Saturday, 2 December 2017

Witch-Trials and Their Significance

My brother brought up the topic of 'Salem Witch Trials' today, and how most folks have no memory or a marginal amount of knowledge over them....when comparing it to the Moore episode in Alabama.

For the twelve years of school that I attended in Alabama....I think the total number of times that the 'Trials' were mentioned were probably twice.  If you gleaned the history books used....it usually amounted to eight to twelve lines.  The attempt by the teacher to explain this?  It would have come across to the group as nuclear science.

After the high school years....I went off and had the luxury of the University of Maryland, Louisiana Tech University, and Pierce Community College.  The topic of the Salem Witch Trials likely came up on one solid occasion and the lecture guy actually did spend thirty minutes laying out the basic story.  It was better than nuclear science explanations....but really didn't do justice to the story.

So a decade or so later.....I picked up two or three books and read through the entire episode and branched out....because it's more broad than folks think.

You can go back all the way to 451 BC and find locals in Greece who were open to the idea of blaming crop failures on bad spirits and pretender-witches.

You can go to 186 BC in Rome and find regulations already existing on how to handle witches.

After Christianity was introduced throughout the Roman Empire, the idea spread.  At some point around the 1100s, in Hungary....the King actually wrote out a regulation to halt witch-hunts because he just plain admitted....witches don't exist.  Folks didn't easily buy off on that.

In the mid-1200's, the Pope tried to stop all this business....also saying....witches don't exist.  That wasn't easily grasped by the general public.  Around two hundred years later, another Pope stood up and said yes.....we need witch trials because they exist.

In the 1500s and 1600s, throughout Europe, the trials took off and were a fairly regular thing.  I live around 15 miles from an area (Idstein) where the trials were regularly held in the fall, and some folks had to be killed to make folks happy.  In that town, they tended to kill women,  about eight to one over men.  No one could ever explain why women were often the chosen folks for these episodes.

In the Salem witch episode?  Around February of 1692, some accusations started the locals off on a mission with purpose.  You can safely say that this was...even before the accusations....a fractured town, with people trying to get into each other's business.

In the year prior, that had been some heated church-talk in the region by Cotton Mather (a Billy Graham-like character who could preach for hours and hours) on potential witchcraft, and this got people all hyped up.

So, two kids (nine and eleven) made the act of this....going into violent fits.  I think this was mostly to entertain folks but these locals actually took this serious.  This drew out some minister, who viewed the two girls, and he claimed that they were under the influence of the devil.  A couple of other young ladies then acted out the same way.

All of this led to three folks being detained and blamed for witchcraft.  There's no logic or sense to this.....just that locals needed to bring this quickly to a closure.

A month later, a couple of other young ladies were dragged in and were identified for witch business.

By early summer, court action was now underway and a prosecutor of sorts had to determine the intent of the devil here.

By mid-August, five folks were executed.

In September, around 18 other folks were dragged in and accused.  One of them was a guy who they asked him to plea and make an admission....while they put heavy rocks on his chest.  He eventually died from the weights on his chest.

By January of 1693, things were on a roll....more convictions.  Then, the Governor got involved and started to pardon folks.  In a way, he knew they were all unfocused and unable to grasp what was going on.

By early summer of 1693, the last court episode occurred, and everyone got 'sane'.

What you can typically say is that the witch trials were all based on some fake evidence, which got the general public all churned up and hyper.  The public at that point....could not grasp the landscape or understand the actual laws.  They just wanted a no-witch atmosphere, and were willing to kill to reach that point.

You would think that this would be a five-day detailed review in high school, with things laid out in detail.  Yet, no history teacher really wants to spend any time covering the topic.

Alabama and Moore

By midnight on the 12th of December, the Senate race in Alabama will be over.  Most folks (99-percent I think).....will say that it was the most entertaining race in their lifetime,.  Some will say that they'd like to see this yearly....strictly as entertainment.  So, my ten observations over this episode:

1.  Jones, the Democrat, never stood a chance.  If he'd been a Blue-Dog Democrat....lesser theatrics by the women involved...and someone other than Moore, he might have won.

2.  Of all the six-million characters in the state....to throw young-gal 'mud' at someone....the wrong character to pick upon and figure he'd collapse his election and just quit?  Moore would have been the last person to pick upon.  On the Alabama stubbornness scale, from one to ten.....Moore pushes a '12'.

3.  When the national comedians and talk-show folks jumped into this and felt that their gimmick would shift votes?  Oh, they were way-off in understanding the character of Alabama folks, and that people stay up at night to watch their late shows. 

4.  The power of the Baptist vote in the state?  Proven yet again....that it matters.

5.  Mitch anxiety among Alabama folks?  You can gather ten GOP-likely voters in a general store, and likely get some fairly negative comments uttered by six of them over Mitch McConnell. 

6.  That corrupt GOP image out of Montgomery, and left-over feelings about Governor Bentley?  Yes.  I would say a third of the outcome here for Moore....was anger about Luther Strange and his gimmick relationship with Bentley.  Without Bentley's lusty relationship and the whole deal worked out?  I think that Strange would have appeared somewhat clean, and Ivey would have allowed him to stay in DC.

7.  The black vote.  Well....if the Democrats had gone out and recruited early on some black candidate....I think it might have mattered on voting, and put another 250,000 votes up for their guy.  But this was not that type of race.

8.  The change in polling from three months ago and today?  None.  Polls that kept saying Moore was down?  Wrong. 

9.  Is Moore crazy?  I'd guess that 60-percent of GOP voters would say they'd prefer someone else, but it was Moore or Strange.  That's how we got to this point.

10.  Folks wanting to unseat Moore in DC?  Ask yourself....what exactly of an illegal thing, has Moore done?  Can you prove this point?  Want to drag the ladies up to DC and discuss their sexual escapes for public consumption?  You'd just be begging for trash talk by the public. 

Understanding the Flynn Situation

So, when some FBI idiot comes up and requires a statement out of you in the process of an interview, and then has a paper for you to sign at the end (attached to the tape of the interview)....you either don't answer particular questions, or admit all.  The third choice of lying?  That's precisely what Flynn got into trouble about.  If he had declined to answer their question on the contact with a Russian government official (not a lobbyist or plain-vanilla citizen of Russia), he would still be in some minor trouble.  But in this case....he just plain lied.

What else?  Nothing.

If you remember....there is some type of relationship between Flynn and Turkey's Erdogan.  There is a suggestion led by the press that Erdogan asked Flynn to possibly arrange for the kidnapping of Gulan (the arch-nemesis of Erdogan).....residing in the US.  This story has not been proven.  If true, Flynn....if he had taken steps to plan the kidnapping....would be in bigger trouble.  I doubt that the FBI has any evidence of this, and it was all just plain chatter.

Anything leading to trouble of Trump?  No....that's the amusing thing.  I realize 10,000 journalists and political folks are all hyped up, but there is virtually nothing illegal in folks talking to foreign citizens, Saudis, Russians, etc.  If promises were made, prior to the election....maybe this might be viewed in some illegal fashion.  But then selling uranium off to Russians, after their donations to the Clinton Fund occurred....would be awful high up on the list of stupid and illegal things.