Response to 100 Tucson women who’ll wish they didn’t care so much

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Litigation coming against Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance: investigation and formal discovery process will be most instructive. 

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Following excerpted from satirical essay, Episcopal Church – LGBT 

Chupacabras: something wicked this way comes:

https://combatresearchandprose.com/2019/03/12/3932/

“. . . *In recent days, researchers have huddled with counter – terrorism
officials in FVEY member countries about new findings that appear to
suggest that Erasers’ well-known preference for victims from Britain has
gone manic. *
**
*“Experts say that examinations of data from three social media posts set
in and around the UK seem to indicate that Britons have experienced a
massive attack from the marauding carnivores. Recorded views for 3 excerpts
from a World War II article set at the Great Ashfield Airdrome in Eastern
England – home of the USAAF’s 385th Bomb Group – increased from 1,026 to
1,159 before plunging to 145.”*

*Thus endeth the excerpt.*

Complete satirical essay, Episcopal Church – LGBT Chupacabras: something
wicked this way comes, at:
https://combatresearchandprose.com/2019/03/12/3932/

**Digital brief of law and images, complete with 1 min 5 sec video
introduction by attorney researcher, at:

https://combatresearchandprose.com/2019/02/06/law-and-images-american-law-as-explained-in-first-amendment-opinion-cited-57-times-by-courts-across-the-country-authorizes-defamation-lawsuit-against-the-episcopal-church-and-its-lgbt-allies/

 

Charles K. Bloeser, M.A., J.D.
Attorney/researcher/author
Member, Bar of the State of Tennessee
Member, Bar of Supreme Court of the United States
combatresearchandprose.com
charlesbloeser.com

Pie Auction in Indian Country: a reminder of what’s good in America

Except for a four-day break to study and then sit for the Oklahoma Bar exam, each day of the summer and fall after my graduation from law school was the same as all the others. Before daylight would stretch itself across the old, aspirational “Indian Territory” that hugs Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas, my work hours had already begun to link themselves one to another like freight cars on a long-haul journey. Each hour spent doing my part of a successful statewide team effort to return an Army veteran from Tulsa to the United States Senate.

My part of the 1996 campaign had me working Oklahoma’s northeastern 20 counties. And it would often be long after dark before my work train could stop for the night. I might, for example, have a 10 pm meeting at an all-night coffee shop near Ft. Smith, Arkansas before I could start the return trip to Tulsa, where I could see my family and get a few hours’ sleep ahead of another meeting or event or trip to a rural airfield to pick up the Senator for one or more of his campaign-related appointments.

It had been that sort of day when, on a sultry evening before the Oklahoma primaries, I pulled into an overstuffed dirt parking lot next to a large steel building that housed a volunteer fire department south of Tahlequah, capital city of the Cherokee nation.

Our campaign had signs.  We had organization.  We had consultants.  We had experience and money. We had relationships. And we were led by a former U.S. Naval attaché and oilman who for decades brought together Oklahoma Republicans and Democrats for pro-business policies. As U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK4) said when Herb died two years after that 1996 campaign, “There are very few people with that much political influence that the public didn’t know.”

The Republican senator’s re-election campaign also had the benefit of creative ad folks who with a single TV spot could bump our candidate up or down in the polls overnight. Between a well-executed statewide media strategy and the early days of political campaigns exploiting the internet, the statewide campaign that was paying me sometimes left me to wonder if Lyndon Johnson’s aphorism that “all politics is local” was still true.

My primary task on that campaign was to coordinate volunteer activities among several interest groups comprised of many “blue dog” Democrats and fewer, generally socially conservative, Republicans who occupied part or all of three U.S. House districts. With the exceptions of the Tulsa metropolitan area and, to a lesser degree, Bartlesville and Muskogee, the area is primarily rural. Pro-military. Pro-2nd Amendment. Pro-God. Passionate, hard-working patriots who were already in 1996 getting buffeted by blows from the globalization of business.

The folks there came by their strict law-and-order sensibilities honestly. As I explained when I wrote about a KIA Cherokee “Delta Force” operator from one of those twenty counties,

For the ancestors of the area’s current residents – family whose stories get passed down from one generation to the next – living in Indian Territory meant living with little, if any, meaningful law enforcement. And the law officers they did have kept getting killed. The National Park Service reports that from 1875 – 1896, 65 Deputy U.S. Marshals were killed in the line of duty in “Indian Territory.”

https://combatresearchandprose.com/2018/07/07/in-2018-we-still-need-our-warriors/

indian journal eufala ok 322 x 400I gave speeches, kept an eye on “the other guy” and reported back. It was my job to represent the candidate at parades, rattlesnake roundups, peach festivals, and calf fry festivals. On the days when the Senator was scheduled for campaign business in my corner of the state, it was my job – personally or by delegating – to make sure that he got where he needed to go, met with the media or others he was scheduled to see, and to get him out of town quick enough to give him a shot at staying on schedule and maybe getting some time with family.

It was also my job to speak for the Senator at pie auctions.

I don’t recall the first Oklahoma pie auction I attended.  But whether the first or last, they all had a common theme: some local organization seizes the opportunity during an active political season to raise money for a good cause – tonight, it was a volunteer fire department nestled in the woods of Eastern Oklahoma.

Regardless of cause, pie auctions don’t have many moving parts. Organizers schedule an event, and then they invite candidates running for various political offices. These can be county offices such as sheriff or assessor or county commissioner. It might be the office of district attorney for the local judicial district. Frequently, the offices folks were fighting for are state house and senate seats.

Those who put together these fundraising events frequently invited candidates running for U.S. House seats or, in my case that night, the United States Senate. And 1996 was also a presidential campaign year.

It was impossible to schedule a pie auction for a date and time that would work for everyone, so why try? Local organizers simply put out the word that candidate so-and-so and sheriff so-and-so and congressman so-and-so had been invited. 

But even if a candidate knows about a scheduled pie auction and agrees with the cause its sponsors are trying to fund, there are a lot of times when a candidate can’t make it. This was often true of the U.S. senator our team would re-elect that year. After all, Oklahoma has 77 counties, and I only had 20 of them. Besides, a U.S. senator does have a professional job to do.

Organizers frequently expressed surprise and disappointment when we told them that a candidate couldn’t make it. But for most of them, this was not their first trip to the rodeo. So, while “the Senator very much wishes that he could be here tonight,” I was the campaign staffer who would have to do.     

It’s true that money is the mother’s milk of politics. And whether it’s a cause or a candidate makes little difference. Experienced pie auction organizers know well that the unspoken reason why a candidate can’t make their event might be that it competes with an intimate, in-home gathering with wealthy donors.

But these organizers show few scruples when it comes to taking advantage of those of us who’re paid political professionals. They knew we’d show up. Campaign-charged, caffeine-fueled highwaymen, ever fearful of the missed opportunity, who tried by hook or crook to get our candidates’ campaign signs up on the walls, on top of patriotically draped, pie-laden tables, or in spots that concealed a political opponent’s signage. At least for that night. 

The unwritten rules were pretty well known.  The Master of Ceremonies would give each of us a chance to speak for his or her campaign.  Of course, at some time during the night, pies would be auctioned.  Big pies.  Little pies.  Fresh pies.  Seldom stale pies. I could count on my favorites, pecan pie and lattice-topped apple pie, being among the pies to be auctioned.

The folks who run these pie auctions aren’t newbies.  They’re practiced and technically proficient. They have style. They have tempo. They’re shrewd. And like a lot of country folks I’ve dealt with over the years, they’re better at understanding human nature than they’ll disclose.

Oklahoma state seal 175 x 176By dangling a chance to speak during a hyper-charged political season, local organizers drew to their cause political campaigns both rich and poor.

But the candidates, and those who speak for them, had settled into our own tactics and patterns when approaching a pie auction. One I remember ran for almost any office any time there was an election. And she made sure that folks remembered her by sporting an elaborate, brightly-colored clown costume, complete with wild hair, a big red nose, and oversized clown shoes. 

But candidates who intended to win didn’t do that sort of thing.     

Among political professionals, our own techniques had a common thread.  Bring a pie and auction it off in the name of your candidate.  That way, the crowd gets to hear the candidate’s name. And, who knows, maybe they’ll think the candidate cares deeply about this particular cause.  Maybe the candidate does.

But whether one buys a pie or not, you’ve got to play the game. No matter how good or bad a pie might turn out to be, these rural communities can pretty quickly detect a distance, or arrogance, on the part of a candidate, if you don’t at least make it look as if you’d fought hard to buy a pie.  And that’s where skill and experience showed themselves. 

The true pros that you see at pie auctions are those who will bid for one pie and then another. And each time he bids, the worker enthusiastically shouts his candidate’s name for all to hear. Yes, again.  

Those who’ve reached journey level at these events know how to quit just in time to avoid actually having to buy a pie. And if by chance that campaign worker bids one time too often, he or she will simply find another pie auction further down the road and auction it off there in their candidates’ names.  It’s all quite cyclical. Predictable, even.

I have no idea how many pie auctions I attended that summer and fall.  Probably fewer than I think I did. But they’re small-town political happenings that loom large in my memory.

But one of these fundraisers sticks with me. As divisive and rancorous as the American political climate is in 2018, that pie auction, that night, at a volunteer fire department south of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, reminds me that measures of wisdom and foresight still undergird the American political experiment.    

I was running late that night, and the dirt clearing that served as a parking lot was stuffed full. I parked my Bronco under a tree. And I glanced over the barely legible notes I had jotted for a speech that I had given, in one form or other, countless times before. A speech that I would once again deliver in a few minutes. 

I gathered a stack of push cards, stickers, and other campaign swag.  I checked my cowboy boots and slapped a campaign sticker on my chest. And I made my way toward the open door of a crowded, stuffy, oxygen-deprived steel barn.

I didn’t have a pie.

Wagoner American Legion_Annual Pie Auction 2018 330 x 430Excusing my way through those gathered in the doorway, I made sure to acknowledge those I thought I had never seen, as well as those I always saw at these events. Trying to at least appear discreet, I hunted around the room for spots to place the Senator’s signs. I then took my place along the wall with other sleep-deprived politicos. 

Candidates for every office from county sheriff to U.S. Senator had been invited to the event that night.  But it was a local event for a local cause. Tonight, local candidates would get to speak first. 

Going through in my mind the list of other campaign tasks that I still had to get done that night, and still being several counties from my family in Tulsa, I wasn’t happy about being in the last group to speak.

But that’s the way these events are sometimes. It’s all well and good that the U.S. Senator I worked for is one of 100 lawmakers who occupy the upper chamber of the United States Congress. A legislative body with the power to impeach federal officials, ratify treaties, approve ambassadors, and determine whether a president’s nominee will sit in the Cabinet, lead a government agency, or serve on the United States Supreme Court.   

But Jed’s son is now back from the Marines. He did a good job taking care of momma and the family business after his daddy died. And now he’s running for county commissioner. We’ll hear from him first.

***

kid with pie at October event for veterans 410 x 307It’s been a few years, and I don’t remember the name of the local candidate who that night reminded me of some pretty great values that my country’s built on. But I remember what he looked like.  And I remember what he said.

The gentleman was new to the political game, and he was running in a three-way Democratic primary for county sheriff.  He wasn’t expected to win.  He didn’t have much money.  He didn’t have a strong organization.  And he wasn’t backed by the local establishment who, no matter where or when, almost always seem to support the incumbent.  I suspected this candidate knew that.

But without hesitation and with military bearing, the wiry political newcomer stepped to an imaginary line in front of the local pie bakers, politicos, interested towns folk and the unpaid firemen who time and again risk their lives to keep their community safe.

The gentleman who now stood before us had shined his cowboy boots to a respectable gloss, and they looked as they should below his worn-in blue jeans.  A bright silver buckle, like the ones earned by rodeo champions, marked the border above strong legs – legs that may have carried this man through the pastures to rescue a lost calf or through the jungles of Vietnam to rescue a fallen brother.  Above the buckle, a spotless white t-shirt could not conceal a strength earned somewhere other than in a city slicker’s health club. 

“I’m not like these other guys,” the man said.

His words were firm, and they lacked any evidence of uncertainty. And neither the man’s demeanor nor his tone hinted at being abrasive. The man spoke from a clean-shaven, weather-tempered face that was only partly obscured by the brim of a cowboy hat that looked as if it was saved for special occasions.    

“I don’t have a fancy suit, and I don’t have fancy words like these . . .”

The candidate looked toward the wall, eying without condemnation nor envy those of us being paid to wage and win political warfare.

 “. . . professionals.” 

No vinegar came from this man’s words. And he displayed respect to all of us who were cooking slowly in a steel barn on an Oklahoma summer night. But the way this man uttered the word “professionals” as he looked over at us made our work seem sort of dirty. 

“But y’all know me,” he said. “And y’know my kinfolk. . .”

The political tenderfoot executed his pause like a pro. “I want t’be your sheriff.  And I’ve got some good ideas to make that office work better for folks.” 

One by one, without direct or even collateral attack on the incumbent sheriff, that political postulant told all of us – both the jaded and the naïve – the specifics of how he would improve the Sheriff’s service to the County and to his fellow Oklahomans. As I listened to this rarest of political speeches, delivered by a man whose candidacy wouldn’t survive the primaries, I was reminded that one reason our American democratic experiment didn’t die in the womb is that Americans like this man talked to their friends, spoke up in their communities and churches, declared independence from the Crown, and took up arms to secure the birth of our nation. 

Facebook data reveal complicity in campaign to smear patriot researcher as activist, leftist resister

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1 min 5 second intro by researcher:

 

[Following update excerpted from Digital Brief: Law and Images, with link to complete document below]

Section 2(f) of this overview of law and facts features examples of four general tools of personal and professional character murder. But in recent weeks, presumptive defendants and their minions in the coming civil defamation action against the Episcopal Church / LGBT Alliance appear to have grown more aggressive in their dealings with this researcher and the work that he produces and releases. In addition to apparently obliterating before they can ever reach their destinations electronic communications that are clearly marked as “Confidential Privileged Communications” under both Attorney-Client Privilege and the Attorney Work Product Doctrine – new social media content from this lawyer is ever more quickly killed in the womb. But if that doesn’t work and that content manages to breathe life for even a moment, it’s killed as it exits the birth canal.

Presumptive plaintiff has also been dispatched without cause from at least one Facebook group whose members regularly and significantly interacted with content intended for past and present U.S. Marines and those who support them. But data received from Facebook 14 Feb 2019 have been sanitized to remove all references to this lawyer ever having been in the group to begin with. Thank God for screenshots.

As images in part 2 of this digital memo reveal, presumptive defendants from, inter alia, as many as 750 Episcopal Churches that have formally committed themselves to “welcome and affirm” “ALL SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS, GENDER IDENTITIES, AND GENDER EXPRESSIONS,” have colluded through various means to murder, professionally and personally, the American lawyer who authored a 2004 article that advocated amending the U.S. Constitution to define “marriage” as a union only between one man and one woman. Recent data received from Facebook reveal that one of those methods is to flagrantly lie to lawyer’s national security/defense/veterans audience that plaintiff followed and has now stopped following pages that plaintiff never would have followed in the first place and which are inconsistent with everything lawyer has ever produced or participated in, These include pages such as “resist.bot” and pages dedicated to those whose interests include aggressively waging political war in pursuit of a socialist agenda.

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https://combatresearchandprose.com/2019/02/06/law-and-images-american-law-as-explained-in-first-amendment-opinion-cited-57-times-by-courts-across-the-country-authorizes-defamation-lawsuit-against-the-episcopal-church-and-its-lgbt-allies/

Law and Images: American Law as Explained In First Amendment Opinion Cited 57 Times By Courts Across the Country Authorizes Civil Defamation Lawsuit Against The Episcopal Church and its LGBT allies

Update

Screenshot (3027)Section 2(f) of this overview of law and facts features examples of four general tools of personal and professional character murder. But in recent weeks, presumptive defendants and their minions in the coming civil defamation action against the Episcopal Church / LGBT Alliance appear to have grown more aggressive in their dealings with this researcher and the work that he produces and releases. In addition to apparently obliterating before they can ever reach their destinations electronic communications that are clearly marked as “Confidential Privileged Communications” under both Attorney-Client Privilege and the Attorney Work Product Doctrine – new social media content from this lawyer is ever more quickly killed in the womb. But if that doesn’t work and that content manages to breathe life for even a moment, it’s killed as it exits the birth canal. 

Presumptive plaintiff has also been dispatched without cause from at least one Facebook group whose members regularly and significantly interacted with content intended for past and present U.S. Marines and those who support them. But data received from Facebook 14 Feb 2019 have been sanitized to remove all references to this lawyer ever having been in the group to begin with. Thank God for screenshots.

As images in part 2 of this digital memo reveal, presumptive defendants from, inter alia, as many as 750 Episcopal Churches that have formally committed themselves to “welcome and affirm” “ALL SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS, GENDER IDENTITIES, AND GENDER EXPRESSIONS,” have colluded through various means to murder, professionally and personally, the American lawyer who authored a 2004 article that advocated amending the U.S. Constitution to define “marriage” as a union only between one man and one woman. Recent data received from Facebook reveal that one of those methods is to flagrantly lie to lawyer’s national security/defense/veterans audience that plaintiff followed and has now stopped following pages that plaintiff never would have followed in the first place and which are inconsistent with everything lawyer has ever produced or participated in, These include pages such as “resist.bot” and pages dedicated to those whose interests include aggressively waging political war in pursuit of a socialist agenda.  

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Image attribution: The Followers, TV series, FOX Television

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Introduction

This document provides a summary overview of the law and facts that prompt and permit a lawsuit for civil damages against the Episcopal Church in the United States and certain of its gay-lesbian/LGBT allies and supporters. This action arises from defamatory conduct a/k/a “character assassination” executed in 2017 and 2018 against a lawyer who authored a 2004 article in which he advocated to fellow attorneys that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to define “marriage” as only a heterosexual union and whose late father, an honorably discharged U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force veteran who served as the State of Arizona’s AIDS Health Program manager, publicly decried politicization by LGBT operatives of the public health response to the AIDS epidemic: “The only thing this new alliance seems to support in the delivery of services are efforts to assure the social and moral legitimacy of their alternative lifestyles.”

Numerous unsuccessful attempts by presumptive plaintiff to secure a satisfactory resolution for the anticipated parties to the lawsuit – a resolution that furthers applied research activities fbo past and present military service members and their families but which doesn’t require him to sue his former church et al. are offered as proof that he never consented to tortious and otherwise wrongful acts against him by certain clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Church, either before or after his written withdrawal from the Episcopal Church on 20 October 2018. Perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised. 

Contents and organization:

This document begins with a brief introduction to the constitutional law that makes this lawsuit possible and which allows for the award of monetary and non-monetary damages from both church and church leaders. Remarks from two justices – one state, the other federal – on the exercise and responsibilities of asserting one’s First Amendment rights in the American democracy, follow. And after those, the reader will be introduced to five categories of images, separated by the following previously published graphic timeline. This chronology shows the uninterrupted path that Americans took toward denying legal recognition to same-sex marriage, whether by legislation or by amendments to state constitutions. And it also shows what happened to the will of the people then.

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A. The first series of images reflects both the nature and the objectives of one or more formal or de facto alliances between the Episcopal Church (U.S.) and the LGBT community, including but not limited to formal relationships that have been entered into between my former parish church and Integrity USA, Inc., a 501(c)(3) coordinating a nationwide political campaign involving, at the least, more than 750 other Episcopal churches with which it has formal agreements;

B. Crushing those who express dissenting views of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc. has emerged as perhaps the predominant, or near predominant theme within the gay-lesbian/LGBT alliance, including among its members in more than 750 Episcopal churches in the United States – examples of these aggressive and, at times, unlawful activities comprise the second category of images presented here;

C. Presumptive plaintiff may indeed have been targeted for personal and professional destruction because he authored the “pro” side of a published debate among fellow lawyers as to whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to define “marriage” as only a heterosexual union. But it was his late father, a military veteran who deployed his FBI training to fight syphilis and smallpox before agreeing to serve as the State of Arizona’s AIDS Health Program Manager, who went public about the intentional politicization of the public health response to the AIDS epidemic:

 

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The images in this third category chronicle the sins of both father and son. 

D. The images that comprise the fourth category allow us to establish, at least to some degree, a baseline for examining social media interaction with presumptive plaintiff’s vet-focused research products following the 22 January 2018 pivot away from a research focus that, in researcher’s view, examined only one of several symptoms of a larger problem that affects public policy for veterans and their families.

E. Much of the actionable activity that will be unearthed during the litigation of this case has so far been fraudulently concealed. So, too, have the identities of most perpetrators, whether in or out of the State of Arizona and whether in or out of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. Even so, screen shot images such as those that comprise this fifth category can be reasonably interpreted as pointing to identifiable tortious conduct by both clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance and their supporters.  For the reason just mentioned, most of this category’s images are from 23 January 2018 and later. They’ve been segregated into groups of images that reflect one of four general tools of personal and professional character killing.

  • Images which reflect the wholesale removal of the audience(s) intended to benefit from presumptive plaintiff’s original or shared social media content, replaced by mongrel collections of professionals who time and again demonstrate neither the ability nor the inclination to use the content to improve and save lives; 
  • images reflecting formal and informal writings and digital communications as performed by those anticipated to be named as defendants or as witnesses; 
  • images which reveal the removal or non-placement on social media platforms [content alleged to be “abusive,” “unsafe,” and/or “against community standards”] of the identity and professional record of presumptive plaintiff; his original and shared social media content, and the vet-focused applied research initiative that needs to be funded and viable if he’s to retrieve and expand the thoughtful national security/military/veteran populations who are best able to use his research and publication activities to improve and save lives; and
  • images that reveal targeted attacks on original content authored by presumptive plaintiff’s now-deceased father and his mother, who has, after more than four years, completed a top-shelf historical memoir about our Cold War years spent in Africa.

This document ends with two items:

(a) images of four examples of presumptive plaintiff’s many attempts to secure a satisfactory and beneficial resolution to both real and phantom disputes with members of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance and which would have made this lawsuit unnecessary. I’ve had coffee or a meal with each of these persons.

(b) Images revealing the emasculation of the reasonably expected audience for an article that I wrote because an American combat veteran who’d simply been left to rot and die in a modern American jail asked me to tell his story in the hopes that others wouldn’t suffer his same fate. The editors at strifeblog.org, an internationally respected security blog from the Department of War Studies at Kings College London, wanted an international audience to know “Henry’s” story. Given pattern conduct, it’s more than reasonable to suspect members of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance as causing this injustice to a dead American soldier. My letter to DoD appears last.

 

I. American law, as it has developed over the last quarter-century, allows a plaintiff to sue a church and its leaders for damages from torts committed against him following the parishioner’s withdrawal of consent to church discipline.

amendment 1 in stone 200 x 300The leading court decision that explains why the U.S. Constitution allows such lawsuits is Guinn v. Collinsville Church of Christ, a 1989 opinion authored by a Polish law student turned World War II combat warrior and prisoner of war. 

Four paragraphs from the Guinn opinion have been excerpted, unedited, and they appear immediately below. A link to the entire Guinn v. Collinsville Church of Christ court opinion is also provided. The paragraphs that follow those have – like the four paragraphs from Guinn – been excerpted without edit from court decisions in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Other states in which state and/or federal courts have cited Guinn on or before 22 October 2018 include Hawaii, Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, and Alabama. Citations to fifty-seven (57) court opinions in which Guinn v. Collinsville Church of Christ is cited follow these excerpts.

Not all of these court decisions rely on Guinn for the same reasons as those relevant in the defamation lawsuit against the Episcopal Church, et al.. But most do. Some of these court decisions cite Guinn for the same points of law as those relevant here, but they conclude that the facts in the cases they must decide are materially different from the facts in the Guinn case.

 

Oklahoma state seal 175 x 176Marian GUINN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. The CHURCH OF CHRIST OF COLLINSVILLEOklahoma, a non-profit corporation; Allen Cash, Ted Moody and Ron Witten, Defendants-Appellants, 775 P.2d 766 (Okla. Supreme Court 1989) (Opala, VCJ)(excerpts)

. . .
¶25 “In defense of their actions the Elders claim that the Church of Christ has no doctrinal provision for withdrawal of membership. According to their beliefs, a member remains a part of the congregation for life. Like those who are born into a family, they may leave but they can never really sever the familial bond. A court’s determination that Parishioner effectively withdrew her membership and thus her consent to submit to church doctrine would, according to the Elders, be a constitutionally impermissible state usurpation of religious discipline accomplished through judicial interference.

¶26 “The Elders had never been confronted with a member who chose to withdraw from the church. Because disciplinary proceedings against Parishioner had already commenced when she withdrew her membership, the Elders concluded their actions could not be hindered by her withdrawal and would be protected by the First Amendment. Parishioner relies on her September 24, 1981 handwritten letter to the Elders in which she unequivocally stated that she withdrew her membership and terminated her consent to being treated as a member of the Church of Christ communion. By common-law standards we find her communication was an effective withdrawal of her membership and of her consent to religious discipline.

¶27 “Just as freedom to worship is protected by the First Amendment, so also is the liberty to recede from one’s religious allegiance.

. . .

¶56 “On remand, the trial court may consider the postwithdrawal tortious acts as not immune from secular judicature. For the commission of acts which occurred after Parishioner withdrew her church membership, the Elders are to be treated as any other secular individual. Among potentially tortious postwithdrawal acts was the communication of Parishioner’s religious transgressions to both the Collinsville and to the other four area Church of Christ congregations. Parishioner’s theories of recovery include but are not necessarily limited to invasion of privacy by publication of private facts and intentional infliction of mental distress (tort of outrage).”

Complete Guinn v. Collinsville Church of Christ opinion accessible via this link. All of these other cases are or have been available online within the last 90 days.  https://law.justia.com/cases/oklahoma/supreme-court/1989/10494.html

 

AZ Seal 200 x 225ARIZONA

James BARNES and Rose Mary Martinez-Barnes, husband and wife; Naomi Martinez Outlaw, in her individual capacity; Isaac Martinez, in his individual capacity, Plaintiffs/Appellees, v. James OUTLAW, Jr. and Cleopatra Outlaw, husband and wife; Andrew Outlaw, in his individual capacity; The Church Of Jesus, an Arizona non-profit corporation, Defendants/Appellants, 937 P.2d 323 (Arizona Court of Appeals, August 29, 1996; as amended on Denial of Reconsideration November 8, 1996; review denied and cross review granted May 20, 1997).

Ecclesiastical Abstention

“Appellants first contend that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under the doctrine of ecclesiastical abstention. They argue that Outlaw was motivated by a “biblical admonition” when he brought appellees’ conduct to the attention of the congregation during the “marking” and that the “essence” of the injuries appellees claimed was the termination of their relationship with the Church and its members. As a result, they contend, the trial court was barred from “addressing religious controversies which were beyond the jurisdiction of civil authority.”

“The doctrine of ecclesiastical abstention prohibits courts from determining issues of canon law. Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 696, 96 S.Ct. 2372, 49 L.Ed.2d 151 (1976). It is not applicable here because this dispute can be resolved without inquiry into religious law and polity. We need not consider the “marking” ritual nor its origins in resolving these issues. Outlaw revealed confidences from his counseling sessions with Naomi to Rose and threatened to publicize Rose’s involvement with Kirkland. He divulged confidences of Naomi, Rose, and Isaac to his wife, mother, sister, and the Church administrator and also relayed false information to them. There was no evidence that this conduct was part of the observance of the Church’s religious practices or beliefs; thus, the doctrine of ecclesiastical abstention has no bearing here. See Paul v. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 819 F.2d 875, 878 n. 1 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 926, 108 S.Ct. 289, 98 L.Ed.2d 249 (1987).

“Moreover, appellants misstate appellees’ injury claims. In their complaint, appellees alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium, damage to their reputations, and exposure to public ridicule and disgrace. That the injuries occurred in a religious setting does not render them noncompensable, nor does it deprive the court of jurisdiction. See McNair v. Worldwide Church of God, 197 Cal.App.3d 363242 Cal.Rptr. 823 (1987) (free exercise clause did not bar defamation claim against minister for remarks made during meeting explaining church doctrine); Hester v. Barnett, 723 S.W.2d 544 (Mo. App. 1987) (defamation claim against minister for statements made in sermons compensable); Guinn v. Church of Christ of Collinsville, 775 P.2d 766 (Okla. 1989) (intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy claims based on continued denunciation of former member during church services actionable).”

illinois 200 x 199ILLINOIS

Richard DUNCAN and Hope Church, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Bervin PETERSON, Erwin Lutzer, and The Moody Church, Defendants-Appellees. 835 N.E.2d 411 (Appellate Court of Illinois, 2005)

Both sides cite to Guinn v. Church of Christ, 775 P.2d 766 (Okla.1989), in support of their positions. In Guinn, a former member of the church brought action against church elders for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress for disciplinary action they took against her before and after she withdrew her membership from the church. Guinn, 775 P.2d at 769.

“The Oklahoma court found that this was not the sort of private ecclesiastical controversy that the United States Supreme Court has deemed immune from judicial scrutiny. Guinn, 775 P.2d at 772, citing Serbian Orthodox Diocese, 426 U.S. at 713, 96 S.Ct. at 2382, 49 L.Ed.2d at 165. The Oklahoma court further opined that because the controversy concerned the allegedly tortious nature of religiously motivated acts and not their orthodoxy in relation to established church doctrine, the justification for judicial abstention was nonexistent and it did not apply to the case. Guinn, 775 P.2d at 773.”

New jersey seal 200 x 204NEW JERSEY

 F.G. v. MacDonnell, et al., 696 A.2d 697 (New Jersey Supreme Court 1997)

Courts in other jurisdictions have found that when purely secular conduct is at issue, they may hold churches and clerics liable for the effect of their conduct on third fiduciary duty, when the claims did not arise from ecclesiastical matters. Moses v. Diocese of Colorado, 863 P.2d 310, 323 (Colo. 1993), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1137, 114 S.Ct. 2153, 128 L.Ed.2d 880 (1994). Similarly, an Oregon Court has concluded that claims for breach of fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress did not violate the First Amendment. Erickson v. Christenson, 99 Or.App. 104781 P.2d 383, 386 (1989).

“Likewise, courts have recognized claims for intentional torts against clergymen. Thus, clergymen have been held liable for obtaining gifts and donations of money by fraud, Ballard, supra, 322 U.S. 78, 64 S.Ct. 882, 88 L.Ed. 1148; sexual assault, Mutual Service Cas. Ins. Co. v. Puhl,354 N.W.2d 900 (Minn. Ct. App. 1984); unlawful imprisonment, Whittaker v. Sandford, 110 Me. 77, 85 A. 399 (1912); alienation of affections, Hester v. Barnett, 723 S.W.2d 544, 555 (Mo. Ct. App. 1987); and for sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation, Guinn v. Church of Christ, 775 P.2d 766, 785-86 (Okla. 1989).”

TN seal 200 x 200TENNESSEE

The Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Tennessee, et al. v. The Rector, Wardens, and Vestrymen of St. Andrew’s Parish, a Tennessee corporation, M2010-01474-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. Appeals, Nashville, April 25, 2012)(affirming lower court’s decision in property dispute)

Although the United States Supreme Court’s statements regarding ecclesiastical abstention speak in terms of hierarchical church organizations, there is no reason to refuse to apply the First Amendment analysis to congregational churches or those religious organizations not hierarchical in structure. See Callahan v. First Congregational Church of Haverhill, 808 N.E.2d 301, 308 (Mass. 2004); Heard v. Johnson, 810 A.2d 871, 879 n.4 (D.C. Circ. 2002); Burgess v. Rock Creek Baptist Church, 734 F.Supp. at 31 n. 2; Guinn v. The Church of Christ of Collinsville, 775 P.2d 766, 771 n.18 (Okla. 1989). Where, as in the case before us, the religious body has adopted a hierarchical polity, it is not necessary to examine the application of the doctrine in other types of organizations.”

us consti 200 x 400On 22 October 2018, Leagle.com reported that Guinn v. Collinsville Church of Christ has been cited by the following 57 cases:

784 P.2d 1053 – VANNERSON v. BD. OF REGENTS OF UNIV. OF OKL., Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

794 P.2d 412 – BLANTON v. HOUSING AUTHORITY, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

808 P.2d 640 – MATTER OF ESTATE OF POPE, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

791 P.2d 84 – DEFFENBAUGH v. HUDSON, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

820 P.2d 445 – REED v. SCOTT, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

813 P.2d 508 – OHIO CAS. INS. CO. v. TODD, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

766 F.Supp. 1018 – MARSHALL v. NELSON ELEC., United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma.

954 F.2d 610 – IN RE SWEET, United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

826 P.2d 978 – HADNOT v. SHAW, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

844 P.2d 141 – FOWLER v. BAILEY, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

857 P.2d 789 – BLADEN v. FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

863 P.2d 1189 – STATE EX REL. OKL. BAR ASS’N v. GASAWAY, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

878 P.2d 360 – GILMORE v. ENOGEX, INC., Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

885 P.2d 361 – O’CONNOR v. DIOCESE OF HONOLULU, Supreme Court of Hawai`i.

75 Wn. App. 833 – KOREAN CHURCH v. LEE, The Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One.

188 Ariz. 401 – BARNES v. OUTLAW, Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 2, Department B.

19 F.Supp.2d 1249 – ZERAN v. DIAMOND BROADCASTING, INC., United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma.

150 N.J. 550 – F.G. v. MacDONELL, The Supreme Court of New Jersey.

592 N.W.2d 713 – SMITH v. CALVARY CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Court of Appeals of Michigan.

978 P.2d 520 – MOE v. WISE, Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2.

998 P.2d 592 – N.H. v. PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.), Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

989 P.2d 1148 – MOE v. WISE, Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2.

987 P.2d 1185 – PATEL v. OMH MEDICAL CENTER, INC., Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

988 P.2d 1282 – ROWLAND v. CITY OF TULSA, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

614 N.W.2d 590 – SMITH v. CALVARY CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Supreme Court of Michigan.

121 F.Supp.2d 1327 – BRYCE v. EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN DIOCESE OF COLORADO, United States District Court, D. Colorado.

26 S.W.3d 54 – WILLIAMS v. GLEASON, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (14th Dist.).

40 P.3d 481 – FRANCIS v. ROGERS, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

34 P.3d 955 – SANDS v. LIVING WORD FELLOWSHIP, Supreme Court of Alaska.

55 P.3d 1012 – DANIELS v. UNION BAPTIST ASS’N, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

60 P.3d 1072 – CINOCCA v. ORCRIST, INC., Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 3.

66 P.3d 364 – HEDGES v. HEDGES, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

289 F.3d 648 – BRYCE v. EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN DIOCESE OF COLORADO, United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

441 Mass. 699 – CALLAHAN v. FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF HAVERHILL, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Su_olk.

835 N.E.2d 411 – DUNCAN v. PETERSON, Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District.

109 P.3d 326 – STATE, EX REL. OKLAHOMA BAR v. ANDERSON, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

137 P.3d 1253 – TRICE v. BURRESS, Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 1.

945 So.2d 526 – MALICHI v. ARCHDIOCESE OF MIAMI, District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

238 S.W.3d 58 – CALVARY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL v. HUFFSTUTTLER, Supreme Court of Arkansas.

933 A.2d 92 – CONNOR v. ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA, Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

533 F.Supp.2d 567 – SNYDER v. PHELPS, United States District Court, D. Maryland.

177 P.3d 565 – GENS v. CASADY SCHOOL, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

994 A.2d 212 – THIBODEAU v. AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES, Appellate Court of Connecticut.

103 So.3d 40 – EX PARTE BOLE, Supreme Court of Alabama.

994 A.2d 212 – THIBODEAU v. AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES, Appellate Court of Connecticut.

ZENERGY, INC. v. COLEMAN, United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma.

897 F.Supp.2d 1109 – SCHLANGER INS. TRUST v. JOHN HANCOCK LIFE INS., United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma.

PARK v. TRICAN WELL SERVICE, L.P., United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma.

287 P.3d 397 – WRT REALTY, INC. v. BOSTON INV. GROUP II, Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 2.

2014 OK 100 – IN RE AMENDMENTS TO OKLAHOMA UNIFORM JURY INSTRUCTIONS, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

368 P.3d 771 – IN RE M.K.T., Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

390 P.3d 238 – MATTER OF ESTATE OF VOSE, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

2017 OK 15 – DOE v. THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH U.S.A. OF TULSA, Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

2017 OK 106 – DOE v. FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH U.S.A., Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

975 A.2d 1084 – CONNOR v. ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

CONVENTION OF PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE v. RECTOR, Court of Appeals of Tennessee, at Nashville.

264 S.W.3d 1 – PLEASANT GLADE ASSEMBLY OF GOD v. SCHUBERT, Supreme Court of Texas.

 

*** American democracy imposes responsibilities on those who dissent: two quotes from the courts and jurists

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[Image appears to be that of Ranger Weaver’s daughter, Savannah, who was 13 months old when her father’s Black Hawk was shot down, killing 8. More info: Rich McKay. FAMILY STUNNED OVER DEATH OF SOLDIER WHO DIDN’T HAVE TO BE IN IRAQ. South Florida Orlando Sun-Sentinel. 10 January 2004.]  https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2004-01-10-0401100202-story.html

II. Images that point to, among other facts, the vapor trail of tortious and other unlawful activities against presumptive plaintiff. 

A. Nature and political goals of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance: “The will of the people? F*ck that. I want my lawyer.”

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“Discernment’? Well, it’s sort of like ‘integrity.’ It doesn’t quite mean what it used to. The Episcopal Church-LGBT discernment process ‘WILL RESULT in your parish adopting an LGBT-specific welcoming statement and . . .'” 

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B. Images reflecting efforts to crush those who dissent from the political goals of LGBT operatives, including those persons in and associated with the Episcopal Church

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Burning the pastoral letter of your Bishop isn’t enough to satisfy angry members of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance”: Bishop Love’s dissent in favor of traditional Christian values must be declared “conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.”

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Following two quotes are excerpted from Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (“PECUSA”) Michael C. Curry’s decision to punish an American military veteran – a single bishop who dared to challenge the Episcopal church and its LGBT political goals 

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Just one hour’s Google search: nearly two dozen public apologies:

 

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C. Images reflecting Sins of the Father and Sins of the Son committed against the political goals of the gay-lesbian/LGBT community

Father: Carl H. Bloeser, M.A.P.A., M.P.H. (3 January 1939 – 8 February 2014), U.S. Army and U.S.A.F. veteran and former State of Arizona AIDS Health Program Manager

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graphic re audit and dads ef speech 1100 x 700 12 Feb 2019

 

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Son: Charles L.K. Bloeser, M.A., J.D., member, Bar of the State of Tennessee. Author of article advocating for a federal constitutional amendment that would define “marriage” as being only a heterosexual union.

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Charles Bloeser. The Right of the People to Protect Marriage as a Heterosexual Union. I Do. No, You Don’t: does gay marriage warrant amending the U.S. Constitution? Tulsa Law Magazine 15 (Fall 2004) (excerpt):

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Following paragraph is excerpted from presumptive plaintiff’s 20 October 2018 (revised) formal withdrawal from the Episcopal Church, delivered by email to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael C. Curry, the Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, and the Rector and Associate Rector of St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church in Tucson, Arizona. 

“As recently as 6 October, I’ve again put in writing to the local U.S. Attorney’s office and to FBI cybercrime agents that I have no interest in seeing prosecutions and lawsuits against my adversaries in a fight over a structurally defective homeless assessment tool or adversaries from the Justice and National Security communities whom I inherited from my late father. [] My promise not to seek prison or money from those two groups does not, of course, extend without limit to adversaries and enemies trying, for other reasons, to destroy me and my high-quality record as a published lawyer and researcher.

This paragraph is excerpted from the above-referenced 6 October 2018 IC3 update.

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D. Images that permit establishment of a baseline for examining social media interaction with presumptive plaintiff’s vet-focused research products following the 22 January 2018

Baseline: the warriors

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Baseline: the analytics

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E.  Screen shot images which can be reasonably interpreted to point to and identify tortious acts executed against presumptive plaintiff, personally and professionally.

  • Wholesale removal of audience intended to benefit from shared information. Replaced by sordid collection of professionals who time and again reveal themselves to lack ability or inclination to use and share content with those who might be able to save a veteran’s life.  

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  • Writings, including digital communications, by presumptive defendants and witnesses, e.g., troll strike by Mr. Warren Pielak MBA, against my personal and professional integrity in LinkedIn group with nearly 10,000 members

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  •  JUST A FEW EXAMPLES: Presumptive plaintiff; his digital record of professional training, positions, and publications; and his original and shared social media content removed from public and group posts because such content is “abusive,” “unsafe,” and/or “against community standards”

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  • Images reasonably identifying targeted attacks on content created by presumptive plaintiff’s late father and by his mother.

verdun sarcasm

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This document ends with two items:

(a) images of four examples of presumptive plaintiff’s many attempts to secure a satisfactory and beneficial resolution to both real and phantom disputes with members of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance and which would have made this lawsuit unnecessary. I’ve had coffee or a meal with each of these persons.

(b) Images revealing the emasculation of the reasonably expected audience for an article that I wrote because an American combat veteran who’d simply been left to rot and die in a modern American jail asked me to tell his story in the hopes that others wouldn’t suffer his same fate. The editors at strifeblog.org, an internationally respected security blog from the Department of War Studies at Kings College London, wanted an international audience to know “Henry’s” story. Given pattern conduct, it’s more than reasonable to suspect members of the Episcopal Church – LGBT alliance as causing this injustice to a dead American soldier. My letter to DoD appears last.

 

 

 

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*Fellow Sewanee alumni and my EfM mentors at St. Philips in the Hills, Tucson, for three years. Mr. Howell Herring is City of Tucson Deputy IT Director after having served in the same position for the City of Philadelphia.. Howell’s wife, Dr. Mary Hickert Herring, possesses a divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary and serves on the Vestry at St. Philips:

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*Mr. Clyde Kunz, consultant to non-profits whose past and present Tucson clients include the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, which is the former employer of the COO at Primavera Foundation in Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Kunz is an Episcopalian and, like Mr. Howell Herring, a mentor in Education for Ministry (EfM), a 4-year theological studies program operated out of the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee)) and serving – with mentor message board and other resources – EfM groups in more than 800 churches. Like Primavera Foundation’s COO, Mr. Kunz is a member of the LGBT community. 

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*7 October 2018 email to Episcopal Church Deacon Leah Sandwell-Weiss, who serves at St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church, Tucson, AZ.

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Here’s a quote from a 14 November 2018 email in which I sought assistance resolving these matters from “Punch” Woods, a former Methodist missionary and retired head of the Southern Arizona Food Bank who’s been a long-time personal friend of two particularly recalcitrant adversaries: one of them who’s already demonstrated her experience “masterminding” and running a nationwide criminal conspiracy (United States v. Aguilar, []Margaret Jean HUTCHISON a/k/a Peggy Hutchison, et. al. 883 F.2d 662 (9th Cir. 1989)) and the other, a Divinity school graduate and former executive at Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation in Tucson, AZ.

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sign-on-gate-of-kings-college-london 265About Strife

What is Strife?
“Strife is a dual format publication comprised of Strife academic blog, as well as the peer-reviewed academic journal, Strife Journal, which is published biannually. Strife is led by doctoral and graduate researchers based in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds including graduate and doctoral researchers, staff and faculty at King’s, and leading experts from around the world.”

 

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SOMETIMES THE AMERICAN FOSTER CHILD SYSTEM WORKS QUITE EFFICIENTLY; IT JUST DOES SO THE WRONG WAY

“PROSE”: “the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing.”  – Merriam Webster

 

Homeless parents – veteran or otherwise – want their kids back, too.

 ‘time for some weaponized sarcasm.

 I’ve encountered rough-sleeping moms and dads who’ve been told by child welfare workers that they can get their children back if they’ll just find a suitable place for their family to live. Of course, these are the same parents who aren’t eligible for much of the family housing that would satisfy child services because their children aren’t with them at the time. No, I have to tell them. No. It doesn’t make sense to me either. No. I don’t know what they’re supposed to do.

Even if homeless parents manage to get that housing, it’s too often not enough to get their kids back. Much of the time, child services tells parents that they’ll get their children back if they find a safe place for the family to live so long as they complete courses on parenting and anger management and what not.

“It’ll be easy,” says the child services worker. She then gives the parents a list of the classes they must complete by a certain deadline, names of the relevant providers, and phone numbers the parents must call to enroll in the classes. More phone numbers for caring ones who don’t respect these parents enough to return their calls. Calls left every day for three weeks. Messages that echo panic as the deadline to complete the required courses nears. And even if a class provider or Child services staff does eventually, perhaps on the eve of their court date, call, it may be too late. By that time maybe the parents lost phone service again for non-payment. And perhaps there’s no time left on the parents’ free “minute phone.” After all, it eats up a lot of minutes when you have to call and leave a bunch of pointless messages.

It’s all very sad, of course. But who knows? Maybe the foster family that’s been caring for their children is growing attached to the kids. And the family has a steady income. Money lets them pay the electric bill so that no one has to sleep in a car. The kids can have stable education. And the foster family will take them to a house of worship every week. Just think of the opportunities these kids’ll get!

You know it and I know it. The parents are losers. There’s no way that they’ll ever do any of that for them. Come on everybody. This is nobody’s first trip to the rodeo. We all know those kids’ll get such a better life with that foster family. When the parents’ court day finally arrives after weeks of unreturned calls, the “best interest of the child” clearly demands that the worker testify to the judge under oath that the parents haven’t complied.

And now it’s the parents’ turn to testify to a judge who’s barely taller than the stack of deprived child files that she drew theirs from. But this is the first time that either parent has been to a court. It’s all new. The pedestrian court room is so full that it snaps its buttons, and family members and attorneys spill into the hallway. A baby cries, and a bailiff quickly tells a mother to take her infant outside.

These parents may have been told by an appointed lawyer who first met them today that they will get a turn to speak to the judge. So as one case after another gets called, they wait their turn and try to focus and think of what they might say to the judge in this unfamiliar place with unfamiliar rules. They try to listen to the cases called before theirs for clues, but it’s hard to hear from where they sit. A thin buzz hovers around and through them while along the sidelines lawyers have hushed conversations with police officers and child welfare workers and attorneys for the State.

It gets even harder for these parents to focus each time they hear the stern woman in the black robe say it is ordered that a family’s children will not be returned at this time and a new court date will be set for several months from now. When that happens, wailing drenches and saturates the anxious courtroom.

And as these parents watch that family leave the courtroom, they hear those parents shatter courtroom decorum. Their anger and frustration trigger a line of cops against the far wall. Tired cops who just got off night shift and now wait to testify in their various cases. Those cops don’t want to be here. Too many don’t want to be questioned about what they filed with the court. They wrote their reports. Shouldn’t that be good enough? But they show up anyway. There’s just too big a chance that if they don’t, their cases will be dismissed. And that doesn’t look good to their higher ups. And sometimes it leaves kids with a truly dangerous predator who has hurt or killed before. “You said it was a slam dunk!” that other mother screams at her lawyer as she slams open the door into the hallway.

But now that these parents get to speak to the judge, what will they say? Somehow that worker who told them that all she wants to see is for this family to be reunited forgot to tell these parents to get a spiral notebook at the dollar store. A notebook they should use to write a note about every date and time anything happens that has something to do with their children’s case. Especially every time they try to do what Child services told them to do to get their kids back and every time they called or tried to call anyone about their case. Yes, somehow that worker who cares so much about reuniting their family just forgot to tell them to do this. Of course, the same worker has no excuse for not telling them. This was the 300th time she’s testified in a case like this.

But in the worker’s defense, maybe she’s simply trying to make the whole process run smoother. Or, run at all. You know, so that the law’s insistence that “the best interests of the child” can actually mean something. For at least some of the kids. 

None of that can happen, of course, if the worker has to be bothered with one parent after another who’s prepared to contradict her testimony to the judge. With facts. With specificity. With credibility. She’s got too many kids on her caseload and too much paperwork already. She doesn’t have time for nonsense like that.

So, the worker testifies to the judge directly from her own notes, and her agency’s version of the parents’ compliance is the one the judge thinks is stronger. Far too often, unless the judge has a thorough – enough report from a court-appointed special advocate (CASA[i] worker) or a guardian ad-litem, almost the only thing the court will be allowed to consider as it decides whether to release the children to their parents is the sworn testimony of a government agency that cares.

After the lady in the black robes has heard from everyone who has a say in this proceeding, she finds that the parents have not complied and orders that it’s in the best interests of the children to stay in the care of child services. Without suitable family members anywhere close or who are suitable to take the kids in, the children will stay – either together or severed from one another – with whatever foster families the government puts the kids with. Another court date on the same issues is set for months from now. What else is the judge supposed to do in the brief minutes that she can spend on each case? 

Maybe these parents, the ones who don’t have any of the resources that many of us assume we own by birthright, will somehow find a way to satisfy the worker and the Court enough to recover their children. But they may not, and a court may sever these siblings’ relationships with their parents as neatly and cleanly as a nurse clips an umbilical cord.

So, after the frost melts in the shadowed spaces between the trees and gives way to families and picnic baskets at the edge of a Civil War battlefield, and after summer is spent and the colors that fall to the ground take on regal hues, twice, I’ll run into those parents again.

If I’m careless, I’ll ask them, “so, how’s the family”?[ii]

 

Ponca City News article re swearing in as ADA. 350 x 267Researcher’s role as a participant in America’s “foster-child system”

The author’s responsibilities in criminal and civil matters while serving as an assistant district attorney for the State of Oklahoma were, among others:  

(a) reviewing child welfare reports to determine which warranted applications for judicial child removal orders and possible criminal prosecution;

(b) representing the State’s interests in civil “deprived child” actions arising from these cases, as well as in civil cases alleging actions by minors that, if done by an adult, would be criminal offenses and subject to prosecution;

(c) learning whether a crime committed against or by a child occurred on land and under circumstances that authorized the State of Oklahoma to act (the judicial district I served is a patchwork of jurisdictions that include a number of Indian tribes and in which the land that the State couldn’t touch might be no bigger than the lot where the crimes occurred);

(d) primary assistant D.A. on call to respond to ER, courthouse, or other locations in order to seek, if necessary, order from the judge authorizing the emergency commitment of persons deemed danger to self or others, an order which, in the absence of suitable family, resulted in kids going into foster care;

(e) took turns with other assistant D.A.’s on call to respond to scenes of suicide and other deaths when requested by law enforcement;

(f) on occasion, participating in case conferencing with other relevant actors re children placed in the custody of child services and perhaps housed in foster homes; and

(g) serving as the District Attorney’s representative at some of the informal foster parent gatherings held in that judicial district.

 

Mr. Richardson and attorney Charles Bloeser State of Tennessee carjacking and murder trial. 375 x 210Regardless of which side I’ve represented over the years, America’s foster system has always insisted on showing up, either openly or by lurking in the shadows in cases involving:

(a) criminal defendants, appellants, and petitioners who had been removed from their homes as children due to abuse, neglect or a parent’s inability to keep them housed, fed, and in school;

(b) clients whose children had been removed for any or all of the same reasons and who had not been reunited with their kids;

(c) persons arrested, charged and sometimes previously convicted for committing crimes against children, including sex crimes, assault, criminal neglect, and homicide; and

(d) persons who insisted on pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit or which the State couldn’t have proven at trial, under threat that child services would be sent into the home to remove their children if they did not plead guilty.

Feature Image courtesy National Military Family Association. Accessed on-line 5 Oct 2018. http://www.militaryfamily.org/kids-operation-purple/deployment.html

 

Endnotes

[i]“CASA/GAL volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA/GAL volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.” National CASA Association | 800.628.3233 | www.casaforchildren.org

[ii]“Marine family opens heart, home to foster children”

By Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson | 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing | October 13, 2016

https://www.3rdmaw.marines.mil/News/News-Article-Display/Article/973309/marine-family-opens-heart-home-to-foster-children/

2018 Women’s Day article features U.S. Army Lt. Col. whose family has – despite deployment to Iraq – taken in 34 foster children since first being approved by state officials in 2013: https://www.womansday.com/relationships/family-friends/a20962937/military-family-foster-parents/

PDF of 2016 U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services/Children’s Bureau factsheet for military families considering adoption (which in many cases begins with fostering children who can’t be or aren’t returned to their families): https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_militia.pdf

 

 

Charles.photo.lawlibrary. 150 x 200Charles Bloeser is a lawyer and the researcher behind the creation of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication, in August 2018, reports how a cancer-stricken, combat-haunted Vietnam veteran fell between the cracks in a modern jail. It’s an account that, from that warrior’s deathbed, he asked author to share with those best able to keep the same thing from happening to others. STRIFE, at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, gave him a way to do that.  

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam

Shawnee Warrior Tecumseh: “If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

“Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

“When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

 

This version of a warrior’s reflections on pursuing a life unencumbered by a fear of death, as well as the following remarks and featured image are pulled from http://nativeheritageproject.com. I’m indebted to a great American and great friend, who posted the foregoing guiding principles on social media.

This beautiful passage is attributed to Tecumseh, although it is disputed and also attributed to some of the Wapasha Chiefs, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Wovoka.

“Tecumseh did indeed die as a hero.  Mortally wounded, as shown in the carving above, Tecumseh gave the orders, “One of my legs is shot off! But leave me one or two guns loaded — I am going to have a last shot. Be quick and go!”

OHS_AL00198

The following background quote re Shawnee warrior Tecumseh is taken from a 1995 Smithsonian Magazine article by Bil Gibson and accessed at smithsonianmag.com:

“Tecumseh was a warrior at 15; later he became a renowned field commander and a charismatic orator. By the early 1800s he had conceived of a Pan-Indian federation. In this union he hoped old tribal rivalries would be set aside so that the indigenous people of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley could act as one in resisting the advancing whites. From a base on the Tippecanoe River in northern Indiana, he traveled from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico promoting this federation. His ambition was probably an impossible one; the Indian population of this territory was then less than 100,000 and that of the United States nearly seven million. Still, rumors of what he was up to greatly alarmed many frontier whites, including William Henry Harrison, the federal governor of the Indiana Territory. Formerly a Regular Army officer, Harrison negotiated with Tecumseh face-to-face on two occasions and assessed him as “one of those uncommon geniuses who spring up occasionally to produce revolutions and overturn the established order of things.”

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-dying-tecumseh-97830806/#dhtS2Vs96sdezZgq.99

FEATURE IMAGE, summary description, and linked-to add’l information courtesy office of the Architect of the Capitol:

DEATH OF TECUMSEH

Death of Tecumseh frieze

“Tecumseh, a brilliant Indian chief, warrior and orator, is shown being fatally shot by Colonel Johnson at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada during the War of 1812. Tecumseh and his followers joined forces with the British to resist the encroachment of settlers on Indian territory. With Tecumseh’s death, however, the momentum and power of the Indian confederacy was broken. (1813)”

https://www.aoc.gov/art/frieze-american-history/death-tecumseh

 

 

 

GI: Owned Lock, Stock, and Barrel

“PROSE”: “the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing.”  – Merriam Webster

 

A former special operator has remarked that his generation suffers from a kind of moral relativism that assumes all purported “truths” are equally valid. He pointed out that it matters little that someone disagrees with the proposition that “2 + 2 = 4.” Mathematicians don’t waste time listening to arguments otherwise. And neither does the military, he explained.

Calculating and acting on the correct answer to complex mathematical equations was the job of, among others, World War II bombardiers. And tens of thousands of Allied navigators and radiomen and pilots and gunners died getting bombardiers to their job sites, so they could do what they’d been trained and tasked to do. More people than anticipated died 20,000 feet below when a bombardier got the math wrong.

Of course, the mathematics of calculating the correct and desired damage to a target – computer assist or not – has never been the only part of the military’s mission that’s nothing more than a car on blocks if alternative, or preferred, truths are given the time of day.

grandad dress and decoration post DPRK. 225 x 300Facts no one in our family ever talked about, truths about where and why and how my grandad was critically wounded in combat, have made me reflect on another non-negotiable fact of military service that is both unknown and unfelt by most of the 92.7% of us in this country who have never served under arms: the fact of being government property to be used as the nation deems necessary.

What I’ve learned by researching the Korean combat experiences of other soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division has told me much I never knew about what grandad was made of. It’s given me a narrow space in a fence through which I can see part of why this World War II drill instructor I called “grandad” was never the same after Korea. And what I’ve seen has forever axed the thought that I might one day change my hard-to-spell surname from that of a soldier from Queens with an 8th grade education who adopted two Tennessee boys and then raised my dad and his kid brother as best he knew how.

In a September 13, 2017 Brookings’ blogpost, “Catastrophe on the Yalu: America’s Intelligence Failure in Korea,” Bruce Riedel, the Director of Brookings’ Intelligence Project, suggests that the bloodletting at Unsan – during which U.S. Army Master Sergeant Charles Bloeser was forever wounded – didn’t have to happen. Three days of fighting legions of battle – hardened Communist Chinese troops who weren’t supposed to be there was due to “a catastrophic intelligence failure. . .. the result of terrible intelligence management, not the poor collection or analysis of information.”

Casualty records at the National Archives report that grandad was “[s]eriously wounded in action by missile” on November 2, 1950. In an excerpt in Vanity Fair from The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, David Halberstam explains what happened one day earlier, when the two-star general commanding grandad’s division asked for permission to pull back:

On the afternoon of November 1, Major General Hobart R. “Hap” Gay, the First Cav division commander, was in his command post with General Charles Palmer, his artillery commander, when a radio report from an observer in an L-5 spotter plane caught their attention: “This is the strangest sight I have ever seen. There are two large columns of enemy infantry moving southeast over the trails in the vicinity of Myongdang-dong and Yonghung-dong. Our shells are landing right in their columns and they keep coming.” Those were two tiny villages five or six air miles from Unsan. Palmer immediately ordered additional artillery units to start firing, and Gay nervously called First Corps, requesting permission to pull the entire Eighth Cav several miles south of Unsan. His request was denied.

honor-guard-w-flag-arlington-natl-cemetary-multi-sourced. 300 x 166

 

The Army’s Military History Center describes what happened next:

“Thousands of Chinese [] attacked from the north, northwest, and west against scattered U.S. and South Korean units moving deep into North Korea. The Chinese seemed to come out of nowhere as they swarmed around the flanks and over the defensive positions of the surprised [] troops.” As the lead to the Halberstam excerpt puts it, “hundreds of Americans got slaughtered at Unsan, one of the worst defeats of the Korean War.”

In “one of the most shameful and little-known incidents in U.S. military history,” writes Charles J. Hanley (quoting Korean War historian Jack J. Gifford), some 600 of the 3rd Battalion’s 800 men” were “[t]rapped by two Chinese divisions,” and “left to die in far northern Korea.”

“The Yalu disaster was completely predictable,” writes Riedel in his Brookings blogpost. “The intelligence failure was the result of a policy maker’s determination that intelligence support his preconceived views, not challenge them. It is a timeless lesson.”

Knowing that men my grandad trained with and fought to keep alive – men from what Sebastian Junger would call his “tribe” – died in or after a battle that looks like it never had to go down the way it did, infuriates me. And I regret that I didn’t know these things when grandma was alive and might have found in this history at least some solace after living through some very dark years with her husband after he came home.

To my way of thinking, the men who fell at Unsan died with honor. But the likelihood that their lives were wasted is disturbing.

And knowing that many of these men would have died on other battlefields on the Korean peninsula before two years of peace talks would bring an armistice is no comfort. Quite the opposite.

The warriors ordered into a Chinese hornets’ nest with grandad were sons and brothers and husbands and fathers – all soldiers who deserved to fight where they could do the most good. Not here. Not this way.

Ms. Elizabeth M. Collins writes in a November 2016 retrospective at Army.Mil that “[a] 1954 Congressional report termed the Korean War “one of the most heinous and barbaric” periods in history, citing some 1,800 cases of war crimes involving thousands of victims: “Virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of war prisoners was purposely violated or ignored by the North Korean or Chinese forces.”

 

But here’s where grandad has a lesson for those of us who have never served. Had he known earlier what the intel really showed – that Communist China cared a great deal about what happened the other side of the Yalu river – it wouldn’t have mattered. It must not be allowed to matter.

Like all who serve, grandad was owned by the United States lock, stock, and barrel, to be used as his nation deemed necessary. Even if ordered to march into Hell itself.

The thing about that is this. We who are civilians might see such an order as time for a career change without giving notice. U.S. Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, and members of the U.S. Coast Guard who refuse to obey lawful orders breach the law and threaten the order, discipline, and unit cohesiveness without which the nation can neither defend itself nor otherwise pursue its interests.

That was true for grandad, who had solemnly sworn, among other duties, that he would “observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States of America, and the orders of the officers appointed over [him].”

It was true for grandad’s commanding general whose request to pull the Army back had been denied.

 

ENDNOTE content supplied in sequence. Links to numbers to be updated.

[1] Author: Charles L.K. Bloeser, M.A., J.D. Member, Bar of the State of Tennessee; member, Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

[2] (“. . . what if we told you that 2 +2 = ? has stumped even some of the smartest mathematicians because it doesn’t necessarily have to equal 4?”) Elena Holodny. “Here’s How Your Watch Can Prove that 2 + 2 Doesn’t Equal 4.” Businessinsider.com (June 24, 2014).

[3] Mona Chalabi. “What Percentage of Americans Have Served in the Military?” Fivethirtyeight.com (March 19, 2015).

[4]Sixty years later those fallen soldiers, the lost battalion of Unsan, are stranded anew.

“North Korea is offering fresh clues to their remains. American teams are ready to re-enter the north to dig for them. But for five years the U.S. government has refused to work with North Korea to recover the men of Unsan and others among more than 8,000 U.S. missing in action from the 1950-53 war.

“Now, under pressure from MIA family groups, the Obama administration is said to be moving slowly to reverse the Bush administration’s suspension of the joint recovery program, a step taken in 2005 as the North Korean nuclear crisis dragged on.

“If I had a direct line in to the president, I would say, `Please reinstitute this program. There are families that need closure,'” said Ruth Davis, 61, of Palestine, Texas, whose uncle, Sgt. 1st Class Benny Don Rogers, has been listed as MIA since Chinese attackers overran his company — I Company, 8th Cavalry — at Unsan in late 1950.

It was one of Rogers’ I Company comrades, Pfc. Philip W. Ackley of Hillsboro, New Hampshire, whose identifying dog tag appeared in a photo the North Koreans handed over at Korea’s Panmunjom truce village in January of this 60th year since the war started. The North Koreans also delivered photos of remains, a stark reminder that Unsan’s dead still wait to come home.” Charles J. Hanley, “Lost Korean War battalion awaits US MIA decision,” Associated Press (July 18, 2010).

[5] Sebastian Junger. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (London: 4th Estate 2017).

[6] Another soldier from the “First Cav” whose honorable service at Unsan was recognized publicly was Tibor Rubin. Mr. Rubin had survived the Holocaust while his family did not. He thanked the United States for his rescue by enlisting in the Army shortly after he arrived in the States and when he could barely speak English. Mr. Rubin was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor in combat at Unsan, but his official citation describes in detail how the soldier single-handedly kept alive as many as 40 of his fellow POWs during 2 years he spent in a Chinese prison camp.

[7] “The first oath under the Constitution was approved by Act of Congress 29 September 1789 (Sec. 3, Ch. 25, 1st Congress). It applied to all commissioned officers, noncommissioned officers and privates in the service of the United States.” Information courtesy history.army.mil, accessed May 28, 2018.

 

 

 

Charles.photo.lawlibrary. 150 x 200Charles Bloeser is a lawyer and the researcher behind the creation of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication, in August 2018, reports how a cancer-stricken, combat-haunted Vietnam veteran fell between the cracks in a modern jail. It’s an account that, from that warrior’s deathbed, he asked author to share with those best able to keep the same thing from happening to others. STRIFE, at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, gave him a way to do that.  

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam

 

 

 

 

 

NEW FROM STRIFE BLOG and this author: Part II of Henry: a wounded soldier forgotten by all in an American jail – by all except his brothers who fell beside him in Vietnam

Strife image 397 x 397The former soldier grimaced for just an instant as he lowered himself into a Spartan metal chair opposite mine in this cramped space we shared. A chair like the one he’d lowered himself into for his monitored telephone call with his wife. Their relationship described in Hebrew scriptures as one in which they cling to each other, becoming “one flesh.” Separated here for legitimate security reasons by a thick sheet of glass.  Those of us in “the biz” prefer to call that kind of visit a “no contact visit.” It just sounds a little better than “no human touch.”

Once he was seated, Henry and I greeted each other with mutual respect, but the veteran’s words were narrow and thin. He wore a state court detainee’s bright orange coveralls. But he couldn’t fill them out.

I glanced again at the booking photograph from six months earlier.  And I looked back at this veteran. These couldn’t be the same person. They mustn’t be the same person.

Henry confirmed the basic facts that his wife had given me out in the lobby. He said he’d been arrested before. For the same thing. Henry told me it wasn’t that way before he was sent to Vietnam.

Part I

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam-part-i/

Part II

http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/07/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam-part-ii/

sign-on-gate-of-kings-college-london 265About Strife

What is Strife?
“Strife is a dual format publication comprised of Strife academic blog, as well as the peer-reviewed academic journal, Strife Journal, which is published biannually. Strife is led by doctoral and graduate researchers based in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds including graduate and doctoral researchers, staff and faculty at King’s, and leading experts from around the world.”

 

 

 

 

ckb face indian screen image indirect 150 x 221Charles Bloeser is the creator of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative that will continue to contribute to bridging the gap in experience, knowledge, and understanding that divides those who’ve never served under arms from those who have. He’s the civilian son and grandson of veterans and a lawyer who’s spent most years arguing criminal and constitutional issues in America’s state and federal trial and appellate courts. Among his published research are works re Libyan-supported Jihadi terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, civilian-military law enforcement relations in the U.S., and the demands that an increasingly complex national security environment make for special operations forces. His research agenda includes national security/defense/veterans issues, with special attention to those facing challenges from combat stress/PTSD/TBI etc.

 

“Spring 2017: Those No One Sees”, another Primavera Foundation – inspired essay re causes of homelessness

Featured painting by Umar Rashid aka “Frohawk Two Feathers.” Image courtesy of University of Arizona Museum of Art. Photograph by this author. 16 March 2019

Rough sleepers no one sees

Even among the unseeables, though, there is a layer of humanity below those I just mentioned. Many of these would be included among the untouchables, those persons so low in Indian society that they fit nowhere within the structure of a divinely –created Hindu caste system. Also known as Dalits, Indian society considers them impure from birth. As such, they are often work menial jobs in agriculture or clean latrines and sewers by hand. In a world in which more than seven out of ten of us live on $10 or less a day, these unseeables live on less than $2 a day for a family of four.

These are those souls you saw standing dazed with unkempt hair and misfit clothes outside the Old Town Farmers Market the day you took your daughter to celebrate her first day of kindergarten. They’re the very same people you now see standing dazed outside the same farmers market as you take that same daughter to celebrate the launch of her new clothing line. These are the ones who have nothing and who will likely always have nothing. Those who no church or Eagle Scout or Junior League project will ever “fix.” Their photos and stories will never be touted as “success stories” in fund raising campaigns. We won’t drag them in front of the media so they can tell us how their whole lives have turned around because of those of us who care. Many of these unseeables are among the more than twenty percent of the U.S. homeless population who suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar, aka manic, depression, or severe depression. Their mental illnesses place them among those who USA Today found are 16 times more likely to be killed by cops than the rest of us.

It is true that modern brain science now makes it possible for many who suffer from these conditions to earn professional degrees, hold down jobs, raise children, and keep a place to live if they get and take the right medications and therapy. But, as one California woman who slept rough for twenty years told USA Today in 2014, “On the streets, you don’t have time to get treated. You are trying to survive.” Many homeless persons whose treatment includes taking psychiatric medications routinely have them stolen, and many of the drugs are harder to replace now than they used to be.

For political advantage or due to ignorance, many still claim that anybody who wants a government check gets a government check. If there was ever a time when that was true, it is not today. As FiveThirtyEight reported in 2016, in the years since President Clinton signed into law comprehensive welfare reform, the number of low-income families who receive cash assistance dropped from 68 out of every 100 families to 23 out of 100 in 2014.

Social Security Disability Insurance also pays to far fewer persons than some still think. The truth is that many who sleep rough can’t get SSDI anyway. If an SSDI applicant never worked for an employer who paid in her FICA taxes or if she didn’t otherwise pay FICA taxes for the past ten years, she hasn’t paid enough into disability insurance to receive payments.

But even if she is eligible to receive payments from her Social Security Disability Insurance, it’s pretty hard for anyone, let alone a person who sleeps behind a dumpster, who can’t read, or whose mind functions at a fourth-grade level, to satisfy SSA’s complex, record-dependent standards. These require an SSA applicant to collect and submit extensive historic, medical, and other records required to even get considered for assistance.

These records are often scattered across the country in ERs and hospitals that accept emergency patients who don’t have insurance. And even if she does collect them, it’s hard for her to keep such records safe in a shopping cart, from the jailer who throws away these critical documents as he books her after an arrest for urinating behind some bushes at a local park, and from public officials and landowners who routinely run off the homeless from the spots where they try to sleep. As for those unseeables who can’t work because of mental illness, developmental delays or another condition that damages her ability to think and remember, the task of knowing what she is supposed to do and how to do it is akin to asking her to turn rye into wheat.

“The women we used to see”: another of researcher’s Spring 2017 essays re causes of homelessness

The Women We Used to See

And then there are the women we used to see. The ones who held Starbucks cups and wore fashionable sunglasses as they stood next to us and made small talk at our children’s soccer matches. Women who were home-room moms. Women who raised money to build shelters for the homeless. Mothers who took their children with them to deliver sandwiches to a special group of perpetual victims. Those women who were raped or beaten or robbed one too many times. Those women whom shelters now refuse to rescue from the ice and snow. Their sin? They sought protection and companionship in a dog. But that home-room mom, that woman we used to see, understood. She got it. And the next time she took her children to deliver sandwiches, they took along thick plastic bags hand-filled with dog food drawn from their own supply.

But none of that matters anymore. Three times in the past seven months, a judge found that this mother was a danger to herself or others. And each time, the judge ordered that the mother be kept in a hospital with locked doors and shower curtains that hang from PVC pipe sawed so it will snap if she tries to hang herself. Again. And no. She can’t keep the laces for her K-Swiss.

So now we no longer see her. Or the others. Those women with remnants of good hair, adorned in tailored clothes, with smooth skin and manicured nails and broken faces, souls hobbling on this season’s severed heels, penniless losers of cage-fights in divorce court. Women cut off from family and friends because “it’s best this way.” These are daughters and mothers and sisters and schoolmates who – with vacant, blood soaked sclera – now drag off the strange bus at the underfunded women’s shelter on the strange side of town, more newly scuffed leather luggage than they can carry.

These, the new unseeable women, are easy prey for street vultures who sniffed the earliest fragrance of decay and which now circle expectantly above. Waiting. Scavengers who, like the ancient Gnostics, keep close the secret knowledge of salvation: who you don’t look at, what you don’t ask, what you don’t wear, whom you don’t trust. Scavengers who know where it’s safe to shower or try to sleep or get a hot meal or get an “Obama phone” – a government-funded few free minutes that are more essential than mace in a society that no longer offers pay phones. And god help you if one of the agencies that care puts you on hold.

So the vultures circle and bide their time. They know from experience that the novice unseeable will grow bewildered, depressed, even suicidal when she learns that professional colleagues, bankers and members of her pilates and prayer groups no longer see her. As they prepare to tear her into small scraps, they know it won’t be long now. It won’t be long until she trembles at the edge of the train platform. What else is she supposed to do? For sworn, vile fiction treated as evidence prompted a court to order her to stay away from the children in whom she has invested her soul since before they were born. And the clean-up crew, gliding above, will watch. And they will wait patiently until, blinded by grief, the novice stumbles into a dead-end alley or sobs in pointless anguish when she learns that the kindergarten teacher who told her that she could always call on the police was simply telling another fairy tale.

George Price, Ph.D: just one of the rough sleepers featured in this researcher’s Spring 2017 essay series re how folks end up homeless

Sources I studied in Spring 2017 when I wrote this essay concur with additional sources that I examined in preparation to post this essay in March 2019, on an intriguing fact about Dr. Price: his homelessness and suicide in a squatter’s flat in London began with his decision to understand why people volunteer at places like Tucson’s Primavera Foundation.

Unseeables Terrified to be Seen

A Norwegian novel from 1890 does a better job for me than anything else I’ve seen of casting a light onto the shrouded souls of the faceless daughters and sons who roam sleepless through cities and villages of every latitude. Hunger, a novel by Norwegian author and winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize for Literature Knut Hamsun, tells the story of an unseeable. An unnamed homeless man who travels the streets of the Swedish capital in a quest for food. Told in the first person and based on Hamsun’s own life, the novel details the daily, sometimes hourly, psychic injuries suffered by a struggling writer who experiences hunger so great that he considers eating the very pencil that he hopes will feed him. Hamsun points out in microscopic detail that as our bodies lose nourishment, a strange, distorted reality takes its place. Even though it’s common to encounter unseeables from the streets who six months ago sounded fine but now seem paranoid and not entirely connected to reality, Hamsun’s brutally honest examination of this decline from the inside of the starving person was the first time I’d learned anything about the process.

The internal destruction of Hamsun’s narrator suggests a particular kind of tumultuous future for another kind of unseeable I get to meet from time to time. And that unsettles me. That is the soul who has always been paid to think. To create. The one who then finds herself on the streets because the mind that has always been her measure of self-worth decided it was tired of that game. People like Alfred Postell, a Harvard Law classmate of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who lost his law firm job after becoming mentally ill and has been seen roaming the streets of the nation’s capital; actress Margot Kidder, most known for playing Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman, who ended up sleeping in cardboard boxes and people’s yards in the L.A. area after her own problems with mental illness; and George Price, a polymathic scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project, made strides in cancer and computer research, and became known for seminal work in evolutionary biology. A man who became active helping the homeless in North London until he killed himself in a London squat by cutting his carotid artery out of his throat with nail scissors.

Unseeables just like these come here looking for housing like everyone else. Psychologists, lawyers, artists, doctors, business owners, scholars. Sometimes they look and smell the same unfortunate way as too many others I bring up those stairs. But more often than not they start the day at one of the downtown faith communities that offer breakfast and showers. And when it comes to clothing, like everyone else on the streets, they scrounge through the discount and give away deals at local thrift stores. Or they look for something on the donation rack downstairs. Something that won’t remind them of the strange, unfamiliar world they now unwillingly live in. And often there’s just not much to choose from.

The first hint I might have had that a person had a cerebral career is often in her speech. Complex sentence structure. Complex words. A slip of the tongue about foreign travel. But when I first meet them, they don’t say much. For almost every one of these formerly-paid thinkers comes here concealed in a coat of tightly-woven shame. And if one of them isn’t wearing one, it’s over an arm or easy to retrieve from the top of a frail but pretty back pack that someone from the caring caste gave her.

Shame for the world-class genius whom schizophrenia banished him to the streets three presidents ago. He’s the one who for the first time identified a mathematical construct I can neither identify correctly or understand but which opened the door to important discoveries in space science. He’s the one whose mastery of equations was first noticed when he was four but for whom all equations now lay on the floor as a balled-up spider web.

Shame for the anesthesiologist who remains on federal supervised release after a term in the Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. Attorney’s office had sent out a press release that told the world that the accomplished physician agreed to surrender his medical license as part of a plea deal in a Medicare fraud case. I’m sure it was just a careless oversight, but the prosecutor’s press release somehow failed to remind the public that seven years earlier the physician nearly bled to death on the sidewalk in front of his midtown apartment building. A gang had picked him at random to participate in the initiation of three new members. No guns. Just knives.

Following several dozen surgeries and many months in the hospital and in rehab, the doctor gradually returned to a full schedule at the hospital. But along the way the opioids that were prescribed to lessen his pain became the source of pain he would know the rest of his life. He became an addict. And even though he often appeared euphoric when he went to surgery, he was often impaired. But his efforts to cover up his addiction by defrauding Medicare is what prompted a months-long investigation.

Of all the cases the FBI and DEA and Secret Service, etc. brought to the U.S. Attorney, the federal prosecutor asked the grand jury to indict the doctor. Thanks again to a press release, the doctor’s televised arrest and word of his appearance in front of the U.S. magistrate judge were already big news. And that gave two benefits to the newly confirmed U.S. Attorney, a corporate tax lawyer whose only experience with criminal law was securing a sweetheart deal in a DUI case for the grandson of a U.S. senator. Prosecuting the physician for Medicare fraud sent an ominous message to others. And it would sound good to voters in future political fights for higher office to claim that she was a “law and order” candidate who sent those with prestige and money to prison just the same as she did anyone else.

The mathematician, the former anesthesiologist, and others who whose identities and brands paid them to think all tell me the same thing. Each says it a little differently from the others. But they say just what a Masters-level unseeable told me last week after telling me about her stellar career: “Not one thing that I accomplished counts anymore.”

In a way, she’s right. Each of these worked hard, and many played by the rules. Most accomplished much. After years of expensive education, personal and family sacrifice, and years spent mining deep for primary sources in a dozen countries, that mother constructs and defends the most significant research project of her life, a project that she hopes, and which may, transform an entire field of study and lay out the new map by which human lives might now move forward. Or what about that man waiting downstairs to meet with me? After too many midnight rendezvous as a law clerk for a firm on the 60th floor of a steel and glass stockade and after missing far too many of his daughter’s soccer games, that one is entrusted with the power to create or destroy entire companies, the power to save or end a human life in a court of law. For the person who is paid to think or perhaps create, both sense of personal identity and personal brand are perhaps forever fused.

Now among the unseeables, the prospect of being seen by a volunteer they know from church or the country club terrifies several of them so much that they like to see me by appointment. They remind me of Hamsun’s narrator, who secured a night’s sleep inside a jail cell by lying that was a famous journalist who lost his keys. And I’m sure that, like Hamsun’s starving writer, these people so fear admitting their poverty that they skip free food prepared for the homeless.

But also like Hamsun’s narrator, these clandestine veterans of seminars and international conferences and visiting teaching assignments sometimes get their covers blown. And when that happens, they try to present outer shells of respectability. But that’s often a fool’s errand. For those who are paid to think, personal and professional destruction is seldom a private matter. And it doesn’t matter if they’re at fault or not. Their value is in their minds, and these can no longer be trusted. By them or anyone else.

The career casualties I meet can’t be trusted even by that fast-food restaurant on the corner. They come here looking for a warm, dry place to stay because they have nowhere else to turn. Whether their paths to destruction traveled through mental illness or substance abuse, these people too often unwittingly burn their own villages to the ground and set fire to every bridge along the way. So that mother of three with the M.D. and a stellar 20-year career often can’t supply the professional or personal references asked for by that job application on the back of the bright, whimsical tray liner under her burger and fries.

* * *

George Price has prompted quite a few to write about the scientist, the Price Theorem, etc. Readers might find this article in New Republic a good starting point to learn more:

The Scientist Who Gave Himself Away | The New Republic

https://newrepublic.com/article/136770/scientist-gave-away

Below the Sahel 24 November 1970: Childhood Innocence No More

The following is excerpted from mom’s recently completed manuscript for her historical memoir, Vaccines & Bayonets: Fighting Smallpox in Africa amid Tribalism, Terror and the Cold War.  www.vaccinesandbayonets.com

embassy seal 1.95MUSICAL MINISTERS – AGAIN

Excerpt from November 19, 1970 letter to William Foege, M.D., Director, Smallpox Eradication Program, CDC, Atlanta,

From Carl Bloeser, Operations Officer, Equatorial Guinea

Once again we’re having a week of ‘musical ministers,’ something we’re all getting used to. The Minister of Health has been appointed Minister of Mines and Industries. The Minister of Mines and Industries is the new Minister of Justice, and of course that means that Dr. Rafael Obiang, the Minister of Justice and head of the Juventud, is the new Minister of Health.

I think it would be fair to say that Dr. Obiang would win hands down any contest for Equatorial Guinea’s most sinister man.

He is out of the country now. I doubt I’ll have the chance to see the new Minister before next week….

Certainly in the months to come, we will have to consider the political override to our programming in Equatorial Guinea. I will keep you informed of developments in the monthly activity reports.

* * * 

THE TERROR

November 24, 1970

“Don’t speak. Just listen. Grab the kids and an overnight bag. Be ready in ten minutes.”

 Carl was calling from his office at the American Embassy. My husband could be a bottom-line person if he had to be, but this time his voice sounded different, wooden.

Questions whirled in my brain.

 What’s happening this time? Who’s coming for us? Where are we going?

No opportunity to ask. Not safe to ask. The phone clattered back into its cradle as I ran to get our children and a few essentials.

Minutes later our family and Chargé d’Affaires Al Williams rode in palpable silence through the sultry equatorial afternoon. The pungent smell of moist earth and decomposing undergrowth hung on our clothing and stuck to our skin. My preoccupied stare settled on the

American flag fluttering from the miniature flagstaff of the embassy car, its presence announcing that either the ambassador or the Chargé was in the car. In theory that would give us diplomatic protection. I counted on more than theory.

monster image. 315 x 175

No one spoke until we were safely inside the Embassy Residence and out of earshot of the driver, who we were sure worked for the police.

Answers to my questions came soon enough. We would spend at least this night under the protection of the flag. Dr. Obiang, the new Minister of Health, had let loose his gangs of armed youth against the Portuguese community, and they were slashing their way through the street three blocks away. Their clubs and machetes were demolishing shops and bludgeoning any Portuguese they could get their hands on.

Minutes earlier Carman had phoned the alert to the chancery. She had just left it herself and stumbled into the attacks as she walked the few blocks to the Residence. She escaped harm only because her hairdresser spotted her and rushed from the shop screaming to the mob.

“No es portuguesa! Es americana!”

We learned that farther up the West African coast, the citizens of Portuguese Guinea (later Guinea-Bissau) fighting for independence from Portugal believed they had sighted a submarine off their shores. On the heels of a November 22 Portuguese-led attack on their neighbor, Guinea-Conakry, the sighting triggered a massacre there. So Equatorial Guineans would also go after the Portuguese—a show of solidarity.

Our embassy residence with its spacious entry hall and curving staircase stood on a slight rise a block from the harbor. Across the street sprawled the hacienda-style police station. The juxtaposition was jarring—serenity and hospitality on one side of the street, official torture and murder on the other. But on this night, most of the killing was a few blocks away.

Al telephoned President Macias and told him he had gathered all the Americans at the American Embassy Residence, and that we were under the protection of the United States Government. He expressed confidence in Macias’s ability to make sure no harm would come to us.

It appeared that nothing could ruffle either of the Williams. Carman liked to “let her hair down”—I often pictured her in a hippie commune—but when she needed to observe protocol she did it with flair. Al epitomized the calm and collected diplomat. His stance when in peril: It’s just part of representation.

Now he and Carl periodically cracked the door for an instant to look and listen for any up-to-the-minute sliver of intelligence. They otherwise talked, smoked Cuban cigars, drank the Spanish brandy Fundador and looked for things to laugh about. Gallows humor. One had to distance oneself in order to survive this place.

The Residence had moved from smaller quarters a few weeks earlier. I helped Carman hem new draperies for the massive windows to the accompaniment of her upbeat conversation and laughter.

Charles and Ginger drew pictures and devised paper creations, hopefully not hearing enough conversation to be aware of our situation. (Later I would learn of Charles’s being traumatized by his memory of human screams coming from the police station.)

Just now, he looked over at his dad at the sound of furtive conversation and hollow laughter coming from the far corner of the room.

dad state ID. 250 x 166Al and Carl were discussing the embassy’s Escape and Evasion Plan.

Seriously? This was our E and E plan? We would sneak down the arm of the bay to the Bahia, and swim thirty yards to that tiny button of land that peered above the surface of the water. Al lowered his voice and I strained to hear the hushed exchange. I wondered at the few words I could make out.

…if we…rescue team…

Then I think I heard something about a submarine rescue. Would they really come for us?

Carl leaned forward, his balding head shiny with perspiration. He rubbed a hand across his chin, further muffling his voice.

…don’t like it, Al…kids…sharks…rather try rainforest…

I’d read somebody had invented an inflatable life boat. If only we had one of those.

So here we were, the six permanent Americans on this small island where tropical foliage and black sand beaches camouflaged the struggle for survival under a brutal and xenophobic government.

I felt oddly unafraid, and Al and Carman took their “just part of representation” attitude. But after they concluded that we should all go to bed for what was left of the night, a stealthy disquiet settled beneath my calm exterior. I was thankful for one thing—this was not, at least, one of the few times when Al had to be away and left Carl as acting de facto chargé d’affaires. I’d have hated for him to have to deal with such a touchy situation.

Sleep eluded me that night as the hands of the clock made their rounds. Thoughts picked their way through streets and alleyways of littered memories. I searched. I teased out threads.

Why on earth had Carl agreed to come to this place after reading all those cables? And what did he see when he came and investigated in person?

I knew he couldn’t share all that he learned. But whatever it was, he had said he was needed here. Being needed seemed to override everything else in Carl’s mind. He welcomed tasks that no one else would take on and thrived on accomplishing the impossible. It seemed to be something he could not resist.

In a high-ceilinged guest bedroom Carl’s quiet, regular breathing told me he was sound asleep. I was wide awake.

Can’t get comfortable. Will try not to wake Carl.

The brain that I could not turn off ruminated in a continuous loop. I worried about our UN friends. They were no longer allowed to have contact with embassy people. Where could they find a safe haven tonight?

I turned my pillow over. The cooler surface soothed me. Maybe now I could sleep.

Macias Ngueme coin 1978 president for life, ie. until 1979. 225 x 223But no. President Macias was on his way to slaughtering, imprisoning or driving into exile a third of his people. Amnesty International would attach the nicknames Dachau of Africa and Auschwitz of Africa.

Have to put these dark visions out of my brain. I need to pray. Why can’t I pray?

I slipped out of bed and wandered in silence through the darkened expanse of the Residence. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I finally fell into a fitful sleep.

Despite the night’s anxiety, neither escape option had to be employed, and in the morning Al deemed it safe for us to return to our own house. We exited the embassy into a sunny day and surface calm. There were no sounds, as yet, coming from the police station across the street. So far as I know, no one ever learned the body count for the night just passed.

 Carl put the crisis behind him and pursued his objective with even greater resolve. At home, we continued with what passed for normal. Carl and I added more pieces to the jigsaw puzzle on our dining room table. Ginger played with her dolls. Charles played in his fortress, barricaded behind its walls.

* * *

SINISTER MINISTER

Two days later, Carl wrote in a follow-up to the November 19th letter to Dr. Foege, that despite repeated requests to meet with the new Minister of Health, he had not yet succeeded. In understated bureaucratic-speak, chilling as I look at it now, he said:

“Dr. Obiang is just not available at present. He seems to be quite occupied at this time with Juventud activities. On Tuesday, November 24, the Juventud was unleashed on the Portuguese community of Fernando Po. It now appears that I may be able to meet with him on Monday, December 7….

“I would suggest that authorized personnel review two classified cables concerning this matter at an early date: [Carl listed two classified cable identifiers.]”

A representative from the International Commission of Jurists would report a few years later that the Juventud was responsible for much of the looting, killing, execution, torture, burning of villages and “informing on anyone.” His report says that they practiced “violence as a line of conduct generally aimed at terrorizing the population.”

The new Minister of Health was efficient.

 

The foregoing is excerpted from mom’s recently completed manuscript of her historical memoir, Vaccines & Bayonets: Fighting Smallpox in Africa amid Tribalism, Terror and the Cold War. vaccinesandbayonets.com

Image attribution: Seal of the United States Embassy, public domain; Mask of death from “Africa’s Greatest Dictators,” Vice.com (July 15, 2010); image of 1978 EG coin featuring Macias Nguema as “President for Life,” public domain.

 

Charles.photo.lawlibrary. 150 x 200About the Kid From the Fortress

Charles Bloeser is a lawyer and the researcher behind the creation of combatresearchandprose.com, a new open-source applied research initiative examining combat and those marked by it. His most recent publication, in August 2018, reports how a cancer-stricken, combat-haunted Vietnam veteran fell between the cracks in a modern jail. It’s an account that, from that warrior’s deathbed, he asked this author to share with those best able to prevent the same thing from happening to others. STRIFE, at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, gave him a way to do that. http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam

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