Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Always in the exhaust

DHHS knew that my sister's second child would probably be born before his due date.  They'd been told the family history (both sides) and were well aware that he was extremely likely to be born early.

The odds of a full term baby being born on its due date are 5% leaving a 95% chance that the child won't.  The range actually skews toward early anyway with a full term baby having three in five odds of being born before the due date.  Three in five by 95% gives a 57% chance that a randomly selected kid will be born early.

CJ was not a randomly selected kid.  Everyone knew that it was highly likely that he'd be born early, maybe even premature.  My sister kept pressing DHHS on that point because she wanted a plan in place before the child was born.  DHHS refused.

When, as expected, the child was born early (not even that much, well within expected bounds) DHHS refused to accept any phone calls or emails.  CJ was Friday's child.  Until Monday DHHS stonewalled.  In fact, they pretended that the entire agency didn't exist.  I shit you not.  They pretended that they had no phone, no fax, no internet, no physical locations, no employees, no presence in reality at all.

Obviously I speak only of Maine DHHS.  It is important to make such distinctions.  If I, for example, say that DHHS stands accused of stealing 13.4 million dollars from children (this is true) it should in no way be considered a statement about the organization run by Sylvia Mathews Burwell.  I speak of local matters.

Regardless, come Monday they stopped pretending that they didn't exist, stopped ignoring any information they were offered on CJ (they seriously wouldn't even allow themselves to be told he was a live birth) swooped in, got very haughty about the fact that someone under an investigation by them had maintained custody of an infant for the whole weekend they ignored the infant, took him away, starved him for eleven hours, initially tried to have him put on the auction block, and finally agreed that my sister could keep this one provided she abandoned her home, moved more than an hour away, and never let the child near his father.

An overzealous police officer with a twisted sense of humor and a penchant for physical abuse didn't manage to force my sister from her house in spite of kicking down the fucking door but DHHS did by threatening her three day old baby.

And, lest anyone doubt their resolve, they did go out of their way to starve him just to make the point that they would hurt CJ if they were not obeyed.

This was in November.

So many things have happened that it's honestly hard to keep track at this point.

What happened when and what order did it happen in and . . . fuck.

Did I mention that one of their workers fabricated a marriage that didn't exist so that they could say that forward progress couldn't take place until they were given a marriage certificate which was impossible because the marriage never happened?

Because they did that.  And then lied to my sister about the process needed to correct the error by claiming that no such process existed.  In fact, it took only a few keystrokes to fix things, the problem was that no one would put her in touch with someone with the authority to make those keystrokes because the person who was supposed to was pretending the keystrokes didn't exist.

Of course the person whose job it was to tell my sister how to fix things, and didn't, was the one who broke them in the first place.  Sort of makes sense that this DHHS worker wouldn't want to quickly dismantle a roadblock she herself had built.

Did I mention the fact that they changed my sister's "official" address without her knowledge or consent?  See, what that does is completely change the circumstances involved in getting aid.

If my address is my real address, then I qualify for various types of aid on account of disability.  If my address were to suddenly become 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. then the number of people in my household changes, the income goes way up, as does the collective wealth owned by residents in the house.  So on, so forth.

Did I mention that they prevented Cody from getting medical care and then argued that he couldn't be trusted around children because of the medical care that they prevented him from getting?

Did I mention that the tiny windows of visitation they haven't taken away are always (somehow, mysteriously, in ways that they claim they cannot change) scheduled at times they know Cody has to be somewhere else?  (And, yeah, they pretty much have his entire schedule, given that they're the driving force behind it.)

Did I mention that the information they're using is consciously one sided as they've taken the raw data (for example, extensive police files) and thrown out the stuff that casts my sister, Cody, or their relationship with their children in a positive light (for example, witness reports of what actually happened and the conclusion of the investigation)?

Did I mention that .?.

Did I mention that DHHS' official stance on all of this and more is that it's not anyone fucking up, it's their god damned standard procedure?

(Are they telling the truth about it being standard procedure, or are they lying?  How does one judge the veracity of those who are so morally bankrupt that they would take some 13.4 million in federal aid money away from the most vulnerable children in their home state [for whom it was intended and required to be given under federal, but not state, law]?)

Did I mention that because she can't set foot in her own home while she is taking care of her baby stopping the house from freezing by putting oil in the tank requires her to pass her infant off to someone who has gone through the background checks, hoops, and hell necessary to be designated as an acceptable care giver?

Because this last one has an effect upon me.  See, she can't take the child to her property, which means that the trade off has to happen at not-her property.  And my house is where such high stakes baby handling must inevitably take place.

And when someone is running late, for whatever the reason, I get to hear one side of a one sided phone conversation in which my sister pours out the anger and frustration that results from five months (less two days) of being abused by DHHS, being lied to by DHHS, being lied about by DHHS, being tricked by DHHS, being stripped of her home by DHHS, being stripped of her healthcare by DHHS, being forced to run in circles by DHHS, being threatened by DHHS, being pushed around by DHHS, being . . .

I have to hear every word.  It burns into my mind.  It brings me down.  It makes me hurt.

With what my sister is going through, I understand her need to vent.  But fuck does it suck getting caught in that exhaust.

Though that's perhaps the most normal part of all this.  Members of my family have always left me in the path of the exhaust while they vented.

If it hasn't been this serious before, that's simply because until three years and ten-ish months ago there was never a kid younger than me to be placed in peril, and until five months (less 2 days) Jensen never really was.

Now he and CJ exist in a fragile state where they are subject to the whims of people who live up to every fear, however irrational, of government bureaucrats that's been popularized.

Maybe these people have always been there, maybe this is a symptom of the state government being run by a man who thinks the government is evil by default, and therefore has no problem with it being evil in reality.

The one most involved these days, and doing the most damage, came to the agency well after the case had been opened.  Long enough after that it wasn't just Governor LePage one saw as the face of government.  It was also President Elect Trump.  Is it a coincidence, I wonder, that she embodies all of the bad things they believe about government.  If we assume the worst is unavoidable and thus inevitable, does that mindset lead to letting the worst happen?

If situations like this are, in your opinion, the inevitable result of government doing anything, then trying to prevent such shit-storms, cluster-fucks, and cluster of shit-storm fucks* would be as pointless as trying to prevent the sun from rising.  Why bother when nothing will come of it?

Could the belief that government is always bad lead to a complete lack of quality control when it comes to government actions and employees?

Or could it be that I've just been reminded of how very, very shit life is, and I'm trying to pull some meaning from that in hopes that it will dull the pain?


Shit-storm of cluster-fucks?
Cluster of fucking shit-storms?
Fuck-shit cluster storms?
Clustered storms of mother fucking shit?
Storms of cluster-shit-fucks?
Fuck-shit, it's a cluster-storm!
Stormy clusters of shit-fucks?

Yeah, no idea.  Something.

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