Just when you think the Catholic church abuse stories couldn't get any worse, something else is reported. In this case, a politician even participated in the coverup according to the report. DutchNews:
At least one boy under the age of 16 was castrated to 'help' his homosexual feelings while in Catholic church care in the 1950s, the NRC reported on Saturday.As Joe noted the other day, the Catholic church is still attacking their own victims (quoting the NYT):
But there are indications at least 10 other boys were also castrated, the paper said. The claims were not included in the Deetman report on sexual abuse within the Catholic church published at the end of last year.
The paper says the one confirmed case concerned a boy - Henk Heithuis - who reported being sexually abused by priests to the police in 1956. After giving evidence, he was placed in a Catholic-run psychiatric institution where he was then castrated because of his 'homosexual behaviour'.
Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.
The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it ?almost certainly? had information relevant to the case.
The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. ?If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,? said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, ?it definitely would be SNAP. And that?s what they?re going after. They?re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.?
A Pentagon wargame simulating an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities ended with the U.S. involved in a regional war after an Iranian retaliatory missile killed 200 seamen aboard a Navy ship in the Persian Gulf. According to New York Times sources, CENTCOM Commander Gen. James Mattis, who is responsible for the region, found the results “particularly troubling.” The initial Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities delayed its program a year. After the U.S. entered the fight, subsequent bombings set back the program another two. U.S. intelligence agencies haven’t concluded that Iran has made a decision to produce a bomb, and, while Obama keeps all options on the table, he has said, ?a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better.?
In a project that sounds alternately fascinating and disappointing, and certainly is proof that we’ve looped around a bit from the pro-soldier anti-war flicks of the first decade of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tom Hardy is going to play a Vietnam veteran who, disillusioned by anti-war sentiment on his return home, reacts by joining a violent motorcycle gang. I find this thing sort of irritating because it feeds the persistent, and false, narrative that opposing sending young men into situations where they can be killed, maimed, and traumatized somehow means not being supportive of those men and their interests. But it’s also kind of too bad because one of my favorite, deeply weird movies about Vietnam deploys bikers to precisely the opposite effect.
I discovered The Losers a couple of years ago while writing a piece comparing Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan movies. The plot of the movie is essentially as follows: a group of violent bikers get dropped into Vietnam to do a covert mission the military apparently can’t, in its official capacity, carry out. They soup up their bikes with ridiculous killing machinery, wreck dive bars in Saigon, plot to get their Vietnamese girlfriends home, and behave with honor after serving time for rape. Eventually, they’re sold out and killed by the C.I.A. after they succeed in rescuing a captured officer in Cambodia?it turns out, they were meant to fail, and their failure was supposed to be a pretext for expanding the war into yet another country.
The movie’s a total mess, but it’s entirely comfortable with the idea that you can separate out the government’s interests from the interests of the men in its service. It’s unfortunate that it takes a B movie to embrace what should be an obvious principal, and one that, if it was championed by slicker, more high-profile movies wouldn’t be so easy to marginalize.
A month after the nation’s largest banks reached a mortgage fraud settlement with the federal government and state attorneys general, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) joined Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) for a foreclosure hearing in Brooklyn this morning. The field hearing included remarks by both Issa and Towns as well as scheduled testimony from representatives of Wall Street banks that were a part of the settlement, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase.
The hearing was almost immediately interrupted by protesters, however, who called on Issa and the panelists to “stop fighting for Wall Street and fight for the people that elected you!” Others chanted at Issa, “Work for the people!” before they were removed by security.
Watch it, courtesy of Raw Story:
The protesters were promptly removed for interrupting the hearing, but Issa was just getting started. He later blamed homeowners for robo-signing, the fraudulent foreclosure practice that landed banks in hot water in 2010, according to AlterNet reporter Sarah Jaffe:
.@darrellissa also just said that robosigning happened as a result of a swamped agency and was the fault of people who stopped paying.
— Sarah Jaffe (@seasonothebitch) March 19, 2012
Blaming homeowners and backlogs for robo-signing is directly contradictory to a report issued by the inspector general of the Department and Urban Development last week. That investigation found that the nation’s biggest banks — several of which had representatives on Issa’s panel — knew about the fraudulent practice, and that managers had authorized robo-signing. Bank managers gave out “vice president” titles to unqualified employees so they could robo-sign documents and squashed investigations into the practices. And when the scandal originally broke in 2010, banks promised to end the practice, only to keep robo-signing documents for at least another year.
Issa’s thoughts on foreclosure fraud, unfortunately, aren’t new. Before the GOP took control of the House in 2011, Issa promised not to investigate the fraudulent acts committed by Wall Street banks, instead vowing to focus his attention on home loans made to poor people.
A landmark new study conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International grades the level of corruption in each states. The least corrupt states were Connecticut, Washington, California, Nebraska, and despite popular conception to the contrary, New Jersey. Eight states in total received the ignominious honor of “most corrupt“: Georgia, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. Notably, all eight states have both Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures. It appears the nation has been misguided in its focus on “Chicago-style corruption”; it is now time to turn our attention to the perils of Cheyenne-style corruption.
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Our friends over at News Hounds flagged this segment from Saturday's Cashin' In on Fox News and par for the course on that show, they opened it up with attacking the poor and those suffering from the economic consequences of the recession and were demonizing a program that provides badly needed economic stimulus and the people who are using the program.
Yesterday?s Cashin? In was another thinly veiled effort to make poor people look like welfare queens ? and to make the Obama administration look like welfare-queen enablers. The vehicle this time was some government advertisements for food stamps. As a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times noted, more than 1/3 of those eligible for SNAP (food stamps) benefits are not receiving them. Furthermore, the program was originally pushed for by the grocery industry because it bolstered household consumption and shored up the retail economy. But none of that information was provided by ?objective? host Cheryl Casone. She announced, ?The government is now marketing entitlements.?
Go read their post for a complete overview of the segment which I don't want to just copy and paste, but I'll just highlight a few of their points here:
Christian Dorsey was one of only two supporters on the panel. As usual, he was terrific. ?Hopefully, this is destigmitizing something that doesn?t need to be stigmatized at all,? he said. He also pointed out, ?In order to get food stamp benefits, you have to be working or looking for work, you have to be a dependent child, or you?re elderly, or disabled. None of those are shameful circumstances. The reason we?ve spent so much more on food stamps is because we had a really big recession where we increased poverty? This is a really efficient program. Low administrative costs, and money goes to people in need. They spend the money at private businesses, and that spending multiplies by at least 50% in economic activity.?
And of course Jonathan Hoenig was doing his usual Libertarian flogging of the "welfare state" when he touted this nonsense:
Rather than contest Hoenig, she ?quipped,? ?Maybe that?s a great diet plan for all of us to go on food stamps.? She was referring to ads talking about how food stamps help people stay healthy.
John Layfield spoke up. ?I certainly hope not? You can?t spend this for sugary drinks? These people have nothing else to eat if you don?t give them this. The problem is, that many people are in poverty.?
Hoenig said, ?Look at Mississippi. One in five people there are on food stamps. It?s the fattest state in the nation six years running.?
?It?s also one of the poorest,? Layfield shot back.
Hoenig said, ?Don?t tell me that we need food stamps to alleviate poverty when we have an obesity problem in this country.?
As Brian and Ellen pointed out in their post, that argument is of course a bunch of nonsense:
As always, if it's Saturday on Fox "News" with their "business block" from that channel of theirs that has almost no viewers since they have no credibility, it's time to attack either the poor, or unions, or welfare recipients, or those receiving unemployment insurance, or whoever their latest boogeyman is that's somehow leaching off of those hard working tax payers out there. Never mind the corporate welfare, the military industrial complex, Wall Street bailouts, rewarding companies for offshoring jobs or the ones who are benefiting greatly from our tax structure while doing little to help everyday American's lives. Let's attack the most vulnerable in our society instead and call them moochers and lazy. Yeah... that's the ticket.
I really have to wonder if this strategy from Fox is going to backfire, or if it would if more people actually watched this crap, because it's not just minorities they're demonizing these days when so many people are hurting. They're demonizing a whole lot of poor white people as well. They seem to still be playing off an outdated playbook that harkens back to Reagan's Southern Strategy and Lee Atwater's race baiting and that doesn't work out so well when you can't just demonize black people and make white people afraid of them wanting to "take something from you" because they're too lazy to work. There are enough white people out of work now too that the same fear mongering is going to fall flat given the problems with the economy today and just who is out of work and needing assistance. Minorities have definitely been hit harder by this recession, but they're not the only segment of the population looking at terrible unemployment numbers and being affected by them.
With massive offshore drilling and a shunted Mississippi River, Louisiana’s Mississippi Delta has been sinking ever more rapidly into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, global warming is accelerating the disappearance of Louisiana with sea level rise. “Even according to conservative climate models, rising seas will make the road to Port Fourchon, La., a major artery to Gulf of Mexico refineries, largely unusable by the end of the century,” the Washington Post reports. “A plan to raise 19 miles of the highway has stalled with 10 miles completed.” “Not only is the sea rising as the ocean warms and expands, but heavier rainfall in shorter bursts is battering Highway 1,” writes Juliet Eilperin.
The UK Met Office said two years ago it had underestimated recent warming. The key reason is their Hadley/CRU (Climatic Research Unit) Temperature dataset (HadCRUT) undersampled the Arctic — the place on earth warming up the fastest.
Now the Met[eorological] Office (part of the Defence Ministry) has corrected their errors and update their temperature record (release here, video below). No longer is 1998 the hottest year on record. It has been (slightly) edged out by 2010 and 2005. As the UK Telegraph reports:
Between 1998 and 2010, temperatures rose by 0.11C, 0.04C more than previously estimated.
The new data set also shifts around the hottest years on record, so that the new temperature series, known as HadCRUT4, is more in line with other global records held by NASA and NOAA in the US. The American series had already added Arctic temperatures from extrapolated information.
Before it was thought the hottest years were 1998 followed by 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2002. The updated series puts 2010 as the hottest year on record followed by 2005, 1998, 2003 and 2006.
The main conclusions of the new temperature series remains the same ? that overall warming since 1850 has been around 0.75C and the 10 warmest years on record all occurred in the last 14 years.
The deniers haven’t gone so ballistic over a new study since we saw the Koch-Funded Berkeley temperature study ?confirm the reality of global warming? last year and conclude recent warming was ?on the high end? and speeding up. Indeed, that study made clear that the HadCRUT dataset was the outlier, as the figure on the right shows [click to enlarge].
That’s why the deniers always had a love-hate relationship with the HadCRUT data. They kept accusing the CRU scientists at the University of East Anglia, whose emails were stolen, of fudging the data. But at the same time, they kept citing the HadCRU data since it showed less warming in recent years.
Everyone but the anti-science disinformers have known for a long time that the Met Office dataset UNDERestimates — not OVERestimates — the recent global temperature rise. Their data excludes ?the place on Earth that has been warming fastest? (see ?What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?? and here). NASA?s James Hansen has made this point for years. The Met Office itself concluded a December 2009 analysis that ?The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office?s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.?
Now, as CRU Director Phil Jones explains, ”For the latest version we have included observations from more than 400 stations across the Arctic, Russia and Canada. This has led to better representation of what’s going on in the large geographical region.”
The Met Office has corrected a second mistake, an error the global sea-surface temperature dataset. Here is Peter Stott, the Met Office’s head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution, in a video explaining all the corrections:
If we look at the changes in the middle part of the century where you can see that HadCRUT4 in red is generally a bit warmer then HadCRUT3. This is because of our new analysis of the different ways in which our sea surface temperatures have been measured in time. The most important issue here is related to the particular drop off in temperatures seen at the end of the second world war in the HadCRUT3 temperatures. This was associated with the fact that following the war there were many more British ships measuring using the method of hauling in buckets over the sides of ships and this leads to cooler temperatures because of evaporative cooling of the temperatures in the bucket. These are cooler temperatures then would be measured by drifting buoys or by the engine room intakes in ships.So in this new analysis we have taken account of that and that means that the temperatures globally are slightly warmer in the middle part of the twentieth century.
Stott told the Telegraph, “?The scientific evidence is really strong that we are warming.?
Reuters put it well that this conclusion is “further undermining a sceptic view of stalled global warming.”
Finally, it always bears repeating that, as we learned in two key 2009 papers, the planet is warming from GHGs just where climate science said it would — the oceans, which is where more than 90% of the warming was projected to end up (see ?Skeptical Science explains how we know global warming is happening.?)
Let the cry of "Fukushima!" become for the world what "Three Mile Island!" was in the U.S.: a visceral, irrefutable protest that shut down industry expansion for 30 years.
In that sense, the revival of protest has created an alternative public forum, quite unlike the fake public hearing in Saga. In an October NHK poll, nearly 70 percent of Japanese were in favor of reducing or eliminating the country's nuclear plants. Organizers in Tokyo and Osaka have gathered the hundreds of thousands of signatures required for a local referendum in each city on whether to allow regional power companies to keep nuclear plants in operation. Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe, a longstanding critic of nuclear power, is leading a nationwide petition drive against it. The petition declares, "With the issues faced by the survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still unresolved, we now have also become victims of nuclear energy. At the same time, we have become perpetrators of its damage." By February the drive had gathered some 4.2 million signatures.
Sheer numbers are not everything. The most powerful protest in Japan might be that of a solitary man, Naoto Matsumura, the Fukushima farmer who is determined to remain at his home within the exclusion zone, a protest that has meant exposing himself to potentially lethal levels of radiation. He views himself as hibaku, a word that commonly refers to the victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Some might see in Matsumura's self-sacrifice an echo of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese monk who set himself on fire at a Saigon intersection in 1963 to protest the persecution of Buddhists by the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. "If I die here," Matsumura said in an interview, "perhaps it will be a good reminder to people of the consequences of letting corporations and corrupt politicians get away with cover-ups, exploitation of the local people and criminal negligence." Though aware of the risks, Matsumura doesn't view himself as a martyr. The focus of his protest is not the spectacle of his own destruction but the ruination of what has been left behind in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. His photographs and videos show the carcasses of cows decaying in their stalls, dogs maimed by forgotten traps and the one person who has remained, tending to the abandoned animals. "I don't think the people of this region are angry enough," Matsumura says. "But they're getting there."
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