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Scott Hochburg: Stupidest Member of the Texas Lege?

Sarah's picture

Responding to a question arising from the FLDS raid about Texas' rules on home-schooling, the Houston Democrat said this today:

Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, a House Public Education Committee member who has served in the House since 1993, said the issue is a legal one.
"In all the years I've been in the Legislature, nobody has come to me with anything near a compelling case, or even a suggested case, that we should make a priority of greater inspection or regulation of home schools or private schools," he said.

Y'all wonder how W got away with so much in Texas,

it taught him to expect to get away with more, and worse, in DC.

It started with Democrats like this guy. It needs to end in November with a clean sweep of the collaborators.

Meanwhile, readers
of at least one Arizona paper are drawing a conclusion I find difficult to argue with: when it comes to women, the FLDS isn't that different from the fundamentalists of Islam.

A San Angelo columnist's take on this incident gets a nod from me, too. More on the money trail in Eldorado is available in today's San Angelo paper, as well.

Texas isn't homogenous; it isn't all big cities like Houston or San Antonio or the DFW Metroplex. While "backward" isn't a word I'd use for much of it, "old-fashioned" does still have a positive connotation in the Lone Star State. It's old-fashioned to handle a situation the way the Schleicher County and San Angelo authorities, not to mention the Texas Rangers (and Walker's just a TV show, damn it) handled this one.

I still think they're doing the right thing, by the kids and by the law.

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Submitted by lambert on

I've read my Molly Ivins....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

to the opponent of any politician who turned a blind eye to this. Actually, if there were a move to do that, perhaps next time in other states they might not be such wankers.

Just a few bucks though, I can't afford to fund the opponent of every bad Texas legislator. I've read Molly Ivins, too.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Sarah provided some interesting information on government money flowing into the FLDS through business contracts. The scope and magnitude of of public money supporting FLDS and other polygamous groups is far larger.

In all of these groups, individuals own little more than their clothes and some keepsakes. Everything substantial, houses, furniture, cars, businesses, telephones, computers, is owned by a communal co-op. The name may vary, in the FLDS it is called The United Effort, but the principle is always the same. Ownership of worldly goods is considered sinful, so every needful thing is owned collectively to avoid greed and covetousness. In return for the use of these goods, the member must turn over all income to the same entity. Those who work directly for church-owned businesses, some of the men and most of the women and children, are paid in script which they exchange for food and supplies at church-owned stores. They have no need for pocket money, another way to keep them from running away.

If they are insufficiently obedient, the Prophet can remove them from their home and reassign them to another; a common tactic to gain compliance is forcing women with small children to live in unheated trailers during the winter.

With little reportable income, the spiritually married but legally single women and their children qualified for AFDC, TANF, food stamps and state welfare. Millions of tax dollars have gone into the coffers of FLDS and other polygamy cults while most members remain in abject poverty. While the commandment to produce many children is portrayed as a religious obligation, it also serves to bring more tax dollars into the community. The process has a name, “Bleeding the Beast,” so-called because the polygamists view the government as a tool of Satan and anything that can be taken from Satan serves the will of their God.

Since the FLDS towns of Hildale and Colorado City are at the border between Utah and Arizona were specifically sited to allow movement from one legal jurisdiction to another, no one knows for certain which families are drawing benefits from which state or both.

From the New York Times in 1998:

Poverty is often a hallmark of polygamy in this country. The border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., targets of polygamy raids in the 1950's, are now heavily subsidized by Federal and state aid, according to a study of welfare and tax records by The Salt Lake Tribune. The two towns, with a total population of about 6,000, rank in the top 10 in the states in the mountain time zone for receiving Federal aid for poor women and children. With an average household of 8.5 people, Hildale has the lowest average Federal tax return of any Utah town, $651 for each filer.

With household incomes about half the state average, the Tribune study found, the two towns have received almost $5 million in recent years in Federal and state aid to build better houses and sewers.

Submitted by lambert on

Seems like a self-contained, self-replicating system. If we had the technology, these people would be trying to colonize a planet (other than our own). All on the taxpayer's nickel, of course.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

In their theology, if they're really, really good, after the passage of time the men get to be gods of their very own planet, which they will seed with the fruit of their loins and manage just like Jesus does this one. This is general Mormon belief, mainline LDS as well as the polygs.

They take Genesis 1:27 literally: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." and expect to do the same thing themselves some day.

BDB, Utah has put the United Effort Plan (sorry, typo on the name above) into a receivership that is supposed to dole out the value of the trust to the residents. There are several class-action lawsuits, from the expelled so-called Lost Boys, wives who ran way or were expelled, and men who also left, trying to get some of it. The receiver has been at it for a year and can't find the money, the deeds or anything and the townspeople, to whose benefit this is supposed to be directed, won't help at all.

There are no written records, the UEP didn't even have an official checkbook. With the Texas case the Feds are finally involved and RICO looks like one of the paths this will go down. The problem, of course, is if you strip all the value from the UEP what happens to the wives and children? Are they turned out into the street?

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

there are ways around the birth-certificate requirement -- although if you're going to be dealing with TWICES (Texas-Wide Integrated Client Encounter System) those ways are limited. A hospital birth certificate isn't "official" (those cool ones with tiny finger or foot prints, gold seals, etc. -- you have to get one from the county clerk, a different thing). So there are other documents that can be used as proof of identity to get a birth certificate.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

They've only been there for three years, and most likely all of their personal paperwork is held by the patriarchy where ever they came from. Haven't seen any reports that the FLDS have been taking welfare in Texas, but it is their usual MO. Birth certificates would only be needed to sign up for welfare, then returned to the UEP.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Victims could apply for restitution if the U.S. Government seizes the assets. That's how insurance companies or other fraud victims get their money back. While I'm sure the US Attorney would rather do something else with his or her time, I say in the future (the ship has probably sailed on this one) if they can build a case, seize everything and then let the victims apply for restitution and the Government does the best it can to dole it out fairly.

If there's no money, then you're basically stuck selling off properties and trying to figure out where the money is. Lack of cooperation is a problem, but if they can make it into a big federal case, then they might be able to get cooperation with the threat of enough jail time. Although these backwoods towns can be tricky. I remember listening to a presentation on, of all things, a moonshining case in rural Virginia (don't ask). The AUSA thought a bunch of folks would flip on the main target and none but one did (and that was a young mother afraid of being away from her child). The rest took their jail time. She said she'd had better luck flipping made guys than the rural Mountain folks.

These cases are hard to make because the places are hard to infiltrate, the sect members know everyone and are mistrustful of outsiders, and it's hard to get cooperation. If they have phones and computers, then electronic surveillance and subpoenas to banks (if they use them) might work if you can develop the PC for one of the underlying crimes (like RICO), but that - of course - has to be done before you take the entire thing down. So it's too late here. We're talking potentially future cases.

It's easier to trace assets while you're conducting an investigation than after the raid. After the raid, all of the money disappears into the ether.

Still they can use the cases already done to try to work new cases. Lessons learned and all that.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

let's shoot them off into space.

The leaders first, of course.

------------------------------------------------
"McGovern - Mondale - Dukakis - Obama

The few, the lame, the losers

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

thanks--but what if the baptismal certificates or whatever are from the leaders of the group themselves? How can they be verified? And what's to stop them from claiming more kids per mom or dad each?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

The towns are completely controlled by FLDS. The mayor, the town council, the police, the banks, the stores, everything. They have members scattered throughout the counties, in the sheriff's department, county welfare, unemployment services, etc etc etc. They have members and sympathizers all through Utah, all the way into the legislature and the state DOJ. Until very recently they and their agents just rubberstamped anything they wanted, covered up anything they didn't want seen and buried anything they didn't want to have happen.

No need to show any stinkin' papers.