Posts Tagged “connecticut”
Note: There’s been some news on this case; please see an update below.
I recently updated my post about former Connecticut governor John G. Rowland having a talk-show on WTIC-AM in Hartford, by noting he had to quit WTIC-AM (WebCite cached article) over what were — at the time he left the station — allegations about his involvement in election fraud. Those allegations have, since his resignation, become a federal indictment (cached).
In this morning’s Hartford Courant, reporter Jon Lender goes over the indictment — which is based on accusations by a GOP Congressional candidate and her husband, backed by emails he’d sent them as well as to another Congressional candidate who’d previously rebuffed his solicitation (cached):
“Love the Gov.”
That’s how ex-Gov. John G. Rowland signed an email to Republican congressional candidate Mark Greenberg on Oct. 23, 2009 — in the first of several messages that prosecutors say he sent over seven months in hopes of becoming a consultant to Greenberg’s 2010 [Republican primary] campaign in the 5th District.
Rowland wasn’t bashful about mentioning his former office — which he quit in 2004, a year before being jailed for corruption — in pitching Greenberg for what a newly released federal indictment describes as a “a sham consulting contract” that would have paid him secretly for helping Greenberg’s campaign.
Rowland depicted himself as still a big man in the district that he’d represented, himself, as a Republican congressman from 1985 to 1991 before he became governor.…
Greenberg ultimately refused the contract.
Rowland didn’t settle for Greenberg’s rejection of his proposal:
In the 2010 election campaign, the indictment says that Rowland proposed that he be paid through a non-profit animal shelter run by Greenberg. Two years later, the indictment says, Republican candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley agreed to Rowland’s proposal that he enter a consulting arrangement with her husband’s nursing-home business while helping her ultimately unsuccessful 2012 campaign.
The $35,000 in payments that Rowland received under that consulting contract were, in reality, payments from the Wilson-Foley campaign for his political assistance — even though the Wilson-Foley camp said that Rowland was a volunteer helper, the indictment says.
Rowland allegedly wanted to conceal his paid campaign work because of potential negative publicity over his December 2004 conviction for political corruption; he pleaded guilty to accepting more than $100,000 in benefits from businessmen while he was governor from 1995 to mid-2004.
At the time he was being paid by Brian Foley’s business and helping the Wilson-Foley campaign, Rowland also was using his role as WTIC-AM radio talk show host to criticize one of Wilson-Foley’s opponents on the air.
What he did for Wilson-Foley was to use his radio show to go after her chief primary challenger, then-state-senator Andrew Roraback (cached). He and his co-host at the time, the Reverend Will Marotti, went as far as to announce Roraback’s cell phone number over the air, implying listeners should call him and protest his opposition to the death penalty as well as his position in other “social issues.” Most of us would call this “inciting to harass.”
Now, why am I pouncing on the poor, beleaguered John Rowland? What’s the relevance of this to religion? That’s easy. As I noted some years ago, Rowland used his religiosity to claim he’s been “redeemed” since he was shamed out of the governor’s office in 2004 and pled guilty to federal corruption charges. He even marketed himself as a motivational speaker, with his main credential being his felonious past, his claimed remorse, and his presumed redemption. Here is his motivational-speaking Web site (cached). He claimed to have become a better man because of his experience and that he could provide life-lessons to other people.
But clearly, he wasn’t really walking that talk. His correspondence with Greenberg in 2010 demonstrates he had his conniving little hand out, trying to scarf up extra money on the side, without anyone being the wiser. In other words, he did again pretty much the same sorts of things he’d done 10 or more years ago, which had forced him out of the governor’s office in the first place.
Had he actually learned his lesson? No. He’d merely pretended to. And he committed this hypocrisy under cover of being religious, arm-in-arm much of that time with his erstwhile theo-political operative Marotti. He and Marotti must have forgotten that their Jesus explicitly and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical.
What’s more, he used his WTIC microphone to make himself and Marotti (who’s taken his place at the station) into the chief spokesmen for Connecticut’s Religious Right. And those R.R. listeners ate it all up, happily. They called into the show, calling him “governor” even though he’d been out of office for years and in spite of his own crimes that put him in federal prison for a year. All of that was irrelevant. They eagerly kowtowed before, and slavered over, this admitted felon.
Their chief rationales for doing so, are: First, “everybody in office is on the take,” so it’s OK that Rowland had been. After all, there’ve been some Connecticut Democrats convicted of corruption (e.g. former Hartford mayor Eddie Perez and former state senator Ernie Newton), so what’s the big deal with Rowland getting free work done on his cottage by state contractors and political operatives? That the “everyone does it” and “but the other side is corrupt too!” arguments are brazenly fallacious, is something that doesn’t matter to them. Second, many of them think the Hartford Courant fabricated the charges against him back in the early 2000s, and drove a completely-innocent man from office. It’s natural they’d do this, since Rowland himself had spent his last couple of years as governor repeatedly mouthing that very mantra. His wife Patty even once let loose with her own “parody” of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” lamenting how horrible the Courant had been to Connecticut’s first couple (cached). It was all very childish and petulant, of course — not to mention later belied by the fact that Rowland himself allocuted to the charges in federal court when he pled guilty — but many of his followers still cling desperately, in spite of that, to the idea that the Courant had made it all up.
This time around, Rowland once again claims his critics and accusers are wrong. He’s pled not guilty, and his lawyer promises he will be “fully vindicated” (cached). Given the documents in the indictment, it’s impossible to believe this is going to happen, if this should get to trial (unless the jury is packed with Rowland-loving Rightists). Word around Connecticut, over the past couple weeks, had been that, like the Foleys, Rowland was negotiating a plea deal. That effort failed. Maybe his lawyer is pushing back in order to renegotiate a better deal for Rowland, and he’ll plead out later this year. Who knows?
But whatever the case, the real bottom line here is clear: Religious people are just too fucking eager to open themselves up to bad people who’ve claimed their religion “reformed” them. It’s my experience that corrupt people tend to remain corrupt, no matter what they say and no matter if they appear to have cleaned up their acts. Religion has no power to force anyone to become a better person; they either reform themselves, or they don’t. Religion has nothing to do with it. Now, believers in a religion love to think their religion has that kind of power … but their believing it, cannot and will never make it so. Their desire that this be the case, though, leaves them prey to liars, con artists and swindlers.
Update: John Rowland’s trial ended yesterday, and the jury convicted him (cached). He and his attorneys will, no doubt, appeal this, but neither his conviction nor the appeal were unexpected. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill, via New Haven Register.
, 5th district
, andrew roraback
, brian foley
, christian right
, ct 5
, ct 5th district
, election fraud
, john g rowland
, john rowland
, lisa wilson-foley
, mark greenberg
, political consulting
, political corruption
, religious redemption
, religious right
, rev will marotti
, talk radio
, will marotti
, wtic-am 1080
3 Comments »
Note: This post has been updated to mention comments made by UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma.
My alma mater‘s train-wreck of a football team just got its second total shake-up in 3 years, when Bob Diaco was hired as the new head coach (WebCite cached article), and the rest of the coaching staff was replaced. Among Diaco’s new staff is running backs coach Ernest Jones, who in a Hartford Courant profile on Sunday, explained that he’ll make Jesus the team’s focus (cached):
Many of the players on the team have a spiritual base.
“Just because you come to the University of Connecticut doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to pursue your faith,” Jones said. “No, you’re going to be able to come here and love the God that you love. So we provide opportunities for them to grow spiritually in our community. So I’ll get out and meet some people in the community so when this young man, for example, says, ‘I’m a Seventh Day Adventist or I’m a Catholic or I’m a Baptist or I’m a Jehovah’s Witness,’ well, OK, here you go. And we’re going to do things in our building, fellowship, non-denominational type things, players, coaches. We’re going to make sure they understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle, that that’s something that is important. If you want to be successful and you want to win, get championships then you better understand that this didn’t happen because of you. This happened because of our Lord and Savior. That’s going to be something said by Bob Diaco. That’s something that’s going to be said by Ernest Jones. That’s who we are.”
I really love how this guy concedes that members of his team can be Catholic, Baptist, or Jehovah’s Witnesses … any kind of Christian who acknowledges Jesus as “our Lord and Savior.” This pretty much leaves out Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. and non-believers too. Those guys, I guess, can’t sign up for UConn football — not with Jones on the coaching staff, anyway.
This caused a little bit of an uproar, I guess, because today, the Courant published a blog post “clarifying” what Jones said (locally-cached article):
In the end Jones just wants the players on the team to have a good sense of morals in addition to being solid football players.
We need to be clear on this though and here’s a clarification, what Jones meant: if a player has a need to be in touch spiritually, whichever direction that is, the player will be able to reach out to Jones and he will be able to point him — or them — in the right direction; that you don’t have to disconnect from your faith — if you’re faith-based — because you’re away from home.
That sounds all well and good, I suppose … except for three tiny little problems: First, this “clarification” doesn’t mesh with Jones’s original words. As reported, he specifically and explicitly mentioned that Jesus Christ, not some other deity, was required to “be in the center of [UConn’s] huddle.” He didn’t say “Jesus Christ, or whoever or whatever the players worship, should be in the center of our huddle.” Second, Jones’s statement wasn’t predicated on whether or not a player has a wish for spirituality; he clearly said that the entire team had to focus on Jesus. That obviously means every player, not just those who are Christian, or even just those with a spiritual inclination. Third, this clarification didn’t come from Jones himself; beat writer Desmond Conner wrote it for him. The clarification is Conner’s, not Jones’s, so we have no idea whether or not Jones actually thought better of what he’d said during the interview, or for that matter whether or not Jones is even aware of the controversy he kicked up. It’s possible Jones has taken the cowardly route, hiding behind Conner, unwilling to go on the record as admitting he said anything inappropriate, and hoping a reporter can make this go away for him.
I note that the Courant also released UConn president Susan Herbst’s comments — this time, quoting her directly rather than writing for her (locally-cached):
But it should go without saying that our employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students. This applies to work-related activity anywhere on or off campus, including on the football field. Our Athletic Director and Coach Diaco agree wholeheartedly with me, and have made this clear to their staff.
What a mess. It’s been made even more of a mess than it needed to be, by virtue of the total silence of Jones himself. Where has the Christianist weasel been, the last couple days? No one, aside maybe from Desmond Conner, knows.
Photo credit: The Biblical World.
P.S. The typos in some of the Courant articles linked above, such as an extraneous semicolon in one headline, are as published. Editing is given short shrift at the nation’s oldest continuously-published newspaper.
Update: The incredibly successful — not to mention sometimes-brutally-frank — Geno Auriemma, UConn’s women’s basketball coach, had a little to say about this controversy (cached):
“I don’t give a [expletive] about religion when it comes to sports,” Auriemma said. “In fact, I think it’s stupid [to involve it]. I get a kick out of those who go on national television and thank God [for giving them the strength to perform]. Like God gives a [expletive] that you made 18 jumpers. I have always had a problem with that [thinking]. I don’t think people should show their religious belief in public. I have a real problem with it. And I don’t care what religion it is.
The Courant provides video of his comments, which for some reason I can’t embed here (even though the site offers embed code … WTF?).
Auriemma makes an excellent point about whether God cares if “you made 18 jumpers.” Think about this for a moment: Why would the Almighty give a shit about a basketball game, or football game … or any other kind of athletic contest? Why would s/he/it care if a player scored 8 points, or 10, or 12? What could that possibly mean to an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal and infinite being? Wouldn’t s/he/it have better things with which to concern him/her/itself?
If you ask me, if Geno Auriemma — who’s arguably the most successful coach currently working in American college sports — doesn’t think religion should be linked to athletics and doesn’t care about his players’ religion(s), that ought to be tell you something. It might not prove anything all by itself, but it is a meaningful perspective by someone who truly knows the issue.
, connecticut football
, desmond conner
, ernest jones
, football jesus
, jesus in the huddle
, ncaa football
, public university
, sports and jesus
, storrs CT
, susan herbst
, uconn football
, university of connecticut
Comments Off on Wins And Championships Come From Jesus, Not From Athletes
Note: See below for a couple updates on this story.
A couple years ago, America’s Catholic bishops commissioned a report on child sexual abuse among its clergy, which concluded that it was a “historical problem” (in other words, something that had happened “historically,” but had stopped occurring). Unfortunately for the bishops and their sycophants who wrote this report, the reality is that child abuse by R.C. clergy is anything but “historical.” Here in Connecticut, just within the archdiocese of Hartford, it’s been an issue a few times within those past two years.
As one would expect — given that this is the archdiocese that dared use the “but the victims enjoyed it” defense in court during a lawsuit — the Hartford Courant reports on yet another example of this “historical problem” that won’t seem to go away (WebCite cached article):
An East Windsor priest has been placed on leave by the Catholic Church after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Hartford Archdiocese said Monday.
The Rev. Paul Gotta had earlier come to public attention in June when he told police about an 18-year-old who had told him he was planning a memorable prank for his graduation ceremonies. Police later charged the teenager with attempting to make a bomb, possession of explosives and other charges.
The state Department of Children and Families has received a complaint of sexual abuse of a minor involving Gotta, who is administrator of St. Philip and St. Catherine churches in East Windsor, said Maria Zone, spokeswoman for the archdiocese. Police are investigating the allegation, she said in a written statement.
Note, this revelation didn’t reach police attention because of anything the archdiocese did. It appears — somehow — to have been a side-effect of Gotta having reported a teen’s threat of violence against his school. The Courant article itself is strange reading, since it doesn’t connect the child-abuse allegation with the bomb threat. The article, as written, is basically a single report of two different incidents. A pretty substantial amount of information is completely missing from the story. Given the decline of journalism, this isn’t really surprising … sorry to say.
At any rate, the bishops’ contention that child abuse by its clergy is merely “historical,” is a lie. And they know it.
Update 1: Things just got a whole helluva lot worse for the Rev. Gotta. The Courant reports he was just arrested on federal charges (cached). The ATF and East Windsor police accuse him of helping a juvenile get firearms. It also seems the Reverend may have helped him make a gun:
The warrant also states that Bass said he and Gotta had discussed making a shotgun, which he tested in the backyard in the presence of the priest.
This is one seriously bad situation for a priest — of all people! — to have gotten himself into.
Update 2: Back in November most of the charges against Rev Gotta were dismissed, and he pled guilty only to a minor count (cached). Yes, this latest news is 2+ months old, but I only just became aware of it.
Photo credit: Archdiocese of Hartford.
Tags: archdiocese of hartford
, catholic child abuse scandal
, catholic church
, catholic clerical abuse scandal
, east windsor CT
, lazy journalism
, paul gotta
, rev paul gotta
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
Comments Off on And Yet Another Example Of The “Historical Problem” That Just Won’t Go Away
Since their religion was founded, Christians appear to have had a lot of trouble with the teachings of their own religion. As I’ve explained at length, according to their own scripture, Jesus left behind some fairly clear and unambiguous instructions for them, that they more or less ignore. Some of this isn’t entirely unreasonable; after all, strictly following the order to “turn the other cheek” in every conflict could — if the circumstances are dire enough — result in injury or even death. So I get why Christians might not be too eager to obey that one all the time.
That said, some of Jesus’ instructions are far less harmful to follow, yet Christians have, historically, dug their heels in against them and refuse to follow them. Among those is his injunction against public piety. The gospel according to Matthew reports that Jesus said:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Mt 6:1-6)
In spite of this clear and explicit order, Christians don’t seem to hesitate to let others know they’re Christians, that they’re righteous, and that they worship their deity. They desperately want other people to know they’re Christians, and they never shy away from ensuring that the rest of the world knows it.
Just today, not too far away from me in the northwestern Connecticut, as the Torrington Register-Citizen reports, they got together in what amounts to an orgiastic display of anti-scriptural public piety (WebCite cached article):
More than 150 people gathered at Coe Memorial Park [in Torrington] from Saturday morning until the evening for a day of worship, entertainment and food during the 2013 Praise God Fest.
All the entertainment and food was donated, and there were several volunteers helping serve food and offer information during the festival.
The stated explanation for why they did this is pretty lame:
Michael Oleksiw is a pastor at the Freedom Hills Christian Center in Torrington, and is the coordinator for Praise God Fest.…
“Christians are real people, regular people,” Oleksiw said. “We have fun, and we just want to tell people abut the hope that we have in our lives as Christians.”
I mean, seriously, who isn’t aware that Christians are “real people”? We need this display of public Christian piety, to know that? Really?
Oleksiw’s “explanation” implies that Christians are some kind of tiny minority that’s maligned and misunderstood or something. But this is patently absurd; Christianity is the majority religion in the US, in Connecticut, and even in the city of Torrington. They aren’t misunderstood at all.
The rationales that Christians cook up to explain why they think they can display their piety openly and publicly, in spite of Jesus’ clear order never to do so, are mind-boggling. In fact, they border on incoherent. See, for example, my exchange with a Christian in the comments on this Hartford FAVS article).
One explanation I’ve heard is that, when in verse 6 of the Matthew passage Jesus said to “go into your inner room” to pray, he wasn’t giving a blanket order to all Christians to do this all the time; it was just an example of something they might want to do … sometimes. This, however, doesn’t make sense in light of the overall passage. Jesus opened that particular teaching (in verse 1) with a general statement: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” He then went on to give examples of the “hypocrites” behaving unacceptably: Being seen giving to the poor (verses 2-4), and standing in the streets to pray (verse 5). In verse 6 he turns back to his followers, and tells them to “go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret,” which contrasts with the behavior of the “hypocrites.”
Unfortunately, the idea that verse 6 is merely an example and not a universal instruction doesn’t hold up in the language of those verses … whether in the original Greek or in translation. Verse 6 opens with a distinct break, that being the Greek phrase συ δε (su de); it’s usually translated as “But you …” although for me, a closer and more literal English equivalent would be, “You, however …” In either case, there’s a clear break in Jesus’ address. He’s obviously going from having given two examples of “the hypocrites'” bad behavior, to telling his audience what they need to do, by comparison.
This kind of irrational and illogical semantic dance is to be expected of a religion that’s ostensibly based on strict readings of a particular batch of writings. I get why they do this: After all, what good is it to be a Christian, if you aren’t going to get noticed for being one? Even so, no literate Christian has any viable excuse for not being aware of Matthew 6:1-6 and Jesus’ explicit injunction against public piety. It’s time for Christians to grow up, suck it, and obey the teachings of their own religion. Even the teachings that are inconvenient.
Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on Mt 6:6.
, freedom hills christian center
, matthew 6:1-6
, matthew 6:6
, michael oleksiw
, mt 6:1-6
, mt 6:6
, praise god fest
, public piety
, torrington CT
Comments Off on Christians Brazenly Disobey Jesus, In Northwestern Connecticut
Water supplies in the US have been fluoridated for decades. It’s a great way to fight tooth decay. It also happens to be safe and effective, and this has been demonstrated repeatedly since the practice began. The science is in; the matter is settled; and it has been settled for years.
But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been wingnuts, cranks, lunatics and freaks wailing and fuming over it. “It’s a Commie plot!” was a common battle-cry against it, in the 50s, and the Communist conspiracy angle remained a popular facet of the anti-fluoridation movement.
The Cold War has been over for more than two decades, but that doesn’t mean opposition to fluoridation went away. No, it took on other angles. For example, some think it’s a Big Pharma conspiracy to stuff corporate coffers with ill-gotten booty at the expense of public health. That anti-fluoridators make their own profits being anti-fluoridators — selling books, hosting seminars, raking in speakers’ fees — doesn’t seem to matter much to their fans. They refuse to see the contradiction and will not admit their heroes are hypocrites.
Here in Connecticut, it seems anti-fluoridators have found a fan in Republican state Senator Joe Markley. The Hartford Courant reports he recently hosted a fake hearing in the state capitol to roll back a law mandating fluoridation in the Nutmeg State (WebCite cached article):
Saying the practice takes away the right of consumers to make medical choices and possibly inflicts serious harm on children, opponents of adding fluoride to public water argued Wednesday that a glass of water should contain water — and nothing else.
At an informal hearing at the state Capitol called by state Sen. Joe Markley, chemist Paul Connett called on state lawmakers to abolish the state’s flouridation law and forbid communities from putting additives in water supplies to improve public health.
“We should never use the public water supply to deliver medicine,” said Connett, a retired Dartmouth professor and leading fluoridation critic. “No doctor could do to us what the state of Connecticut is doing.”
I have to wonder if Connett is a member of the John Birch Society, since one of the pretenses upon which they opposed fluoridation was that it was an impermissible, involuntary, mass medical treatment.
At any rate, the Courant lays out the background behind Connecticut’s fluoridation mandate, and adds:
But Markley, a Republican from Southington, put forth legislation this year to abolish Connecticut’s policy, saying that it unfairly adds an extra expense to cash-strapped town budgets. The bill failed, but Markley said he’ll bring it back next year. On Wednesday, he said he wanted both sides of the fluoridation debate to make their case.
“As a principle, politically, I try to listen to everybody as much as possible,” Markley said. “I like to hear people who know what they’re talking about differ on a topic.”
Note Markley’s brazen appeal to the false debate (aka “teach the controversy”). What the senator doesn’t know — or perhaps he does know, and he’s just lying about it — is that there is no longer any “debate” about the safety or effectiveness of fluoridation. It is safe, and it is effective. Period. Markley’s suggestion that there is any remaining question about it, is disingenuous.
That article makes a point of mentioning that dentists had been invited, but did not come:
Connecticut State Dental Association President Mark Desrosiers said in an interview that his group had accepted an invitation from Markley. But they backed out when they heard Connett would be there.
The reason why dentists wouldn’t bother coming to Markley’s fake hearing starring Connett should be obvious. It’s the same reason that geophysicists don’t show up to meetings of the Flat Earth Society: There’s no point in going! They wouldn’t be welcome, their input isn’t wanted, and there’s nothing they could say that would have the slightest effect on any of the anti-fluoridators there.
Photo credit: Funny Demotivational Posters.
P.S. Watch the credentials here. Connett is a scientist, yes … but he’s a chemist, not a physician or dentist. Woops.
Tags: appeal to debate
, conspiracy theory
, false appeal to debate
, false debate
, hartford ct
, joe markley
, paul connett
, public water
, water fluoridation
Comments Off on Cold-War Era Conspiratorialism Being Revived In Hartford
Note: There’s some recent news about the subject of this blog post. See below for more information.
I’m guessing most of you have no idea who Martha Dean is, not even those of you who live in my home state of Connecticut, where she also lives. Ordinarily, I’d have provided a link to her bio on some reference site like Answers.Com — but she’s not even well-known enough for that. That said, she’s hardly a nobody. She was the Republican nominee for Connecticut state Attorney General in 2002 and again in 2010.
Ms Dean is a gun-rights advocate and Republican activist, and one who’s not exactly all together upstairs. For example, while running for A.G. in 2010 she advocated mandatory gun training for all school children in Connecticut (cached) (just the liability insurance alone would make this cost-prohibitive for nearly every school district … but that didn’t matter to her, despite the fact that she’s a lawyer and surely had to have realized it).
Well, this shifty character managed to step in it a few days ago, when — as the Litchfield County Times reports — she posted a link to a “Newtown Truther” conspiracy video on her Facebook wall (WebCite cached article):
Republican legislative leaders have asked former GOP attorney general candidate Martha Dean to take down a link on her Facebook page to a conspiracy video that calls the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown a “hoax.”
Put together by One Truth 4 Life, the 24-minute video, combines the early confusing reports out of Newtown when police were looking for a second shooter and comments from others at the scene to ultimately conclude that “this was a total hoax. There are just a bunch of people walking around a movie set.”
“Oh my God. It is just vile. It is beyond me how someone would post this, particularly a standard-bearer for any political party. It is such a disgraceful video,” said House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero. He said he couldn’t understand why anyone would call attention to this material.
Larry may profess not understand the reason, but I do: It’s because Martha long ago drank the NRA’s paranoiac Kool-Aid and believes this was all contrived by the Obama administration to take away her precious guns. (Really, Larry, you already know this, too, and don’t need me to tell you. It’d have been better for you just to admit your co-Republican is a lunatic nutcase that no one should listen to and who had no business being on your party’s ballot twice in 8 years. But you haven’t the courage to say it. More’s the pity.)
Ms Dean apparently wasn’t unaffected by the fallout:
When reached Thursday, Dean read from a new post she put on Facebook on the criticism.
“We all love kids and we all mourn the tragic loss of school staff and children at Newtown, but we must never fear asking questions — or posting questions asked by others,” it read. She said she didn’t plan to comment further.
Except, that turns out to have been a lie. Today she had plenty of comment on it … when, as the Hartford Courant reports, she appeared this afternoon on the WTIC-AM radio show of convicted felon and ex-governor John Rowland (cached):
In an extraordinary radio interview [cached] that aired Wednesday afternoon, former Republican Gov. John Rowland, now host of a drive-time talk show on WTIC, relentlessly grilled Martha Dean, the former Republican nominee for attorney general who had posted a Sandy Hook truther video on her Facebook page [cached].
The exchange, which took up most of the 5 o’clock hour, touched on an array of topics, from the Lusitania to Benghazi to Susan Smith. …
“People want to know why you posted the video on your Facebook for Facebook followers,” Rowland asked. “What was the purpose, what was the point? What were you trying to prove, what are the questions that you’d think that people need to bring up in Connecticut..that’s what people want to know.” …
Dean said she uses her Facebook page as a forum for ideas, some of which she agrees with and some of which she doesn’t.
But Dean also say repeatedly that the video “raises questions” about the narrative that unfolded on Dec. 14. Among the questions she cited: How did shooter Adam Lanza get into the school? (He shot his way in [cached].)
The whole “there are questions, therefore my insane theory must be true” rationale is absurd on its face. Of course there are questions about what happened during the Newtown massacre. Dozens of them. I’ve asked some of those questions, myself. I will state very clearly, I find the Connecticut State Police — who’ve controlled the investigation — have been slippery and evasive where it’s concerned, to the point of even being dishonest about it (e.g. saying they discovered evidence of a motive for the massacre, yet continuing to say they have no idea what the motive could have been). However, that’s no reason to presume some insane conspiratorial hypothesis, nor is it good reason to post a video insulting to the victims of the Newtown massacre. The “people have questions” thing has been used to justify any number of crazy or hateful notions. One example is Holocaust denial; some Holocaust deniers predicate their objections on the question of just how many Jews were killed by the Nazis, as though if the number were “only,” say, 1 million instead of, say, 7 million, it means there couldn’t have been any genocide. That, of course, is laughable and asinine. What Martha is doing here isn’t so very different.
Based on the Courant‘s account of Rowland’s takedown of Ms Dean, I almost wish I were one of Rowland’s listeners. But it will take a lot more than just this to get me to listen to that felonious windbag.
At any rate, Martha’s fans within Connecticut’s extreme Right wing (which does exist in spite of this being a very “blue” state) and among NRA activists will, no doubt, laud her for her “courage” and praise her for having “asked questions” they think no one else has dared ask (even though lots of people, including myself, have done so). In other words, she’s already impressed everyone she’d hoped to impress with her little stunt. Nothing she says afterward, and nothing anyone else says about her, can change it. That John Rowland, Larry Cafero, or anyone else — even if they’re Republicans — disapproves of her maneuver, doesn’t matter one iota to her or to her supporters. She’s hooked them, and the barb has sunk in. And she’ll laugh all the way to the bank, especially if she decides to run for statewide office again in 2014.
P.S. I have no idea what Susan Smith has to do with this. I can only imagine what Martha thinks her link is to the Newtown massacre. I don’t even want to know … !
Update: The paranoiac, gun-toting Martha Dean announced she’s running for governor of Connecticut in 2014 (cached). Which obviously didn’t work out for her, since she didn’t even last long enough to primary.
Photo credit: Motifake.
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I blogged some time ago about Germany addressing its witch-hunting past. A similar effort has been underway here in my home state of Connecticut, which had a couple surges of witch-hunts several decades prior to the now-much-more-famous witch-hunts in Salem, MA (WebCite cached version). One would think that, in the 21st century and in a “blue state,” the powers-that-be would at least be willing to entertain the idea that the witches killed by the Connecticut colony in the 17th century just might have been the victimes of an injustice.
Efforts to rehabilitate Connecticut’s witches started back in ’05 or ’06. An early result was this research report by legislative staff (cached). Such efforts were generally resisted by the General Assembly and the state bureaucracy. Nevertheless, advocates for making things right continue to plug away, as Hartford FAVS reports (cached):
At 82, Bernice Mable Graham Telian doubts she’ll live long enough to see the name of her seventh grandmother and ten others hanged in Colonial Connecticut for witchcraft cleared. …
In 2008, Telian wrote to Connecticut lawmakers when a resolution was introduced in the General Assembly to acknowledge the witch trials. Lawmakers heard testimony from descendants of executed witches and historians, but the measure died. There was even an earlier effort to get the victims pardoned, but the state board of Pardons and Parole said it doesn’t grant posthumous pardons.
Now members of the Connecticut Wiccan & Pagan Network are pushing Gov. Dannel Malloy to sign a proclamation to clear the names of the victims. Supporters are asked to send Malloy a postcard that reads: I am a Pagan/Witch and I vote. Clear the names of Connecticut’s eleven accused and executed witches.
Connecticut lawmakers and bureaucrats have had many excuses for why they refused to act on this over the last 6 or 7 years. Chief among them is the belief that it will set a precedent that would somehow bring on hundreds of lawsuits by people trying to posthumously clear their ancestors. The request for a proclamation rather than a pardon, though, gets around that:
Anthony Griego, who is heading the effort, said the proclamation is non-binding and doesn’t open up the door for lawsuits.
I expect even this namby-pamby, nowhere-near-a-real-exoneration of Connecticut’s witches to meet continued resistance by state government. It’s not viewed as a priority, and it’s thought of as something from the deep dark past with no importance. The state’s Right wing is particularly resistant to doing anything, as seen — for example — in this 2008 editorial in the New Haven Register:
Connecticut does not grant posthumous pardons for those convicted of crimes. That includes those hanged as witches in the 17th century. Instead, the legislature’s Judiciary Committee is considering a resolution denouncing the state’s witch trials as shocking. Of course, they are shocking to a modern sensibility. Equally telling, however, is the 21st century urge to find current victims of ancient miscarriages of justice. …
The legislature’s venture into the state’s earliest history suggests some of the foolishness of our passing judgment on a far different time. In the 17th century, evil and the devil were considered real.
This editorial, then, pans the idea of pardoning Connecticut’s witches as a (presumably Lefist) effort to “find more victims” to help, and it excuses Connecticut’s witch trials as normal and acceptable for the time in which they occurred. Unfortunately, they were not “normal”; witch trials in the American colonies were actually not very common at all — this is why they’re so remarkable and seem so egregious (at the time they occurred, and even more since). Furthermore, it was immoral then and it remains immoral now, even though Christian witch-hunts continue to happen in other parts of the world. The Register editorial also smacks a little bit of the Tea Partiers in Tennessee who demand that schools there not teach that some of the Founding Fathers owned slaves because, quite simply, they don’t want to hear about it any more. Sheesh!
The real point, here, as far as I’m concerned, is: How can Americans dare tell people in other parts of the world to stop their witch-hunts, if they aren’t also willing to go on the record and state, clearly and unequivocally, that the witch-hunts in our own past were reprehensible and wrong? What’s more, an injustice is still an injustice, even if it happened in the past and everyone involved is long dead. Admitting past injustices is a way of preventing them in the future. And what, exactly, is the point of refusing to admit that injustices happened, when everyone fucking well knows they did? Mature adults can handle such an admission. So let’s just get it done already, fercryinoutloud!
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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