‘Smoking gun’ letter reveals official Vatican cover-up of child sex abuses

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/letter-smoking-gun-revealing-official-vatican-coverup-child-sex-abuse/

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

A letter written by a Vatican official in 1997, marked “strictly confidential,” warned Irish bishops to avoid reporting the sexual abuse of children in the church, in hopes of avoiding public fallout from the scandals that were sure to ensue.

Victims’ groups the world over were calling the letter — first obtained by Irish broadcaster RTE — the “smoking gun” which proves institutional complicity in untold thousands of reported sexual abuses.

The church has long maintained that it did not and would never instruct its bishops to engage in a cover-up of such heinous crimes: a claim that appeared to be false.

“And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” Colm O’Gorman, with the Irish chapter of Amnesty International, told the Associated Press.

The AP also noted that the Vatican has refused to acknowledge policies passed by Irish churches that command bishops to report any instances of suspected or confirmed sexual abuse.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/letter-smoking-gun-revealing-official-vatican-coverup-child-sex-abuse/

ENDA is Dead… For Now…

There is a piece over on Bilrico, by Babs Siperstein, a member of the Democratic National Committee, co-chair of the National Stonewall Democrats’ Federal PAC Board and Political Director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey.

The article is at:  ENDA Is Dead: Bury It and Move On

I for one didn’t understand giving the repeal of DADT priority over ENDA.

That said ENDA is rather problematic considering the history of non-discrimination laws.

Having these protections hasn’t prevented an astronomically high unemployment rate among young Black men.

Nor does it prevent corporations from firing anyone they want.  Last year I was terminated so they could move someone in from outside.  They found a mistake I had made, an error of judgment while I was being called upon to perform job I was not trained to perform.

When I hear stories about people sending out hundreds of resumes and  hundreds of query letters with no response I can feel empathy from both sides.  I am in the process of sending those letters and resumes, a few months ago I was receiving them.  We would get 50-60 letters for one opening.

The modern McJob sucks.  Worker abuse is universal.  We have 17% real unemployment.  Part time is the new standard as is a sub-living wage and forget benefits.

I’ve listened to the transgender blame game regarding “Trans-Inclusion”.

The National Gay and Lesbian this and that. Rep. Barney Frank.  Marriage rights advocates putting their issues first.

Blah.. Blah.. Blah..

Some one has to say it Transgender Inc has to clean up its act.

Many post-transsexual folks , myself included look at the  identity circus, the total zoo of bigendered, gender-queer, non this and non that along with all sorts of perposterous intersex claims that make up the “transgender as umbrella’ crowd.  Perhaps we have seen representatives of this so called community shopping at our stores and we know in our heart that were they to apply for a job we would not hire them.

People with transsexualism have either had sex reassignment surgery or are in the process of getting it.

People with transgenderism live full time 24/7/365.25 as members of the sex not commonly associated with their genitals.

Getting an ENDA that clearly defines what constitutes transsexual and transgender passed  and working from there to cover “gender expression” might be doable if Democrats can keep the Presidency and senate as well as win back the house in 2012.

But even if an ENDA gets passed it does nothing about a work place that wants plastic fantastic conformist Stepford workers.

Too many people under the umbrella don’t and aren’t willing to conform or maybe their physical appearance is such that they can not conform.

I don’t know what the answer is.

I just finished Ann Powers’ book,  Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America and maybe the answer for at least those of us who are unable or unwilling to conform to what mainstream employers want is finding niches in places where eccentricity is an asset.

Hair dressing school used to be a biggie and now there are Baristas with Ph.Ds and massive student loans.

Hiring is done on the whim of the person doing the hiring.

Add to that age and a hundred other factors.

Even opening this one to discussion is to invite hysterical responses and accusations as well as a ton of anger.

Those who can’t assimilate get hugely angry at those of us who can and do.  We in turn get angry about those who can’t assimilate.

At this point I honestly think targeting corporations is more productive than wasting time in DC.

Perhaps targeting a few states as well.

Many Americans Face Economic Catastrophe — Why Do the Political and Media Establishments Ignore Their Suffering?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/149538/many_americans_face_economic_catastrophe_–_why_do_the_political_and_media_establishments_ignore_their_suffering/

Our leaders appear to be oblivious to the profound economic pain the majority of Americans are experiencing.

By Joshua Holland

January 18, 2011

This is what a broken economic model looks like: record profits for corporate America, Wall Street paying out fat bonuses to its execs and the wealthy doing well enough to create a surge in demand for luxury items, while most of the rest of us struggle just to make ends meet in a devastated economic landscape.

You’ve no doubt heard about the unemployment numbers and the alarming number of Americans losing their homes, but a series of reports that paint a stunningly vivid picture of the human toll of the meltdown – the intense pain felt by the unemployed, the under-employed and the working poor – have gotten less play, in large part because while most of the U.S. remains in the grip of what appears to be a Second Great Depression, the political and media establishment largely ignores — or at least underplays – the economic catastrophe a huge number of families are experiencing.

Part of the reason for that disconnect is simply that corporate America is sitting on record profits, and the stock market has by and large rebounded from its bottom. It’s also due to the fact that a country as large as the U.S. doesn’t really have a single economy; we live and work in a number of state and regional economies. And the Washington DC metropolitan area is doing very well – its residents are living in an economy completely divorced from the one in which many Americans are desperately trying to stay afloat.

The unemployment rate in DC is 6 percent – more than a third lower than the nationwide rate of 9.4 percent. It added more net jobs in 2010 than any other area in the U.S. In 2008, before the crash, residents of the metropolitan area enjoyed the third highest incomes in the U.S.; since the meltdown, their wages have remained well above the national average. (It’s worth noting, however, that according to the Washington Post, the political class’s newfound obsession with cutting the deficit may put a damper on the DC area’s fortunes in the coming years as tens of thousands of public sector jobs are killed off.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/149538/many_americans_face_economic_catastrophe_–_why_do_the_political_and_media_establishments_ignore_their_suffering/

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Wall Street celebrates record profits

From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jan2011/pers-j18.shtml

January 18, 2011

JPMorgan Chase’s profit report for 2010, released Friday, has become the occasion for a celebration by the American plutocracy of the return of the good old days before the Wall Street crash of 2008. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, summed up the general mood of the financial elite when he declared the bank’s record profits to be evidence of a “broad-based economic recovery,” adding, “I think the future is extremely bright.”

The very fact that Dimon can speak this way in the midst of the worst social crisis since the Great Depression without any repercussions from the government or the media is an expression of the immensity of the chasm separating the modern-day aristocrats from the people.

Such remarks—under conditions where the official unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, hunger and poverty are soaring, record numbers of homes are being seized by the banks, household wealth is being devastated by the collapse in home values, wages are declining, and school closures and cuts in social services are spreading across the country—could come only from someone secure in knowledge that the Obama administration, both political parties, Congress and all of the other official institutions are securely in his pocket.

JPMorgan’s announcement kicked off a week of earnings reports that is expected to show that 2010 was a record-setting year for America’s banks and corporations.

The banking giant reported a 48 percent increase in profits over 2009 and a 47 percent increase for the fourth quarter of 2010 over the same period the previous year. JPMorgan netted a profit for the year of $17.4 billion, a figure equivalent to the gross domestic product of Bolivia. Its fourth quarter performance lifted the stocks of the other major banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, which are slated to release their 2010 results this week.

Continue reading at:  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jan2011/pers-j18.shtml

Julian Assange vows to reveal tax details of 2,000 wealthy people

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/17/julian-assange-tax-wikileaks-swiss

Swiss banker gives WikiLeaks founder data ‘to educate society’ about amount of potential tax revenues lost to offshore schemes

Esther Addley

January 17, 2011

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, today pledged to make public the confidential tax details of 2,000 wealthy and prominent individuals, after being passed the data by a Swiss banker who claims the information potentially reveals instances of money-laundering and large-scale illegal tax evasion.

In a carefully choreographed handover in central London, Rudolf Elmer, formerly a senior executive at the Swiss bank Julius Baer, based in the Cayman islands, said he was handing the data to WikiLeaks as part of an attempt “to educate society” about the amount of potential tax revenues lost thanks to offshore schemes and money-laundering.

“As banker, I have the right to stand up if something is wrong,” he said. “I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. I wanted to let society know how this system works because it’s damaging society,” he said.

<snip>

He refused to comment on the period of time covered by the data, contained on two compact discs, or the precise source of the information; nor would he give the names of any corporations or individuals whose details he was handing over, saying that the information needed to be “investigated” before it was released into the public domain.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/17/julian-assange-tax-wikileaks-swiss

City puts a stop to homeless outreach

In Right Wing America no good deed goes unpunished.  Across the nation cities are cracking down on groups like “Bread Not Bombs” that feed the homeless.

There are times when religious groups actually stand up and do the right thing instead of persecuting LGBT/TQ people and lining the pockets of the jet-set preachers.  There are actually groups like The Catholic workers and this group in Houston who live the teachings they believe in.

So what does the city do?  It cracks down on them.

From The Houston Chronicle: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7381016.html

Couple must have proper permit to continue feeding dozens each day

By BRADLEY OLSON
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Jan. 13, 2011

Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.

That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their “Feed a Friend” effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.

“We don’t really know what they want, we just think that they don’t want us down there feeding people,” said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.

Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.

The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because “poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7381016.html

50 years later, Eisenhower’s grim warning on military profit rings true

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/50-years-eisenhowers-grim-warning/

By Daniel Tencer
Monday, January 17th, 2011

The term “military-industrial complex” entered the American lexicon 50 years ago today, when President Dwight Eisenhower warned of its dangers in an unusually frank farewell speech to the nation.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience,” Ike said in a televised address on January 17, 1961. “The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.”

The president added: “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

(Read Eisenhower’s entire speech here.)

For years, that warning — issued by a hero of World War II and a Republican president — was heralded by anti-war activists as a sign that “the very structure of our society” was indeed threatened by the merger of weapon-making and profit.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/50-years-eisenhowers-grim-warning/

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