JULY 2020

JULY   2020
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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

BLOODY JACK Chapter Twenty-Four

I believe the nightmare was born sometime between 1865 and 1881, in the little village of KÅ‚odawa, in Russian Occupied Poland. This particular village, 100 miles west of Warsaw, was small and unremarkable. But the antisemitism preached and practiced by the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches left the 4,000 gentile citizens fearing, despising, and envious of the less than 1,000 Jews in their midst. The Yiddish speakers were residents but not citizens of Klodawa – their existence perhaps best described as schizophrenic.
Abram Jozef Kosminski was a “ petty bourgeois” Jewish tailor in Klodawa. While he and his wife Golda were financially successful enough to raise 4 children,  every spring saw more beatings, rapes and the burning of Jewish property, and every year the Jews of Klodawa found the laws less protective and more restrictive. 
The Czar, Alexander II,  freed the serfs in Russia, but when the Jews “beyond the Pale” appealed for fairness, the Czar's Premier responded, “The western frontier is open to you.” And in the late 1860's the Kosminski eldest son, Abraham – born about 1847 - took that advice and made the 700 mile journey to London. We do not know why he left by himself, but it seems likely family dynamics and not money was the deciding factor.
Limited by religious travel restrictions within Poland, the eldest Kominski daughter, Matilda, born in 1856, married a cousin on her mother's side, Morris Lubnowski.   The youngest daughter, Betsy, born in 1857, married another cousin - 4 years older than her - a tailor named Woolf Abrahams  This left the youngest child, Aaron Mordke Kosminski, born in 1865, alone in the home. It was in 1873 the 8 year old suffered what Doctor Eric Hickey has called a "destabilizing event(s).  His father, Abram, died. In the child's mind he  abandoned Aaron. And sometime during the next 8 years the nightmare took over his life. We know none of the details. But we do know something about what his childhood, based on the work of John E. Douglas, employed by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation as a “Profiler” .
Special Agent Douglas described the man who murdered at least 5 women in Whitechapel during the “Autumn of Terror” in 1888 as having been "raised by a domineering mother and weak, passive and/or absent father. " Aaron's home was cold, the family bonds violated, under the double pressure of internal personalities and the external hatred. 
Agent Douglas believed the mother "drank heavily and enjoyed the company of many men"  Humiliated by either his mother, sisters, gentile gangs from Klodawa, or all three.,  Aaron was made to feel worthless, continued wetting the bed into his adolescence, developed a deep hatred for sexually active middle aged women, and came to believe that his family -could not or would not defend him, or even themselves.
Neither would the village Aaron was raised in. The community at best passive endorsed antisemitic violence, which seemed designed to produce serial killers on both sides. As Aaron grew the anarchy and violence around him disguised the fires he set,  and hid the small animals he tortured. 
 We also know that Aaron began to have trouble sleeping. His concentration began to waver and he became withdrawn, lethargic and disaffected. None of these latter behaviors was odd for a teenager, except Aaron suffered from one other affect, which he shared with very few others. He began hearing and then seeing people and things which were not real. Aaron experienced the nightmare violence haunting his life through the prism of his developing schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is rare – about 1% of the total population – and the precipitate cause is unknown at present. But we do know that a fetus exposed to a viral infection, fetal malnutrition, childhood abuse or trauma, and repeated exposure to alcohol, and born to older parents.  are at greater risk of developing the condition. But an even greater predictor of adult onset schizophrenia is genetics. Children of schizophrenics have a 10% risk of developing schizophrenia. And children of a schizophrenic mother may combine all her risk factors because of her illness while they were still in her womb. But even then, violent schizophrenics are rare, and serial killer schizophrenics rarer still – about 0.0000001% of the general population.
Then in March of 1881 Czar Alexander II was murdered in St. Petersburg, and like a string of firecrackers, pogroms ignited across The Pale, setting off the greatest diaspora since the destruction of the Second Temple 
The Russian government endorsed lynchings, rapes and beatings (above). These forced both Kominski daughters and their husbands to leave Poland in late 1881 or early 1882. 
They took 16 year old Aaron with them, leaving Golda behind to fend for herself. Was that a sacrifice or an escape? Whichever, Whitechapel now made its contribution to the making of “Jack the Ripper”.
One contemporary described the first contact between refugees from a small village with the cannibalistic capitalism that was the East End of London, as “indescribable confusion...cries and counter cries, the horse laughter of the dock loungers at the strange garb and broken accents of the poverty stricken foreigners: the rough swearing of the boatmen at passengers unable to pay the fee for landing. 
"In another ten minutes 80 of the 100 newcomers are dispersed in the back of the slums of Whitechapel: In another few days the majority of these are robbed of what little they possess and are...destitute and friendless.”  Yiddish actor, Jacob Adler,  described his first view of the city,   "The further we penetrated into this Whitechapel, the more our hearts sank. Was this London? Never in Russia, never later in the worst slums of New York, were we to see such poverty as in the London of the 1880s." 
Abraham Kominski had prepared the way, as best he could. He was living north of Whitechapel Road, at 76 Goulston Street,  and smoothed the transition of Matilda and Morris Lubnowski to a room at 16 Greenfield Street,  less than half a mile to the south, just north of Commercial Road. Morris found work as a boot riveter. Betsy and Wolf Abrahamson found a room in between,  in a building at 3 Sion Square, 1 block south of Whitechapel Road , just east of St. Mary Matfin Church. Woolf worked as a tailor making women's clothes. 
Back in Poland Aaron had been apprenticed as a woman's hairdresser. But at an age when most London residents had ten years work experience behind them, 16 year old Aaron found nothing, because he did not look.
Over the next 6 years Aaron moved between the three addresses – Goulston Street   Sion Square and Greenfield Street, living with one sibling, then another, and occasionally when he had the money, taking a coffin bed in a doss house.  He picked up the barest sprinkling of English, a mixture of Cockney slang and Yiddish. But he never held down a steady job. 
Some time before 1888, Golda Kominski, Aaron's mother, also emigrated to London. Her arrival may have been the precipitation event that sparked the final act of a Greek Tragedy which had began in Poland but was played out in the black, back alleys of London's history.
What came of that tragedy were five brutal murders, which became more violent and erratic over time. As Special Agent Douglas noted, “In each homicide, the victim was a prostitute with a reputation of drinking quite heavily...(and) were targeted because they were readily accessible. Jack the Ripper did not have to initiate the contact. This was done for him by the prostitute.” The "profiler" suggests the killer did not have the courage to draw the knife until after the victim was incapacitated and silenced. He then used the knife to mutilate, after he had used his hands to kill.
Douglas suggested the killer “...would spend time drinking...in the pub...(which) lowered (his) inhibitions....” This explained why most of the Ripper's murders took place in the early morning hours, after the pubs had closed. Agent Douglas also hypothesized “'He would not be visibly shaken or upset if directly accused of the homicides....'Jack the Ripper believed the homicides were justified and he was only removing perishable items - who were like garbage.” Who were, in other words, like his mother or sisters.
Doctor Scott Bonn of Drew University, writing in the January 2014 edition of “Psychology Today” noted that, “ Disorganized (serial) killers will often “blitz” their victims—that is, use sudden and overwhelming force to capture and kill them. The victim’s body is usually left where the attack took place and the killer makes no attempt to hide it. In all of these regards, Jack the Ripper is a classic example of the disorganized serial killer.” 
What stopped him after the butchery of Mary Kelly was not remorse, or prison, or even a fulfillment of his fantasy, but the mental disorder which was consuming his twisted mind at the age of 23 and left him unable to function anymore.
Was Aaron Kominski a serial killer? According to Paul Begg, author of the 2004 book “Jack the Ripper, The Facts”,  Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Robert Anderson (above) - who ran the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) after Munro resigned in August...
...And Scotsman Chief Inspector Donald S, Swanson - directly in charge of running the investigation in Whitechapel - “...believed (that) he was. They were there and they were in a position to know.” Swanson even noted that Kominski had been watched at his brother's home on Goulston Street - half a block from where the bloody apron was found after the Mitre Square murder. Yet no details of that surveillance have been found in the MET files. Where are the detective's reports and observations? It appears there are none. 
Clearly some of the most important investigative work was being done “off the books”. What Anderson and Swanson knew from the infamous bloodhound incident and a dozen other fiascoes less well publicized, was that the upper management of Matthews and Warren (above)  and Munro and their underlings - was treating the Ripper investigation as a political “football”, kicking it back and forth to score points against each other, not to find the killer. 
But the detectives (above) and constables of Whitechapel, having found the man they believed was responsible for terrorizing their district, were preserving the integrity of their investigation by hiding him from the press and from their own bosses. And, unfortunately,  from history.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2016


I found myself wondering how, over my lifetime,  politicians got so crazy.  And then I was reminded of Representative Marion Anthony Zioncheck,  He toiled for almost a decade in the lumber camps north of Seattle,  to earn his college tuition. When finally in law school he was elected class president, and then campaigned for a new student union building.  His successful tactics so offended the football team they shaved his head and dumped him in a fountain. As a successful criminal attorney he was often cited for contempt, once appealing a $25 fine all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court. Then in November of 1932 the Democrat won a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by 12 percentage points.
"This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multi-tiered management structure. It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring."
Governor Eliot Spitzer, explaining a Staten Island vice ring
In 1934 Marion Anthony Zioncheck was a freshman in the 73rd Congress, one of 311 Democrats to just 117 Republicans. And while this was the congress famous for the Hundred Days of New Deal legislation, the 31 year old Marion earned his reputation as an intellectual bully, calling his G.O.P. colleges “fools and jackasses”.  He was once invited to “step out into the hall” so Republican William Ekwall of Oregon could “deal with him.”  In a 1934 floor speech he referred to the director of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover, as a dictator and a “master of fiction”.  That was politics as usual, but Marion then had a truckload of manure dumped on Hoover's front lawn. That was not usual politics, and the folks back on Puget Sound loved it.  Marion was re-elected that year by an even bigger margin.
"The attractive lady...dropped into my lap....I chose not to dump her off."
Senator Gary Hart explaining a photo of Donna Rice sitting on his lap
In April of 1935, as part of the normal grease which helps the House to function, fellow Democrat Thomas Blanton from Texas sought to remove from the official record some of Zioncheck's more nasty attacks on Republicans. But Marion refused to allow it. To make a point he suggested, “I want it put in the record that Mr. Blanton is a son of Texas”. Marion then offered to have the offensive word “Texas” removed, and replaced by a blank space.
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country"
Mayor Marion Barry explaining his cities' high murder rate
Fellow Democratic Congressman Blanton called Zioncheck's suggestion “ridicules and asinine”. Marion protested the word “asinine” as “un-parlimentary”. The Congressional staff were forced to look up the exact definition in a dictionary. The interruption only angered Blanton more, and in finishing he slipped and refereed to Zioncheck as the “gentleman from New York”. Anyone else would have ignored the gaff, but Marion pounced, sneering at his fellow Democrat, “I long ago learned not to describe the beauty of a morning sunrise to a cat.” Blanton leapt to his feet, and stormed toward Marion, who met him with balled fists. They were separated by fellow members and Congressman Zioncheck's remarks, now including the ones about Blanton, were removed by vote of 272 to 0. Even Zioncheck did not vote to retain them.
"I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."
Sen. John Kerry explaining his voting record
Just after midnight on January 1st, 1936, Marion stumbled into the lobby of a D.C. apartment building and hot wired the intercom so he could call every tenant at once. He identified himself and then wished them all a happy New Year. His sleepy victims did not appreciate the gesture, but the press did. It seemed some one had begun keeping newspapers notified of Marion's adventures -  as when early in the morning a few weeks later the congressman was stopped by capital police doing 60 miles an hour up Connecticut Avenue. Marion paid a $25 fine. Then in April, it happened again. This time the speed was 70 miles per hour. Marion paid a $45 fine, and the the judge slapped on a $20 fine for contempt. The papers began calling him the 'Salon Congressman” - as in "saloon", and “the House's Bad Boy”. It was even reported he had driven his roadster on the White House lawn. And when the White House did not strongly defend him, Marion mailed President Roosevelt a package of empty beer bottles and some mothballs, with no explanation.
"About this time, the Congressman's  car was stopped by the Park Service and Mrs. Battistella was able to open the door... The next thing I knew she was in the water."
Congressman Wilbur Mills explaining how his date, aka stripper Fanny Foxe, ended up in the Potomac River
In April Marion met a 21 year old Works Progress Administration typist from Texarkana, Texas, named Rubye Louise Nex. Marion explained to Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, "I met her about a week ago, then she called me up one night. She asked me down and so I went down and looked her over. She was OK.” Marion asked the Secretary to officiate at their wedding, but the Ickes demurred. So Marion and Rubye crossed into Maryland, which had no waiting period for marraiges.. Rubye told the papers “excitement and hubbub” just seemed to follow her new husband,  and she was “glad to go along with him”.
"American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains."
Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell explaining why she does not trust science
They decided to honeymoon in Florida, but were stopped almost immediately in Alexandria, Virginia, and charged with speeding. Marion posted a $200 bond, and continued on his honeymoon. Four days later their trip was interrupted again, 2 ½ miles south of Shallotte, North Carolina, when a county sheriff pulled Marion over, supposedly because that morning he had missed his court date back in Virginia. The head line read “Zioncheck Again Arrested”, and though one might wonder how in 1934 a county sheriff  had heard within four hours about a missed court appearance 300 miles away, no one in Washington thought to ask that. When Alexandria refused to pay for Representative Zioncheck's  extradition over a misdemeanor, the couple was released - but for the rest of the trip to Miami, Rubye did the driving.
"The governor is hiking the Appalachian Trail."
Spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford
At this moment the Peurto Rician legislature passed a bill applying for statehood status. American congressional leadership asked Marion, since he was in Miami, to check out the situation. Marion and his new bride flew there on Monday, May 7th, and what they found was not what Roosevelt's appointed governor, Blanton Winslip, had been telling the White House. Their car was chased by rock throwing youths, shouting nationalistic chants. But the White House was not prepared to listen, telling Marion the governor “is the sole and competent authority to carry out this government's policy”. So Marion went public, warning the Associated Press, “The United States ought to either get in or get out of here. This thing is like a snowball. It grows.” But Marion had under rated the damage already done to his reputation, and his report was dismissed as the ravings of a drunken lunatic.
"I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under...President Jimmy Carter. I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."
Representative Michele Bachmann, attempting to explain the 2011 flue outbreak.
On his return to New York, two weeks later, Marion entertained several reporters in his hotel room, even inventing a new drink -  cough syrup, honey and rye, which he dubbed a “zipper”, as in 'zip your lip'. But if Marion thought this meeting was off the record he was sadly mistaken. The alcoholic invention was duly reported, and afterwards the couple were dared by photographers to wade into a fountain. Which they both did. The headlines shouted, “Zionchecks Go For A Paddle”.
"How's my favorite young stud doing?"
Congressman Mark Foley, e-mailing a 16 year old male page
Back in Washington at the end of May, Marion found his apartment occupied by the woman he was subletting from, Mrs. Benjamin Young, who thought he was unfit to be either a Congressman or rent her property.  Despite the Zioncheck's lease having another five months to run, she refused to leave. So all three occupied the one bedroom together. Marion returned to work the next day, riding a bicycle to the capital as a publicity stunt and to avoid any further traffic tickets. But as a pedestrian he was arrested by Alexandria police Sargent George Helmuth, for that missed court appearance. He was only in jail long enough for a few more press photos to be taken , which made the front pages from D.C. to Seattle.
"PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air."
Governor and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, explaining why he strapped his dog on the roof of a station wagon
A few days later, after yet another confrontation with Mrs. Young,  Marion dragged the screaming and kicking woman out into the hallway, where he dumped her. Luckily the press was on hand to snap more photos. These headlines read, “Zioncheck Puts Woman To Rout”, and “Zioncheck Checks Out Landlady”.  Mrs. Young claimed a broken hip, but refused to be examined. Reporters quoted her as saying, “We've got to see whether this country is going to be run by Bolshevism or Americanism” Mrs Young insisted the police report her as 92 years old.  Her driver's license said she was 42.
"Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn't breathe and four guys jumped on top of me."
Congressman Eric Massa explaining his boisterous lifestyle
Rubye could take no more of the circus, and walked out. And while she was gone, Marion threw a temper tantrum, tossing dishes and furniture about the apartment. Eventually the police were called again, and Anthony was arrested again. This time a friend bailed him out, but warned him the Democrats would offer no further public support. From this Marion became convinced that his 21 year old bride had been kidnapped by the 66 year old Vice President, fellow Democrat John Nance. The next time the police responded to his bizarre behavior, Marion was committed to a hospital for "mental observation".
"I said a little prayer before I actually did the fingerprint thing, and the picture."
Congressman Tom Delay, explaining why he is smiling in his mug shot
They locked him up in the Gallinger Municipal Hospital Psychopathic Ward, aka the Washington Asylum. Rubye came to the hospital, but only to speak with Marion's doctors.  During his three week evaluation, Marion announced he would not run for re-election. Just as a grand jury was convening to consider his sanity, Marion's friends got him shipped to a clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. He stayed there for a few days, before climbing a fence and disappearing. He surfaced a week later with Rubye in Chicago, fresh and seemingly recovered, and boarded a train for Seattle.
"I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel."
Senator Zell Miller explaining how much he disagreed with interviewer Chris Matthews
On his return home, Marion's mother urged him to run for re-election, saying it was the only way to prove he was not crazy. And on Monday, August 3, 1936, Marion paid the $100 fee and filed papers to run again in November. That night he told a Seattle radio station, “I have been pictured as a vicious wide eyed radical ever since I was president of the student body at the University of Washington. Now I'm going to go back to congress...I'm going to clear up of things that were falsely said about me.” He opened a campaign office on the 5th floor of the Arctic building (now a hotel) in downtown Seattle, at the corner of Third Avenue and Cherry Street. But Rubye insisted Marion see a psychiatrist, which he finally did on the afternoon of Friday, August 7th, ,  when he was evaluated by Dr. Edward Hoedemaker.
"First of all it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer."
Senator John Edwards, explaining the timing of his infidelity while his wife' was suffering from cancer.
Doctor Hoedemaker warned Rubye and Marion's brother-in-law, Bill Nadeau, who were to drive him to a political meeting that night, that they should keep a close eye on the congressman. After leaving the doctor's office they stopped off at Marion's headquarters in the Arctic building  so Marion could pick up some papers before addressing a postal workers banquet. When he did not come out after a few minutes, Bill went in after him. He found the office locked. A janitor opened the door, revealing Marion writing at his desk.
"If you are not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
Congresswoman Katherine Harris, explaining her reasons for being a Republican
Bill looked at what Marion was writing, which he assumed were remarks for that night's meeting. The note read, “"My only hope in life was to improve the condition of an unfair economic system that held no promise to those that all the wealth of even a decent chance to survive, let alone live." The note made no sense to Bill, so he told Marion, , “Come on, kid. We'll be late. Forget it”. As his charge stood up,  Bill held up Marion's suit jacket for him to put on. But instead Marion made a dive for the open window.  Desperately Bill reached for the Congressman's feet. By the time he reached the window, Marion was already dead on the sidewalk five floors below.
"I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."
New York City Mayor David Dinkins, explaining why he did not pay his taxes
Marion Anthony Zioncheck tumbled 60 feet past the cream white terra cotta exterior of the Arctic building, and landed on his head, spattering a passing loan broker, W.H. McFarlane, with his blood and brains. Rubye was the next to reach the body. She fainted on the sidewalk. Two thousand attended Marion's funeral, at which the Reverend Fred Shorter called him “a shell shocked comrade who died at the barricades, fighting to the very last for the poor and dispossessed.” It might be added,  with hindsight, that Marion was at least a manic-depressive who was self medicating with alcohol, or at worst a victim of schizophrenia, which often onsets during the late twenties and early thirties. But whatever his illness, he was certainly not helped by the soulless cut-throat nature of Washington politics. But it makes me wonder why so many of those drawn into politics are so freaking nuts, to begin with. And why we keep electing them.
"If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come he made them out of meat?"
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
(All clippings from Marion Zioncheck Papers, University of Washington Libraries.
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