Sovereign Citizen Movement and a Guy we used to know

Several times over the past decade, I’ve written on here about a guy we encountered in the SCA 20 years ago.  He was apparently sociopathic and caused a lot of trouble in our shire.  Years later, he went to jail for taking naughty pics of an underage girl.  He’s been in and out of court since.  I summarized our whole history with him, what I learned afterwards, and a criminal case which hit legal websites and Youtube, here:

So I googled a sociopath from my past

Take a minute to read that and you’ll know everything you need to keep up.  I describe the weird language he used to protest that he’s not a citizen of the US (Inc) but of the US.  Oh, and just as he finally resolved the case I describe in that post, guilty but time already served, he was busted–AGAIN–for violating the sex registry requirement.  This time, though, he didn’t take as long, didn’t go through all those lawyers, and just went ahead and pled no contest.  That was finally resolved last week.

Well, tonight’s newspaper has an article, “What is going on with Gbaja-Biamila’s language?”

The article explains:

“i man known as (Muhammed-Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila) am in the state of ‘man’ now: past: forthwith,” the handwritten note filed with the Brown County Clerk of Court reads in part. “Not a Defendant: Respondant  all benefits: maybe: waived by i.”

If you were the judge in the former Packers player’s divorce proceeding and received that note, you might be more than a little puzzled about what you were being asked to do.

But the peculiar language that Gbaja-Biamila and his associates have been using to baffle the Brown County court system and confuse the public in recent months is straight out of the “sovereign citizen” playbook born out of the white supremacist movement of the 1960s and 1970s, according to an expert in the subject.

Gbaja-Biamila’s associates, or “brothers,” as he refers to them, have filed equally cryptic documents in Brown County Circuit Court, where they are accused of carrying concealed firearms into a children’s Christmas pageant put on by Providence Academy, a Christian school that three of Gbaja-Biamila’s children attend.

Later on, the article states:

The language is a variation of the “sovereign citizen” movement, started 50 years ago by extremist groups like the Posse Comitatus, said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism who has been studying the movement for 25 years.

At its core, the language is intended to deny the authority of police and courts, which proponents of the sovereign-citizen movement say have no jurisdiction over victim-less crimes and civil matters.
The movement started as anti-government ideology by white supremacists and anti-Semites in the United States in the late 1960s, Pitcavage said. Through natural attrition, those people began to die off, but the movement continued to expand across racial and ethnic boundaries and spread overseas, to other English-speaking countries.
…Proponents claim the U.S. government secretly enslaves its citizens by establishing them from birth as corporations rather than private individuals, by putting their names in all capital letters on legal documents — everything from birth certificates to driver’s licenses.
…Gbaja-Biamila told the Green Bay Press-Gazette recently that admitting to being a “person” rather than a “man” is to accept the state’s illegitimate authority. And like the sovereign citizens that Pitcavage talks about, Gbaja-Biamila believes police, prosecutors and judges have no business charging people with victim-less crimes.
…“Sovereigns believe that if they can find just the right combination of words, punctuation, paper ink color and timing, they can have anything they want — freedom from taxes, unlimited wealth, and life without licenses, fees or laws, are all just a few strangely worded documents away. It’s the modern-day equivalent of ‘abracadabra,’” the law center wrote in an article on its website.

The weird “i man” language is a new variant; the basic point is using language to make it sound like you’re not subject to the courts, and rejecting legal documents.  This all sounded familiar, so I went back to the bizarre document written by the guy I knew 20 years ago–let’s call him “J.”

Especially at the beginning and the end of J’s document, you can see the sovereign-citizen-style language.  I recall reading in the newspaper back around 2010 that J doesn’t have any documentation, despite being born a US citizen, and that’s on purpose to relinquish the control of the state over him.  It also made it difficult for the police to figure out who he was (he has a bunch of aliases).  I wanted to pull that up for you, but it looks like old articles have been purged.

J even filed a complaint against Scott Walker (and a bunch of other people), stating that

Scott Walker used his position as Wisconsin Governor to cover up acts of domestic terrorism, while criminally violating the due process and other rights of [J], effectively denying [J] his First Amendment guarantee to “redress of grievances” and access to various state and federal courts, to a jury trial, and litigation of the merits of [J]’s criminal RICO claims.

Ummmmmm….oookayyyy…..

From Wikipedia:

Writing in American Scientific Affiliation, Dennis L. Feucht reviewed American Militias: Rebellion, Racism & Religion by Richard Abanes, and described the theory of Richard McDonald, a sovereign-citizen leader, which is that there are two classes of citizens in America: the “original citizens of the states” (or “States citizens”) and “U.S. citizens”. McDonald asserts that U.S. citizens or “Fourteenth Amendment

citizens have civil rights, legislated to give the freed black slaves after the Civil War rights comparable to the unalienable constitutional rights of white state citizens. The benefits of U.S. citizenship are received by consent in exchange for freedom. State citizens consequently take steps to revoke and rescind their U.S. citizenship and reassert their de jure common-law state citizen status. This involves removing one’s self from federal jurisdiction and relinquishing any evidence of consent to U.S. citizenship, such as a Social Security number, driver’s license, car registration, use of ZIP codes, marriage license, voter registration, and birth certificate. Also included is refusal to pay state and federal income taxes because citizens not under U.S. jurisdiction are not required to pay them. Only residents (resident aliens) of the states, not its citizens, are income-taxable, state citizens argue. And as a state citizen landowner, one can bring forward the original land patent and file it with the county for absolute or allodial property rights. Such allodial ownership is held “without recognizing any superior to whom any duty is due on account thereof” (Black’s Law Dictionary). Superiors include those who levy property taxes or who hold mortgages or liens against the property.[20]

In support of his theories, McDonald has established State Citizen Service Centers around the United States as well as a related web presence.[21]

Writer Richard Abanes asserts that sovereign citizens fail to sufficiently examine the context of the case laws they cite, and ignore adverse evidence, such as Federalist No. 15, where Alexander Hamilton expressed the view that the Constitution placed everyone personally under federal authority.[20]

Some sovereign citizens also claim that they can become immune to most or all laws of the United States by renouncing their citizenship, a process they refer to as “expatriation”, which involves filing or delivering a nonlegal document claiming to renounce citizenship in a “federal corporation” and declaring only to be a citizen of the state in which they reside, to any county clerk’s office that can be convinced to accept it

It all sounds like not only is Gbaja-Biamila part of this sovereign citizen movement, but my husband’s old “nemesis” J is as well.  It’s all frickin’ nuts!  People wonder if G-B was knocked in the head too many times (he used to play for the Packers); I wonder the same about J….

 

A Troll E-mail–and the Trolls are Liars

Remember the troll brigade that frightened me out of my wits three years ago?  Well, I sure do, because they never quite went away.  (Story under the Trolls category.)

Though to my great relief, they started to leave me alone, they still harass their usual target, “S,” to this day.  They accuse him of being a catfish who’s really a woman named JO–an accusation perpetuated by a reality show which has been playing along to hide a scandal (while S insists on exposing the whole thing to reclaim his good name).  It’s all very Kafkaesque.

Meanwhile, S and I became friends, especially after the trolls targeted me.

Well, I have witnessed S’s gradual opening up online to the public.  He has a blog and a Twitter account; he has revealed more about himself to the world over time, including photographs and a podcast.

But his reticence to give out personal information is understandable when he’s being stalked.  You’ll note I don’t give out my personal identifying information out on the Interwebs, either, not even pictures!  Lots of bloggers and Tweeters use photograph avatars, but not me.  Whenever people click on my own About Me sections, they find pictures I drew of fictional characters or myself when I was young–but never a photograph.  And certainly no real names.  There are creepy people out there on the Net, ya know.

The other day, I finally got a chance to listen to S’s podcast, which for me was the final proof, because there was his (male) voice and a real person (verified) interacting with him; he said on the podcast that she’s come to visit him a few times.  Someone loosely connected to the reality show also claims to have met him.

The trolls tried to make him out to be some scary person who preys on others–but he’s actually very sweet.  He certainly never preyed on me.  The only people behaving in any kind of frightening manner, were the trolls.

While the trolls stalked me three years ago, one of them, M, sent me an e-mail which frightened and appalled me very much–especially since I had no idea she even knew about me or was watching my Twitter.  She was now “against” the other trolls, even though she was still trolling and harassing S.  I tried to find out more about her, and posted something on Twitter about what I found–and she sent me this message in my blog Feedback:

Hey I’m M that the “trolls” target on Twitter. By trolls I mean “S’s” trolls. To be fair, “S” a.k.a. JO targets me as well. I can briefly explain what’s going on from my perspective, I hope. FIRST of all, “S” and “L” are not real. Period. Both are played by JO. There’s many videos on YouTube that I’ve put up regarding this catfish scenario, and I use to run a blog about the catfish and her blog posts/twitter updates. It was all in fun. Until the trolls began to shame JO for being heavy and/or gay. I at that point began documenting their behavior and displaying it on my blog. Specifically their Twitter behaviors. I’ve been keeping an eye on the happenings of both JO and the trolls for months due to some legal stuff coming up. Believe me, once it’s over you’ll hear about to what I’m referring. Anyhow I noticed the trolls had also targeted you and it looks like recently you said they accused you of being me. You referenced me as unsavory? I am not cut of the same cloth as those trolls hence why I’m their target. I don’t care if you do or don’t believe “S” is real. It’s your life and that’s not my business. I’m not involved in this lame drama to educate anyone. I have no twitter account currently as I deleted mine almost a year ago. I just want you to know that people are documenting the “troll” behavior for a greater good and soon I imagine you will see exactly what I mean. I hope they leave you alone but be careful, they are not your normal trolls and will attempt to bleed the online drama into your real life.

Hm.  This looks even more bizarre now, and M’s hints at coming “legal stuff” turned out to be nothing more than M trying to threaten and slap people with restraining orders.  I could see in online court records that the restraining orders never really went anywhere.

Meanwhile, JO has nothing of consequence on her criminal record, certainly nothing connected to any kind of scam or predatory behavior, which would be amazing if she truly did all that she’s accused of by these trolls.

There was even a stunt where the trolls pretended M was dead, but she’s still alive–Either that, or Wisconsin now allows ghosts to vote with a valid ID.  (Wisconsin makes voting records easy-peasy to check.)

The funny thing is that re-reading and posting M’s message still gave me the shakes 3 years later.  Notice how she distances herself from the other trolls even though she was originally one of them–“Well, I am not like them!”  I remember posting after this that I wanted no more contact from trolls.  M had sent me several other messages with fake names, so it also scared me to see that SHE was the anonymous person I thought was a friend.

Another point that scared me was the end, that “they are not your normal trolls and will attempt to bleed the online drama into your real life.”  This also went along with other scary things about the trolls that she had written in her anonymous messages to me.  That made me even more frightened of the trolls at the time.

Shortly after this, another troll even posted this comment:

Nyssa I’m sorry that I have been targeting you to tell you S is a scammer. U are right he does exist. I’ll tell my twitter trolls to leave ya alone now.

Another troll said she was lying, but I kept the comment up to kind of rub it in the trolls’ faces.  You can see it here.

Fortunately, that all died down for me, but they have a new target now, the person I mentioned above who was on the podcast with S.  She knows S personally, but the trolls have been hounding her about him being a catfish.  She validated me, making me feel like any normal person would be frightened of what they did–that I wasn’t just being hysterical.  I can also help her now.

It’s good to have other people to talk to who know what it’s like.  That helped me after the Richard/Tracy breakup at the beginning of this decade, talking to someone else they treated the same way: Todd.  It validates your experiences and emotions, makes you feel like you’re normal and your abuser is the problem.

I didn’t post M’s e-mail before, probably because I was so frightened at the time.  But now that S has proven himself to the world, I have more courage to pull out this bit of the story from where it had been hidden away for so long–and maybe, by doing so, I can heal myself.  Also, I’m amazed to see that the three-year anniversary of this 💩 show is on Monday, so this can commemorate!

I’m turning off comments because the trolls may still come in here.  After all, they still watch me sometimes, as I can see every time I post something on here about them.

A Troll E-mail--and the Trolls are Liars 1

 

Some groups think Trump is the Messiah?

So I’m checking out the blog of a fundamentalist who claims that Trump is indeed the Antichrist at the End of the World–not sure whether to believe, but curious how he counters objections and explains his points.  Then I come across this:

But nevertheless, Orthodox Jews do believe their messiah will be Jewish and of the house of David – which is true of the True Messiah, Jesus. But they do not recognize Jesus, and so they still search for their Jewish messiah, a false christ, the Antichrist. Please watch my video.. https://youtu.be/F-UxKCzsURI – This video observes that some Orthodox Jews are searching Donald Trump’s ancestry to find a link to King David. –Brother James, Misconception: Antichrist Will be Jewish and Not a Gentile

The video led me to this article in the Christian Post: Some Rabbis in Israel Believe Trump Could Be Messiah or His Forerunner, End Times Author Says  Lots of crazyness is there; especially note this:

“We would say the second coming is about to happen, but their messiah is going to be a false messiah. He’s going to be the anti-Christ, right? I also don’t believe Donald Trump is the antichrist. So I think the smart ones in Israel are looking at him right now, saying, he is God’s, what we would call, John the Baptist. He is God’s messenger. When he takes over in January there is a 5777 countdown to the appearance of the messiah,” Horn added.

The Jerusalem Post reported last month that Shas Chairman and Minister Aryeh Deri said Trump’s election could herald the coming of the messiah due to the blow he expects the next president will strike against the “non-Orthodox Jewish hold on the U.S. government.”

(So–If Trump is the forerunner, could the messiah be–Putin?)

Some groups think Trump is the Messiah? 3

I checked the Jerusalem Post link and did a little googling, and there is indeed such a person as Deri making such claims about Trump.  Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been doing everything he can to benefit from friendship with Trump, which has been fulfilling his wishlist.  Netanyahu has been playing into Trump’s narcissism, even naming a Golan Heights settlement after him.  ABC News reports an Israeli group is selling a special-edition Trump coin.

From Henry Siegman’s What my escape from Hitler’s Germany taught me about Trump’s America:

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has presented itself to the world as an avatar of democracy and guardian of the moral truths the world needs to learn about the Holocaust. Yet its governmental leaders and a majority of its Jewish citizens—led by its prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu—have fully embraced Trump (as well, in some instances, as the authoritarian leaders embraced by Trump).

Giant posters and photographs of Trump were recently plastered on the streets and public places of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Declaring “Trump is a friend of Zion” and “Trump Make Israel Great,” they expressed adoration of the man who doubled down on his insistence on the moral equivalence of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and the Americans who took to the streets to express their abhorrence of these racists and anti-Semites.

So I don’t know how pervasive a belief in Trump as the messiah/forerunner actually is in Israel.  But there are certainly groups pushing the idea.  And to see a malignant narcissist such as Trump–one of the worst people this world has ever produced–viewed as a messiah is frightening.  He has a lot in common with, say, Hitler or Nebuchadnezzar.  Many of us see him as far more likely to be the Antichrist at the End of the World.  Or at least one of many antichrists which have popped up throughout history.

Meanwhile, I keep finding various accounts that some Evangelicals don’t bother fighting climate change because they see it as the End of the World rapidly approaching–meaning Christians finally triumph over their enemies.

Whether you believe or not that the Bible truly prophesies the End of the World, complete with plagues and the Beast (Antichrist) and one-world government etc., many people do believe and behave accordingly.  And we have several facts in front of us.

One is that climate change is real and is already leading to catastrophe around the world: erosion, fires, mass extinctions, floods, extreme heat, extreme storms, etc.  People are already losing their homes and being forced to move because of it; animals and other creatures are also on the move.  I’ve seen reports that farmers know very well that climate change is real, because they’re being forced to change their practices.  With or without prophecy, climate change could lead to the End of the World if we do nothing about it.

Another fact is that some groups of people are venerating Trump for various reasons, making him into a god.

No matter what you believe about biblical prophecy, these are very dangerous factors that could turn the End of the World into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fight back, not sit back and allow this to happen because of our own stupidity.

 

Reflections on healing from abuse in the past decade

So I picked up Sunday’s newspaper and saw what looked like Richard sitting at a training session in Madison for the 2020 Trump campaign.  It was blurry, so it was hard to be sure, and I couldn’t find the picture on the newspaper’s website to make certain.  But it sure looked like him–same size, same hair, same head shape, glasses–and had me thinking–

Well, I could say what I thought, but let’s just say I’m disgusted at the idea of him helping that potential antichrist get re-elected.

The end of the decade has me thinking a lot about the beginning of the decade, and how it’s gone so lightning-fast that 2010 might as well have been yesterday.  The events are still so clear in my head–Heck, the events of 2000 still feel like yesterday as well.  Two decades have just flown by so fast that I feel like I stepped into a time machine that suddenly aged me 20 years without me even feeling it.

That’s the thing that scares me about aging: that I’m going to blink my eyes and be 66.  Then I’ll blink again and be dead.  If I’m going to be 50 in several years, couldn’t it at least FEEL like it’s been 50 years, rather than maybe 25?  A century doesn’t sound so long anymore.

Things that happened in college are finally starting to feel like a Long Time Ago, at least.

But what a decade!  It feels like the late 90s and 00s were me starting to process and resolve what happened to me in college, along with a huge amount of religious questioning and revamping.

The 10s have been me processing and resolving the narcissistic abuse that Richard and his wife committed on me, along with the narc, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse I witnessed them commit on others including their own children.

In the midst of this, thanks to Facebook, I’ve discovered that my abusive ex’s behavior can all be blamed on his own diagnosed mental illnesses and narcissism–and NOT ME.

Then midway through the decade, we survivors of narcissistic abuse have been subjected to someone just like our abusers, becoming president–and this time we can’t escape the person or go No Contact.  So I suppose it wouldn’t be surprising if my abusers are now supporting this person who is really just like them.

Though it is surprising in a way, considering how Richard used to go on about freedom and human rights of immigrants etc.  Now he appears to be supporting a fascist who has a Nazi (Stephen Miller) advising him on immigration?

But this is yet another thing that helps resolve the abuse that happened at the end of the 00s.  In 2010, nearly 10 years ago now, I was in agony over whether we had done the right thing in breaking off relations with Richard and Tracy.  I was stuck in an endless loop of trying to remember what happened and figure out what was right, along with terrible grief because I thought Richard was my best and dearest friend.  Writing and blogging about it was the only way I could finally stop that loop; researching old e-mails and other things helped me clarify what exactly had happened and why I felt the way I did.

The first half of the decade, I longed for Richard to apologize and make things right so that we could be friends again.

Almost ten years later, I don’t feel that way anymore.

One reason for that is what was revealed about his and Tracy’s character during this decade.  There was Richard’s conviction for choking one of his kids.  There was the two of them stalking me online, complete with a threatening message sent through Facebook.  (They were both blocked, so they set up a fake account for the purpose.)  Then they stalked me in person as well for a while.  That stopped, and I’ve received no more messages, but to this day they stalk my blog.  They were just on it a few weeks ago.  That’s EIGHT YEARS of stalking my blog, as of next May.

EIGHT YEARS.

I even know where Tracy works these days because she reads my blog at her workplace.  Aren’t you supposed to be working and not stalking people at work?

There’s also learning how many ways my supposed “best friend’s” actions were anything but: the selfishness and lack of empathy, the mansplaining, the one-upmanship, the criticism and mocking, the mind games, the belief that he knew better than I did about *everything*.  And don’t forget the gaslighting whenever I called out some abuse he or Tracy had been doing.  And defending one of his friends after this person sexually harassed me, telling me I needed to “get over it.”

The only excuse I can come up with for putting up with Richard for so long, is that he had me under such a spell that I couldn’t recognize how badly he was treating me.  (He even told me he hypnotized me without my knowledge.)  I knew Tracy was abusing me, because she had no such spell over me.  But I kept missing how Richard himself was also abusing me.

Now, ten years later, it’s all so clear and easy to recognize that I’ve long since stopped wishing he would come to us to make things right.  Now, ten years later, I have a group of good friends online and off, who don’t make me cry all the time, or tell me I have to change myself to make them happy.  I’ve met so many good people that I no longer fear that the next person I befriend will be a secret narcissist.

Oh yeah, another thing just happened: A couple of weeks ago, I found a message Richard sent to me on a gaming forum.  It was in my old purse, which I was clearing out; back in 2008, I printed it out and put it there so I could tell the parish council his ideas on how to revitalize my church.  I never took it out, so forgot it was even there.  Now I read it, and found this in the second half:

And your friends [sic] husband just helped Satan seize complete control of this country.  The next time I pay taxes I will have killed a baby because your friends [sic] husband helped bring about that “change.”

Seriously, I do not want to hear about anyone who voted for Obama, supported Obama or whatever.  Obama is a murderer who supports murder, and anyone who voted for Obama is not an accomplice but a murderer as well.  Those who voted for someone who supports killing newborns, which is all a baby in a womb is newly introduced to life [sic], a “newborn” are murderers [sic], directly and indirectly.  I do not mean to sound mean but this issue is the most important.  God curses those who sacrifice their babies to idols, which selfishness is the worst idol of them all, and the lands of those who murder their own are usually decimated within a generation or two from those who did so, historically.  Well, that’s about another four to eight years from Roe vs. Wade, is it not?

(Check….Well, it’s been eleven years, and we’re not decimated yet.)

When I read this a couple of weeks ago, I decided to hold onto this unhinged rant as a reminder because it’s so nutty.  So my friends [sic] husband was a murderer because he voted for a Democrat–one under which the abortion rate dropped, I might add?

Republican policies drive abortion UP and into back alley butchery; Democrats try to solve the problems that lead to abortion, making the numbers go DOWN.  Republicans have been lying to us about abortion for many years.

As I ponder this, I think, “I thought he was more sane than that.”  But then I begin to remember the many insane far-right conspiracy theories I used to hear from him, how he turned away from Evangelicalism and yet still sounded like the extremist Evangelicals fighting in the religious right culture wars.  I remember how both he and Tracy used to go on and on about things that made me want to roll my eyes, all coming down to those wacky far-right “alternative facts” that I had already discovered were all lies.

This kind of thinking is one of the biggest reasons why I ran screaming from Evangelicalism all those years ago.  It’s one of the reasons why I turned away from the Republican Party and hated the TEA Party.

Meanwhile, Richard himself, after writing the above, nearly killed one of his own children a couple of years later.  He’d be in jail now but for a hand-slapping plea bargain.

Meanwhile, the same person who wrote the above, is he really supporting the worst person who has ever been called a US president–a criminal, a rapist, a serial liar, a wannabe dictator who is doing his best to dismantle everything that keeps this country a democracy?  A man who has been enabling our country’s enemies to destroy us, too, who looked the other way at Khashoggi’s murder?  A man who doesn’t care about children (and adults) being tortured and dying in concentration camps on the border?  A man who uses every narcissistic trick in the book to surround himself with butt-kissing sycophants and gaslight everyone in the country?  A man who my 90-year-old acquaintance recently said reminded her of Hitler?

Even “Anonymous,” the Trump administration official who wrote “A Warning” and who obviously is right-wing just the same, wrote that we in the Resistance are correct about why Trump does and says what he does.  There is no altruism in Trump; cruelty really is the point.

So was it Richard in the picture, possibly Tracy beside him, campaigning for Trump?  I keep looking at it and I’m almost certain it is.  It looks just like Richard, and certainly fits with what I know of their politics.  Anyone who actively supports the current Republican party (including during the days of Scott Walker) and Trump, anyone who actively campaigns for them, I don’t see how I can possibly have anything in common with such people.

Because these days, supporting the Republican Party means supporting evil and the demolition of our great democracy.  It means supporting racism, torture, mistreatment of immigrants, oppression of various minority groups, yanking food and health care and help away from the poor.  It means ignoring cries that someone has been sexually assaulted.  It means permitting persecution as long as your favored group commits it.  It means forcing women to carry babies to term even when they are at high risk of dying, or the father is her father, or they’ll be so poor they can’t even keep a roof over their heads, while doing absolutely nothing to help those women so they don’t see the need for abortions.  It also means that if the 15-year-old girl does carry the baby to term, she’ll now be seen as a bad sort of girl who (gasp) has had sex.

It makes me not want to hear about anyone who voted for Trump, or supported Trump or whatever.

Many of us are saying that we can now see and understand how Hitler took control of the hearts and conscience of the Germans, because we see it happening all over again in our friends, neighbors, and family.

So while it seems like July 1, 2010 was just yesterday, my grief on that day is long gone.  I’m out of the spell; I have no illusions anymore about Richard’s character.  And I’m glad of the decision we made then to break off relations with him and Tracy.

 

Lawmakers: Change WI loophole that lets children be placed with abusers (like Richard)

A story alert from the local paper just came on my brand-new (used) Samsung Galaxy S7 (my first actual, good smartphone, not some cheapo thing that doesn’t work):

‘Ethan’s Law’: Story on boy’s tragic final day moves lawmakers to close fatal loophole in Wisconsin law, improve child protections

Ethan Hauschultz was placed with an uncle who was a known child abuser, with convictions–but because he pled to lesser charges, social workers were forbidden to even consider the convictions as a bar to placing children with him.  This uncle, who could not use physical violence to punish, used other methods on the children under his care, which proved to be fatal.  Though it was actually another child who carried out the punishment, it was at the uncle’s direction while he was away from home.  Story here.

Now, two lawmakers want to keep this from happening again.

Today’s article would explain why Richard’s step-child, Tracy’s child, was placed back with Richard and Tracy even after Richard nearly choked her to death. He was charged with Child Abuse, but it was dismissed and the charges reduced to Battery after he pled no contest.  (Story here.)  I always wondered why the [email protected]$k I saw all four of their kids, including the step-child, with Richard and Tracy after the charges and the conviction.  A man who can choke a 9-year-old child is not fit to have any children around him–and this was not the only thing he had ever done to her.  Richard and a mutual friend both told me of things that had happened before; the mutual friend said Richard had beaten the crap out of her when she was real little.  Yet there she was, still with Richard, rather than placed with her father as I would’ve expected.

This loophole in state law would explain why this happened.  But after the Hauschultz case hit the papers, lawmakers now want to change that loophole:

Hauschultz, who in 2009 had admitted to beating a child with a wooden carpentry tool, had been found guilty of felony child abuse. But through a plea bargain, the conviction went on his record as disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that doesn’t involve violence.

That created a loophole that eventually proved fatal to Ethan.

Had Timothy Hauschultz been convicted of child abuse in the 2009 case, Wisconsin law would have barred human services workers from placing children in his care. But because there was no child abuse conviction on his record, caseworkers were barred from even considering the incident — though pages of detail were available in a public file in a courthouse a short walk from the human services office.

Jacque’s bill would bar human services workers from placing a child in the custody of any adult who’d admitted in court to abusing a child, pleaded “no contest” to a child-abuse charge or been convicted of a lesser offense via a plea bargain in a child abuse case.

 

I just saw Wings of Desire…

Turns out “City of Angels” (Nicholas Cage, Meg Ryan) was based on a German film from 1987.  And like usual with an Americanization, it focused on plot and romance and changed the ending….The original film is “Der Himmel über Berlin.”  It means Heaven over Berlin, but for some reason was translated as “Wings of Desire.”  And there’s much more in it than a love story (or an angel discovering sex).

There’s Peter Falk (a former angel himself) wandering the streets talking to the angels, while working on a film about Nazis, and Berliners say, “Isn’t that Columbo?”

There’s Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performing in the underground clubs as punks and Goths bop their heads.

There’s an old man remembering Berlin before the Allied bombers came through, and the aftermath.  We get images from old newsreels of dead children and Berliners digging through the rubble.  We see the Wall with its graffiti art, and the stark cleanness of the other side, with a couple of soldiers instead of life.

Berlin is full of diversity: Muslims, people of color, along with the native Germans.

Most of the movie is in black and white, until our angel starts getting a taste of human sensation.

The movie is just as much about the thoughts and lives of all these other people, and the angels listening to them, while children can see them–as it is about an angel falling in love with a human.  I even caught a few references to Genesis and the Book of Enoch when the woman speaks to the angel at the very end.

The woman is a French trapeze performer in a failing circus, rather than a surgeon.  Their names are different.

He’s not even a handsome angel, looks middle-aged and has lines in his face, yet this beautiful young woman (the actors are 20 years apart) falls in love with him.  Apparently she sees beyond the surface and connects to his spirit.

Usually Americans like their happy endings, but this time it was switched: The German one has a happy ending, while the American one is sad.

Roger Ebert compared the two movies here.  He wrote, “To compare the two films is really beside the point, since “Wings of Desire” exists on its own level as a visionary and original film, and “City of Angels” exists squarely in the pop mainstream.”

This also reminds me of recently watching “The Return of Martin Guerre” vs. “Sommersby,” yet another example of Americanizations changing everything and suffering missteps where the original was a masterpiece, losing the depth of the original.  This is why I prefer foreign originals and not American remakes.

Trump, Putin, and the Antichrist

I was raised in premillennial dispensationalism during Rapture Fever. I’ve tried to set that all aside and be more amillennial, after much study and becoming Orthodox–but those alarm bells keep going off these days.  Many people have been wondering if Trump is actually the Antichrist, if maybe it’s time to take those End of the World predictions seriously after all.

It even trended on Twitter a while back, not seriously but jokingly–though some people pointed out alarming prophecies that sounded like him.  Shortly after, I tweeted that Trump can’t be the Antichrist if he gets impeached.  But then he said we were pulling out of Syria, and I tweeted that I take that back because here he goes and sparks Armageddon: His actions allowed captured ISIS members to escape, and Turkey and Putin to get what they wanted in Syria–along with one of our military bases.

However, Putin seems a more likely contender for the Antichrist, with the Russian Orthodox Church as his Prophet.

Trump may be too much of a puppet of other nations to be the Antichrist, too easily manipulated by Putin, Erdogan, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, etc.  Putin’s definitely smarter than Trump, and he’s got the Russian Orthodox Church in his pocket (the Prophet).  The last two patriarchs are rumored to have been KGB agents.  The church blesses nuclear weapons, and separated from the rest of us when the Ecumenical Patriarch allowed the Ukrainians to form their own church separate from Russia.  Putin’s tentacles have been reaching all over–all documented as truth, and not conspiracy theories, by intelligence agencies of various countries.

He’s even got members of the GOP doing what he wants, along with Trump.  We see signs of this in both the Mueller Report and the Ukrainian debacle, along with reports in the news of politicians being benefited by Russians, Saudis, and others.

(Such as, McConnell is accused of allowing the end of sanctions against companies owned by an oligarch named in the Mueller Report–so that one of those companies could build in Kentucky.  Also, a group of aides and former officials are accused of working around Congress in a potentially illegal deal to get nuclear power to Saudi Arabia–and fill the pockets of many.)

GOP House members have been pushing conspiracy theories that are confirmed by government officials (particularly Fiona Hill in the latest Impeachment Hearing) to have come straight from Russia’s propaganda machine, his cyber war to turn the West against Ukraine and weaken NATO.  The biggest proponents of these conspiracy theories in the hearings included Nunes and Jordan, trying to shout down and ridicule and silence witnesses and House reps who told the truth.

Through Trump, American Evangelicals are falling into Putin’s trap as well, supporting Putin’s own tool to bring down our democracy.

As an amillennialist and preterist, I believe that the events commonly attributed by dispensationalists to the End Times refer to events that have already happened in history, either before or after the apocalyptic books (Daniel, Revelations) were written.  Also, that several events referred to by Jesus happened in AD 70, when Jerusalem was besieged with devastating results.  (Josephus describes the horrific events, complete with cannibalism.)

But the Bible also refers to antichrists not as a one-time event, but as a spirit that continually emerges.  A good run-down of the various interpretations is here.  My studies, including of Orthodox interpretation, have led me to believe that the prophecies refer to things that have happened, and things that will continue to happen.  I thought we didn’t hold to any part of premillennial dispensationalism, but some Orthodox sources say the prophecies refer to the End Times as well.

So you can say that Antiochus Epiphanes was an antichrist.  Nebuchadnezzar was an antichrist.  Caligula was an antichrist.  Hitler is the most obvious antichrist of the twentieth century, with the state-supported church as his prophet, bringing the whole world into Armageddon, then finally defeated.  But he’s certainly not the only one even of that century.  Soviet Russia was full of the spirit of antichrist.  Communist China is also filled with the spirit of antichrist.

Trump is shaping up to be an antichrist of the 21st century, throwing our government into disarray, systematically setting himself up as a dictator until nobody is left around him but sycophants and justices who’ll do what he wants.  The great irony is that Evangelicals, after spending decades warning us of the Antichrist, didn’t recognize him and are now worshipping him, becoming his Prophet.

But there are many people in power now who qualify as an antichrist: Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Erdogan, Orban; the crown prince of Saudi Arabia is certainly shaping up to be one.  Trump is doing his best, but we still have the workings of democracy trying to get him in check.  But are any of these the Antichrist at the End of the World?

That one can’t be answered until it happens.  However, there are some significant elements now in the world that make it possible: Climate change, for one.  We’re getting countless accounts from scientists warning us that the clock is ticking and if we don’t make drastic changes, we could soon see the end of human life on Earth.  This has been going on since the Industrial Revolution, but never faster than now.  Yet governments keep ignoring the warning signs because their fat cats don’t want to lose money.  Another element is the computer age.  Putin has been infiltrating the elections of various NATO countries not with the military, but with the Internet.  He’s found it easy to manipulate millions through Twitter bots, not just in America but in the UK and probably other countries as well.  There are ridiculous, unfounded rumors of body counts around the Clintons, but there are actual body counts piling up around Putin.

But then again, throughout history, antichrists keep meeting their end.  They all die eventually, after all–often prematurely.  Hitler met a spectacular end–like the hand of God–that led to the destruction of Nazi Germany and the deaths of many of the people in charge.  Kingdoms and empires are strong for a time, but always fall eventually, sometimes thanks to people rising up and fighting back.  We may still turn climate change around.  Trump is most definitely going to be impeached; there are many reports of his health deteriorating, and if enough people speak out, the GOP Senate could very well change their minds about removing him.  Putin could meet his own end in one way or another, or we NATO countries could finally win the cyber war.

Ever since my teens, I’ve seen various predictions of the End of the World from Christian “prophets” who turned out to be wrong.  I don’t want to say we are definitely heading into the End Times only to find out nope, wrong again.  Maybe, like every time before, the antichrist will fall but the world will keep turning.  But we do need to keep an eye out for the spirit of antichrist, and take care not to fall into his trap–whether he is “an antichrist” or “THE Antichrist.”

Update 12/30/19: This is not specifically an “endorsement” because I haven’t checked out the site/videos yet.  But here’s somebody who is convinced that Trump is the Antichrist: Brother James Key

Update 6/23/20: Benjamin Corey, a “former fundie” who starts out planning to make light of the whole thing, ends up, as he puts it, “unsettled” by what he finds in biblical prophecy, here.  He updated his post a few weeks ago; things have happened since he originally wrote it that are alarming (such as COVID-19 and events during the BLM protests) and add more support to the idea that Trump could be an antichrist–or even the Antichrist.