Patterico's Pontifications


New Mexico Child Removal Case

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 8:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a much smaller version of the Texas FLDS case, New Mexico police have removed 3 children from a church compound near Clayton NM because of allegations of inappropriate contact between minors and an adult leader. A fourth child was interviewed but lives elsewhere and was not removed.

A New Mexico spokesperson indicated they received information that warranted removal of the children but declined to state what that information was. Two children were placed in foster care and the other was put in voluntary placement.

The leader, Wayne Bent, professes to be the Messiah. He reportedly has 70 followers and has acknowledged having sex with the wives of 2 of the followers and with his daughter-in-law “at the direction of God.” Bent, 66 and known in the church as Michael Travesser, accused the State of kidnapping his children and going “against God.”

Bent’s son Jeff denied any child abuse and posted the following message on the internet:

“The group educates its children “to avoid the slavery you seek to impose on them, and to experience the freedom they have in God,” Jeff Bent wrote.

“We have given everything to prepare them for an eternity with God. We haven’t oppressed them with your atheistic globalist curriculum, socialist indoctrination, and ‘alternative lifestyles’ dogma that comprise modern public education. We have taught them higher values than the values of your slave-state, and have sought to shield them from the abuse that is institutionalized in your system,” he wrote.”

Jeff Bent also wrote to NM Governor Bill Richardson: “Now that you have moved against us because of our faith, the cup of God’s anger is full to the brim, and now He is free to move against you.”

It’s deja vu all over again.


Fewer Latin American Immigrants Sending Money Home

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to an Inter-American Development Bank survey, fewer Latin American immigrants in America – legal or illegal – are sending money home, although the ones who do are sending more money, more frequently:

“The longstanding pattern of increasing numbers of Latin American immigrants sending increasing amounts of money back home has stopped,” said Donald Terry, the general manager of the Multilateral Investment Fund at the bank and the official in charge of the survey. With lower income and less job security, Latino immigrants are saving their money here rather than sending it to support children, spouses and parents at home, the study indicated.

Latino immigrants said they stopped sending money to their families because life is becoming more difficult for them here. Of those interviewed, 81 percent said it was harder to find a good-paying job. Almost 40 percent said they were earning less this year. The largest group of immigrants in the survey, 18 percent, worked in construction, which has been especially hard hit in the slowdown.”

More immigrants reported encountering hostility and discrimination, and an increased number were also considering a return to their home countries:

“A large majority of the Latino immigrants in the survey — whether or not they were illegal — said they experienced increasing hostility as a result of U.S. government and state efforts to curb illegal immigration and punish employers who hire unauthorized immigrant workers. In the survey, 61 percent of Latinos who were American citizens and 66 percent of those who were legal immigrants said that discrimination had become a major problem for them.

As a result of the difficulties, the numbers of immigrants who said they were considering going back to live in their home countries increased notably. Among immigrants who have been here less than five years, 49 percent said they were thinking of returning home, while only 41 percent said they planned to remain in the United States. Over all, just under one-third of the immigrants said they were thinking of leaving this country.

In 2001, the last time a similar survey asked a comparable question, about 20 percent of all the immigrants interviewed said they were thinking of going home.”

At the same time, almost 70% of the interviewees felt their lives were better in America than they would be in their home countries. According to the pollster who conducted the survey, their major concern was fear that they would not be able to get or keep American jobs.

Legal immigrants should not have to fear for their jobs. However, without a breakdown in the responses from legal and illegal immigrants, it’s hard to evaluate this information. It’s also difficult to tell if their fears are justifiably based on anti-immigrant attitudes or on the slowing of the economy, especially in housing which employs many immigrants.


Hawaiian Sovereignty

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 5:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A group of native Hawaiians has taken over the Iolani Palace museum in Honolulu in order to peacefully protest Hawaiian statehood and support Hawaiian sovereignty.

Is there any group of people left in America that doesn’t feel oppressed?


Hometown Paper Takes Obama to Task

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

We let close friends and family say things to us that we would reject from others. Maybe that explains why Chicago Sun Times’ columnist Carol Marin feels free to speak bluntly with Barack Obama about Jeremiah Wright:

“What took Barack Obama so long? Yes, the “old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with” is no longer welcome for dinner. That was the Illinois senator’s urgently delivered message about his fiery former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom he had previously denounced but not, until Tuesday, disowned.

What the presidential candidate from Chicago had to say was strongly worded, solemn and angry. It was powerful and personal. But it still raises the question of his response time. In political terms, this was a 3 a.m. phone call that went into voice mail.

Marin notes that Obama had nothing new to say on Monday after Wright’s National Press Club speech. It was only on Tuesday, after a day of bad press and polls, that Obama forcefully responded. Marin speculates this reflects as much about Obama’s judgment as his ability to act decisively:

“On Tuesday, after Obama’s stinging denunciation of Wright, a reporter asked why he couldn’t have said all of that on the tarmac? Because, said the candidate, he “hadn’t seen it.” Memo to staff: Please keep presidential hopeful posted.

This isn’t the first time the campaign has waited out a problem, declining to take a controversy by the horns.

It took a relentless chorus of Chicago media almost a year to finally get Obama and his people to deliver long-asked-for documents and answer what were, at best, incompletely answered questions about his former friend and now-indicted fund-raiser, Tony Rezko. He finally did so in March.

There are judgment questions, fair ones, to be asked about Obama’s past dealings with controversial people. On Tuesday, his answers about Wright were filled with a purpose and passion that seemed to have been lacking lately.

But what those answers have yet to resolve is the matter of decisiveness, of acting quickly, speaking forcefully, and perhaps not waiting for overnight polling numbers or a full-blown disaster, to decide the next day’s course.”

We don’t always make good decisions in life but it’s often worse to succumb to indecision. Refusing to make a decision is still a decision.


It’s a Mystery (Updated)

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 2:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Houston police shot a 52-year-old man yesterday morning after he fled during a traffic stop, led the police on a high-speed chase for almost an hour, and then made a threatening gesture instead of obeying the officer’s commands after he was stopped.

The mystery is why this happened because it now appears the deceased was an intelligence officer for the US government:

“The victim was identified by friends as Roland Vincent Carnaby, 52, of Houston. But who he really was — or more precisely, what he was — is something police are still trying to piece together.

Carnaby held himself out as a federal intelligence agent but was sometimes cagey about his precise job and employer. At times he mentioned the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Security. He was the president of the local chapter of the Association for Intelligence Officers, a legitimate national organization whose board contains luminaries such as former President George H.W. Bush. Friends said they have seen him in the company socially of local law enforcement officials and high-level CIA bureaucrats.

The CIA told KHOU that Carnaby was not an employee of the intelligence agency.
“Most of what he does is so classified that regular homicide (detectives) will come up with a blank page and then a question about why you are asking,” said Fred Platt, the vice president of the local chapter of intelligence agents. “He’s here because of homeland security. The port and the airport. He knows everybody on the command staff of every agency.”

Local law enforcement officials, however, say they don’t know him, including Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt and Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas. The local FBI office also claims to have no knowledge of him.”

Platt is mystified by Carnaby’s death:

“That’s the question his friends want answered. They say Carnaby had no reason to run or disobey police. Platt said he had dined with Carnaby both Saturday and Sunday and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Carnaby was engaged to be married, he said, and led a happy life.

“I can’t fathom any reason why he would be running from the police because he is the police,” Platt said. “This doesn’t make any sense. I can’t understand him running or why they opened up on him. This doesn’t smell right.”

It sounds like a movie plot but sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

UPDATE: The article has been updated. It states that Carnaby showed police a card identifying him as a CIA employee when he was initially stopped but the police officer “did not know what federal credentials looked like” and did not know if it was authentic.

In addition, this 5/2/2008 Houston Chronicle article has more information from the police. Carnaby was being detained because the officer thought his CIA identification was fraudulent. Carnaby called acquaintances at the Houston Police Department and the FBI for assistance before and during the 120-mph chase, but he was unable to provide a CIA supervisor’s name or number.

It sounds like Carnaby was living a fantasy life, but it ended.


Economy Sluggish but No Recession

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 12:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hampered by the housing sector and rising food and gas prices, the economy grew at just 0.6% in the first quarter 2008 but that was enough to hold off the diagnosis of a recession:

“The bruised economy limped through the first quarter, growing at just a 0.6 percent pace as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.

The country’s economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The statistic did not meet what economists consider the classic definition of a recession, which is a retraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if modestly.”

The economy is weak and a recession cannot be ruled out but it looks like Beldar was right.


The FLDS Boys and Young Children (Updated x4)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 11:40 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

A previously scheduled hearing before the Texas Health and Human Services subcommittee of the Texas Legislature included some surprising testimony about the FLDS boys and young children:

“Texas officials told legislators Wednesday that they’re investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect’s ranch, as well as broken bones among other children.

The disclosures are the first suggestions that anyone other than teenage girls may have been sexually or physically abused at the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect.

In written and oral testimony provided to lawmakers Wednesday, officials with the state Department of Family and Protective Services said interviews and journal entries suggested that boys may have been sexually abused

Earlier, the department’s commissioner, Carey Cockerell, told lawmakers that at least 41 children, some of them “very young,” have evidence of broken bones.”

An FLDS spokesman denied the allegations, calling it “a deliberate effort to mislead the public.”

The testimony also shed light on the problems officials had during the initial investigation:

“Cockerell told a legislative committee the investigation has been difficult because members of the church have refused to cooperate. Mothers who stayed with their children for two weeks after the raid launched a coordinated effort to stymie investigators, coaching their children to not answer questions, Cockerell said.

He said the women and children would gather into apparent family units, with the children referring to several women as their mother, then the “women switched children in these family units … making it difficult.”

“When asked, women and children would change their names and ages,” he said.

The CPS report also said authorities “tried to use bracelets to identify children, but the women and children removed the bracelets or rubbed the wording off them.”

I’m a Texan and I hope the officials have acted appropriately in this case, but for the children’s sakes I hope they are wrong about these suggestions of sexual and physical abuse.

UPDATE 1: The FLDS had a licensed physician at the compound. This San Angelo Standard Times’ article discusses physicians’ obligations to report possible abuse.

UPDATE 2: It sounds like Utah leaders plan to join forces to combat polygamous and FLDS sects in that state.

UPDATE 3 – The FLDS on-site physician, Dr. Lloyd Barlow, had this response regarding the children’s broken bones:

“Lloyd Barlow, the ranch’s onsite physician, said he was caring for a number of FLDS children with broken or fractured bones at the time they were removed from the ranch. He said he has referred a number of families to emergency rooms in nearby San Angelo and to orthopedic specialists.

“Probably over 90 percent of the injuries are forearm fractures from ground-level or low-level falls,” Barlow said from his office at the Eldorado compound. “We don’t live in a community where there is a pattern of abuse.”

Forearm fractures in grade-school children probably are more common and that sounds like a reasonable response.

On the other hand, the same link also indicated that there may be more than 31 underage pregnant girls because some of the girls refused to take a pregnancy test.

It also stated that the mothers would share breast-feeding duties, making it hard to tell who was the mother of each infant.

UPDATE 4: Officials are investigating whether the younger boys were abused by older boys, not adults.


Al Jazeera Visits Mainstreet USA

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 9:19 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Part One: Religion in George Bush’s America.

Part Two: Is Bush steadfast or stubborn?

H/T Fire Ant Gazette.



5.2 Magnitude Quake Hits Northern California

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 8:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Northern California in the last hour. The USGS map shows the epicenter was approximately 35 miles east of Eureka CA.

Anyone feel it?


The Obamas From Opposite Sides of the Aisle

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s double Obama with opinions from conservative Mark Steyn writing about Michelle Obama and liberal Todd Beeton of MyDD on Barack Obama.

First, Todd Beeton opines on Barack’s press conference regarding Jeremiah Wright a/k/a Rev. Doom:

“There are a couple problems that this press conference aren’t likely to assuage. First is Obama’s statement that he guesses he didn’t know Wright as well as he thought he did. “The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I had come to know over 20 years.” That’s a big problem for someone running on judgment. Secondly, yesterday Obama pointed to Wright’s off-message press tour as proof that the his campaign was not managing or coordinating with Wright, I suppose to distance himself from Wright prove to people that he is indeed Obama’s former pastor. What is does for me is call into question his fitness to run a general.”

Then Mark Steyn weighs in on Michelle Obama a/k/a Mrs. Grievance:

“Ah, the benefits of an elite education. The thesis is dopey, illiterate and bizarrely punctuated, but so are the maunderings of many American students. What makes Miss Robinson’s youthful opus relevant is that the contradictions it agonizes over have dominated her life. Indeed, her apparent bitterness at a society that has given her blessings she could not have enjoyed anywhere else on earth seems explicitly to derive from her inability to live either as an “integrationist who is ignorant to the plight” of “the Black lower class” or a “separationist” embracing its hopelessness and “desperation”. Instead, she rode her privileged education to wealth and success and then felt bad about it. That’s why she talks about money – her money – more than any other putative First Lady ever has: it’s like an ongoing internal dialogue about whether she sold out for too cheap a price.”

Rev. Doom, Mrs. Grievance and Obama – it sounds like Halloween characters or a goth group, not something that would appeal to most Americans. This news cycle is not a good one for the Obama campaign.

Steyn wraps up his analysis of the Obamas by comparing Barack to Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell:

“There’s something pitiful about a political culture that has no use for Mitt Romney, a hugely successful businessman, but venerates a woman who gets the best part of 400 grand for running a “neighborhood outreach” and “staff diversity” program. They seem curious career choices for the closest confidante of a man who claims to be running as a “post-racial” candidate. Which Barack Obama certainly could have been. He’s no tired old race-baiter making a lucrative career out of grievance-mongering, like Jesse Jackson, President-for-Life of the Republic of Himself. In many ways, he’s similar to Colin Powell, a bipartisan figure born to British subjects (in Powell’s case, from the Caribbean; in Obama’s, from colonial Kenya) and thus untinged by the bitterness of the African-American experience. And yet the two most important figures in Obama’s adult life exemplify all the tired obsessions he was supposed to transcend. I don’t agree with Powell on anything very much, from abortion to Iraq. But, with hindsight, it’s a tragedy that he didn’t have the fire in his belly to run in 1996. He was truly the post-racial candidate Senator Obama poses as.”

One of the most disturbing things about the Democratic primary is how racially polarizing it has become. Jeremiah Wright might say society has always been polarized but I can’t recall a time since the 1960s that I’ve heard and seen so much focus on race.


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