Entrenchment: FLDS members at the YFZ Ranch huddle behind padlocked gates while Texas State officials pursue new strategies to make their mass child abduction "legal."
There are many millions of adults who suffer from a peculiar logic disorder I call "Severe Ipse-Dixitism" that leads them to mistake assertions for evidence. This affliction is quite widespread among political pundits, particularly those who pollute the talk radio industry. Both the Texas Department of Child Protective Services and its media allies suffer from a particularly acute case of that tragic condition.
In a brief filed before the Texas Supreme Court seeking relief from its devastating legal defeat last Friday, the Texas CPS emits a dense fog of unsupported allegations about serious crimes purportedly committed by members of the FLDS Church. The CPS condemns the Texas Third District Appeals Court for insisting that the Agency provide actual evidence of crimes before seizing from the community all of the children 18 years of age and younger -- as well as several adult mothers who, the Agency insisted, were minors.
The appeals court's error, insists the CPS, can only be corrected if the state Supreme Court treats the Agency's unproven assertions as if they were proven facts.
"This case is about adult men commanding sex from underage children; about adult women knowingly condoning and allowing sexual abuse of underage children; about the need for the Department to take action under difficult, time-sensitive and unprecedented circumstances to protect children on an emergency basis," insists the CPS brief.
Oddly enough, when the CPS first slithered into the YFZ refuge on April 3rd, it piously insisted that the case was "about" the ongoing abuse of a 16-year-old child bride at the cruel hands of her loutish polygamist "husband." The Agency and its trained pets in law enforcement knew that the alleged perpetrator was not at the YFZ Ranch, and before the child-grab was consummated they also knew that the "victim" didn't exist. Not that this made a particle of difference, of course.
“The record is uncontroverted that adult men engage in ‘spiritual marriages’ with under-age children,” the CPS brief continues. “No age was too young to marry and they wanted to have as many babies as they could.” To what "record" does the CPS refer here? That some FLDS men have contracted "marriages" with under-age girls is a demonstrated fact, yes. But so far, not a single criminal charge of that kind has been filed with respect to anybody living at the YFZ Ranch.
Here the CPS, which seems determined to run the table of logical fallacies, offers up a museum-quality specimen of the fallacy of the undistributed middle: FLDS men enter into polygamous "marriages" with underage girls; the male inhabitants of YFZ Ranch are members of the FLDS Church; ergo, the men at YFZ Ranch are engaged in polygamous "marriages" with underage girls.
To which contention rational people will reply: Yes, there are some FLDS men who have behaved in just that fashion. Find them, indict them, prosecute them, and imprison them if they're convicted -- but neither the CPS nor any other government agency has the authority to abduct several hundred people on the basis of unsubstantiated assumptions that are supported by nothing but defective syllogisms and smug bureaucratic self-assurance. The statement above isn't a legal argument -- even a very bad legal argument. It is a sound-bite begotten by a cynical public relations strategy by a corrupt, dishonest bureaucracy that no longer even maintains the pretense of caring about the children it kidnapped. For the Texas CPS, the gig now is all about institutional self-preservation.
A child is saved from the "Child Savers": Dan Jessop and his wife, Louisa, emerge from a courtroom cradling the newborn son the Texas CPS had tried to seize from the couple. Louisa, 22, an adult mother of legal age, was taken into CPS custody as a "pregnant minor." Dan says that this is only the second time he has been able to see his child.
How do we know that the CPS has abandoned its pose of protecting the best interests of (make sure to speak the phrase in a voice thick with pious sentiment tremulous with affected compassion) the children? It's simple: They agreed to return a dozen children to their FLDS parents, albeit under CPS supervision.
These are twelve children, recall, who simply had to be separated from their parents.
Right now, dammit!
This was a matter of immediate, exigent, three-alarm, screw-the-warrant, kick-down-the-doors, oh-dear-I'm-wetting-my-pants urgency.
Those kids, and hundreds in identical circumstances, couldn't be left in the fell clutches of their parents, because even though no evidence is available that abuse has been committed at YFZ Ranch, the children there could someday become abusers or victims.
But now those children are being reunited with their parents, despite the CPS's borderline-apocalyptic warnings, and -- here's the really important part -- the fact that there's no material difference between those children and the hundreds who remain captives of the CPS.
If the objective here were child "protection," rather than the abduction of hundreds of children and the demolition of an entire community, the CPS (acting on their professed principles) would have reacted to the appeals court decision on Friday by returning all of the children to their parents on the same terms. Rather than doing the honest and principled thing, CPS is simply playing for time, scrambling to create "evidence," and doing what it can to manipulate public opinion.
This helps explain why the CPS, during a custody hearing over a newborn son born to Dan and Louisa Jessop, introduced as "evidence" a series of photos of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs involved in what can delicately be called "inappropriate" behavior with a 12-year-old girl. Louisa Jessop had been seized by CPS as a "pregnant minor"; in other circumstances, this might have been considered flattering, given that she is 22 years old. The CPS stood ready to steal the Jessops' son as soon as he was born.
They call this "help."
According to the Salt Lake Tribune's account of this incident, the young girl shown sitting in the lap of Warren Jeffs, and then being kissed by him on the mouth, is Dan Jessop's sister, and he was asked -- while on the witness stand -- what he thought of the spectacle. The purpose of this line of questioning, supposedly, was to establish that Dan and Louisa were part of a "household" (the collective population of YFZ Ranch) that supports underage marriage.
The actual purpose was likely two-fold: It was to bait Jessop on the stand while reinforcing the impression that all adult FLDS members are incorrigible pederasts, or enablers of the same.
Significantly, although Jeffs (who is serving a sentence for statutory rape as an accomplice) reportedly "married" (or was "sealed" to) the twelve-year-old about a month before his arrest in 2006, a physical examination has revealed no evidence that she has engaged in sexual relations. So those admittedly nauseating photographs, in addition to being a crashing non sequitir when introduced in the Dan and Louisa Jessop custody hearing, have no evidentiary value.
While it is inappropriate for a male of Warren Jeffs' age to kiss a twelve-year-old on the mouth, that act is not a crime or evidence of one -- unless, as is the CPS's habit, we are to assume facts that have not been entered into evidence, and then use those "facts" to impute collective guilt on the basis of kinship and religious association. Unfortunately, by kidnapping the FLDS children the CPS has actually managed to manufacture some "facts" that most likely will result in some pretty severe hardship for a few FLDS couples.
Desperate to get their children back, and convinced that the only way to do so is to mollify the abductors, at least some parents have signed "family service plans" containing an admission that they have, in some sense, been party to child abuse. In fact, I'm convinced that those concessions represent the only "evidence" at the CPS's disposal.
"CPS's investigation of the Yearning for Zion Ranch found evidence under Texas law of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse," lied the CPS in the standard cover letter for the "Family Service Plan" distributed to FLDS parents. "Because of what CPS found, CPS removed your child from the ranch. After a hearing, the judge agreed with CPS's belief that your child was not safe from abuse. The judge gave CPS temporary custody of your child. Your child has been placed in foster care."
Now that the children have been taken away, what happens if parents don't placate the CPS's demands? "The judge will expect you to work with your caseworker" in carrying out the terms of the Family Service Plan, which include signing a document that states, as a matter of proven fact, that the CPS "investigation" found that "sexual and mental and emotional abuse" were underway there. "Not working with CPS is something the judge may consider when making decisions for you and your child," continues the CPS letter in the same tone of ominous condescension. "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 limit or even permanently take away all of your rights as a parent of the child. The child then could be placed in permanent foster care or be adopted."
Relieved of the cloying, euphemistic legalese, these statements are an unadorned threat: Admit that you're an abuser, submit to all of our demands, or your child will be taken from you permanently.
To their credit, at least some of the attorneys representing FLDS parents are telling their clients to avoid even reading the documents. But at least some of the parents have signed the documents, which means that they have effectively confessed to unspecified acts of child abuse. And under the collectivist theory of communal guilt being followed by Texas CPS, the Agency will almost certainly attempt to use those admissions -- obtained through extortion -- to incriminate the entire community. And thus the game will go on, as the children remain captive.
So do the parents, as the following incident at the end of the Jessop family's custody hearing illustrates (emphasis mine):
"As [Dan Jessop] spoke to reporters, a CPS worker interrupted him. `We need to take her,' the woman said, trying to remove his arm which was wrapped around his wife [Louisa]. `I'll walk with her,' he said. `We have to go,' the worker said, prodding them toward the street. `Come on, let's go.' The couple walked toward an SUV, where [Louisa] was loaded in the back seat and her baby was placed in a carseat next to her. Jessop reached in and hugged his wife."
In what sense is this a free country when a young husband and father who has not been accused of a crime can not only be separated from his wife and newborn son, but suffer such contemptuous treatment by some tax-fattened termagant?
Apropos of nothing...
Scott Watson, a good and very generous friend, has sent along some photographs I think you'll enjoy:
Here we see William Wallace, age 10, proudly displaying an autographed Ron Paul sign at the hero's recent speech in Caldwell, Idaho.
Here we see William Wallace's father, age unspecified, uprooting an old tree in Scott's backyard last Saturday. (Vanity, that cruel and ever-attentive mistress, compels me to point out that I'm wearing a loose-fitting shirt, and my girth isn't quite as Falstaffian as this photo would suggest.)
Tearing up this tree was the most fun I've had in weeks (I hope Scott has a few more he'd like removed.) This is old-school, Dino-style exercise. It was a good compliment to my morning workout, during which our middle son, Isaiah Athanasius, got to see me put up 410 lbs. on the bench press.
What have you done today to earn a place on The List?