teen Beaten to Death in Internet Addiction Clinic
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
His parents hoped their teenage son would be home in a month, cured of his addiction to the internet. They never thought that within 10 hours of taking him to an addiction clinic they would receive a telephone call notifying them that he was dead.

Deng Senshan, 16, was addicted to playing on the internet, like tens of millions of other young Chinese. He was the latest teenager to be sent by his parents to one of the clinics being set up across China to cure youngsters of their obsession with online gaming.

His parents took their son to the Guangxi Qihuang Survival Training Camp in southern China on Saturday.

Deng Fei, his father, told supervisors that his son was shy and introverted and they should avoid putting too much pressure on him during the first couple of days.

They agreed.

Instead, the boy was placed in solitary confinement shortly after his arrival and then beaten by his trainers who scolded him for running too slowly when he was ordered to go jogging.

He was pronounced dead in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"My son was very healthy and was not a criminal," his father said. "He just had an internet addiction when I left him at the camp. We can't believe our only son was beaten to death.,2933,537076,00.html

Open Free for All / Dash Snow Dies
« on: July 25, 2009, 10:58:36 AM »
“As a mother, watching Dash self-destruct through addiction has been the most devastating experience of my life,” she wrote. “My efforts seemed only to create a painful rift between us, a rift that adds to my sadness over his senseless death.”

"...when Mr. Snow was 15, his parents (his father was Christopher Snow, a musician) sent him to the Hidden Lake Academy, a therapeutic boarding school in Georgia (“a little boot-campish,” Mr. Thurman said). " ... ss&emc=rss ... now&st=cse

It is always a tragedy when someone dies young. The death garners publicity when the young is talented and comes from a wealthy family. The story shows the complexity in the mix of a strong rebellious spirit,  freedom of ideals, family dynamics, and the tragedy of drug abuse. Was his end inevitable?

Once again, obedience does not equal respect. Control does not equal discipline. They don't want to teach kids discipline and respect. They want to control them and teach them obedience.

This philosophy is not just in programs, but has passed into the larger society and its schools. I cannot think of a worse time to grow up in this country. It's all I can do as a parent to teach my kid about civil rights and the pervasive injustices now practiced in our schools, work places, and government, I hate control freaks.

I take great pleasure in that the pro-program people would hate my kid. He's an honor roll student. He is also a foul-mouthed, atheist, independent thinker. Some day, your obedient, sheep-like, programmed kids, will be working for my kid.

If this post is genuine and this person actually went through a program, liked it, made friends there, etc. Then it only serves as one more example of why programs are bad. The writer is angry and vindictive and name calls children who are struggling with issues in their lives. They are whining babies that refuse to participate and refuse to take accountability.

If this lack of empathy for struggling children is the normative result of having been through a program then programs are clearly dangerous. They produce angry adults without compassion, empathy, or concern for the psychological welfare of those unwilling participants who might not benefit from this one particularly tough form of rehabilitation. Thier narrow minds believe that if the participant had a bad experience, the fault must lie with the participant instead of the method/program. Blame the victim.

Teens misbehave for many reasons and psychologists point out that the behavior is not really the problem. There are underlying problems are causing the behavior. The underlying problem of a troubled child is never diagnosed as 'refusing to take accountability.' This is not the problem. It is a symptom. I know many child psychologists who have universally informed  me that it is very often not the kids, but the parents that have the problem. Kids, they say, are pretty easy to help because they are young and impressionable. Adults think they are always right. So blaming the parents is not always wrong to do.

Common sense tells me that a teen with a real mental illness ranging from ADHD to schizophrenia, would most likely be harmed far more than helped by a tough-love program. Likewise, I think that a child rebelling from overly strict, overly religious, or flat out abusive parents would also find a program less than helpful. The program is only going to reinforce the parents' position against the child. The child has no recourse, but to submit to this fiasco, or they can't get out of the program.

The writer's, and by extension, the programs' lack of insight into such an obvious truth points out the kind of ignorance that allows abuse to occur. They have no idea what they are doing. They have no respect for the kids as individuals, only as sheep to be processed with one possible outcome.

Welcome to the herd, writer of hate and ignorance. For you, life is simple. Authority is always right and the kids are always wrong. Enjoy your life of blind obedience.

Finally, I am a middle aged man with a well behaved teenaged child. Neither me nor my child has ever attended a program. I have no axe to grind other than a concern for the rights and safety of my fellow citizens and my son's peers.

Open Free for All / Re: Traveling Magazine Crews
« on: February 24, 2009, 11:04:29 PM »
Maybe we have had 30 years to learn about these scams, but the young people trapped in them are not old enough or experienced enough to see it coming. I suppose that is why these scams are still around.

Open Free for All / Traveling Magazine Crews
« on: February 22, 2009, 06:12:25 PM »
A teenager came to my door today. He said he was selling magazines for his 'media class' and named a high school in a nearby community. He said he lived in my neighborhood. That sent up a red flag. I know the kids in my neighborhood and I did not know him. I know the kids in my neighborhood do not attend the named high school. It is a different district. There were other red flags (his aggressiveness and the prices) and I sent the boy packing. Maybe I should not have. I looked on the internet and found: ... 0offs.html

For Youths, A Grim Tour on Magazine Crews ... nd&emc=rss

It's not the troubled teen industry, but is another way that unsuspecting teens are exploited with little recourse. It just made me angry.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Judges Jail Kids for Cash
« on: February 11, 2009, 09:33:35 PM »
Another example of the throw away your kids attitude in the USA:

WILKES-BARRE, Pennsylvania - In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.

Prosecutors say Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care LLC and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC. The judges were charged on Jan. 26 and removed from the bench by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court shortly afterward.

The link has full story.

Open Free for All / Re: Teen Suicide Bombers
« on: January 18, 2009, 12:54:39 PM »
Quote from: "FemanonFatal2.0"

Actually this isnt as much of a nonsense concept as you are insinuating it would be. It wouldn't teach kids to be rebellious, instead it would help them to understand they have the freedom to choose their own path in life. If the right wings can do it why cant the left wings? Honestly I'm not a fan of either but I tend to lean to the left on most social issues, education being one of them. So my question is this, what stops us from starting a school to save teens from their psycho, controlling selfish parents and teach them a thing or two about the real world, like REAL American history including an emphasis on current events and the last few decades, and teach about real life lessons. How inappropriate would it be for a high school to teach a class about relationships and dealing with grief, addiction, illness and life struggles? Especially when we would be educating them instead of just punishing and forbidding them to ever partake in any normal life experiences. We would essentially be creating the next generation of activists... which in this day and age have dwindled dangerously so much so that our government thinks they can get away with just about anything. Dick Chaney shot a guy in the face for fucks sake. wtf?

anyway Im in support of it and I garrantee you if I had the money I would.

Politics and culture norms prevent us from starting such a school. There are many aspects of child-rearing that are taken for granted, but the most basic myth is that the kind of adult a person becomes is dictated solely by how the person was raised. Mothers take on themselves all the credit or blame for how their children turn out. Modern neurology and behaviorists that base their research in biology and evolution beg to differ. Children are not 'blank slates' upon which parents and society can imprint any outcome they wish if only they could figure out the right parenting techniques to do so. That was my point in bringing up the failure of attempting to design society from the top-down. It doesn't work. Recent research points out that not only does a 'one size fits all' approach to children doomed to fail, but that to a certain extent parenting is impotent to form a particular outcome. Some personality traits are genetically based in the way that right-handedness is. The science is in its infancy, but evidence strongly supports that a complex, innate human, nature exists. Further, the research suggests the current peer group anyone finds themselves in (child or adult) can influence behavior far more than parenting can. People adjust to their current social milieu and can readjust to a new milieu. As evolved social animals, we wish to be accepted by our peers and thus are adept at doing this. Thus programs work as long as the milieu is controlled (a theme we've seen stated often on Fornit's). I direct you to Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, an excellent book.

Open Free for All / Re: Teen Suicide Bombers
« on: January 18, 2009, 12:32:33 PM »
Quote from: "psy"
Very eloquent thesis on the ends justify the means, but that philosophy is not limited to the repubilican party, nor is the treatment industry.  While republicans have been big supporters on the war on drugs the democrats have been big supporters of forced treatment.  California Proposition 5 sought to do just this (treatment for nonviolent drug offenders as well as create new state based programs for teens)  Both parties see the same (largely imagined) problem but favor differing solutions.  Both see their means as justifying similar (impossible to attain) ends, that is winning the war on drugs.

When we have a government system that for non-violent victimless crime is referring people, not to jail, but for institutions designed to reform their thinking... that's re-education.  Whether for kids or adults it's wrong... even if it worked (which it doesn't).

I share your fear, though, about brainwashing gaining widespread as an acceptable technique for more things.

I agree this is not really a partisan issue, it's just that the current slant in our culture is towards the conservative. One of my pet peeves of the Liberal side is that they are too quick to interfere in the form of misguided do-gooders. It was Hillary and Tipper, after all, that intended to lead the fight to protect children against violent media; a stand which I think steps on my toes as both a parent and a consumer and has not a shred of science behind it to justify the necessity.

Open Free for All / Re: Teen Suicide Bombers
« on: January 17, 2009, 01:27:54 PM »
Quote from: "Che Gookin"
I think we all know I'm no fan of the programs. However, drawing parallels and comparing this insanity to a program is a bit of a fallacy. Most program grads in the USA aren't donning C-4 undershirts with a nice rusty bolt lining.

It is sort of like comparing Tranquility Bay to Auschwitz. The sheer magnitude of Auschwitz can't be touched by what goes on at Tranquility Bay. Don't get me wrong I think TB and programs are as fucked up as they get. I just don't think we ought to be making these sorts of comparisons due to the desired end results. You'll find that even in the Roloff schools the final baked pizza product isn't dreaming of blowing themselves up to get into heaven.

I must disagree, I do not think it a fallacy at all. I've seen many posts from parents essentially saying that if it's brainwashing it's still okay because of the results. Let's not judge the means by looking at the end results. To me, the real danger behind programs lies with the possibility that they might indeed 'work.' Then the means can be used or abused to achieve any ends. Does the end justify the means? To me this fundamental question must answered with a resounding, "No.!"

When you look at the history of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, these are men who believed that ends did indeed justify the means. They believed that the perfect society could be designed from the top down and imposed on the population. Those that disagreed could be 're-educated' to fit their mold. When that fails, kill them all and start again with new people. But no way would they admit that the entire top-down approach defied our innate human nature (which includes a self-serving, greedy part), something they could not change, no matter how harsh or drastic the means. Thus communism is doomed to failure. It's ideology ignores reality.

The atrocity lies in the means, not the desired outcome. I believe it was Aristotle who said that no man knowingly does evil. Men believe that their actions are justified.

Program parents and programs fully believe that the ends are so 'right' or 'good'  that they amply justify the very harsh means used to achieve them. They fully believe they are 'helping' their teens to adjust to the directives of society and they believe it is right that the top can and should impose this upon the teens. This logic is identical to the madrases and pretty much any cult-like group. I know we are talking about misbehaving teens, but what prevents those who feel very strongly about a particular political or religious view from justifying the use of the same means to suit their own ends (some programs are religion based). You cannot have it both ways. You cannot be morally consistent and say it is okay based only upon what you are trying to achieve; because it assumes that those in power harbor the one absolute truth and all other views are incorrect. And, that those in power have the right, or even the duty, to impose that view on others.

When I was a teen, my own Father despised the blame-the-parent approach and stated is the only the job of parents to do their best to instill in their children a sound set of values. Ultimately, it is the up to the child to determine what he does. It's called free will. Yes, you are free to get into trouble, I recommend against it.

If we (as a society) find that these means are okay to use to force teenagers to conform to 'society's values' then what prevents other powers (the government?) from determining this should also apply to adults. Let's start with the rehabilitation of prisoners. If that works, let's next focus on the political radicals. Then the Liberals. Finally, we can change the non-Christians to 'see the truth' and change their evil views as well. We could, in theory, from the top down, create a uniform conservative Christian Nation and what ends could be better than that to justify the means?

How about the torture debate in our country? Does the ends (national security) justify the means? My generation would have shouted a resounding, "No!" in the '60s or '70s. I have said before that if my generation discovered that Nixon was waterboarding, we would have burned the White House to the ground.

Fortunately, brainwashing does not work out very well. It forces conformity long enough for an unsettled teen to settle, sometimes. Or does it? How many successful program graduates come forth into the world believing that authority has a right to oppress dissent? How many adult assholes do these programs produce? How many would support Bush's view of the strong, self-governed executive that can change our rights based on what he sees are the security needs of the Nation and that he should not be criticized or questioned by those 'beneath' him (the top-down approach).

In other words, if programs really worked, what would prevent society from modeling all public schools on them (like the Communists mentioned above) in order that all teens should have the 'opportunity' to turn out so well adjusted. Then 'we' could design society in any way we wish.

If the above sounds overly political and anti-right wing, that is intentional. It is no coincidence that programs support the Republican Party with so much money. While the means may be politically neutral, the context in which these means are used can never be politically neutral. Whose values are being imposed on the teens? Conservative, family values, of course. Is there any other kind?

How successful do you think I could be if I decided to run a program to instill my views into teens, to run a program with the intention of teaching teens that Power is corrupt and never to be trusted? That authority must be questioned and kept in check to prevent oppression? That the intention of our democracy is based on self-government of the people, not to instill a top-down obedience, but a bottom-up form of representative democracy where even minority opinions are protected by constitutional guarantee? A view that believes an individual's rights often supersede those of the larger society? And finally, a view that an individual's right to harbor their own thoughts and hold and express their own opinions is sacrosanct and not be trampled upon or trifled with by the State which exists to serve the individual, not the other way 'round? And that this right is extended to all age groups.

I have never been in a program, but I despise them. They pose a threat to freedom and democracy and are a violation of human rights. My heart goes out to any free-thinking teen stuck in one.

- whose house has no formal rules, whose child has never been punished - for anything, and yet is an honor-roll student, and is annoyingly outspoken and opinionated, which is a good thing.

Open Free for All / Re: I love my country!
« on: January 17, 2009, 11:06:21 AM »
I love my country, too but not blindly. I do not necessarily think it is the "best" country in the world. Perhaps that is because I have traveled the world extensively and work with people from all over the world. One of my friends sent an email with photos of the orphanage and the city he grew up in. The photos were of the "then and now" type where he took photos in the same place and in some cases with the same people as older childhood photos. These photos depicted a very well kept orphanage where the kids were well cared for and educated. The city was modern and clean looking, certainly not third world. This friend loves his country (The People's Republic of China) and feels his is the best country in the world.

He points out to me that in the United States, we have far more people in prison, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of population than China does. He points out the USA leads the entire world in this statistic and this not only holds for the present, but for all of history. One in one hundred adults in the USA are behind bars. This is the highest rate in all of human history. He points out that we have the longest prison sentences of any developed nation. So before we point our fingers at the rest of the world, perhaps we should look into a mirror and ask what 'land of the free' really means; especially when 61% of those locked up are there because of non-violent drug offenses that are either not crimes, or minor crimes in the rest of the world.

I had a discussion with a group of friends from various countries and we were talking about free speech rights. The Europeans felt they had as much, or more, freedom of speech than Americans did. One of them pointed out that in a recent survey, over 60% of high school kids in the USA felt the 1st Amendment gives us too much freedom of speech and this concerned them greatly. Another said, "In America, free speech means you can say anything you want, as long as it does not matter." I agreed that I don't like the idea that something someone simply says can be a violation of another person's constitutional rights. And let's not get started on political correctness.

Because of the Bush administration, my friends have informed me the USA is the only western country where a person can be arbitrarily imprisoned without the right of habeas corpus or recourse to the courts and claim this action to be legal. While there is evidence that European countries have assisted the USA in extraordinary renditions, such action is clearly illegal in those countries and if caught, those engaged in these activities could and would be prosecuted without the defense of 'executive privilege.'

Standard of living enters these conversations. It turns out, we are no longer the richest country anymore. There are 17 European nations which are said to have higher disposable incomes than Americans now enjoy.  And let's not start on medical care, where conservatives have effectively used the press to convince Americans that socialized medicine does not work. All my friends prefer their socialized medicine over our system and say, while not perfect, is far more sensible and better than our system.

Finally, the UN did a study on the best countries for children to grow up in. The USA came in 21st with almost every European country beating us. Granted some of the reasons for the low ranking are dubious (high divorce rate and resulting single parent families), lack of medical coverage, and higher infant mortality rate (which can be accounted for by our willingness to save so many preemies) than other countries. But it is food for thought.

Yes indeed, I feel fortunate that I live far better and probably feel much safer than the vast majority of the world's citizens, but I am not going to go off the deep end waving the flag when so many other people have valid reasons for believing their own country is as good, if not better, than ours.

I do think our form of democracy is the best form of government for us and I am deeply concerned with the fragility of it and how I have seen our 'rights' being eroded over the years. I am also concerned (as a child of the 1960s and 1970s) how so many social gains are being reversed in the new wave of religious and social conservatism which seems to have no problem in telling (forcing) other people to live in a certain way or believe in a certain way. I honestly believe that when it comes to some things, we have come a long way, backwards, in the past 20 or 30 years. And I am old enough to remember how it used to be.

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