Barney Cometh

Law enforcement, the FBI, grand juries, lawsuits, arrests, jail, cease-and-desist, special visitors with shiny badges, letters from lawyers, more lawyers, more law enforcement. On and on and on it goes.

Because it’s totally illegal to disagree with somebody, or to not believe what they claim.

Dan, it’s not a blog. It’s a web site.

Oh, my. Does this mean I’m going to be… uh… executed?

This is hilarious. Here we have these fundamentalist Christians telling me what a “real atheist” is like. This has to be the first time in my life I’ve ever seen someone like that say that “real atheists” (as opposed to what? fake ones?) are known for “civility” and “abide by the law.”

The truth, of course, is that “real atheists” simply do not believe in the existence of gods. That says nothing whatever about “civility” or the law.

And yeah, we do believe in free thought. And freedom of expression. And freedom of speech. And all that stuff. Unlike Truth-Seeking Graduates…

The FBI? How scary! J. Edgar and his buddies… I said I didn’t believe Cathy Harris and the FBI cares about that. Who would ever have thought it?

Oh, Wow Wow, for pete’s sake, Act 105 doesn’t have anything to do with any of this.

And here we have the most bizarre series of innuendos and accusations I have ever seen.

They have talked to “all my classmates”? What classmates? For my entire life? Or when I was at Bob Jones Academy, fifty years ago? They’ve tracked down every single one of them and talked with them about… what?

Terror and trafficking? Every single day? Seriously?

But in typical fashion (this is a hallmark of their innuendo), they don’t really say. They just sort of vaguely accuse.

And then they toss in a disclaimer. If I say that I don’t know what in the hell they are talking about, well, I’m lying. They know. They provide no details, no proof, no evidence of any kind. Nothing. But I’m supposed to know what they are talking about, and if I say I don’t, I’m lying. You know that because they say so. “They,” of course, is an unidentified person who hides behind the admin’s cloak of a Facebook page.

And they taunt. Vague. No details. No real facts. Just innuendo and taunting. This is what they do.

And in this one, it’s Maytag talking, or at least, we’re led to believe that it’s Maytag. Who knows for sure? Who even cares at this point? But we’re told it’s a “pedo ring.” A ring of pedophiles operating at Bob Jones University? Fifty years ago? I would assume they are all dead now, if they ever existed.

I was at Bob Jones Academy while I was 13 to 15 years old. I had no idea then what a “pedophile” even was. I knew the facts of life, but not much more than that. At any rate, with no evidence and no proof and nothing but innuendo, it’s a pretty nasty claim to be making in public, but they’re good at making claims about people who are dead.

We start here with the supposed “special visitors.” There are a whole bunch of these.

I do not mention them because I have never laid my eyes on them. No special visitors. Visitors, yes. Neighbors, friends, you name it. But nobody with a “shiny badge” except our next-door neighbor who happens to be a deputy sheriff. He comes over frequently to share some beer on our porch, especially on nice summer evenings. However, he is rarely in uniform.

This was posted on September 4, 2014. No letter. Nobody that I know has gotten any mail that was unusual. This is very upsetting to them, we can tell.

And then there are the pleas for us to stop with the phone calls. No phone calls, folks. None. I have made only a couple of phone calls in the last week, neither related to any of this.

This, as near as I can tell, refers to a picture of Cathy Harris and Camille Lewis on a motorcycle. Cathy posted it all around Facebook for a while. But this one was Photoshopped with blood and gore and horrible stuff and oh my god, it was up on Pinterest in Jeffrey Hoffman’s account.

People reported it and it was removed.

Or, “law enforcement” found it while doing “surveillance” and removed it. Or both. Or neither. Who knows?

Because Jeffrey Hoffman has never had a Pinterest account. Nor have I for that matter.

And Jeffrey is not known for making fake profiles and fake accounts and fake identities. But you know who is an expert at it? And you know who else?

The veiled threats go on, but you get the idea. We’re all going to jail. Exactly who “we” are isn’t ever really made clear, however I do know that I am one of “we.” We’ve been reported to “law enforcement” over and over again for all sorts of crimes.

And I know this is true because St. Catherine herself says so.
So what are we to make of this?

You could have fooled me, Maytag.

Tomatoes Again

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First, if you prepare a wee tiny garden like this (or even a super big one), you have to weed the damned thing beyond the very edge of it.  I know that’s more work, but you do.

Second, the two tomato plants in the foreground (one just below and to the left of the stupid watermark, and the other just above it) might actually be spaced more or less okay.  The big bunch in the center of the photo looks like somebody just dropped a handful of seed and said, “Fuck it. That will do.”

Third, why is there always trash in every single photo?  Always.  Why can’t somebody, anybody, just pick up the damned trash?

Fourth, that is not “sixty” tomato plants even if you count using “unschooling” rules.  But then, math is hard.  Of course, maybe somebody read my piece about tomatoes and rethought that ridiculous idea.

Fifth, gardening has not been a priority at the Blessed Cesspool ever.

Sixth, I don’t feel even slightly bad about laughing.

The Fittest

This is lazy blogging, but Dr. Amy Tuteur already says this and does so beautifully.

Advocates of natural parenting, natural eating and natural healing wax rhapsodic about the perfection of nature. But that’s because they imagine that the blinkered view they prefer is reality when it is nothing more than a comforting fantasy.

Go read it.

I Wanna Sock

I want to make comments, but I don’t want to open myself up to the harassment.

I want you to imagine a field of battle.  Imagine that you want to fire some shots in that battle, but you know that if you do, somebody may very well fire back.

There are two ways to approach this situation.  One is like this.

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The other is like this.

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The commenter above is saying that she wants to fight in the battle, she wants to have her say, she wants to fire bullets, she wants to feel empowered and effective, but she does not want to face any incoming fire.

She wants all the positive stuff. She wants to do damage, speak truth, feel mighty, feel smug.

She wants none of the consequences.

I don’t have it moved over here yet, but I wrote about a man named Christopher Peterman. Because it’s Romancing, some of the story might be a little hard to follow if you aren’t living in that particular rabbit hole, but the gist is this.

Chris was a BJU student, a senior, who saw what he felt was a terrible injustice and took steps to rectify it.  Doing so cost him his college degree.  (The good news is that he’s gone on to graduate from another college just recently.)

All the arguing and wrangling over people trying to take credit for what he did is confusing, I know, but that’s basically what happened. Because Cathy and Camille and some of their buddies helped Chris, they want to take credit for what he accomplished.

Read it.  It relates to what I’m saying here.

Going out on the field and firing bullets comes with a risk of being hit by incoming bullets.

It is absolutely true that some of us are equipped with more Kevlar than others. Kevlar, by the way, is not a sock puppet.  Using a sock, anonymity,  is the equivalent of hiding with your stuffed bear behind a tree.  “Kevlar” is either not caring what somebody else says about you, or not being vulnerable to whatever they choose to do.  And I know that there are people who just lack Kevlar.  I know that. I started Romancing precisely for that reason.  I was covered with Kevlar from head to toe.  Many others were not. I became their voice.

Due to their vulnerability, they had to take the first position and hide behind a tree.  Some of them just hid. A bunch of them hid and offered some encouragement. Others hid and did some research for me.  Still others hid and reloaded my rifles from time to time.

And that’s fine.  I didn’t object to that then and I don’t now.

What I object to is being criticized and beaten up by people who are hiding. I don’t care why they are hiding.  I don’t care if it’s because they are simply chicken-shit, or because they have bona fide reasons for hiding. I don’t care if it’s because they have no Kevlar or they simply don’t trust their Kevlar.

When the army is out there fighting for you, don’t shoot the god-damned soldiers on your own side.

election

There was a strange phenomenon that occurred back in November 2016.

About 46% of the eligible voting population of the United States chose not to vote in the presidential election.  They may have voted in down-stream races and issues, but they simply left the “president” slot empty or they voted for a nonsensical write-in candidate like “Mickey Mouse.”

That was due to the fact that both the major candidates aroused fairly serious negative vibes in lots of folks.

I had a friend at the time who was Republican.  She was so disenchanted by the Republican nominee that she switched her affiliation to Independent. So far, so good. That’s all fine.  It doesn’t matter how you affiliate when it comes to national general elections, so her gesture was just a gesture.

But there was a big problem for her.

She didn’t like Clinton either.

She didn’t like Clinton because she’d been a religious Republican for all her life and had been taught from the pulpit that Clinton was the embodiment of evil and that the Clintons killed people and on and on.

In the end, she couldn’t bring herself to vote for either candidate.

I still didn’t have a problem.  I understood her situation. I didn’t agree with her, but that’s okay. She was one of those people who voted for some nonsensical write-in, effectively not voting at all.

The morning after the election, though, she did something that was so breathtakingly awful that I had a meltdown and threw a public fit.

She wrote a comment on her Facebook about how horrified she was that Donald Trump was elected, how awful it was.

Read that again.  She was “horrified” that Donald Trump was elected.

Here’s what was going on with her.

She knew Trump was a disaster. She knew he was and is unfit to be in any public office, much less the presidency.  She knew all this. She couldn’t vote for him.

But at the same time, she couldn’t defy her religious culture and vote for Hillary Clinton.

So she looked around and said, “Oh, Hillary is going to win, so I will simply not vote. Then, after she wins, I can say that I didn’t vote for her or even that I didn’t vote for either of them and feel all smug and good about my purity.  But the country will be okay, because really I know that Hillary won’t be a disaster as president.”

And then Hillary didn’t win.

When it came down to it, this person wanted me and people like me to do the hard work of compromising our ideals and voting for somebody we hadn’t really wanted at all (I was a Bernie supporter who voted for Clinton in the general) for the sake of the country. She wanted me to stand in the field and take the bullets, while she clutched her stuffed bear and hid behind the tree. And then she wanted to pretend her choice was purity itself.

I want to make comments, but I don’t want to open myself up to the harassment.

Do you see what’s happening here?  This person is saying “I want to feel good about myself, I want to participate in the war, I want to have my say, but I don’t want to inconvenience myself in any way while doing so. Instead, I want you to be inconvenienced, and furthermore, I want to be able to criticize you if I think you should have done it another way.”

If you are not willing to pick up a pencil and vote, or put on some Kevlar and take your chances in the field, please just shut up when other people do that very hard job for you.

 

The Stockdale Tragedy

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In case you haven’t heard about this (I hadn’t until a reader alerted me, so thanks to that person), here’s the short version.

The Stockdale family, mother, dad, four boys, moved to an old farm in Stark County, Ohio,  to “get away from the city.”  They raised chickens at first, but according to their website, transitioned to “grass-fed beef” (meaning “we want to charge you almost $2.50 for beef on the hoof that is really worth only about $1.00 so we’ll give it a fancy name and you’ll think you’re getting something special”) and “free-range pork” (don’t get me started).

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The father and the boys also play bluegrass music.  They’re actually quite good. The guy playing the violin above, whose name is Jacob, won the Ohio state Grand Champion Fiddle award. That’s not nothing.

They are very religious, of course, of the fundy Christian flavor and home school.

And where they got a little claim to fame was that several years ago, they participated in a TV program called Wife Swap.

I am here to tell you that reality TV is not what it seems.  I’ve known two people who got suckered into doing it and both regret it.  There is not a lot of reality in reality TV. It’s edited a lot and the participants are painted as other than they really are, so I haven’t bothered to try to find a whole lot of footage from that episode.

But what does happen on a program like Wife Swap is that the mother gets to write out a “family manual” for the other wife who is coming to take her place. And Kathy Stockdale did just that.  So we have her description of her family in her own words.  The Stockdale family thought this was accurate enough to put it on the website.

Before you go any further, go read it, or at least skim through it and get the gist of it.  You’ll probably gag.  I did. [Note: I edited the link because the Stockdale website or at least that page is down. This is a link to the Google cache.]

But, it’s just lovely.

Or it was lovely, up until yesterday.

The two older boys seem to have left home by now.  One in college, I think, and another out and on his own.  Two boys were left at home, James, the bass player, age 21, and Jacob, the fiddle champion, age 25.

And yesterday, Jacob decided he’d had enough.  He’d apparently had enough of no TV and no internet, and no soft drinks, and no McDonald’s, and only grass-fed beef and kefir and cod-liver oil and a mother telling him when to get up and no girls ever.

He took a gun and appears to have shot and killed both his mother and his younger brother.  His father was apparently at work and thus escaped.

Jacob then shot himself, but didn’t die. He’s in critical condition, though.

Please notice how many times I used the word “apparently.”  We really don’t know why Jacob murdered his mother and his brother and then tried to kill himself.  He obviously is in no condition to talk about it.

But the internet, being the way it is, is very quick to pounce on “isolated home schoolers with religious overtones” and determine that was the problem.

It might well have been.  It’s certainly possible.

It also might not have been that at all.  It might have been paranoid schizophrenia that was untreated because cod-liver oil and free range pork doesn’t do a damn thing for it.

I think about (Alicia) Faith Pennington, the girl whose parents refused to let her have any identifying documentation and isolated her. They were very like the Stockdales.  Same religious ideology, same basic lifestyle.  And Faith had a terrible time breaking free.

So, what happened?  Did Jacob Stockdale try to leave and find they wouldn’t let him, or that they made it so difficult that it was well-nigh impossible?  If so, how did his two older brothers get away?

I have no idea.

Here’s a fascinating article about children who murder their parents.

Here are the basics:

The majority – the overwhelming majority-  are white males who are adolescents (Jacob is 25) and who have been subjected to severe physical, sexual, or emotional/verbal abuse. They typically feel trapped and don’t see any other way out. Like Jacob, they sometimes combine suicide (or a suicide attempt) with murder. They tend to be isolated. There are more instances of this happening than you probably think.

Religion, home schooling, “homesteading,” none of these things seems to be a factor. Drugs and alcohol often are components, but I suspect were absent at the Stockdale farm.

So the terrible tragedy that is the Stockdale family does not tell us that being religious, or living on a farm, or home schooling, or “homesteading” will result in your child being so unhappy he tries to kill you.

What it does tell us that doing all of those things that Kathy Stockdale did so ardently, restricting all those terrible outside influences, does not stop anything.

Kathy Stockdale thought she was being the perfect mother. She thought she had the perfect family.

I stay at home so that I can shape the way they grow up and how they are influenced.

She raised her boys to some exact specifications that she had in her head. She home schooled the boys so that “they are not affected by outside influences and are able to grow up in a safe and wholesome environment.”

Throughout her whole little “family manual,” there’s a theme running that the outside world is evil and bad and safety is only found in the family setting.

She worked her entire adult life at this. It was her single obsession, apparently.

And it did nothing whatever to save her.

 

 

 

Credit

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Bob Jones University just received bona fide, real, regional accreditation from SACSCOC.

Yahoofinance
Yahoo Finance

This is really a milestone.

I hate this school.  I want to repeat that.  I do not like this school.  It’s fundamentalist to the core.  They don’t teach real science or even accurate history there. They create little fundy Republicans and I despise it.

However, I am applauding this.

Why?

Christian fundamentalists are going to send their kids someplace to college.  If BJU went under and closed its doors, that would make me happy in a very superficial way, but it would be a temporary happiness.  It would not help solve the problem of the fundamentalist religion in America in any permanent or meaningful way.

If BJU went under, some other school would take up the slack.  The kids would just go to one of the other horrible fundy schools out there.

One of the hallmarks of that school, preached to me until I was sick of hearing about it, was that they were totally independent and wouldn’t seek or accept regional (bona fide) accreditation because that would make Jesus unhappy.  Jesus told them “no.”

So they touted their non-accreditation, wearing it as a badge of their faithfulness to Jesus.

Back in my day, it didn’t really matter.  Nobody paid much attention to that.  Under-grads were handicapped slightly because credits didn’t transfer well, but if you actually graduated, it was all pretty okay.

But with the proliferation of online diploma mills and quasi-diploma-mills (like the U of Phoenix), employers and those who run graduate schools began looking more closely at where the applicant got their degree.  And BJU grads began to really suffer.

These kids were spending thousands of dollars (and in many cases, their parents were sacrificing a lot) to buy something that was in many cases worthless.

There’s a part of me that just says, “Well, so what?  Suck it up buttercup. You bought a bogus product, so you eat it.”

But then, BJU suddenly did an about-face on their idea of what makes Jesus happy and said that Jesus told them that accreditation now is okay and actually desirable so go for it.  And they did.

This is progress.  It’s a baby step, yes, but it’s a baby step from an entity that has never made any steps at all for generations and has suddenly decided to pull up on the coffee table and start toddling, just a little bit.

Accreditation means that they have to meet certain minimum standards.  Deviate too much from that and they’ll be warned about it.  There is now oversight.  Granted, it’s not very much oversight, but it’s something.

And what there was before was nothing.

So, I’m glad.

I cannot eradicate Christian fundamentalism.

What I can do is applaud when they try to become more human, less horrible, and take a teensy step in the right direction.