Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Web highlights

I am only linking a few articles that I feel are either important or rare. You can get most of the mainline stories from newspapers or other blogs.

Follow-up failure in Texas from Journalism.org notes that the original raid recieved much more media attention than the Texas Supreme Court forcing the children's release.
The drop-off in coverage from the initial raid to the Supreme Court decision occurred across all media sectors. Online and network news saw the greatest decline in coverage.
Plural Marriage is Among Consenting Adults by James A. Marples in the Albert Lea Tribune (Minnisota and Northern Iowa) as a Letter-to-the-editor
If all those in the relationship were consenting adults and no abuse, incest or coercion takes place, and if all the children are happy and healthy, I say: Let those people live quietly in peace. It was good enough in Old Testament days of the Holy Bible. And that scriptural precedent should be the legal foundation or precedent for revisions in America law today.
Monogamous Deception Letter to the Editor by Thomas McCabe in the Cape Verde (AZ) Bugle
The lower courts have spoken; the Supreme Court of Texas has spoken. Yet the quasi-dictatorial government agency, the Texas Child Protective Services, defies the courts to impose 'their' own brand of 'law.' On March 29, Texas State Police armed with assault rifles, attacked, without cause, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and forcibly removed 416 children. What is considered kidnapping in Texas? Doesn't the Bill of Rights apply to all citizens?
CPS Actions Damaged Children Editorial by Johana Scot and Richard Wexler in the San Angelo Standard-Times.
Instead, CPS opted for the mass amputation of the mothers from their children. They were taken from the foggy and distant danger they faced and thrown into the clear and present danger of foster care. ... Instead, CPS opted for the mass amputation of the mothers from their children. They were taken from the foggy and distant danger they faced and thrown into the clear and present danger of foster care.
Home Schoolers Threaten our Cultural Comfort by Sonny Scott in the Northeast Mississipi Daily Journal.
Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California. ... Now the kid is raising hell again, demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work … and there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?
You can now purchase FLDS clothing! Provide modest and functional clothing for your children while helping the famalies recovery from the raid.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lawyers taking a stand against abuses

Kurt S. Schulzke, an attorney from Woodstock, GA, wrote a powerful editorial in the San Angelo Times, and commented about it on his blog.
Let the government violate the law today to "protect children" and you empower it, tomorrow, to violate your rights in pursuit of other objectives. How will you redraw the line once you have crossed it "just this once"?
This isn't just a case about child endangerment; It's about the rule of law and the American system of government. Those who commit such crimes against the rule of law - whatever their office - should pay a price in court or at the ballot box. If they don't, the rest of us someday will.
Another attorney, this time Gregory Hession in Springfield, Missouri wrote an excellent article entitled "Whose Children are they, Anyway" in The New American.
This episode should be a warning to all families that an arbitrary attack by the state against a family can happen to any of us and that a court will likely not protect the family from overreaching state social workers or false reports of child abuse.
The Christian Science Monitor has an article on an appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court to invalidate illegal tactics that the Illinois CPS has been using.
The offer: Agree to a safety plan or your children may be taken away. Parents are not given an opportunity to know the substance and source of an abuse allegation, nor are they given an opportunity to challenge the safety plan before a neutral decisionmaker.
With the slur "cult" back in the news I found a great link to quotes on what comprises a cult. I encourage everyone to continue to fight the bigotry of those who use "cult" as hate speech.
  1. "...one person's cult is another's religion; all religions begin life as cults. An alternative definition is that a cult is a religion which you happen to dislike." Anthony Campbell
  2. "Cult is a word without much use outside the realm of religious mudslinging." Philip Kennicott
  3. "When someone uses the word 'cult,' it usually says more about them than the group," J. Gordon Melton, founder and director of The Institute for the Study of American Religion.
  4. "It's easy to tell the difference - a cult is someone else's religion. Corollary: "A fanatic is someone who believes something more strongly than you do." Jim Heldberg
  5. "I have often thought that the difference between a cult and a religion is an IRS ruling." Ron Barrier

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Calling Harvey Hilderbran to resign

I think "Hairbrained" Hilderbran needs to be held accountable for his abuses of power and position. As part of this I sent an email to him, as well as a letter to the local newspaper of his district that closely followed the letter I sent to him. I encourage you to send your own.

The Kerrville Daily Times Letter to the Editor


Representative Hilderbran:

I am calling on you to resign. You have tried to use the apparatus of the State to persecute an unpopular religion. This clearly violates the "Establishment of Religion" clause in the constitution. You have also engaged in religious persecution, using a religious slur in the public media. This form of hate speech is indefensible. Finally, you have abandoned your long-standing political principles of property rights and personal liberty in an attempt at political popularity, showing a huge defect in your character. Resign so that you may remove the beam in your own eye, and spare the 53rd district from a bigot and demagogue.


"I Percieve" blog, email to Judge Walthers church

Recently found this blog, which carries powerful and rather incendiary prose. I usually don't dedicate an entire post to a blog (otherwise I would have to do it every day for Grits and Brooke) but this has some interesting articles that I've never seen before.

Texas TRO: Separate CPS & Walther from FLDS
I smell a rat. Having read both draft orders in the FLDS case, my view is that neither draft complies with the order of the Texas Supreme Court... The drafts suggest that these unfortunate victims of government abuse are beginning to legitimize — in their own minds — the misconduct of their government captors.
First United Methodist of San Angelo burns cross, prays for Judge Walther
I have a feeling that with the atrocities she has inflicted on FLDS families, Walther will need those prayers. ... Why don’t the FLDS appear on First United Methodist’s prayer page?
I thought that was a good question. While they did have a listing for "Eldorado Situation" that could mean anything. So, I wrote to the email addresses on their Prayer Request page:

I respectfully request that you add to your prayer list that the FLDS parents and children be protected from the abuses of power of the State of Texas, and be protected from those who desire to persecute them.

It was a good reminder for me to say my prayers - both for the FLDS, and also to keep the CPS far away from me and my family.

CPS a national “empire built on taking children”, Georgia Senator Schaefer warns
As the Texas CPS horror unfolds, some American parents watch passively as if it couldn’t possibly happen to them. Be warned. What Texas CPS did to the FLDS en masse, other states’ CPSs do every day across the country to individual families.
Walther signs extortionary FLDS order
A house is only a home if you enjoy the protections against search and seizure that all Americans are supposed to enjoy. This distinction is obviously lost on the judge who — for what reason God only knows — continues to preside over the case. Because of their religion and the venomous bigotry of Judge Barbara Walther, these Americans citizens are being denied their basic constitutional rights.

Continued Coverage

Looks like there is now an official in Canada trying to prosecute polygamists. However, the two prosecutors he has hired have both declined to prosecute. Hopefully he gets the message some day, but it might take the Canadian Supreme Court, just like it took the Texas Supreme Court.
It's proving difficult to prosecute polygamists by Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
B.C. prosecutor weighs polygamy charges by Wendy Stueck, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Tellingly, the articles never quote a current Bountiful resident, only repeating allegations of government officials and a former FLDS member. Bigotry and slanted media are not just US problems when it comes to religion.
The mess in Texas, Pancho Villa and "usos y costumbres" on The Mex Files
International coverage continues, with the article discussing Pancho Villa being a polygamist, as well as many Mexican immigrants to the United States currently practicing polygamy.
The claims of abuse were overblown, and the State of Texas has not been particularly interested in pursuing child or spousal abuse cases that involve more "mainstream" sectarians.
Whose Kids Are They Anyway? by Mike Gallagher, nationally syndicated radio talk show host
He joins Micheal Savage as major radio talk show hosts who have spoken out on this issue.
But the mantra of "protecting our children" shouldn't give a state agency the ability to shred the constitutional rights of each and every adult who comes into CPS's crosshairs. ... Everything about this story is rotten. It's the textbook example of a zealous government destroying the United States Constitution in order to grandstand and pretend that they are only interested in protecting the children.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Links to Editorials

The National Coalition for Child Protection Reform has a blog, and they ran a piece entitled The unbearable vindictiveness of Judge Walther. It has a number of good snippets.
Ever since the first three judges, on an appellate court, ruled against her, Judge Walther has made her displeasure clear. But apparently her vindictiveness knows no bounds. ... She decided to impose a series of extra conditions of her own, which appear to have no purpose other than harassment. ... As far as I can tell, since the appellate court ruled, that brings the number of editorial pages from outside Texas and Utah condemning Texas CPS to 11. The number supporting CPS: 0.
It also contains links to two more editorials.
The right decision - Texas court rules state overstepped authority by the Worcester Telegram.
It still may be weeks or months before many of the children and parents have been reunited. Nonetheless, in declaring state officials overstepped their authority, the Supreme Court took a welcome first step toward righting a wrong that defied logic, compassion and the law.
Texas went too far in case by the Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville, TN.
No government agency in the United States should simply round up hundreds of children and take them from the arms of their mothers without just cause. This is still a nation of laws and individual rights, and the nanny-state doesn't always know best.
The blog also links to other articles in earlier posts.
Sect Mothers Say Separation Endangers Children in the New York Times.
Many child-welfare experts across the nation ... say the raid on the polygamist ranch diverged sharply from the recommended practices both in Texas and elsewhere in the country.
Child Welfare — Think First in the Topeka Capitol-Journal.
The Texas case brought to mind an incident in April in which a man temporarily lost custody of his son for buying him a lemonade at a baseball game.
Polygamists' Kids in Their Own Private Gitmo by Richard Wexler in The Nation magazine
When children are needlessly put into foster care, they lose not only mom and dad but often brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, friends and classmates. For a young enough child, it's an experience akin to a kidnapping.
Overprotective in Texas from the New Jersey Star-Ledger
By overreacting, Texas officials may have hurt what they described as their primary mission: protecting children.

News Stories on the release

Was polygamist raid doomed from start? from the Seattle Times.
Investigators listened to a lot of misinformation and allowed themselves to be kind of captivated by these anti-FLDS people.
US sect children set to go home from the BBC demonstrates international coverage.
But last week the state's Supreme Court said officials had failed to prove the children faced immediate danger.
Critics say CPS failed to foresee nuances in the Houston Chronicle.
On the whole not a very good article, as it seems to try to cover the bias of the newspaper by trying to cover the CPS. But, I liked this quote about the CPS:
Their blundering and their hubris created this mess
Who's the real abuser? by the National Post in Canada
Unconscionably, the state agency clung to the YFZ children even after these facts were learned. The seizure, based as it was on a sincere belief that young children were being sexually abused and beaten, was one thing. But the refusal of the CPS to admit its mistake is quite another.
Tender Thoughts of a Lonely Mother by Maggie Jessop on Truth Will Prevail
I liked the pictures in this article. But, in regards to the picture at the bottom, please remind the boy not to touch the optics on the binoculars! (a pet peeve of mine ;)
Still I wonder just what will they do next to create "evidence" during the next ninety days, since they are requiring our subjection to their ongoing investigations. How could I possibly give these people my confidence after the atrocities heaped upon us and our innocent children during the last two months? It is not a matter of our unwillingness to cooperate and comply. It is a matter of betrayal. It is a situation of government officials destroying my trust in the ability of the State to govern justly, lawfully, and appropriately. How thankful I am to see the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the State of Texas beginning to bring injustice to a halt.

At long last -- Justice!

Finally! Parents start re-uniting with children! (Picture from AP article) Congratulations to the FLDS, their lawyers, and supporters of parents rights everywhere!

"It's just a great day," said Nancy Dockstader, whose chin quivered and eyes filled with tears as she embraced her daughter, Amy, 9, outside the Baptist Children's Home Ministries Youth Ranch near San Antonio. "We're so grateful."

Online Petition to Impeach Judge Walther

I was surprised and disgusted when Judge Walther acted in a vengeful and adversarial manner regarding the return of the children. I have no problem with a judge having an opinion. I have a big problem with a judge abusing their power. I wonder if she is acting to appease her ego, after 12 judges have unanimously condemned her decision? If so, she should recuse herself, and let someone else handle the case. Here is an online petition to impeach her:

Impeach Texas District Judge Barbara Walther Over FLDS Fiasco

Whereas Texas 51st District Judge Barbara Walther has violated the constitutional rights of more than 400 children and their parents of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church (FLDS);

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas and has violated that oath;

and whereas both an appellate court and the Texas Supreme Court have sided with the FLDS children and their parents against Judge Barbara Walther;

and whereas the actions of Judge Barbara Walther have resulted in a great financial cost to the State of Texas and its taxpayers;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther's actions constitute one of the greatest violations of constitutional rights in the history of the State of Texas;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther should have known ahead of time that what she was doing was unconstitutional, since the Island Pond Raid in the State of Vermont in 1984 was almost identical, and there are other similar cases on record where judges refused to support unconstitutional raids by Child Protective Services;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther has impeded the reunification of parents with their children, even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that they should be reunified;

we ask that proceedings begin immediately for the impeachment of District Judge Barbara Walther of the State of Texas.