Dave Stancliff AS IT STANDS blogarama.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Politicians ‘breaking bad’ during current elections

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Good Day World!

Today is all about politicians “breaking bad.”

I’ve got some examples for you today among current politicians who are seeking office.

Let’s start off with Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (photo) who has been arrested on felony ethics charges, and accused of using public office for personal gain.

Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury on 23 charges accusing him of misusing his office as speaker and his previous post as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. (source)

Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith Smith, a former Democratic majority leader, has pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to bribe his way on to last year’s GOP mayoral ballot. He is being challenged by former Councilman Leroy Comrie Jr.

In some legislatures, indicted politicians might hesitate to run for office — but not in Albany.

Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith Smith (photo right), a former Democratic majority leader, has pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to bribe his way on to last year’s GOP mayoral ballot.

Smith, a former Democratic majority leader, has pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to bribe his way on to last year’s GOP mayoral ballot.


He is being challenged by former Councilman Leroy Comrie Jr.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiSen. John Sampson (center left), another former Senate Democratic leader, is awaiting trial on charges he embezzled money from foreclosure sales he handled as a court-appointed referee.

Sampson, another former Senate Democratic leader, is awaiting trial on charges he embezzled money from foreclosure sales he handled as a court-appointed referee.


A third senator facing federal charges, Deputy GOP leader Thomas Libous of upstate Binghamton, also faces a primary challenge from little-known businessman Denver Jones.A third senator facing federal charges, Deputy GOP leader Thomas Libous (photo right) of upstate Binghamton, also faces a primary challenge from little-known businessman Denver Jones. (Photo by SUSAN STAVA/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEW

Political observers view the city’s Senate primaries — which involve only Democrats — as the entertaining opening act to the larger battle for control of the chamber that will be fought statewide in November.

Time for me to walk on down the road…




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Oregon Sheriffs Are Against Legalizing Marijuana

Good Day World!

Oregon is on my mind again today.

Yesterday, I took a look at an Oregonian politician, Dallas Heard. His campaign to get elected in November has been controversial. Read my post below on this bad boy.

Today, let’s have a look at what is one of the most controversial items on the November ballot – Measure 91. It’s about legalizing marijuana.

 When public money disappeared to bring Kevin Sabet to "educate" Oregonians about the perils of legalizing marijuana under Measure 91, the Oregon Sheriffs Association stepped up quickly to replace the $15,000 needed to pay Sabet and continue the Oregon Marijuana "Education" Tour & Summit that only happens in October when legalization is on the ballot the following November.

A look at the funding for the No on 91 Campaign shows that of the $167,425 they've reported as of today, a whopping 98.6% of that came from the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association... in fact, they are the only donors over $500.

Why do you suppose that the cops in Oregon are so hell-bent on ensuring that marijuana remains illegal in Oregon?  After all, marijuana was decriminalized in 1973. It's no big deal, says No on 91 spokesperson Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, “You didn’t get a free ride in a police car.

You didn’t have a criminal record. That’s what less than an ounce of marijuana is in Oregon.” And, of course, we have 69,000 medical marijuana patients and another 34,000 or more caregivers and maybe 15,000 growers -- potentially well over 100,000 Oregonians whose marijuana cultivation and possession are protected under the law.

So why the big push by cops to keep the greater-than-one-ounce possession and non-medical-cultivation-and-sales crimes on the books?

Simple. As Rick Steves says, "follow the money."

The State of Oregon produces an annual report on Asset Forfeiture in the state. You may have read the Washington Post's story or seen John Oliver's segment on this practice. Basically, asset forfeiture is when cops steal your cash, car, home, and other valuables, under the pretense that it was all ill-gotten proceeds of criminal activity.

According to the Oregon 2013 Asset Forfeiture Report, criminal and civil asset forfeitures grossed $3.6 million for the state, $2.5 million of that in cash. After costs and distributions, the net proceeds were $1.7 million.  19 police agencies made 136 criminal seizures and 24 agencies made 258 civil seizures. Of these 394 seizures, 330 (84%) were uncontested  by the owners -- it is somewhat difficult to hire a lawyer to get your seized cash when you have no cash for the lawyer, and often the cost of the lawyer exceeds the value of the cash seized.

This is where marijuana comes in. Of the 273 "prohibited conduct" crimes that led to a criminal forfeiture, 90% were drug crimes (there were multiple crimes involved in some of the 136 criminal seizures). Of those drug crimes, almost half were related to marijuana (and again, multiple drugs could be discovered in one seizure). On the civil side, of the 543 "prohibited conduct" crimes, 97% were drug crimes  and 22% of those involved marijuana.

Any way you slice it, making marijuana no longer a contraband item will take a big chunk out of that net proceeds of $1.7 million annually, $1.4 million of which went to city, county, and state police and district attorneys.

So when you look at it that way, spending about $180,000 to protect $1.4 million is a reasonable return on investment. Why, look at all the neat stuff cops and DAs got to buy last year...(Condensed version – read full article here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carpetbagging Oregon Style: Meet Dallas Heard

Good Day World!

As a relatively new Oregonian (one year now), I like to read as much as I can about my newly adopted state.

I’m enjoying reading books on Oregon history, and following Oregon politics. We have some interesting races coming up here in November.

Today, I’m centering in on just one race however. The State Representative House District 2 race is (in my humble opinion),  a controversial campaign that needs the light of day. I also plan on talking about other controversial races and ballot measures in the days ahead.


To set the stage here’s some excerpts from the Daily KOS:

“One of the principles of our representative government is that the people we elect ought to have actually lived for a reasonable time in the geographic area that they are elected to represent.

It's not just a good idea. It's the law. It's the law at a national level, and it's the law at a local level, in every state in the Union. Now, some politicians wink at that requirement (Mitt Romney famously did so, with regard to both running and voting.

A fundamental principle of civilized society in the modern age is to eschew racism. Even politicians with racist associations in their pasts are well-advised to hide them (see Ron Paul and Rand Paul; also Rick "N*ggerhead Ranch" Perry.

Enter, stage far, far right, Dallas Heard. He is running for Oregon's House District 2, backed up by buckets of family money and the full-throated support of the Republican establishment.

But Dallas has some problems: he was not from the district where he is running, and he has compared dealing with the local tribe of Native Americans to dealing with a virus. To his credit, he did not say Ebola. He invoked the virus analogy several years ago--long before Ebola-hysteria became all the rage.” (read full article here)

According to Dallas the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians are "playing a race card" and that they are just as white* as he is--along with his insightful analysis regarding how to "cure" a "virus"--with no insight how this might reverberate in the minds of people who know history. (Smallpox-laced blankets, anyone?)

Statements like those ought to be disqualifying for any candidate.

When Dallas Heard filed to run for Oregon House District 2, he filed with the Secretary of State, indicating that his address was "2330 Dairy Loop Rd. Roseburg OR 97471"--trouble is, that address is not actually in House District 2, and in Oregon, one must have lived in the district for a year before election day.

The Secretary of State informed Dallas Heard of that little problem, and Dallas filed an amended filing to indicate that he lived in Myrtle Creek--a city that is actually in HD2. But it is odd--it seems to me, at least--that the address is shared with a Chris Boice and his family; so it appeared that Dallas and his wife and child were living with the Boice family, just as Mitt Romney allegedly lived in the unfinished basement of his son's family. (Source)

Meanwhile, Dallas Heard continued to use his out-of-district address as his home address on fundraising and correspondence with the Oregon Secretary of State.

He also continued to claim to serve as Chair of the Lookingglass Rural Fire District Board of Directors--an area for which he could not serve if he really lived in Myrtle Creek (in a basement, garage, or spare room--with his wife and baby.)

Since then, he and his wife have apparently moved into a new house, in Winston, Oregon, also in House District 2. This seems to really be their residence. Finally. But not, it seems, within the one-year period required by law.

The point is, Dallas Heard seems not to have lived for the requisite time in Oregon House District 2- that he retroactively "moved" in with Chris Boice, a local politician associated with right-wing politics and whose thuggish behavior appears to be seen (the big guy with the close-cropped "Klingon" style beard appears to be him, but it's uncertain) as the Tea Party crashes a Democratic picnic.

(Thanks to Crooks and Liars for preserving the video, which was taken down after the publicity over the River Forks incident went national. See Citizen Joe diaries, here and here.)

Dallas has some other problems: he is a creationist, climate-change-denying person who objects to the minimum wage in principle, a woman's right to control her own body, government regulation in general (he's been cited on multiple occasions for licensing violations), and so on. But honestly, being a racist carpetbagger ought to be enough to turn off even moderate Republicans.

Probably not, though. Oregon's Republican Party Chair is Art Robinson. Enough said.

You can support the Democrat in the race: Kerry Atherton--and help turn a little corner of Oregon blue. Kerry Atherton is a smart, hardworking, experienced person, who will work with our Democratic majority in Salem, and with local organizations to improve the lives of all of those in HD2.

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Studies show conservative religious states have highest web porn searches in country

“Whatever You Have Said in the Dark Will Be Heard in the Light” (Luke 12:3)

Good Day World!

Conservatives love to banter around terms like “family values.”

They often claim to be God-fearing folks with high moral standards. Some are. But even more are down-right hypocrites.

An online search traffic study from behind closed doors in in the Bible belt suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own.

If Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states.

For almost two centuries, what happened in the Bible Belt, sexually at least, stayed in the Bible Belt. Oh sure, there was the odd scandal involving a small-town preacher and the pretty young wife of a deacon or youth minister, or a big-name televangelist who, for example, asked male followers to get vasectomies and then  examined their swollen willies.

And there were the shocking-shocking-I-tell-you revelations of evangelical leaders feeling up young female interns or paying male call boys or even  behaving like Catholic priests.

But most people, for some reason, have had a hard time considering the possibility that conservative religion might actually augment sexual obsessions rather than icing them, that there might be a  pattern of correlation between authoritarian religion, sexual repression, and sneaky sex. 

Enter the Internet, where everything is secret—or not.

In October, two Toronto researchers, Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson,  published a study in which they used Google Trends to analyze porn searches.

Individual search records are protected by privacy laws, but it is possible to compare the popularity of search terms across various regions or states, which is what they did.

Specifically, MacInnis and Hodson linked state level information from Gallup polls asking about religious and political attitudes together with a variety of sex and porn-related search terms.

Their study design involves a number of different comparisons and it considered the effects of other variables like poverty and population. Based on related research, they hypothesized that states with higher levels of religiosity and conservatism would have higher rates of search for sexual content.

They made this prediction, and the data bore it out. More religiosity and conservatism meant more searches on words like  sex, gay sex, gay porn, or  sex images.

Business professor Benjamin Edelman at Harvard  found that states with more traditional views of sex and gender have higher rates of paid porn subscriptions—meaning people who are willing to put porn on a credit card.

What’s shameful is not the fact that people find sex arousing and seek it out, even when they feel compelled to do so on the sneak. The problem is hypocrisy and the way that it distorts public policies and parenting, causing real harm to real people.

For over a decade, conservatives forced abstinence-only education on young people, insisting that hormone-ravaged teens could “just say no” when they themselves can’t.

This epic public health failure contributed to the United States having the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, with  devastating economic consequences for young mothers and their offspring.

Some thrive despite the odds; many do not.  We can do better. (Condensed version. Full article here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Judicial elections are already on shakey ground and they are about to get worse!

Good Day World!

Any observer of politics can see the corruption endemic to the profession. Pick up a newspaper or read a news blog on any given day, and you’ll find plenty of examples.

It’s only going to get worse. The last bastion of a democratic government, the judicial system, is going to be up for sale to the highest bidder soon. 

You can thank Citizens United—and its progeny, SpeechNow and McCutcheon for a new regime of campaign spending that dramatically enhances corruption in politics and government by forcing lawmakers to spend more and more of their precious time making fundraising calls, raising money for their own campaigns and their parties, and getting insurance against a last-minute blitz of "independent" spending that trashes them when they have no time to raise money to defend themselves.

It also gives added traction to extreme groups threatening lawmakers with primary devastation unless they toe the ideological line.

Many legislators have had an experience something like this: A lobbyist visits and says,

"I am working with Americans for a Better America. They have more money than God.

Giving $10 million in the last two weeks of a campaign to trash somebody's reputation would be nothing to them. They really, really want this amendment.

I don't know what they would do if someone opposed them, but …"

The result will be more amendments, or more amendments blocked, without the money being spent and without anyone even knowing what is going on. And every time the money is spent, and someone loses, the lesson will not be lost on those still in office.

If judges have to raise millions for reelection campaigns, who will contribute? Of course, those who practice in front of the judges will.

At the same time, the desperation to raise money means lawmakers pandering to big donors or shaking them down—trading access for favors, or threatening retribution. And it means more vicious ads, done by anonymous groups, which only enhance the corrosive cynicism voters have toward all politicians.

And it means more sham independence and blockage of disclosure, without any enforcement of existing laws by the outrageously lawless Federal Election Commission, led by Caroline Hunter and Lee Goodman.

But that is not the worst of the new world of campaign finance post-Citizens United. The worst comes with judicial elections—and that worst could be worsened by a pending Supreme Court case that may allow sitting judges actively to solicit campaign funds for their own elections.

Loads of money—mostly conservative—went into judicial-retention elections in the last cycle in Florida, following a similar experience in 2010 in Iowa and Illinois. We saw similar efforts on a smaller scale in other states, including Wisconsin and Michigan.

All had a ton of attack ads. Those efforts have exploded in the 2014 elections.

In North Carolina, where repeal of the state's Judicial Campaign Reform Act by the right-wing legislature opened the door to a further explosion of campaign spending, and where the GOP sees retaining a majority on the court (ostensibly, but risibly, nonpartisan) as a key to their continued hegemony in politics, the Republican State Leadership Committee spent $900,000 on an unsuccessful primary campaign to unseat Justice Robin Hudson, and will target Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin IV in his second attempt to move to the Supreme Court (the first one, in 2012, cost $4.5 million or more).

Much of the spending will come in the next month, and will total many millions, most of it from outside groups. The Republican State Leadership Committee is targeting judges in Ohio, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Texas.

It is true that the politicization and increasing partisanship of the courts has paralleled, or followed, the tribalism in the political process. And it is true that a sharper tone in judicial elections preceded Citizens United.

But the concerted efforts by activist James Bopp to go state by state and remove all restrictions on how judicial elections are run—making them just like political campaigns—combined with the effective elimination of boundaries on funding and the blockage of disclosure, have dramatically changed judicial elections.

Vicious attacks on the integrity of judges themselves undermine confidence in the judiciary, but that is not the major problem.

If judges fear multimillion-dollar campaigns against them, they will have to raise millions themselves, or quietly engineer campaigns by others to do so. Who will contribute, or lead those efforts?

Of course, those who practice in front of the judges will, creating an unhealthy dynamic of gratitude and dependency. Worse, imagine what happens when judges are deciding cases in which the stakes are high, and well-heeled individuals or corporations will be helped or damaged by the rulings.

The judges know that an adverse decision now will trigger a multimillion-dollar campaign against them the next time, both for retribution and to replace them with more friendly judges. Will that affect some rulings? Of course.

Judicial elections in general are an abomination.

They are no way to select impartial and high-quality jurists. But judicial elections in the age of Citizens United make it so much worse. This will ultimately undermine the whole idea of an independent judiciary, which is the single most significant bedrock of a functioning democratic political system.

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/10/courting-corruption-the-auctioning-of-the-judicial-system/381524/

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, October 17, 2014

No more apologies: Officials better wise up fast on how to stop the spread of the Ebola virus

                               Good Day World!

What a sorry state of affairs.

Sometimes being sorry doesn’t exonerate a person. Lately there’s been a lot of sorry government officials responding to the Ebola crisis like slugs with salt poured on them!

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Thomas Frieden is sorry that a second Texas health care worker infected with the deadly disease was allowed to board a commercial flight despite reporting a low-grade fever.

Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources which runs the hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan (a Liberian national) was treated is sorry that they didn’t respond correctly when he first came to the hospital.

Whoever advised Nina Pham, first person to contract Ebola in the United States, to go ahead and take a commercial flight to Cleveland with a low grade fever, better be sorry!

Hospital administrators across the country are telling staffs they’re sorry for not having any plans (or equipment) for treating Ebola when it first became an issue. Those same administrators can thank Frieden – it was his job to guide the U.S. response to the Ebola virus outbreak.

A nurse who treated one of the sick caregivers accused Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of failing to adequately prepare staff for handling Ebola cases prior to Duncan's arrival. She described a confused response at the hospital, inadequate protective gear and careless treatment of hazardous waste.

US authorities belatedly began screening for Ebola on Thursday at the Washington area Dulles airport, Chicago's O'Hare, Newark and Atlanta airports, after New York's JFK began screening last week.

During a House committee hearing Frieden warned that Ebola “could spread more widely in Africa,” and if that happened, it would present a threat to the American health care system “for a long time to come.”

America's Ebola Command: Just Who's In Charge Here?

I hope there’s no more after the fact – “I’m sorry” stories. The American public is already showing signs of mass paranoia over the spread of the Ebola virus. No amount of apologies would be acceptable if there’s another major breakdown. 

Related News:

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dig into the world’s most expensive burger & Man willing to trade his house for an iPhone

Expensive burger

Good Day World!

Are you a hamburger fan?

I’ve got a buddy who really believes hamburgers are the staff of life, as it were.

He says they have everything you need on the food chart: meat, bread, lettuce, ketchup, and cheese. However, he’s picky and will only eat a classic burger with the ingredients I just mentioned.

He would be horrified to see what may, or may not be, the world’s most expensive burger.

Meet the $1,768 Glamburger. (photo above)

The burger is made with 220 grams of Kobe Wagyu beef minced with 60 grams of New Zealand venison. It's made with Canadian lobster poached in Iranian saffron. It's got Beluga caviar and hickory smoked duck egg covered in an edible, gold leaf.

Oh, did I forget to mention the champagne jus and grated white truffle?

Big Mac, it's not.

What it is: an outside-the-box publicity ploy by Groupon UK in celebration of its 5 millionth food and drink voucher. It's also a contest that Groupon is sponsoring. The winner not only gets to chow down on the burger, but the winner also is awarded round-trip cost of travel to the restaurant.

The burger was created by head chef Chris Large at the Honky Tonk restaurant in London.

One PR guru says the stunt may have some serious bite. "It's successful in a world in which the unique and bizarre often attract interest," says David Nevins, president of Nevins and Associates. "I don't think, however, that Groupon would sell too many of these burgers with their traditional 2 for 1 offering."

An outfit called Record Setters has certified it as The Most Expensive Burger in the World.

But, it appears Guinness World Records says otherwise.

Way back in 2000, it says, a $5,000 burger was produced by Juicys Outlaw Grill in Corvallis, Ore, a food concession specialist, that created a burger that tipped the scales at more than 777 pounds. Juicys claims, on its website, that it will prepare and deliver the $5,000 burger to you with just 48 hours notice.

As for the Glamburger, well, it took three weeks to develop, says chef Large, who, in a statement, suggests, "The winner will certainly have a dinner to remember." (Originally ran AZCentral 10/9/14)

Detroit home


A man who has had trouble selling a Detroit home is willing to trade it for an iPhone 6 or and iPad, according to video from geobeats.

The owner, who lives in Austria, initially put the home on the market for $5,000. However, with the home in poor shape and $6,000 in back taxes owed, it has not had any takers.

The homeowner was reportedly scammed into buying the property in 2012 for $41,000, believing he could rent it out. He was unaware that the previous owner had purchased it two weeks earlier for $10,000, geobeats says.  (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fear This! Republican Candidates Say the Sky is Falling

Good Day World!

There’s nothing like good old fashioned fear to get a person’s vote.

Republicans are warning voters that the sky is falling and the only way to stop it is to vote for a Republican in November.

Be afraid, very afraid. Americans aren’t safe anymore — from disease, terrorism or something unspoken and perhaps more ominous — Republicans are counting on sheer (senseless) fear to carry them into office.

Their message: President Obama and the Democratic Party run a government that is so fundamentally broken it cannot offer its people the most basic protection from harm,” as the New York Times puts it.

But these advertisements we’re seeing (here, here, and here) go well beyond faith in institutions or government competence. They’re all about fear mongering.

And frankly, they come when there’s no evidence of ISIS coming across the border.

Some of these candidates are walking a fine line; there is a Chicken Little aspect here regarding Ebola and it can border on the irresponsible. But hey, if it gets votes, go for it.

Remember Hunter Thompson’s famous book on political campaigning – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? I think GOP campaign planners took a few pages from it and ran!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Have a Gun, There a Gun, Everywhere a Gun

Good Day World!

On occasion, I like to share articles written by other bloggers that I believe have done an excellent job expressing their opinion on tough societal issues.

Todays blogger is PAUL WALDMAN, a daily blogger for The American Prospect.

Waldman writes about how our society is divided by two visions for America. One, has all Americans packing guns, all the time. The other, a world without guns on display everywhere.

Which one is your vision?

One of the things that makes a society work is that people have rights that are protected in the law, but they also exercise those rights with consideration for the society's other members.

For instance, we have a strong commitment to freedom of expression, such that many things that would be deemed obscene and get you tossed in jail in other countries are tolerated here.

So if I want do a performance art piece that involves lots of cursing and tossing about bodily fluids, I can do it. But I'm not going to do it on the sidewalk in front of your house during dinner time, not because I don't have the right, but because that would make me an asshole.

In the exercising of my rights, I'd be changing the conditions of your existence, even for a brief time, in a way that you'd find unpleasant. So because I value having a society where we all live together, I'll choose to find a theater to put on my performance, and you can choose to come see it or not.

In the same way, if you choose to have a gun in your home because you think it protects you, that's your right. I'm going to choose not to let my kid come play with your kid at your house, and we can all get along.

Our liberty is protected by our laws and institutions, not by our ability to wage war on our government. Canadians and Britons and French people aren't any less free than we are because they are less able to start killing cops and soldiers when they decide the time for insurrection has come.

Nevertheless, that basic right exists and it isn't going to be taken away. But the rest of us should also be able to say that there are limits to how far your exercising that right should be allowed to change the rest of our lives, and if necessary the law should enforce those limits.

The goal of many gun advocates, particularly those who promote concealed carry, is that we make it so as many people as possible take as many guns as possible into as many places as possible.

That's been the focus of their legislative efforts in recent years, not only passing concealed carry laws nearly everywhere, but also passing laws to make you able to take guns into bars, schools, government buildings, houses of worship, and so on, and also advocating for laws that would let you take your guns to communities where it would be otherwise illegal to carry them.

Which would mean that your right to carry your gun trumps the right of everyone else to say, this is a place where we've decided we don't want people bringing guns.

Is it possible that on my next visit to the local coffee place, a madman might come and shoot the place up? Yes, it's possible. And is it possible that if half the patrons were armed, one of them might be able to take him down and limit the number of people he killed?

Yes, it's possible. It's also possible that I'll win the next Powerball. But if holding out that infinitesimal possibility means that every time I go down for a coffee, I'm entering a place full of guns, it's not a price I'm willing to pay.

But gun advocates want to create a society governed by fear, or at the very least, make sure that everyone feels the same fear they feel. "An armed society is a polite society," they like to say, and it's polite because we're all terrified of each other.

They genuinely believe that that the price of safety is that there should be no place where guns, and the fear and violence they embody, are not present. Not your home, not your kids' school, not your supermarket, not your church, no place.

But for many of us—probably for most of us—that vision of society is nothing short of horrifying. (Condensed from “Here a Gun, There a Gun, Everywhere a Gun -JANUARY 18, 2013)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, October 13, 2014

Child abuse, witchcraft practiced in Fundamentalist Christian Churches in London

Image: Kristy Bamu, left, and Victoria Climbie

Kristy Bamu, left, was killed after what a prosecutor described as "a staggering act of depravity and cruelty." Victoria Climbie, right, was murdered in one of Britain's worst cases of child abuse.

                                            Good Day World!

My travels in search of stories to share brings me to London today. I have one that’s about bizarre religious practices that will shock you. It did me. I had no idea.

This is modern London, mind you.

“London's Metropolitan Police announced this week that reports of abuse where the child is accused of being a witch or possessed by an evil spirit are on the rise. Fourteen years after the force recorded its first allegation of such an incident, there have been at least 27 cases during in 2014 alone.” (source)

What’s happening, according to authorities, is there’s a version of fundamentalist Christianity practiced in London that believes in witches – and worse – tortures their own children to get rid of alleged demons. 

Most of the cases involve pastors or religious leaders in African communities who have incorporated elements of witchcraft or spirit possession into their version of fundamentalist Christianity.

These "rogue pastors" often tell families that a period of bad luck or even an illness has been caused by a child being possessed.

What motivates these religious leaders?

Power, money, greed and control. Many people who go to these churches are vulnerable and are looking for something to hold onto.

For example: There was a four-year-old old boy who was brought to the church attended by his mother because he was playing too rough with his brother. The pastor told her (the behavior) was the result of him being possessed and that he was a witch.

Shades of the Inquisition…

The boy endured a four-day "deliverance," in which he was starved, forced to drink hot palm oil and prevented from using the bathroom.

“The adults were actually laughing. They were stepping on his little body, his stomach, saying they were stepping on the spirits." - Testimony from Kevani Kanda who was accused of being a witch at six years old.

In the past decade and a half, London's most high-profile cases have been linked to Christian groups with roots in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa. But cases involving other faiths, such as Islam and Hinduism, have emerged more recently as authorities have delved deeper.

“Authorities say part of the problem with trying to combat abuse linked to witchcraft has been that officers have been wary of being branded racist in the past.” (Condensed version – full story here)

I wonder when saving these children will become more of a priority, transcending arguments over race? Hopefully, very soon.

Time for me to walk on down the road…