The Zochtil Now Available as an Audio Book

The Zochtil is a new novel about a future earth in which the US still has a Fifth Amendment, even if it has given near-dictatorial powers to the President. Almek Manning was living in the United Monarchy of Europe when he was deposited by the Child Rights Police in the bombed-out ruins of London, but he had a dream to reach for the stars. He hoped to escape from London Proper with the help of his squad of fellow detainees, join the Solar Fleet, and jump to the Stars!

Almek Manning was living in the United Monarchy of Europe when he was deposited by the Child Rights Police in the bombed-out ruins of London, but he had a dream to reach for the stars. He hoped to escape from London Proper with the help of his squad of fellow detainees, join the Solar Fleet, and jump to the Stars!

The Zochtil is available at Amazon in both e-book and paperback formats and is available as a Nook e-book from Barnes & Noble. This week, my son’s book has now been released as an audio book, available from Audible. Award-winning narrator Nick Sullivan has done a fabulous job with his recording of the audio book.

For more information about the Almek Manning series visit www.almekmanning.com.

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Top 10 Reasons Perry May Not Be Electable in General Election

Some thoughts on why Rick Perry may not be the most competitive candidate for the general election campaign.

1. Perry’s claims of creating a million jobs don’t stand up to scrutiny.

2. Perry’s government subsidy of banks doesn’t inspire confidence in his financial acumen.

3. Perry’s knowledge of foreign policy does not seem very impressive based on his performance at the Orlando debate.

4. Perry’s transportation policy has provided Texas the most expensive solution possible for building new roads.

5. In 2002, Perry promised to reform school financing, but by 2011 school financing is in such a mess that school districts in Texas are faced with signficant layoffs.

6. Perry exercised poor judgment when he levelled harsh charges against Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

7. Perry will likely have a tough time selling himself to the large bloc of senior voters, because of his views on Social Security.

8. Perry supervised a big-government action that stripped all 468 children from their parents in the Texas community of an unpopular religion (FLDS).

9. Perry claims to be a supporter of small government, even though – as Governor of Texas – he was willing to sign a big-government executive order that was widely unpopular.

10. Perry is running to be President of the Union, but he appears to think the Union is an optional club.

Click image to enlarge – Click on #8 (above) for details

#8: Perry Stripped All of the Children in a Texas Community away from Their Parents

Documenting further reasons why Perry would struggle with general election voters, especially ones who value civil rights…

8. Perry supervised a big-government action that stripped all 468 children from their parents in the Texas community of an unpopular religion (FLDS).

Mental health workers documented the tragedy of the way the FLDS children were treated by the state. One of them wrote:

On the awful day that they separated the mothers and children the level of cruelty and lack of respect for human rights was overwhelming.

After the Texas Supreme Court ruled against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Governor Perry’s defense was very similar to the defense he made of his decision about the HPV virus.

I am substantially less interested in these fine legal lines that we’re discussing than I am about these children’s welfare, that’s where my focus is.

Governor Perry appeared to be stating that he doesn’t mind if the government exceeds the limits that the law places upon the government, provided that the government has good intentions (even if those good intentions have disastrous results).

Voters with families will have cause to ponder whether they want a chief executive who favors intrusive solutions that seem to show more interest in oppressing an unpopular minority than in safeguarding the well-being of their children or safeguarding constitutional guarantees.

Modern RoundupClick image to enlarge

Election Diversity: We’ve Come a Long Way … or Have We?

With the four leading candidates in this year’s presidential contest having been an African-American, a female, a Mormon, and a 72 year-old, the diversity envelope was certainly stretched this year. A USA Today/Gallup poll reported last year on the willingness of present-day Americans to select a non-traditional candidate for the presidency compared to responses to a similar survey 40 years ago. The results indicated that the percentage willing to vote for a black or a woman had increased signficantly in the last 40 years, moving from 53% to 94% for a black candidate and moving from 57% to 88% for a female candidate. Given that an African-American candidate and a female candidate were the top Democratic contenders this year, it would seem that we’ve come a long way.

The poll also delved into questions relevant to the Republican ticket, asking voters about their willingness to support a Mormon or a 72 year-old for president. The survey results indicated that the Republican front-runners also faced significant demographic obstacles, with only 72% of the respondents indicating willingness to vote for a Mormon and 57% indicating willingness to vote for a 72 year-old. Gallup reported that the sentiment about electing a Mormon was “essentially unchanged” in 40 years, which seems to indicate that maybe we haven’t come such a long way after all. Add to that the way the topics of race and sex played out during the primary campaigns and it would appear that even the poll numbers from the Democratic primary mask some uncomfortable realities.

Let’s look at some presidential trivia for starters. How many Americans know the middle name of any of the four front-runners, other than Senator Obama? (The other middle names are Diane, Sidney, and Mitt). How many Americans can name the former pastor of more than one of these presidential contenders? Or how many Americans can name any biographical facts about any candidate’s great-grandfather other than Mitt Romney?

Or, if you want even more ridiculous trivia that hopefully fewer Americans can actually answer, what brand of men’s underwear did one journalist claim had been spotted in Mitt Romney’s master bathroom? And, if that seems a bit too ridiculous to believe, a Washington Post staff writer treated us to a discussion of Senator Clinton’s cleavage, and an MSNBC anchor speculated that McCain would be comfortable switching from a discussion of the economy to a discussion about “buying more Depends.”

While we’re on the topic of age, how many Americans can correctly answer the question “Who was the oldest major-party presidential candidate?” If you go to WikiAnswers, you might think it was McCain, though it was actually Ronald Reagan. Or, how many Americans could name the last election in which the president who was elected died before reaching his 80s? (That would be 40 years ago, when LBJ was elected: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and G.H.W Bush all lived long enough to reach 80, though in fairness, the jury is still out on whether Bill Clinton and George W. will live into their 80s).

Of course, we have debates to help keep candidates focused on substantive issues, right? The only problem is that our debates are a bit different from the old-fashioned variety. One hundred fifty years ago we had politicians such as Lincoln and Douglas who, in their famous Senatorial debates, gave lengthy speeches on the pressing topics of the day – including slavery and its relationship to both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, states’ rights, the Dred Scott decision, and racial equality. Lincoln collected these debates into a book of more than 250 pages which was published in advance of the presidential election of 1860. Today, by contrast, we allow for sound-bite answers in response to questions chosen by moderators or audience members. Questions this year have included ones such as the question posed to the Republican candidates regarding whether they believe every word of the Bible, even though one would think it might be more appropriate to ask a presidential candidate whether they believe every word of the Constitution or, even more simply, whether they would defend all the rights guaranteed in the Constitution. I think Clinton had it right when she proposed switching from moderated debates to a format more reminiscent of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. We can only hope that McCain and Obama adopt that idea during the general election.

A snippet from a John Quincy Adams campaign song shows the venom that played a part in historical elections:

Little know ye who’s coming if John Quincy not be comin’ … fears are comin’, tears are comin’, plague and pestilence are comin’, hatin’s comin’, Satan’s comin’ if John Quincy not be coming.

So, how far have we come? If the Voting for Satan website is used as a yardstick, it seems we haven’t entirely outgrown the type of political venom in the John Quincy Adams campaign. Admittedly, that website was not an officially endorsed website. However, through the miracle of modern technology, that website probably had more hits than the John Quincy song had listeners. But perhaps there has been some progress after all: our modern electronic media do allow far more people to be reached by debates and written content. Now, if we can only figure out how to spend more time on the Constitution, civil rights, and the economy than we spend on briefs, Depends, and cleavage.

CPS Advisory Committee Member Said Service Plans Abuse Parents

State of Texas 49, King George 28

49. An Advisory Committee Memory appointed by Governor Perry to advise the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the approach outlined in the service plans represents an abuse of the FLDS parents.

KXAN reported that advisory committee member Tim Lambert said:

They say, “OK, we’ve got the kids for a year. Now, you gotta do what we tell you to do. We don’t know what that is, and that might change as we go along.” Now, I would submit to you that is abuse. That is parental abuse by CPS.

I’ve previously docmented instances in which CPS actions caused FLDS children to suffer (FLDS child dehydrated and manourished; FLDS kids ate poorly and slept poorly; FLDS kid with 104 degree fever not allowed to be with mom; FLDS kid cyring himself to sleep). Now we can observe that CPS actions also unnecessarily caused suffering of the FLDS parents. CPS being let loose on the FLDS community is looking more and more akin to a bull being let loose in a china shop.

FLDS Child Dehydrated and Malnourished while in State Care

State of Texas 48, King George 28

48. A two-year old FLDS girl became dehydrated and malnourished while in state custody.

As reported by the New York Times, Ruth Fischer faced a distressing sight when she visited her daughter in a hospital:

Hannah looked like a little orphan sitting on the couch. Her hair was stringy and she was in a diaper, a pair of dirty socks and a hospital gown.

Similar to what happened in the case of two other children (see previous post), in addition to suffering physical health problems, her daughter also became withdrawn.

It seems that CPS was quite efficient at abusing the FLDS children in the short length of time that they had custody of the children…

Service Plans Capable of Breaking up FLDS Church

State of Texas 47, King George 28

47. The service plans for the FLDS families were capable of breaking apart the FLDS Church in Texas.

The service plans allege that (link to example plan):

The adults have chosen to be members of a community that appears to support systemic [sic] abuse of children…. Sexual abuse has been confirmed for some children which poses risk of abuse to all children.

And the cover letter states:

If the judge is not satisfied that you can provide a safe place for your child where they are free from abuse, the judge may decide to … permanently take away all of your rights as a parent of the child.

It doesn’t require an excessive amount of reading between the lines to draw the conclusion that if FLDS parents want to keep their children they should leave Eldorado. The service plan even helps this conclusion along by assigning DFPS (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services) the task to:

Assist the parent with finding community and other resources to sustain independent living arrangements.

The service plan praises the FLDS community’s system of mutual financial support:

They have a community financial support structure within the YFZ ranch. They are resourceful by gardening, making clothing and utilizing home-making skills and strong construction skills. The mothers have support from other adult women and adolescent girls who assist with child care responsibilities. The family refrains from drug and alcohol abuse.

However, the plan makes it pretty clear that the parents are expected to remove themselves from that financially supportive environment. One of the tasks assigned to the parents in the service plan is to:

Participate in educational/vocational testing for yourself, and work on educational or vocational training as needed to be able to financially support your child.

Another task assigned to the parents involved budgeting skills. The service plan appears to be saying, “You have a nice financial support structure in your community: now please get out of it.”

A law professor and expert on juvenile law quoted by the Dallas Observer summed up the service plans well:

My understanding of the plans is that they may have to be willing to separate from the larger community and become more of a nuclear family, and maybe even be willing to live outside of the compound. As I understand it, one of the goals is not to punish the parents, but to liberate them from this community and conditions, in which other women have said it is very difficult to leave.

After reading through one of the service plans, the main thing I find myself asking is the following: why is there so much mention of budgeting, vocational training, and housing and no mention of not permitting children to marry before the age of consent. Wasn’t that supposed to be the problem the state was trying to address?