Joanne Dixon

Everyday Erinyes #93

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Politics
Sep 232017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

 

Before I start on this first story, I want to rant a bit.  In our judicial systems, which mostly are hand-me-downs from British common law (Louisiana, I think has some Napoleonic influence), we generally do not consider fully acceptable witnesses, because “children lie.”  Well, yes, children do lie; some more than others; but why do they lie?  Well, we don’t let them handle guns on their own (mostly), we don’t let them have sharp objects (mostly), we may let them have boxing or self defense or martial arts lessons, but they are pretty well vastly outweighed by and less strong than adults.  We don’t let them handle large sums of money (such as one might need to hire an attorney).  What defensive weapon do they have, except lying?

However, by and large, and particularly if they are under the age of seven or eight, they tell some kinds of lies, and they don’t tell other kinds of lies.  They may tell fantasy lies (“There’s a fairy in the garden.”)  They may tell very simple lies (“I didn’t do it.” “I don’t know.” “Not me.”)  They do NOT make up possible but elaborate stories, in which cause and effect and adult motives hold together.  They may be sharp as tacks, but they do not have the experience to do that.

And that is why, in this case in Tacoma, WA, I absolutely believe the child who was burned by a firework gun in the hands of his father.  Dad says he was trying to teach the child a gun safety lesson, and there was an accident.  Son says Dad was grilling him about the whereabouts of his mother, he (son) was refusing to answer, and “He (Dad) shooted me.”

Though the story says nothing about the parents being separated or divorced and Mom having a restraining order or being in a DV shelter, why else would Dad be demanding to know where she was?  And, if not that, how could a six-year-old come up with such a circumstantial lie?  Well, at least someone on the spot believed the child.  Dad has been charged with third degree child assault.  Megaera, I hope you can keep track of this case and make sure justice is done.

 

On another news item, we probably could all rant.  In fact, we frequently do when we comment that someone, usually a Republican, seems not to grasp the Constitution.  Actually, that is throwing roses at it.  Here’s the title:

New survey shows a disturbing trend: Most Americans have no clue what is in the Constitution

The survey in question is from the Annenberg Public Policy Center.  It was conducted between August 9th to the 13th of this year.  The sample size was 1,013 adults.in the U.S.  Probably the most frightening single result was that

53 percent think that people who are here illegally do not have any rights under the Constitution. That incorrect belief is especially strong among self-identified political conservatives – 67 percent think it is accurate, compared with 48 percent of moderates and 46 percent of liberals.

Forty-six per cent of liberals?  Good heavens!

The three branches of government?  Only 26% could name all three (in 2011, 38% could).  But 33% could not identify ANY branch of government.

Well, it’s no wonder so many Americans don’t seem to grasp the Constitution.  They don’t know anything about what is in it.  It’s not really reasonable to expect people to grasp something they know nothing about.

There’s been some discussion about making voting in the U.S. compulsory, and some nations do have compulsory voting.  How do those nations handle the issue of civics education?  I think maybe we had better find out.  But we don’t need to find out every detail to realize we need to do better.  Annenberg has joined with 30 other groups to form the Civics Renewal Network to offer free, high-quaity educational materials on line.  Which is great.  But all the materials in the world cannot help if they don’t get used.

Alecto, here’s a project for you.  Come up with a coordinated, national civics education program (that’s the easy part), and then get every Federal and State legislator behind it so it can get passed and put into effect.  Oh, and don’t forget the territories.

 

In this final incident for today, the mills of justice sseem to be grinding.  At least, the perpetrators have pled no contest and been sentenced to 20 years in prison.  Probably not enough, but closer than many sentences we have been hearing about lately, especially when the victim was a child.

Rachel Jean Stevens, 29, and Kayla Ann Jones, 26, were each sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for beating the boy so severely that he suffered two strokes….

Investigators found the boy had been locked in a room and bound with duct tape over his eyes, and he told police that Stevens, his mother, and her girlfriend, Jones, had beaten him with a belt.

Police also said Stevens hit her son’s hand with a hammer and that Jones kicked him in the genitals until he bled.

As so often happens, though it beggars the imagination of normal people, there were two other children in the home who were completely physically unharmed. All three chidren are in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  Tisiphone, maybe you could put on your Eumenides hat and give them some love and strength.

 

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

Share

Everyday Erinyes #92

 Posted by at 9:21 am  Politics
Sep 162017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

 

This article is 10 days old, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else, and it needs to be known.  Especially for you science types.

Alabama Republican Rep. Rogers DESTROYED Key Hurricane Monitoring Satellite

Let me be clear that Congressman Rogers did not go out and shoot this satellite up with an AK-47, although, as an Alabama Republican, he probably has several.  And the destruction didn’t just happen ten days ago; it was a result of the 2016 budget.  It has hit – not the news, but the professional journals – recently because of the use of Weather satellites in tracking our recent rash of hurricanes.  We were able to do that pretty well, but next year may be another story.

The Air Force has maintained a series of weather satellites with microwave imaging since the 1960’s.  It was called the F-series.  Currently in orbit are the F-16, the F-17, and the F-18.  There was an F-19, but it malfunctioned.  The F-20 had been built but had not been launched – they had built multiples at the same tome to save money on building (although saving money on beuilding translates into spending money on storage, it was considered a good trade-off.  So, there it was – it had cost $518 million to build and millions more to store – when the F-19, as I said, malfunctioned.

Congressman Rogers was the chairnman of the House Armed Services strategic services subcommittee when, in 2015, the Air Force asked for $20 million to launch the F-20 in, say, 2018 (the three that are currently orbiting have some overlap, which is why our Harvey and Irma predictions were as good as they were.)  But the F-19 had malfunctioned.  (It had also been keeping track of the losses in sea ice, of course, and Congressman Rogers didn’t like that at all.)  So Congressman Rogers declared that “Congress has lost confidence in the Air Force’s ability to run” its legacy program.

“We could have saved the Air Force and the Congress a lot of aggravation if we put a half of a billion dollars in a parking lot and just burned it,” he said. …

Instead, he said, the money set aside for DMSP could have been spent on other national security priorities, but now the satellite is “going in the trash. I presume it’s going to be made into razor blades.”

Ha ha ha.  A real comedian.

But that’s why “FishOutofWater” titled this story “Alabama Republican Rep. Rogers DESTROYED Key Hurricane Monitoring Satellite,” and, even though Rogers didn’t physically lay a hand on it, I think the title is fair.  What do you think, Tisiphone?

 

Moving to a little bit newer government issue, things are happening within the CIA which may give us a taste of what the country would look like if enough Dominionists get into power.

According to an investigation by Foreign Policy into changes in the intelligence community under President Donald Trump, the CIA has set aside plans to diversify and has become more white and more Christian under new director Mike Pompeo.

Noting the Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas,  is a self-professed evangelical, the report states that the new director once claimed, Islamist terrorists will “continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”

Barf.

In my not-so-humble opinion, REAL Christians don’t want to exercise temporal authority, and certainly not to impose their beliefs on others.  Real Christians know that forced conversopn is no conversion at all.  “A man convinced against his will/Is of the same opinion still.” (attributed to Benjamin Franklin and Dale Carnegie – so, probably actually an old proverb)

A spokesperson for the CIA defended the move, saying, “Director Pompeo is a man of faith. The idea that he should not practice his faith because he is Director of CIA is absurd.”

Well, not so asburd if by “practicing his faith” he is violating the Constitution – which apparently he is doing on a daily basis.

According to Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, he is being flooded with complaints about the creeping evangelical Christianity that is beginning to pervade the intelligence agency.

Weinstein notes that insiders are afraid to speak up, stating, “They don’t typically file formal complaints within the government. But certain things are making them especially uncomfortable, such as officials signing off with the phrase ‘have a blessed day.’ That’s something “straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Yes, The Handmaid’s Tale is about a lot more than sex slavery.

It’s not as though theocracy were anything new in the world.  It has been around since forever.  Surely, Alecto, it’s time to put a stop to it?

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

Share

Everyday Erinyes #91

 Posted by at 9:16 am  Politics
Sep 092017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

Well, I thought I had my lead on Tuesday, when I read about a cop in Georgia who ran over a black man he thought was a suspect (he wasn’t), and then arrested him.  But Wednesday, that story got beat.  Point by point:

1.  Cop thought black man was a suspect.  Okie Jeremy Thacker knew his victims (plural) were homeless; that’s why he ran over them.

2.  Victims plural.  Three from the runover, plus another hit in the head with a pipe outside a coonvenience store.

3.  One victimm died (the cop’s victim was alive enough to arrest.)  The other three were injured.

Do I even need to say this – deplorable – is a Trump supporter?  I would say a Trump voter – but, you know, to be a voter you have to actually vote, and I don’t see any evidence that he is smart enough for that.

But it doesn’t take much in the way of brains to kill.  It dies, however, take a special kind of malice to target people who are at the lowest points in their lives to kill.

You don’t suppose his lawyer will try to pass this off as a “mercy killing”?

Tisiphone, go.  Go get him.  I can’t discuss him any more.  Thanks.

Everyone probably saw the story about a police detective in Utah who assaulted a nurse – for obeying the law instead of his illegal order.

To recap, Detective Jeff Payne violently and illegally arrested [Alex] Wubbels after she refused his demands to draw blood from a patient. With her supervisor on speakerphone backing her up, Wubbels read the hospital policy aloud and correctly did her job. An increasingly angry Payne snapped and dragged her outside, aggressively handcuffing her, all with the alleged blessing of his own supervisor.

But wait, there’s more.

The officer is now under prosecutorial investigation.  Or, I guess technically, it’s still an internal investigation, but it was at the behest of screaming prosecutors.

The University of Utah hospital where this happened has tightened up their policies.  No more officers entering through the emergency room.

“Law enforcement who come to the hospital for any reason involving patients will be required to check in to the front desk of the hospital,” said chief nursing officer Margaret Pearce of the University of Utah Hospital. “There, a hospital house supervisor will meet the officers to work through each request.”

The detective in question also ha a part time job as a paramedic.  He has been fired from that.

Now, let’s take a moment to examine why there might be more to this story. The reason nurse Alex Wubbels was refusing to allow Detective Payne to draw blood from a patient is because the patient was a victim in a fatal accident. The patient was not accused of any crimes, had not been arrested, was not conscious to give consent—but he was a victim of a deadly accident resulting from a high speed police chase.

Trying to cover the Department’s ass?  Hoping to find some reason to blame the victim?  Of course they had no way of knowing – then – that this victim was himself a police officer (off duty) from Rigby, ID.  The Rigby Police Department thanked Nurse Wubbels for protecting the rights of their officer.  “Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act,” the letter said.

Alecto, I hope you can get to the bottom of this, and I hope it is widely made public when determined.  There is definitely deliberate concealment involved.

[UPDATE on above story]

Child Welfare arms of government take a lot of flak, and, unfortunately, much of it is deserved.  This situation is just such a perfect storm, it is worth noting.

Carl Brewer (D) is running in Kansas to replace Governor Sam Brownback, who has been offered a post in the Trump administration (but would be term-limited in 2018 in any case.)  Brewer, a former mayor of Wichita, is one of four Democrats eyeing the Governorship.

Brewer’s son Carlo is – was – the father of Evan Brewer, who had been allowed by the Kansas Department of Children and Family Service (DCF) to live with his mother and her “boy friend,” despite four complaints.  Carlo Brewer recently contacted state officials and local police about the welfare of his son.

While the DNA evidence is still out, officials are pretty sure the body found encased in concrete in the home they were renting is that of Evan.

If you click through – if you can stand it – the diarist gives two other stories of the deaths of children who should not have had to die.

Now, even before 1980, and even in more enlightened states, it has always been difficult for child protective services to get the funding they needed to do their job.  Prennially understaffed, perennially undertrained, perennially having their hands tied, it has never been easy to work for the protection of children.  But how much more difficult would it be in Kansas, where for over six years no taxes have been collected, where the government has resorted to selling confiscated sex toys on the internet to pay the bills, and where, under Republican governance, children don’t count anyway? I think, until I find out different, I’ll reserve my anger for the mother of this poor baby, and for her boy friend.

And my deepest grief for Carl Brewer, and for Carlo Brewer.

Megaera, I have confidence that you can be a Fury to the murderers while putting on your Eumenides hat for the bereaved.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

Share

Everyday Erinyes #90

 Posted by at 9:01 am  Politics
Sep 022017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

I don’t have a link to the first thing I wasnt to share; I am just quoting from an email.  The email is from Mark Kelly (“Mr. Gabby Giffords,” but don’t tell him I said that), and the only link it has is to a donation page.  But following and fighting the gun lobby is Mark and Gabby’s life, so I am confident he know whereof he speaks.

Congress returns next weekend from recess and the gun lobby is ready for them to pass their “concealed carry reciprocity” legislation that will allow almost anyone to carry a loaded, concealed firearm in public places.

How ready are they? How close do they think they are? How certain are they that this is coming?

The gun lobby is so certain that they just held a three day event promoting concealed carry accessories. They sold INSURANCE in case the member erroneously shoots someone with their concealed weapon and is held liable. And the day ended with a literal “Concealed Carry Fashion Show,” complete with a runway and models, to show off the latest gear.

I’m sorry, I am speechless.  Megaera, can you cope?

 

In New Mexico, they seem to have the right idea on dealing with a situation like the one they have – a situation where one black girl in a high school class was singled out by a threatening photo which was posted on Snapchat – on the school’s official Snapchat group.

Firstly, they realized that the photo did not represent a real event – that it had been digitally altered (not that that was difficult – it only took me one glance, and I’m no expert).  So they did not overreact against everyone in the class.  They looked for and apparently quickly found the actual perpetrators, who were suspended.  One was also kicked off the football team (an action too often neglected).  Charges against them for a hate crime are also still being contemplated “because it’s this serious.”

Serious it is.  Humor is a serious thing.  Humor can hurt.  Humor can kill.  I have often seen parents laugh at their children for something they find amusing which the child is too young to understand.  I have seen parents, not just laughe at their children, but set them up to be laughed at with prompting and interrupting until the child is so frustrated that they can find it funny.

Allow me to quote from C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters:

Humour is for them the all consoling and (mark this) the all-excusing grace of life. Hence it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame. If a man simply lets others pay for him, he is ‘mean;’ if he boasts of it in a jocular manner and twits his fellows with having been scored off, he is no longer ‘mean’ but a comical fellow. Mere cowardice is shameful; cowardice boasted of with humourous exaggerations and grotesque gestures can be passed off as funny. Cruelty is shameful—unless the cruel man can represent it as a practical joke…  

Alecto, am I being unreasonable to demand that we need to teach children how humor can be used to hurt instead of to heal?  And teach them not to do that?  And to call out the wrongness of it whenever it is done?

 

This last piece of news is, to me, though shocking, yet still good news.

23 August 2017 – The United Nations body monitoring implementation of the global convention on prohibiting racial discrimination has called on high-level politicians and public officials of the United States to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country.

In a decision issued under its ‘early warning and urgent action’ procedure, the Committee, which monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, stated “there should be no place in the world for racist white supremacist ideas or any similar ideologies that reject the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality.”

Friends – fellow resisters – what we are suffering is real, and visible to objective outside observers, who will help as best they can by calling it out.

Hopefully, the humiliation of having our beloved nation held up to the world publicly as a bad example will some day turn out to have been a small price to pay.  Hopefully.  Tisiphone, please help us in any way you can, if not to eliminate the disease, at least to get it out of government.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

Share

Everyday Erinyes #89

 Posted by at 5:17 am  Politics
Aug 262017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

On Wednesday, a vigil to honor of the life of a transgender woman of color who died there was held on the streets of The Grove in St. Louis.  About 100 people attended the candlelight event, and several staged a protest march down one street.  During the vigil, a car drove through those marching.  Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported.  The driver was as of Friday in custody, charged with felony fleeing (I believe that’s the technical term there for “hit and run.”)

The deceased was Kenny “Kiwi” Herring, 30, who leaves behind a wife and son.  The cause of death was a police officer’s bullet.  There is (hardly surprisingly) disagreement between the official police account and the stories of Herring’s neighbors.

I don’t know anything about Unicorn Booty’s reliability; its address line merely indicates that it is a news source (all kinds of news) which addresses the LGBT community.  However, the account is straightforward, free from loaded vocabulary, and appears to represent each party (victim, neighbors, police) fairly.  The author links to the Twitter account of David Carson, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where there is a discussion about the justifiability of running a car through a crowd of people.

I’m not sure what world a person lives tham who thinks that their personal annoyance (or avoiding it) is of more value than the lives of people in the street.  The answer to the question, “Is (whatever it is that you are saying is wrong) a capital crime?” for many people appears to be “Yes.”  Perhaps these are the same people who think White Christians are the most discriminated against group in the country.  It has proven to be pretty well impossible for humans to get through to these people on a level of logic and reason.  Megaera, maybe you have a chance.

 

In a way, it’s almost a relief to turn to a story where the actors are motivated by money.  I can kind of understand that.  We all need it to provide shelter, food, and other necessities of life.  And many of us want a little more because we want to be able to have nice things.  But – OK, forget I said all of that.  Because I can’t understand wanting so much of it so badly that you need to make other people to suffer to get it.

We all know about the Governor of Florida, Rick Voldemort Scott, pushing for drug testing of anyone who is desperate enough to want benefits in Florida, and pushing it long after it had been proved to be horribly expensive for the State, saving something on the order of $1 in benefit payments for every $1000 spent (that’s from very skimpy memory, so I’m sure the figures won’t check.  But it was on that order of magnitude.)  Pushing drug testing – while his wife was the owner of all the drug testing facilities used by the state.  This story from Iowa is similar.

Judge Linda R. Reade was the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa in 2008.  Appointed by George W. Bush in 2003, she was married to Michael Figenshaw, who owned stock in both the Corrections Corporation of America (now CoreCivic) and Wackenhut Correctional Corporation (now GEO Group), the USA’s two largest prison companies) as part of his retirement account.  Between Reaade’s appontment in 2003 and 2011, when Figenshaw sold these stocks, CA’s stock price rose 434%, and GEO’s rose 642%.

In 2008, in Postville, Iowa, the then-largest workplace immigration raid ever was sprung on the Agriprocessors plant there, which was, at the time, the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the country.  Nearly 400 workers were arrested, of whom about 270 were sentenced to five months in federal prison.  That was not usual in 2008.  It was then customary to charge workers with civil violations and then deport them.  So many people were charged that several federal judges, of whom the most senior was Reade, took nine business days to handle their cases.  This was not done in courtrooms, but at the National Cattle Congress, a fairground in Waterloo.  Five days BEFORE this raid, Figenshaw bought a lot more CCA and GEO stock – somewhere between $30K and $100K.

Not every federal prison is run by CCA or GEO – but a lot of them are.  And in my opinion it’s not important to determine which defendants from this circus were specifically sent to CCA/GEO prisons.  If they weren’t, they made it possible for others to be.

Judge Reade received a lot of flak for the circus-like atmosphere in which the proceedings were conducted, and for the fact that she had met repeatedly with ICE before the raid.  Those meetings were put forward as a reason she should have recused herself.  There were a couple of other resons put forward why she should recuse, yet she persisted (it isn’t always a good thing.)  Had the stock ownership been publicly known, I’m thinking her failure to recuse might have led to her learning even more about those prisons – from the inside.

Today, dozens of people who were sentenced by Reade while her husband owned prison stock remain behind bars….  In January, Reade was honored for her decade of service as the top federal judge in Iowa’s Northern District at a ceremony at the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids. She remains on the bench and has a lifetime tenure.

Tisiphone, do you think this is right?

 

Meanwhile, Alabama is proving that ignorance and difficulty understanding how government works are not confined to racists.  Also, I suppose, that no matter how badly the group you are in has been treated, you can always find another group to misunderstand.

I probably hardly need to point out that none of this story would have happened had our entire country not gone nuts about public education and decided that the only way to assess how the schools are doing is through standardized test scores.

This leads to the spectacle of a State Board of Education member saying at a school board meeting,

“Is it against the law for us to establish perhaps an academy on special education or something on that order,” asked Bell, “so that our scores that already are not that good would not be further cut down by special-ed’s test scores involved?”

This led to a vicious Op-Ed at AL dot com, including

Bell doesn’t seem to have a clue about Alabama’s public education system for special needs students, but she is pretty concerned that those students “bring down” the rest.

Alabama has a process for building out IEPs consistent with LRE requirements. The underlying idea is that our students are better off in the classroom together. The idea that a SBOE member would even seriously ask the question about returning to a practice of institutionalization demonstrates a tragic lack of knowledge and thoughtfulness.

Now, I do think that the author of the Op-Ed may well be overreacting – both because I for one don’t even see “academy” and “institution” in the same ball park – and also because the Op-Ed author doesn’t seem to me to have established his own bona fides of thoughtfulness (he seems to think that Sessions hung the moon, for one thing.)  And I don’t think it’s entirely Ms. Bell’s actual qualifications he has in mind, either.

No, I think the true villain of this piece is our national obsession with standardized testing – which has repeatedly been demonstrated to interfere with learning far more than it assists.  And I don’t mean the testing interferes so much  – it’s the obsession that gets in the way.

Weren’t we already fighting this battle when I was in junior high and high school?  I don’t suppose it will ever be permanently settled, but maybe you, Alecto,  can help calm things down a little.

 

I do have one piece of good news I want to share.  In Colombia, the indigenous U’wa people, whose ancestral territory includes over a million and a half mountainous acreage in tundra and cloud forests, have long been displaced to a single reservation about a third of that size.  They have been working, through legal means and community action, to reclaim some of that.

Last month, ten families packed up and returned to a location from which they had been removed in favor of salt mining.  If all goes well, over the next six months, fifty more families will join them, and hopefully, they all can be incorporated into a new reservation.

This is important for us as well as for them, since their presence is the best insurance we have against further climate-destroying development.  If you ladies have time to put on your Eumenides hats and drop by, maybe with supplies, it would be greatly appreciated.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

Share

Everyday Erinyes #88

 Posted by at 10:33 am  Politics
Aug 192017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

Back in the day, when white supremacy was considered an aberration, not main stream, a fellow called Gordon Winrod took it to lengths considered extreme  then – and now and forever, I hope!  He set up a cult at a compound in Ozark County, Missouri.  The Ozark County Times:

Winrod was pastor of Our Savior’s Church and had been linked to the Christian Identity Movement. For years he published ‘The Winrod Letter’ a newsletter that was chock full of anti-Jewish rhetoric. Winrod claimed law enforcement, government and most business leaders were Jews, and he often referred to the court system as the ‘Jewdiciary.’

Not content with suckers who joined his cult voluntarily, Winrod kidnapped six of his grandchildren from their homes in 1994 and 1995  In May 2000, authorities raided his compound.  The kidnapped grandchildren were then aged between 9 and 16 (doing the math, the youngest can have been no older than four when kidnapped.)  These children locked themselves in a bunker.  However authorities were able to talk them in surrendering.

Winrod was convicted and sentenced to 30 years.  After serving ten of the 30, he was released in 2012.  Apparently, for five years he lived quietly with a daughter and son-in-law.  However, recently the granddaughter who escaped being kidnapped wrote on Facebook  that he is now starting up again, this time on a property in Kulm, North Dakota, which some family members purchased for him.

If I may digress for a minute, it must be really something else to be a member of that family.  With the financial support he is getting, there are clearly some members who are in agreement with him.  But there are also some who emphatically are not.  A family that puts the “dys” into “dysfunctional” – because it can’t be “fun.”  The granddaughter who escaped, Shannon Maresh, appears to have been brought up by sane parents, and took to Facebook to make sure that the people of Kulm, ND are forewarned:

Edgeley and surrounding area friends: I’m not sure if you remember the years of my life where my parents were afraid to leave me alone for fear I would disappear. You may have even been concerned about your own children. This fear even extended to the school. My siblings and cousins disappeared and I quickly became an only child. My family was shattered. The man responsible was Gordon Winrod. He and his followers have one creed: to hate everyone who doesn’t believe as they do and follow Gordon Winrod’s teachings. We, you…us? We are all ‘blood sucking Jews,’ whatever that means. The point is, he and his followers fully believe that if you aren’t one of them it is not wrong to steal, cheat, lie, or kill you. Well, he is back. He was released from jail after being convicted of kidnapping and brainwashing. He is now setting up shop in the old Kulm school. Hide your kids. Hide your wives. And whatever you do, don’t drink the Cool Aid. Seriously though. This man is a predator and his followers are dangerous.

Tisiphone, I think this one is for you.  Take reinforcements.

 

While we are on the subject of hate groups, I just had to include this, even though there is no action at this point, because the KKK members involved are so awful.

A Florida jury found two prison guards guilty Tuesday of plotting to kill a black man who was a former inmate in retaliation for a fight with another prison guard. The three guards were all members of the KKK.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Columbia County jury found David Elliot Moran, 49, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 45 guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. A third guard, Thomas Jordan Driver, who was also involved, plead[ed] guilty in March.

What makes this story so poetic is that they didn’t want to do the killing themselves, so they approached someone else in the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to hire to do it for them.  What are the odds that the man they approached was an undercover FBI informant?  Of course, this project has blown his cover, but he probably feels it was worth it.

“These men had positions of trust, which they violated when they conspired to kill a former inmate, and we worked closely with law enforcement partners to ensure they are held accountable for their crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge James Spero of Homeland Security.

Driver gave a photo of the former inmate to the informant and they discussed whether they should shoot the man or inject him with insulin to make the death look like an accident. The FBI made it look like the homicide was carried out and even took photos of the man who had been taken into protective custody.

When a cellphone photo was shown of the fake murder scene the men said that they were happy and shook the FBI informant’s hand “in gratitude.”

They are facing up to thirty years in prison.  Sic semper omnes.  At that, Megaera, you might just want to sit in when the sentencing hearing is held (you’ll have to follow up; the date is not yet set) and encourage the maximum.

 

I just can’t get off the subject of hate today, so here is one more story about something involving hate which shouldn’t happen to a dog.

But it did.

“[A] Phoenix, AZ woman was shocked when her neighbors’ dog turned up at her door with a Nazi swastika painted on its head.”

Since the woman in question is of Hispanic heritage, and her adopted children are racially mixed, she naturally reacted with fear.  In fact, she was scared enough that she apparently didn’t want to speak to the media – a cousin did that for her.

Her oldest child knew what the symbol stood for immediately.  The younger two started asking questions, which she found tough to answer.  Recent violence associated with this and related symbols dod not make it any easier.

Police investigated, and were told that the owners painted it “as a joke.”  Well, it isn’t funny.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira — regional director for the Anti-Defamation League in Arizona — told KPNX that he understands the homeowner’s fear.

“Certainly, it brings fear, and there is a cause for concern. This is a symbol used by neo-Nazis, by skinheads and by white supremacists,” Galindo-Viera said. “To find a dog in your neighborhood with that symbol on its head could be scary.”

[The homeowner’s cousin] said the family is still uneasy, “We don’t know where this is headed. It could’ve been a joke to the kids. If it is, where is it going to lead next?”

“It’s not a joke. It’s not funny,” Galindo-Elvira said. “It’s hurtful, and it can become harmful.”

The owners of the dog are youthful, which may lend credence to the idea that they thought it was a joke.  The police said the dog did not appear to be neglected or abused.  I, and several people commenting on the story, are still concerned as to the paint itself being abusive, but there’s not enough evidence to be sure the paint is harmful.  Being such a neutral color, it’s possible it’s not highly chemical.

Alecto, since forever humor has been a blessing to humans, but it has also been used to be hurtful and to mask evil.  Perhaps you can teach these “kids” some ways to use it better.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

Share