People Called it the Chicken Farm

It’s almost a sure bet when you are confronted with the name of an organization with word Christian in it, especially when it’s the first word in the name that you will find something awful behind it.  Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, proof of that, and the story behind it smacks of a criminal operation, that is if the allegations only turn out to be half as horrendous as the testimony suggests they are.

The story comes from Reveal.  and it’s shocking, it details abuses perpetrated, allegedly by a group of, wait for it, “Christian businessmen”.  When Christian means the opposite of what you were taught it church.   These individuals, businessmen hatched a plan for rehabilitating drug offenders, and non-drug offenders alike.  The rehabilitation took the form of working the inmates forced into the program in Simmons chicken processing plants and other like for no money.  That is to say money was paid but no to the worker.  CAAIR got the money and kept it.  The hours were and are long, all week long.

The program did have benefits but they never benefited the people that were sent there.  It benefited the judges that sentenced the penny ante offenders, since the state mandated by law that drug offenders receive rehabilitative services while incarcerated.  The Benefit to the county and state was twofold since the county didn’t pay a cent to CAAIR.  CAAIR made out like a bandit, and that’s allegedly what they are/were.  They took the workers wages every dime of it and used it to fatten their bottom line.

They used the prison/slave labor to build the dormitories on the “campus”, to remodel the master bedroom in Janet Wilkerson’s home.  Janet is one of those fine upstanding businessmen that created this hell on earth.

CIRSimmons26655

Simmons Foods now is so reliant on CAAIR for some shifts that the plants likely would shut down if the men didn’t show up, according to former staff members and plant supervisors. Credit: Shane Bevel for Reveal

The men also perform free labor for CAAIR’s founders, family and friends. A group of men said they helped remodel the Wilkersons’ master bedroom. Another said he helped one of their daughters pack boxes and move. Still others worked on an egg farm owned by the Wilkersons’ other daughter. The program told the courts that it was community service, according to employees. 

The Oklahoma state law requires the rehabilitation centers to be licensed, and to have certified, licensed employees on staff.  CAAIR has only one such individual at the time the story was written.  Surprisingly it’s not licensed, but it keeps getting no inmates with little to no trouble.

When the Oklahoma Legislature created the state’s drug court requirements 20 years ago, it was part of a growing realization nationwide of the costs – both financial and human – of handing down long prison sentences for drug-related charges.

In drug court, judges are required to put defendants through treatment rather than prison. Follow the rules, and defendants can have their cases dismissed.

Lawmakers wanted to ensure the quality of treatment, so they wrote an important provision into state law: Drug courts must use treatment providers inspected and certified by the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

But affordable treatment is in short supply. Drug court defendants have waited up to nine months for a bed in a residential treatment facility, meanwhile relapsing or languishing in jail. As a result, some courts turn to uncertified programs such as CAAIR, even though it might violate the law, according to the law’s authors. . .

. . . In Pontotoc County, Judge Thomas Landrith sometimes uses CAAIR in place of certified treatment. He said there’s never a wait list, and it costs the courts and state nothing.

Tulsa’s drug court, which sends the most defendants to CAAIR, said the law permits judges to use uncertified programs, as long as it’s not for treatment.

“The referral is to assist the participants in developing good job skills, life skills, work ethics and personal care skills,” said Vicki Cox, court administrator. “Participants are not sent to CAAIR for drug or alcohol treatment.”

But Reveal found that Tulsa’s drug court staff repeatedly described CAAIR as treatment in court records. Cox dismissed that as a record-keeping error.

Yep just a small record-keeping error, nothing to see here folks just move along.  Unless I miss my guess, Miss Vicki Cox, doesn’t seem to care at all about the gross violations of State and Federal Law.  Just a little book keeping problem.  The article goes on to say no judge has let a small thing like the squeezing of court funding stop him or her from sentencing “offender” to shit holes like CAAIR.  Not one has even had their wrist slapped for doing so.

So why is this and other programs so successful for all but the offender?

For one it’s cheap labor for many companies, and two, the companies that utilizes (enables) these labor camps have great difficulties filling positions that require long hours of back breaking labor at substandard wages.  Really low pay many of the companies cannot find workers desperate enough to work for what little they offer and especially second and third shifts.  Who are those low wage leaders?  Fortune 500 companies.  Really? Yes.

The beneficiaries of these programs span the country, from Fortune 500 companies to factories and local businesses. The defendants work at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Oklahoma, a construction firm in Alabama, a nursing home in North Carolina.

Perhaps no rehab better exemplifies this allegiance to big business than CAAIR. It was started in 2007 by chicken company executives struggling to find workers. By forming a Christian rehab, they could supply plants with a cheap and captive labor force while helping men overcome their addictions.  (no evidence was offered to show addictions were overcome, or they that was even an issue)

At CAAIR, about 200 men live on a sprawling, grassy compound in northeastern Oklahoma, and most work full time at Simmons Foods Inc., a company with annual revenue of $1.4 billion. They slaughter and process chickens for some of America’s largest retailers and restaurants, including Walmart, KFC and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. They also make pet food for PetSmart and Rachael Ray’s Nutrish brand.  (a list of companies that are now dead to me). 

Chicken processing plants are notoriously dangerous and understaffed. The hours are long, the pay is low and the conditions are brutal.

Men in the CAAIR program said their hands became gnarled after days spent hanging thousands of chickens from metal shackles. One man said he was burned with acid while hosing down a trailer. Others were maimed by machines or contracted serious bacterial infections.

Those who were hurt and could no longer work often were kicked out of CAAIR and sent to prison, court records show. Most men worked through the pain, fearing the same fate.

“They work you to death. They work you every single day,” said Nate Turner, who graduated from CAAIR in 2015. “It’s a work camp. They know people are desperate to get out of jail, and they’ll do whatever they can do to stay out of prison.”

If you’re thinking that the benefits are rather lopsided you’re on the right track.  What’s also lopsided is that those that are positioned and paid to oversee this and other schlock operations simply don’t have a moral compass.  They lack empathy.  Thankfully the ACLU is looking into “this little thing of ours”.  Perhaps Miss Vicky and several judges will get a chance to experience some rehab of their own.  Not in one of these hell holes but perhaps learning from the inmates how terrible the conditions are, and that they are partially to blame for what happened to these people.

But here’s the real kick in the ass, it comes from Jim Lovell:  CAAIR’s vice president of program management, said there’s dignity in work. “If working 40 hours a week is a slave camp, then all of America is a slave camp,” he said.

Really Jim?  No, I’m not going to let you get a way with straw manning this one.  You see Jim, just like you millions of American’s get paid for the work they perform, unlike the poor unfortunates, that fall into your concentration camp.  And that’s the difference paid labor, at will employment, organized labor, all pay the worker, and thats not slavery.  It’s employment.  When you Jim, and you do, steal their wages, that’s slavery pure and simple.

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God Doesn’t Make Mistakes: Two Day Old Baby Dies Mother and Father to Blame

For those that believe abortion is evil what do they have to say about this?  A Michigan couple failed to get medical help for a sickly three day old baby.  Rachel Joy Piland and her husband Joshua Barry Piland did nothing to aid their newborn.  Not only did they sit by and allow the child to die, they prevented others from helping.  The child delivered by a midwife was jaundiced from the get go, the midwife stated that professional medical help was needed. Stating that the baby could suffer brain damage and or die.

. . .The midwife who attended the birth of the baby girl, named Abigail, said the infant appeared jaundiced the day after she was born.

She advised the mother to take the baby to the emergency room and warned her that the baby could suffer brain damage or die if she did not receive proper care.

“Rachel declined the seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes,” Scaccia said. (detective) “She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine.”

Rachel then cancelled subsequent appointments with the midwife, the New York Daily News reported. . .

. . .Rachel’s mother, Rebecca Kerr, also warned her daughter that Abigail’s skin was off. “Rachel told Rebecca about (the midwife’s) concern,” the detective told the court. “And then Rachel went to listen to sermons.”

According to the Lansing State Journal, Kerr urged her daughter to seek medical help but “Rachel would not allow her”. On the morning of 9 February, Kerr noticed her granddaughter was not eating or breathing well and blood was coming out of her nose. . .

Well I stand corrected it appears that Rachel Piland did do something after all, she went and listened to sermons.  Oh, and after the baby was motionless (dead) they prayed.  Nothing fails like prayer.

The couple was charged with involuntary manslaughter and released on a $75,000 bond on 21 September. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison each. They are scheduled to appear 5 October in Lansing’s 54A District Court.

Life is prison with no possibility of parole sounds about right.

 

 

The Video Actually Tells the Whole Story

Funny isn’t it when the police are ones breaking the law?  The video we are told doesn’t tell the whole story.  Often it does in fact tell the whole story.  When the shoe is on the other foot you never the police state that the video is taken out of context and doesn’t reveal what “really” happened.  The defense attorneys are tasked with explaining or invoking the “that’s not what really happened” principle.

The linked story below explains with words and video what took place when a police officer driving his personal car mixes it up with road construction workers.  It appears to be a cop demanding preferential treatment.

Louisville, KY — A Kentucky State Trooper on a power trip allegedly got violent with a road construction crew over the weekend. However, as the video of incident shows, unlike most scenarios with cops on power trips, it was the Trooper who got taken down, not the citizens.

According to video and the witness accounts from the road crew, Trooper Anthony Harrison punched a worker and put them all in danger as he drove through a construction site Sunday night.

According to the crew, Harrison drove too fast toward their work zone near Fort Knox about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, adding that he stopped his personal car abruptly, confronted the workers and started arguing.

Harrison is described as being belligerent and that is putting it mildly.  He verbally assaults the female construction worker, a clear attempt to further intimidate her.  Harrison is on the verge of losing control but goes full on ignorant and apoplectic when he realizes that he is being filmed.  He then violently attacks Joey Gaddis, who was taking the video of the out of control officer.  Gaddis tells the reporter–“Me pulling the phone and filming him, that just sent him over the top,” said Joey Gaddis, who shot the video. “He lunged at me for the phone. I felt like he was trying to grab at my neck.”

“Obviously, it is concerning what we see on the video,” said Lt. Michael Webb, a spokesperson for KSP. “However, I would caution any of the viewers who see that video to allow us to conduct our internal investigation to its final stages and follow the facts to where they will take us.”

Really Lt. Webb?  between that and the eyewitnesses backing up what happened.  What could possibly change do to your internal investigation?  These people behaved much better than your people and much more professionally.   What Lt. Webb is really saying — we are working around the clock to spin this embarrassing situation so that we can charge the construction workers with something anything.  The oinkers come off looking like two-bit thugs and that’s what they are.  That’s what the video clearly demonstrates and that’s what the testimony indicates.  No doubt that Harrison will not have to answer for his despicable behavior, he will in all likelihood get a promotion or a community service award.

Harrison clearly has anger management issues and could greatly benefit from court ordered anger management counseling.  It’ll never happen of course.

And some people still call them pigs.

 

 

Another War Monger Speaks

In my haste to post this I left out what I consider to be the most important point, and one very good one made by Robert L. Best.  He writes that; [y]ou cannot threaten people and nations to get what you want. That is not how this world works. So that leaves us with one option and one question: Who fires the first shot?  My emphasis.

I agree whole hardheartedly, and yet this is often exactly what the United States does.  Moreover those threats turn to action that amounts to war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  The United States largely eschews diplomacy in favor of military action.  Diplomacy is cheaper, and saves lives so why do we resort to bombing or other military measures?  Perhaps that answer lies in the what President Eisenhower, in his farewell address termed the “Military Industrial Complex”.  Money, money money.

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Robert L. Best opines in a letter to the Chicago Tribune that the US has two choices for dealing with North Korea.  We actually have more that than but I suspect that Mr. Best is not a political scientist.  He writes that we can negotiate (talk) with the DPRK, or we can shot.  By that he means start a war.  What is clear is that Robert is -not- a dummy he is also not up to the task of finding solutions to a sticky problem.  The United States hasn’t attempted a diplomatic solution since Mr. Bush withdrew from an agreement reached with the DPRK under Mr. Clinton.  To be fair both sides violated the terms of the agreement.

It appears that North Korea desires two way talks with the USA, and they are seeking an ending to the hostilities.  The US on the other hand is content to keep things as they are.  Our allies would like to be involved in any talks and that too is a sticking point.  But with China, South Korea, The USA, Japan, Russia and the DPRK, there is a much better chance of reaching a lasting agreement.  These nations account for the 6 way talks that the US has announced in the past that it would find acceptable.  Naturally any agreement reached would have to be subject to verification.  Think of the old Ronald Reagan mantra concerning the Nuclear arms limitation agreement and enforcement.  Trust but Verify.

I bring this up because Mr. Best doesn’t believe that the North can be trusted, and would ultimately renege on it’s word.  They did in the past, what’s to stop them in the future?

Inspections from the members of the 6 party talks or UN inspectors for starters.  Naturally the US will have to give up something in return.  Perhaps the dissolution of  it’s annual war games that mimic invading the North, and or a reduction in the number of troops stationed in South Korea.  I’m also guessing that THAAD would need to be removed to keep China and Russia happy.  A small price to pay to save the lives of millions of people.  Though Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, believes that diplomacy has failed, in reality diplomacy hasn’t been attempted.  Unless by that she means launching into half truth histrionics is being diplomatic.

Mr. Best believes a hot war, and he is correct in thinking as do I that that would lead to a much larger war, perhaps even a world war is preferable to a possible diplomatic solution.  Here are his words:

That leaves us with two options in dealing with the North Korean threat. One: Accept it as a nuclear power and begin one-on-one talks with its leaders. The danger of this is it would give Kim Jong Un exactly what he wants, and he would continue to be just as big of a threat as he has been recently. Or two: Go to war with North Korea, which would probably start WWIII, where millions could and probably would die.

We can not continue to kick this can down the road as we have done for decades under the false pretense of deterrence. It is simply no longer an option. I don’t want war. I don’t think anybody does. But we can’t give Kim Jong Un what he wants. You cannot threaten people and nations to get what you want. That is not how this world works. So that leaves us with one option and one question: Who fires the first shot?

He states that we cannot give Kim what he wants, acceptance of North Korea, as a nuclear power which it is.  How much of  a threat has he been lately?  He has fired off in a series of tests intercontinental missiles.  He fired them off over Japan at a height of 478 miles, not ten or twenty as the head lines would like us to think.  They travel higher than the International Space Station, much higher. And so far no one has been killed.  Kim Jung un, has seen what happens to leaders and their countries that are on the USA’s hit list.  It hasn’t ended well for any of them, to be sure they weren’t epitome of stand up guys, far from it.  Qaddafi, Saddam Husein, both of which gave up attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, each were in turn, disposed of unceremoniously.   Assad another brutal dictator is engaged in heavy fighting to prevent his overthrow and perhaps save his own life.  Kim has a very clear idea of what will happen to him if he were to give up his nuclear aspirations.  Being the despicable person he is, it’s hard to feel any remorse for him but not at all hard to understand that he wants to survive.  Hence the on going nuclear program.

One thing that works in favor of Best’s argument is that the US cannot be trusted to keep it’s word.  Under George W. Bush the US withdrew from agreements with the North, and withdrew unilaterally from the intermediate ballistic missile treaty formed with Russia.  (Soviet Union).  So it’s certainly possible that any agreement reached between the US and North Korea, whether two party talks or 6 way talks is that under a different President, any agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

And that leads us to War, Mr. Best’s choice on how to handle the bellicose North.  Best has done the calculus, and has found this to be the only solution if not the best one.  I suspect that he believes that his children and the people he cares for are unlikely to be called to action on the Peninsula, and that, if North Korea can even successfully place a war head on top of a missile that he and his loved ones would somehow survive the outcome.  It’s not like the North has demonstrated this ability it’s really just them asserting that they can and the press along with out so-called leaders believe that it’s a forgone conclusion.  Nor have they demonstrated the ability to direct their missiles to and hit a target at any range.

If we misplay our hand, and the result is WWIII, the other combatants have the above capabilities and they have them in spades.  So do we.  I don’t imagine that WWIII will result in the paltry loss of only several million lives rather a couple of billion.   Nor would I expect the use of weapons to be limited to China, Russia, and North Korea.  I am willing to guess that under the use it or lose black and white thinking, other nations with the technology and the weapons on a hair trigger will use them on their enemies.  Who shoots first is the worse case scenario and is to be avoided.

 

 

Cultural Appropriation – it’s Whats for Dinner

I’m sitting at my desk trying to decide what to have for dinner tonight.  Whose culture can I appropriate tonight.  Will it be Italian?  I do love tomato sauce, or should that be marinara sauce.  I debated buying a potato and getting a 6 pack but that’s part of my own culture so that wouldn’t do.  I love gyros, and have, with the help of others, created a very good recipe.  Tacos and burritos rock but I had that recently and besides I would need to go shopping for ingredients.  I told my wife that I would make bagels but again that’s part of her culture, same goes for pelmeni, and chebureki. Though they are delicious making and eating them won’t rise to cultural approbation and that’s what I am aiming at.

I hadn’t encounter the principle until several months back when a news story broke of a young black women, a student at some university, that went off on a white dude for wearing his hair in a style reflective of what she considered to be black or for blacks only.   I suppose that white supremacists would have found some common ground with the black student in that they would have seen the dude as a race traitor.  Another term that I hadn’t been over familiar until a few years ago.  Shortly after that original story another case of hysterics popped up because of a certain dish served in a university cafeteria was labeled as being Chinese, when in actuality it was more of a Asian-US fusion of a popular dish with a Chinese name.  I forget the name though.  Then about that same time on another university campus there occurred another uproar over a frat or some other group wearing sombreros to announce the availability of Mexican food on campus, as a fund raiser if I’m not mistaken.  A whole lot of heat over nothing.

Perhaps it’s just me missing out on the latest fad, that of being butt hurt over nothing and getting attention for it.  I should as do so many others look around and find something that offends me, and then demand that the world change to suit little old me.  But what could that thing be?  How about using a landline telephone?  Nah hardly anybody has one of those these days.  I know, the automobile, I could lose my $hit over that.  But then again the whole carbon foot print thingy would blow the bottom out of my boat.  The sandwich, that’s right up my alley being a English American and all.  But at the end of the day I don’t mind that my culture is being appropriated, nor would I want to deny somebody the peaceful use of the things that make life tasty and good.  Things like the cheeseburger.  Looks like I am going to have to pass on ripping off the goodies of another culture that’s isn’t mine–for now at least.

 

Did Radio Sputnik Cause Hillary to Lose the Election

A couple of days ago a news story broke that makes some very serious allegations against the Russian State run media news agency Sputnik Radio, namely that, the Russian government may have used U.S. airwaves to influence the 2016 presidential election.  I am posting below the heart of the letter written by or at least endorsed by   Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J) All three are currently serving in the US House of Representatives.  Stories of the Russians having interfered in our election abound.  No evidence mind you but there is plenty of hot air.  Keep in mind that the USA, has a long and storied history of interfering in the elections of a diverse set of nations, up to and including the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments to install dictators, and never benign, always brutal each of them.  So at the very least the US should be able to recognize the symptoms of interference right?

We’re writing in response to recent troubling press reports that a radio network funded by the Russian government may have used U.S. airwaves to influence the 2016 presidential election. We ask that you investigate these troubling reports and apply all applicable laws and regulations to enforce the public interest standard for licensed stations that broadcast this network.

An article published by the New York Times Magazine (9/13/17) titled “RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War” suggests that Sputnik, a radio network funded by the Russian government, was used as part of the Kremlin’s effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. In Washington, D.C., listeners can tune their radios to 105.5 FM to hear Sputnik and the Russian government’s effort to spread misinformation to influence U.S. policy and undermine our elections. This means the Kremlin’s propaganda is being broadcast over a license granted by the FCC and the Russian government may be using our country’s own airwaves to undermine our democracy.

As I have stated before, we don’t have an over abundance of quality, intelligent people in key leadership positions any more.  We don’t have depth at any particular position to use a sports metaphor.  We have place holders, zeros.  How can I make that claim and be so sure of myself?

Sputnik Radio is specifically mentioned as the culprit in this alleged instance of election interference.  Sputnik Radio didn’t begin broadcasting in the USA until June of 2017.  As the referenced article points out that at least 8 months after Hillary’s crushing defeat.  Unless Vladimir Putin has a time machine. . .  or never mind.

For the record I am a liberal, a libtard.  I am not a democrat, or a neoliberal, and I am not a republican, or a nonconservative–though I have voted for several republican candidates in the past.  I am a liberal in the classic sense of the word.  Think of the enlightenment and the principles that led to the founding of this country.  Think of the Bill of Rights including the 14th Amendment.  I am that kind of liberal.  No I am not a patriot, not a flag waving god bless America kind of guy.  Nevertheless I want the full restoration of the first 10 Amendments plus the 14th to the way they were interpreted prior to 9/11, that is the kind of liberal I am.  I did not and could not vote for either Trump or Clinton.

I resent that our representatives are so stupid, so blinded by confirmation bias, that they would attach their names to a document without thinking it through.  If they did consider what they were doing, and knew that 8 months transpired between the election and the start of broadcasting by Sputnik Radio and signed their names to that letter then what?  Recall that the upper echelon of the DNC willingly, wantonly, knowingly with malice aforethought, broke their own rules to make sure that Hillary would beat Sanders.  No less that 4 including the very top officer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in disgrace due to their incompetence and corruption.  Are these three representatives incompetent dingle berries or worse?

Colorized Picture of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid With the Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch

Front row left, Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (The Sundance Kid) Center,  Ben Kilpatrick,  (The Tall Texan) front right Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy)

Back Row left, William Carver (News Carver) and next to him is Harvey Alexander Logan (Kid Curry )

This is a colorization of the famous Black and White photograph that was the undoing of the Wild Bunch.  Prior to this the gang’s notoriety though well known through the newspapers of the day, putting their actual faces with the names was difficult as few outside of family and law enforcement, and even in law enforcement knew what the individuals that comprised the Wild Bunch looked like.

I used GNU Image Manipulation (Gimp) Software to colorize this and several other pictures. Gimp sometimes referred to as the Gimp, is FOSS–Free Open Source Software.  It works in Window’s and Linux/Ubuntu and other derivatives, and I believe McIntosh as well.

The color of the clothes and the background is just guess work on my part.  The eyes are poorly done, and I’ve not mastered that body part in the years since this was done.  The boots/shoes are untouched as they seem completely natural as is.  It took about 12 to 15 hours over a period of several days to accomplish this, and I’m no expert but it seems to work well.

Some history to go along with the photograph, taken from Wikipedia.  Yes I know that teacher and university professors will tell you it’s not a reliable source.  Nevertheless it will have to do.  This little writing is in no way serious history as you will see.

Starting with Henry Alonzo Longabaugh.  Born in Pennsylvania in 1867 made his way west in a covered wagon with a cousin.  He was the youngest of 5 children.  His criminal career begins in 1887, he pilfers a gun, horse and saddle from a ranch near Sundance Wyoming, while attempting to make good his get away he is captured and spends 18 month is the stir.  It’s about this time that he takes up the nickname The Sundance Kid; and he walks the straight and narrow for a short while anyway working as a ranch hand at the Bar U Ranch.  That all comes to an end in 1892 when at the tender age of 25 Mr. Sundance is thought to have taken part in a train robbery that netted him and his accomplices a tidy sum.

It appears that he laid low for a few years after pulling the train heist.  His next caper takes place in 1897, he along with 5 other unnamed men knock over a bank.  No name or location is given for the bank job though probably it was a very small bank and a equally small haul.  About this time The Sundance Kid takes up with his Famous Partner Butch Cassidy and other members of the Wild Bunch.  Which may or may not have included all those pictured above.

The Sundance Kid is reputed to be rather handy with a shooting iron, and something of a quick draw.  His reputation as a gunfighter seems to be more a modern adaptation of his infamy.  It’s a widely held belief that Longabaugh refrained from killing anyone until the shootout in Bolivia.  He took part in a charged gunfight while being pursued during which it is thought that he is responsible for wounding two lawmen.   Here to it seems to be a Hollywood fiction that the Wild Bunch is viewed as less violent than other outlaw gangs.  One member in particular Harvey Logan (Kid Curry) is thought to have killed at least 5 lawmen in his career.  More about him later.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid along with the rest of the Wild Bunch became a hot property.  A reward of upwards of $30,000. was offered for their capture, or death.  They were relentlessly pursued and decided to try their luck elsewhere.  That elsewhere turned out to be Buenos Aries Argentina, and it appears that they tried to go on the straight and narrow.  Not much is known of the pair from 1901 until the shootout in Bolivia in 1908.  The actual events that led to their demise are in a word, contested.  They are thought to have pulled a strong robbery of a courier for the Aramayo Franke y Cia Silver Mine.  The courier was carrying miners payroll about 15,000. pesos.  The bandits as they were called appeared to be gringos who covered their faces with masks.  Nevertheless it’s believed that Butch and Sundance were the gunmen.  After holding up the courier, the pair took up residence in the small mining town of San Vicente which proved to be their undoing.   They lodged in house owned by Bonifacio Casasola, a local miner.  Probably one of the miners that didn’t get paid because of the gringos handiwork.  Here is how Wikipedia sums it up.

Casasola left his house and informed a nearby telegraph officer, who notified a small Bolivian Army cavalry unit (the Abaroa Regiment) stationed nearby. The unit dispatched three soldiers, under the command of Captain Justo Concha, to San Vicente, where they notified the local authorities. On the evening of 6 November, the lodging house was surrounded by a small group consisting of the local mayor and a number of his officials, along with the three soldiers from the Abaroa Regiment.

When the three soldiers approached the house where the two bandits were staying, the bandits opened fire, killing one of the soldiers and wounding another. A gunfight then ensued. Around 2 a.m., during a lull in the firing, the police and soldiers heard a man screaming from inside the house. Soon, a single shot was heard from inside the house, after which the screaming stopped. Minutes later, another shot was heard.

The standoff continued, as locals kept the place surrounded until the next morning when, cautiously entering, they found two dead bodies, both with numerous bullet wounds to the arms and legs. One of the men had a bullet wound in the forehead and the other had a bullet hole in the temple. The local police report speculated, judging from the positions of the bodies, one bandit had probably shot his mortally wounded partner-in-crime to put him out of his misery, just before killing himself with his final bullet . . .

. . . the bandits were identified as the men who robbed the Aramayo payroll transport, but the Bolivian authorities could not positively identify them. The bodies were buried at the small San Vicente cemetery, where they were buried close to the grave of Gustav Zimmer, a German miner.

To be Continued.

Skipping over The Tall Texan for a bit and taking up the story behind the leader of the pack.  Butch Cassidy.  His birth name is Robert Leroy Parker, his nickname Butch appears to come from his time working in a butcher shop.  He took on the last name of Cassidy a tip of the hat to his mentor Mike Cassidy ( an alias for John Tolliver “J. T.” McClammy) who himself borrowed it elsewhere.  The elder Cassidy busied himself as a cowboy,  and cattle rustler, some sources simply state that he was possessed a shady character.

Butch grew up in the Circleville, Utah.  His father Maximilian Parker, was born in jolly old England, and traveled with his to Utah at the age of 15.   Both of his parents became Mormons while living in England and Ireland.  His mother was Ann Gillies and she was 14 when her family emigrated to the US.  They in turn were married in 1965 and a year later Robert Leroy Parker arrived.

He started his criminal career off rather inauspiciously in 1880 when he, at the age of 14  broke into a clothiers shop where he boosted a pair of jeans and a slice of pie.  He left a promissory note explaining that he would pay for the dungarees and the comestibles on his next trip through.  That was not good enough for the offended owner who pressed the issue and charges resulted.  Cassidy was acquitted in a trial.  He managed to walk the straight and narrow for the next four years, moving to Telluride Co.  Where he gained employment as a cowpoke,  There is some speculation that his chosen vocation was entirely on the up and up, and that Cassidy also used his position of roper and wrangler to deliver stolen horses.  It’s not that great of a stretch all things considered.  Cassidy worked mostly in Wyoming and Montana but returned to Telluride in 1887 and shortly thereafter met up with Matt Warner, future member of the Wild Bunch.

Cassidy’s career as a two bit punk thief abruptly and drastically escalates on the 14th of June 1889.  When he and Matt Warner along with the two McCarty Brothers (Tom and Bill) knock over the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride.  They took quite a haul, $21,000. which is well over half a million in 2017 dollars.  Not bad for a days work and some hard riding as they made their way to the hideout at the Robbers Roost in south east Utah.  Using the proceeds from his ill gotten booty, Cassidy purchases a ranch near Dubois Wyoming, located on the opposite end of the state from the Hole-in-the-Wall hideout.  A geologic formation that was popular with ne’er do wells as well as the Wild Bunch.  The ranch was never a going concern and it seemed to served the purpose of helping in the gangs activity.

In 1894 Cassidy becomes romantically involved with Ann Bassett, it’s appears to be an on again and off again relationship Cassidy also showed attention to Ann’s sister Josie.  The Elder Bassett, Herb did a fair amount of business with the young, now outlaw Cassidy, selling to him horses and beef.  As you may have guessed Herb Bassett isn’t the perfect picture of a fine upstanding moral individual; probably never claimed to be either.  Per Wikipedia, . . . Later that same year, Cassidy was arrested at Lander, Wyoming, for stealing horses and possibly for running a protection racket among the local ranchers there. He was imprisoned in the Wyoming State Prison in Laramie, Wyoming. After serving 18 months of a two-year sentence, Cassidy was released and pardoned in January 1896 by Governor William Alford Richards. . .  At this stage of his burgeoning career his nickname should have been changed to Mr. Lucky.

The year 1896 is likely the seminal year for both Cassidy and Dances with Sun (sorry I couldn’t resist).  Cassidy is released from prison and shortly thereafter he and fellow cohorts;  begin in earnest the life of a highwayman/men this according to Wikipedia—  Cassidy associated with a broad circle of criminals, most notably his closest friend William Ellsworth “Elzy” Lay, Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, Ben Kilpatrick, Harry Tracy, Will “News” Carver, Laura Bullion, and George “Flat Nose” Curry, who collectively became the nucleus of the so-called “Wild Bunch”. The gang assembled sometime after Cassidy’s release from prison in 1896 and took its name from the Doolin–Dalton gang, also known as the “Wild Bunch”.  So wouldn’t that make them the not quite as wild as the Wild Bunch but definitely a wild bunch?  or the Wilder Bunch?  In today’s litigious world I can clearly see a lawsuit developing over the confusion surrounding the name, and possibly a defamation suit but that’s a story for another day.

With the exception of Ellsworth “Elzy” Lay, the above mentioned band of antisocial ne’er do wells all died with there boots on suffering the rapid or sudden onset of acute lead poisoning often accompanied with equally sudden organ failure.  Elzy Lay on the other hand managed to over come his misspent youth and died a respectable business person.  Laura Bullion, also lived  a long life and died in a hospital, her feet presumably unshod.  Interesting to note at this point there is one conspicuous name missing from the list of  uber bandits.  Notably that of The Sundance Kid.  It’s not until August 13, 1896 or shortly thereafter that Harry Alonzo Longabaugh’s name is linked with Robert Leroy Parker.

In what’s likely their first job together Cassidy, Lay, Logan and Bob Meeks robbed the bank at Montpelier, Idaho, escaping with approximately $7,000. Cassidy then recruits Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, “The Sundance Kid”, into the Wild Bunch.  The gang lays low until April 1897 they were holed up at the Robbers Roost during this time.  On the 22nd of that same month, near the small mining town of Castle Gate, Utah Lay and Cassidy, ambush and stick up a small group of men carrying the payroll of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, stealing a sack containing $7,000 in gold, with which they fled again to the Robbers Roost.  The gang’s lust of money by the bag full is sated, and  for next two years all is quiet on the western front.  That will abruptly change in June of 1899 when the gang pulls off it biggest or rather most infamous heist yet.

To be Continued.

In early June 1899 the Wild Bunch robs the passenger train the Union Pacific “Overland Flyer”.  People familiar with the 1969 movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, will no doubt recall the scene where the gang uses dynamite to open the company’s safe.  It’s a rather humorous scene because far too much dynamite is used and the entire rail car and the contents thereof including the safe where the money is stashed is blasted to smithereens.  Well that’s fairly true to life, take a look for yourself.

Train Robbery

This heist which took place near Wilcox Wyoming garnered the gang no small amount of notoriety, and many notable lawmen  far and wide engaged in hunting down the bandits.   The gang had slipped away by means of separating and fleeing in different directions a tactic that was typically employed, they would rendezvous again at predetermined locations either the-Hole-in-the-Wall,  Robbers Roost, or Madame Fannie Porter’s brothel in San Antonio, Texas.  At some point in the ensuing chase, during a shootout with lawmen following the train robbery, both Kid Curry and George Curry shot and killed Sheriff Joe Hazen.

It wasn’t long before the Wild Bunch struck again.  July 11, 1899 to be exact, having blown their past train robbery sky high and in need of money the gang with Elzy Lay leading the way held up the Colorado and Southern Railroad train robbery near Folsom, New Mexico, which Cassidy may have planned and personally directed.  The getaway wasn’t as clean as their other hasty exits, and  a shootout ensued with local law enforcement, during which Lay killed Sheriff Edward Farr and Henry Love; Lay was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at the New Mexico State Penitentiary.  On the surface it appears to be a tough break for Ellsworth Lay, in reality it more than any other event accounts for his living a long and productive life after serving 9 years of his life sentence he received a pardon for rescuing the warden’s wife and child during prison unrest.  Cold comfort for the families of his victims.

On August 29, 1900, Cassidy, Longabaugh and others robbed Union Pacific train No. 3 near Tipton, Wyoming.  No mention as to the size of the haul but this little fracas put an end to Cassidy’s attempts to negotiate a amnesty.  It appears that if Cassidy had a slim chance at amnesty if he could get the powers that be at the Union Pacific Rail Road to drop their criminal complaint.  To this end a meeting had been arraigned with Union Pacific Railroad chairman E. H. Harriman, he attempted to meet with Cassidy through his old ally Matt Warner.  Warner had changed his career trajectory and was now a Justice of the Peace.  Because of the robbery there was no chance of a negotiated amnesty.

To be continued.

 

 

Ken Ham’s Big Multicolored Love Boat

Ken Ham is going to take back the rainbow for Jesus.  Somehow or another Jesus, lost the right to use this multicolored strip.  This symbol of a maniacal god that wiped out humanity (like with a cloth?) because he lost control after a drinking binge or something like that.  Ken Ham's Big Gay Love Boat

Good luck with Mr. Hamdinger, you might want to point out that the rainbow is a symbol which speaks of a massacre having taken place, that might change peoples thinking.  Christians really love senseless blood letting and other people find it repugnant.  Not that any such thing really happened but it’s fun to pretend isn’t?

So here’s night shot of Ken’s big gay Jesus’ love boat.  Pretty isn’t.  What I think is hysterical with Ken’s mock up of a mythical boat is that it has no rudder, but at the front it sports an Atlantic Bow.  Naturally the rudder is worthless on a boat that has no system for propulsion so why depict it the ark as having one right?  Well for the same reason why depict the ark as having protrusion at the front which commonly known as an Atlantic Bow.  That shape is worthless on a craft that travels slower that say 10kts.  It works wonders for a boat that travels at or above 10kts per hour, or travels at or near it top speed most of the time.  That bow reduces resistance and saves on fuel.  Saving fuel is the primary reason for design.  If your boat has no propulsion system there is no fuel savings and hence it’s ineffective at best and an impediment at worst.  But it looks cool.

A Matter of National Security

When is it a matter of National Security and when is it just talk?  Mike Pompeo director of the CIA gave a rather interesting interview to Fox News on Monday.  He was very chatty and you could be forgiven if you, like me, thought he gave up a little too much insight into the real intentions of North Korea.  Alas I think not after pausing for a second or two in order to take in the lay of the land.  His candid remarks are revealing in that he directs his remarks to two of remaining “axis of evil” (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea) later expanded to seven countries in 5 years that were to be democratized

Here’s the seven that are or have received special attention from the US; Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Iran and Yemen.  Somalia, is a failed state, so that’s one down.  Iraq is on the verge of a lawless failed state barely able to secure it borders even after more than a decade of “training” of its military and police forces by US forces and mercenaries.  Libya, destroyed and bombed just because is lawless and likely to stay that way for a long time. Sudan, broken failed state, Yemen, is being brutally wrenched apart by the coalition of (war criminals) the willing, led by Saudi Arabia the bomber of women and children and financiers and perpetrators of 9/11, and Iran a nation so wealthy with oil reserves that it’s doubly evil and it’s been appended to both lists.

All of these nation states need to be liberated (destroyed) according to the US only one has  yet to be destroyed, (Iran) and their civilians bombed to smithereens.  Let’s review.  It looks like Syria, though mostly destroyed and it’s women and children raped and bombed might actually survive but decades of rebuilding remain ahead.  That’s not a forgone conclusion since Israel has taken to bombing them.  Let’s tally up the score so far.  Five nations utterly destroyed bombed into the stone age, Syria tottering and Iran yet to be bombed, probably consider this one a tie, and Iran is about to come into its own.  So that’s 5-0-1 with two Nations yet to destroy.  North Korea, and Iran.

Is it then really all that surprising that Pompeo, would be so candid about divulging his thoughts on North Korea exporting weapons and technologies to who else—Iran.  Iran and of course other countries, and organizations yet to be added to the growing list of nations that irk the US; think Venezuela and Buenos Aires.  What did director Pompeo have to say?

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Monday said it was “fair to say” that North Korea, which has a history of sharing its nuclear capabilities, could be approached by potential customers, such as Iran, to sell secrets about its missile programs.

“The North Koreans have a long history of being proliferators and sharing their knowledge, their technology, their capacities around the world,” Pompeo said in a Fox News interview on Monday.

Naturally he doesn’t offer any evidence to back up his assertions.  Since he’s letting the cat out of the bag, why not mention a well known, indisputable instance of North Korea sharing its nuke tech.  One well known so that he won’t compromise national security.

“As North Korea continues to improve its ability to do longer-range missiles and to put nuclear weapons on those missiles, it is very unlikely, if they get that capability, that they wouldn’t share it with lots of folks, and Iran would certainly be someone who would be willing to pay them for it,” Pompeo said.

Is that a double negative in there?  The US is really spoiling for a fight.  Put another way it seems that the USA is begging for war, and North Korea, and Iran are the targets.  Who is Pompeo kidding?

Iran has very capable scientists.  They have also been accused of aiding the North with missile technology.  They are already refining uranium but not to weapons grade and there is no lack of information available on the web and in libraries on how to build an A-bomb and probably a hydrogen device as well.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

What do those words mean to you?  Especially Liberty, personal liberty was very important to those that laid the foundation for this nation.  Lets be truthful and admit that our “founding father’s” didn’t get it all right, or even mostly right.  They did make some pretty glaring mistakes, we know that now, and have righted a few of the wrongs, at least as far as the ideas go.  We have removed slavery, women can vote in every state, strides have been made to integrate minorities into our society, not without shedding blood, and violence but the fight is far from over.

Equality before the law is a wonderful principle it has in no wise been attained.  Probably never will be, and yet it is worth striving towards.  Equality of opportunity is also a principle that is batted around when we American’s discuss the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Nice to think about but difficult for all to attain, some have a much easier road than do others.  These are the ideas of the enlightenment, they are ideas that fired the imaginations of those founders.  Realizing that couldn’t bring a United States together and hold it together by freeing all men, there was considerable animus towards freeing the slaves, giving the right to vote to women, placing limits on certain immigrants etc.  The founders were willing to set aside for future generations to solve the problems that would prevent the founding of one nation out of many states.

The problems proved nearly intractable.  But alas we managed to make great headway in personal liberty or so it would seem.  So that we have a working understanding of liberty I am using the following to define it.

liberty ~ noun common
1. immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence
2. freedom of choice
liberty of opinion; liberty of worship; liberty–perfect liberty–to think or feel or do just as one pleases; at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes
3. personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression
4. leave granted to a sailor or naval officer
5. an act of undue intimacy

Artha 1.0.3

A handy off-line thesaurus based on WordNet Copyright © 2009 – 2012 Sundaram Ramaswamy, WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 – 2012 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

Numbers 4, and 5, are not applicable to this discussion but the others are spot on.   True enough different dictionaries will have similar but not exactly the same definition.  So when saw this news story I was taken aback at the stupidity of the speaker, pastor Allen Joyner of the Sweet Home Alabama Baptist Church.  Willful stupidity, I assume here is the text of his remarks:

“If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you,”

It appears that Joyner is calling for the execution of people that he disagrees with.  Kind of like we are told the North Korean dictator Kim Jung un, does to people that he doesn’t like.  Unsurprisingly the drones in his Sweet Home Alabama echo chamber also reacted this way.  Truly this people hate our freedoms or that we are able to exercise the liberty in a way that they cannot control which is antithetical to any understanding of the concept of liberty as defined above.  Perhaps they stupidly think that liberty is the right to kill people that you cannot exert control over.  Joyner and his slow witted congregates have the right to say dumb things, they have that liberty.  After making this statement he was obliged to resign from his avocation, he was the announcer for the football games.

One Air Force veteran, Mark Bender, with 22 years of service was quick to point out that he and others fight (serve) so that we can maintain our hard won freedoms.  Here is his take on Joyner’s comments:

“We fight so that all Americans retain their rights and freedoms to protest,” Bender wrote. “I would never turn a weapon on my own countryman simply because they protest by remaining seated during the national anthem, by refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance, refusing to stand or pledge during any act. These things we do, these pledges, these songs, these are not compulsory acts. They are acts that we are all free to join or not.

“I am proud that we have that freedom whether or not I agree with someone’s non-violent protest,” he continued. “You, on the other hand are promoting extremist violence by way of state sanctioned executions. You are obviously standing for the compulsory actions by way of preaching hatred, jingoism,

American exceptionalism — all because people do not believe or think as you do. I am grateful that the majority of Americans do not thirst for their brother’s blood as you do. You are a disgrace, those who agree with you are a disgrace, and you are a black mark upon this great nation. You should certainly hang your heads in shame.”

Very well said Mr. Bender.

church-commentpng-2a1a0c805b05d62bI’m so glad that I am no longer a bible believing Shitstain (Christian).