I think this part of Boston Boomer’s post title from yesterday was spot on: “These Days I Often Cry While Reading News” …yup, I do that too! Only I would take it a step further, and say that lately, I often start to hyperventilate and have anxiety attacks while scrolling through the Twitter feed. (I am not being hyperbolic with that statement either. I do start to hyperventilate.) I can feel my breathing becoming more intense and faster…forward towards out of control. My heart rate increases dramatically. My palms sweat and feel distinctly cold at the same time. I can actually feel my eyebrows becoming one, from the pained expression my face has contorted into…
Yeah, I think we all know that feeling I am describing above…am I right?
That is why this little asteroid of a nugget that passed my way this morning made me cringe:
And as you will see, no one corrected the “misstatement?” If that is what the fucking thing was…
During an interview with former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, [Abby] Huntsman interrupted to noted that Trump had arrived for the summit in Singapore.
“There is the president of the United States, Donald Trump, about to walk down those [Air Force Once] stairs, stepping foot in Singapore as we wait this historic summit with the North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un.”
“Anthony, talk to us about this moment,” she said, turning to Scaramucci. “This is history. We are living — regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators — what we are seeing right now, this is historic.”
Scaramucci then agreed… adding that Trump is a “disruptive risk taker”…not even missing a beat while continuing to fawn over the tangerine ass mouth, lavishing more praise on his dear leader as the segment went on. Video at the link.
The links I bring you today are pretty much things you may already be aware of, I don’t know anymore…War with Canada? I guess things are going as Putin planned?
President Trump feuded with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and threatened to impose penalties on foreign automobile imports Saturday, capping an acrimonious meeting of the Group of Seven industrial nations that further frayed ties between the United States and its closest allies.
Trump said Saturday evening that he had instructed U.S. officials to withdraw support for a joint statement with other member nations he had backed just hours earlier, saying the United States would not join after Trudeau publicly criticized Trump’s trade policy.
European officials described things much differently. Their leaders confronted Trump about how his protectionist policies had given them no choice but to retaliate with tariffs of their own, a person familiar with the encounter said. These tariffs, they told Trump, would hurt everyone. Trump had tried to essentially splinter the European leaders by negotiating some changes with Germany and different ones with France, but those leaders appeared locked together.
They had been careful not to reveal their approach before meeting with Trump, although it appeared very calculated.
“If you have a strategy, do not explain your strategy before the meeting — because if you are explaining your strategy before the meeting, you are losing your strategy,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters.
(I thought that was funny…don’t know why.)
“What worries me most . . . is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged,” European Council President Donald Tusk said as the G-7 summit got underway. What is surprising, Tusk said, is that the challenge is driven not by the “usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor, the U.S.”
By the way:
Kudlow was on the Sunday shows, fucking things up even more:
Speculation on the Twitter is that Kudlow is drunk.
I don’t know, that sounds like crazy shit to me….Dak, your thoughts?
This is something>>>>
And I think we should revisit this thread:
And if all that shit doesn’t scare the shit out of you:
Over the many years since Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 2001, the ACLU has dedicated itself to defending the civil liberties and human rights that have been threatened as a result of this resolution and its successors. The harms have included the drone killings of American citizens, broad surveillance of American citizens, the kidnapping and torture of suspects, and indefinite detention without charge or trial, even of an American citizen apprehended in the United States.
Now, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are working on a new AUMF that is even more damaging to our freedoms.
It would be hard to overstate the depth and breadth of the dangers to the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights that the Corker-Kaine AUMF would cause. The Corker-Kaine AUMF would give the current president and all future presidents authority from Congress to engage in worldwide war, sending American troops to countries where we are not now at war and against groups that the president alone decides are enemies.
Uh, yeah…you read that, Kaine.
The Corker-Kaine AUMF would authorize force, without operational limitations, against eight groups in six countries. The president could then add to both lists, as long as the president reports the expansion to Congress. To be clear — the president would have unilateral authority to add additional countries — including the United States itself — to the list of countries where Congress is authorizing war. And the president would have unilateral authority to add additional enemies, including groups in the United States itself and even individual Americans, under its new authority for the president to designate “persons” as enemies.
Their proposal also contains a sleeper provision with the innocuous title, “Sec. 10 Conforming Amendment,” that would create a new legal basis for the military to capture and imprison individuals in indefinite detention without charge or trial. This greatly expands the scope of the infamous indefinite detention provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Like the NDAA, the Corker-Kaine AUMF has no statutory prohibition against locking up American citizens or anyone picked up in the United States itself. While we continue to believe it would still be unlawful for a president to try indefinite detention of an American citizen in the United States (again), there is no reason for Congress to risk it.
About that photo released by Merkel:
Let’s look at a few other photos from the G7 Summit:
Macron had a couple good ones…he released his own tRump smackdown picture…you can see he is looking exasperated as he jesters toward the tRump asshole below:
What do you think he was saying to him? What’s a matter with you?
Oh wait, that is more of an Italian thing right?
(tRump has that covered as well, you see, he is already love crazy over Italy’s newly elected right-wing prime minister.)
Wow, the hard on tRump gets for these far right assholes is disgusting.
Back to Macron: Did you see the lasting impression he left on tRumps little hand?
Just a few other links for y’all:
Can you describe to me what you saw there?
I’ll tell you what was very difficult to see. One room had smaller cyclone fences—they look like the way you construct a dog kennel. They’re larger, but that’s the thought that comes to mind when you see them. Then they have these space blankets [light foil blankets], which is a very strange sight, to see kids using a space blanket as a cushion—but they don’t provide any cushion—or as a cover for privacy. There’re no mattresses in that section.
After they go through interviews, they go into a big warehouse. I called them cages, and the White House said that’s unfair, they aren’t cages. Well, call it a cell, then. It’s a cyclone-fence-constructed area. There were all these boys in this big enclosure, maybe three to four dozen boys, and they lined up, from smallest to largest, to get ready to go eat. The tiniest kid at the front of the line, he was knee-high to a grasshopper; he was 4, maybe 5 years old. They go up to age 16 or 17.
I understand that the McAllen facility operated under the Obama administration, to accommodate the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America we saw in 2014. Do you know whether the children you saw last weekend are mainly unaccompanied minors, who came here alone, or whether they’re mainly kids who’ve been separated from their parents under this new DOJ policy?
Well, some may have come as unaccompanied minors, but many have not. The 4-year-old, it’s extremely unlikely he did, I suppose an older brother might have brought him across, but he was just so, so tiny. Many of them are kids who were taken away from their parents, in that facility. I asked: “Where are the kids who’ve been separated from their parents?” And they said “Here.”
But here’s the thing—as soon as they take the kids away from their parents, they call them “unaccompanied minors” too! I asked, which are the kids who came alone, and which came with their families, but no one could tell me. We do know that during a 12-day period in May 658 kids were separated from their families. We know that the number of immigrant children detained without parents went up 21 percent from May to June.
Another question is: Where do the kids end up, and can the parents reach them? They told me, “Oh yes, they get an A code,” and I asked, “Well, what’s an A code,” and it turns out it’s an “alien code,” a number where they can be tracked through the system. So it’s really not a difficulty for parents to find their children, they said. But the children are actually in one agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the parents are in another agency, the Department of Homeland Security. And according to immigration advocates I spoke with, they’re saying it’s actually not easy to track down the kids. The younger kids may be in a foster family, where the foster family doesn’t speak Spanish.
Ugh…I can’t take anymore!
This is an open thread.
I just want to share one more thing with you.
It is personal, but it is too sweet not to post…
Here is the wedding video from my daughter’s wedding. It is done by Izra Lopez, to the song
L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole.
It’s lovely and hopeful. And not just because it is my kid…the video is awesome.
Y’all have a better day today, here’s to love and hoping that tRump doesn’t fuck things up beyond repair this week.
This will be a quick post, and it won’t mention a tRump at all.
Well, except for this little tidbit…
Republicans are demanding Democratic support for Donald Trump’s nominee to the stolen Supreme Court seat, but the White House is denying some Democratic women the opportunity to even meet with him for questioning.
Not surprising when his VP won’t even have dinner with any woman other than his wife.
The vice-president’s rule is insulting for men and limiting for women. But let’s not let Pence’s sexism distract us from his whole party’s sexist agenda
Also, on that note…Mike Pence strips women of healthcare with tie-breaking Senate vote
Vice President Mike Pence just used his powers in the Senate to be the lone decider in whether or not women will have access to crucial healthcare coverage.
In a 51-50 vote, Senate Republicans — with a few members defecting to side with Democrats — just repealed an Obama-era regulation that puts states “on notice” with respect to funding Planned Parenthood health centers. The initial regulation stipulated that states that sought to deny Title X funding — which goes to groups like Planned Parenthood that provide low-income Americans with affordable family planning services — would be in violation of federal law.
The National Women’s Law Center broke down the harm that the latest decision by Vice President Pence and Senate Republicans would cause to low-income women in a recent blog post:
Breast exams—which were provided to over 1 million women nationally at Title X sites in 2015;
Other important confidential preventive care, including screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/HIV, and health education; and
Contraceptive care and counseling that helped women avoid 904,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 439,000 unplanned births in 2014.
The move to relieve states attempting to cut Title X grants to dry up Planned Parenthood’s funding comes on the heels of the Republicans’ embarrassing Trumpcare defeat last week, when President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposed healthcare overhaul didn’t even receive a vote in the heavily Republican House of Representatives. With Pence’s latest tiebreaker, Republicans will now no longer be 0-1 in fulfilling campaign promises related to taking away healthcare for low-income people.
What a way to end out the month that was supposed to celebrate women…
It is constantly amazing to me how the right can continue to put forth life threatening laws like this:
An Iowa state representative is under fire after saying women who miscarry after 20 weeks of pregnancy should be forced to carry their dead fetuses to term.
During a hearing Wednesday of Senate File 471, which would clear the way for a state ban on abortions after the 20-week mark, Republican Rep. Shannon Lundgren — the manager of 471 — faced a question from fellow Rep. John Forbes, a Democrat.
Noting that he has a daughter who is 20 weeks pregnant, Forbes asked that under the bill, would his daughter have to carry her child to term even if a doctor told her there was no longer a heartbeat.
“Is that good medicine?” Forbes wondered.
“This bill wasn’t written for the intent to protect or govern on the side of the woman. It was written to save babies’ lives, giving the choice and being the voice of those babies…that don’t have one. I understand what you’re saying—this fetus, this baby, is not alive. I would concur that in that instance, if your daughter’s life is not in danger, that yes, she would have to carry that baby.”
And this isn’t all that we have seen from the GOP this week…Georgia lawmakers cruelly mocked rape survivor lobbying against harmful bill
If you REALLY want to rage, watch this clip of Ehrhart saying being “falsely accused” is just as traumatizing as being sexually assaulted.
The year is 2017 and that video above still shows the dangerous repercussions of rape culture that is perpetuated by the patriarchy attitudes that show no signs of calming down. Take this incident, which is not in this country…but illustrates the point: Wealthy Man in Mexico Acquitted of Rape Because He ‘Didn’t Enjoy It’
A judge in Mexico has acquitted one of three men accused of raping a 17-year-old girl on the grounds that, as one activist described it, he “didn’t enjoy it.”
Diego Cruz, who was 19 at the time, and three of his friends, all sons of wealthy businessmen and politicians, allegedly abducted their former high school classmate and forced her into the back of a car as she was leaving a party in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, in 2015. The girl said Cruz and another man, Jorge Coahuila, grabbed under her shirt and shorts. A third man, Enrique Capitaine, raped her, while the fourth sat there.
Though Judge Anuar González acknowledged that Cruz touched the girl’s breasts and genitals, he found that Cruz’s action was “incidental rubbing” that lacked “carnal intent,” and was therefore not assault.
And you know, the fight…is a world wide assault. Over in Britain: Anger as tampon tax is used to help fund anti-abortion group | Politics | The Guardian
Seriously…no wonder so many women over the world took the Woman’s March to heart.
But let’s hear it for the women and girls who are standing up to the right.
Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny is Little Miss Flint. She is 9 years old and lives in Flint, MI. She told me that in her free time she likes to “go on Twitter or just play with my toys or just lay down in bed, read, and play with my dollhouse, and color and draw and cheer.” She hasn’t been able to drink the water from the sink in her house for 1,071 days, because, as she put it, “you might die.”
Copeny’s story has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
The water smelled bad. It gave me a bad rash. It smelled like bleach. We couldn’t use it no more. [We used] bottled water: 36 gallons for a bubble bath and so we could brush our teeth.
More stories of women and girls standing up below…
Want to follow some body positive folks: 6 Body Positive Illustrators You Need To Know About
Self-love is for everybody! For those days then you feel like “ugh,” you need bright, cheerful reminders of how you are just perfect, just the way you are! Here are 6 of my favorite body-positive illustrators to watch for everyday inspiration to love yourself and be kind to your body!
With history mostly focusing on the achievements of men, it’s necessary to elevate the stories of women. As British historian and author Bettany Hughes states, “It’s the inconvenient truth that women have always been 50 percent of the population, but only occupy around 0.5 percent of recorded history. Physically the stories of women have been written out of history, rather than written in.”
That’s why the work of 24-year-old Zaira Funes is so important. During this year’s Women’s History Month, she fought this erasure by tweeting about inspirational Latin American women. Because the Salvadoran-American student chose to solely highlight Central America – an isthmus that’s also very familiar with erasure – she gave many a chance to learn and feel pride about barrier-breaking women from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize.
Funes included a range of athletes, activists, singers, and everything in between. To wrap up March, check out these Central American women who made history, as curated by Funes:
Go to the link to read more and check those women out.
And since I am packing this post with links on women, why not post a story on…The Real Story of Elizabeth Báthory: History’s Most Prolific Female Serial Killer
Whenever you hear this story, you’ll find plenty more questions than answers. Was Elizabeth Báthory really the most prolific female killer of all time? Was she framed, a victim of being a powerful woman in a time when that alone was enough to ruin her reputation?
Or was she as bad as they say, a woman who had her henchmen gather virgins (up to 650!) from neighboring villages in order to bathe in their blood, a practice she believed would keep her young?
As with the majority of history (especially history about women and other underrepresented categories of people), you’ll just have to read what we know and make up your own mind, because there will never be a black-and-white truth.
Well, y’all know what I mean.
Now a quick video, because it makes me laugh every time I see it.
If you are on Facebook, then follow the next couple of groups. They always have interesting post.
And if anything is said of feminism…this must be: Intersectionality
Let’s keep the women post going….
For some reason that Instagram of Alan Cumming is not showing up…this is the image btw:
We celebrated Transgender Day recently, and one story that went around the web caught my eye:
I put up three different links there…each has the same story but they all have little various details and quotes.
Lesbians are well-known for our unique ability to find a girlfriend and then turn that romantic relationship into an all-consuming life partnership — starting businesses, pursuing activism, revolutionizing social services, erecting schools, liberating marginalized groups. This is true today but has also been true since the beginning of time. Back in the day, many women were held back from activism and entrepreneurship by the demands of marriage and motherhood, making some women-loving-women uniquely able to pursue civilization-shifting ventures. (Although many managed to do both!) We’re gonna talk about some of those relationships here today.
For the purposes of this list, I defined “power couple” as a relationship through which both women were able to achieve greater professional, artistic or service-related success because of their relationship with each other. I leaned towards couples that actually made or did things together — whether that be starting a school, hosting a nightclub, creating social services for disadvantaged humans or making films. Also, as usual, the word “lesbian” is used as an adjective to describe a same-sex relationship, not the sexual orientation of the women in the relationship.
And for many of us, this next article may come as no surprise: What states have the best and worst quality of life for women.
Ladies love Hawaii! The island state is declared to have the best quality of life for women – while Utah, Louisiana, and Oklahoma have the worst
A new in-depth study by MoveHub ranked US states based on the quality of life for women who live there
The site looked at factors like gender pay gap, political representation in the state legislature, equality in education, and accessibility to health insurance
It also examined reproductive rights and the number of incidents of violence against women
States in the Northeast and West mostly fared best, while Utah and a cluster of Southern states performed worst
I also thought this was a good story to share, ‘Penis Seat’ Causes Double Takes on Mexico City Subway – The New York Times
A seat in a subway car in Mexico City’s metro system caused a stir earlier this year. There were awkward glances. Visible discomfort. Baffled looks. Some laughs. And of course, the inevitable pictures from passengers’ camera phones.
It was meant to be provocative, and it was. A seat was changed to look like the lower half of a male’s body, including the penis, part of a campaign by UN Women and the Mexico City government to raise awareness about sexual harassment on subways.
On the floor beneath the seat, there was a sign reading, “It is annoying to travel this way, but not compared to the sexual violence women suffer in their daily commutes.”
Video and more at the link.
And finally….this last story:
It’s a place where women rule, marriage doesn’t exist and everything follows the maternal bloodline. But is it as good for women as it sounds – and how long can it last?
A Mosuo woman weaves with a loom at her shop in Lijiang, China. Photograph: Chien-min Chung/Getty Images
Imagine a society without fathers; without marriage (or divorce); one in which nuclear families don’t exist. Grandmother sits at the head of the table; her sons and daughters live with her, along with the children of those daughters, following the maternal bloodline. Men are little more than studs, sperm donors who inseminate women but have, more often than not, little involvement in their children’s upbringing.
This progressive, feminist world – or anachronistic matriarchy, as skewed as any patriarchal society, depending on your viewpoint – exists in a lush valley in Yunnan, south-west China, in the far eastern foothills of the Himalayas. An ancient tribal community of Tibetan Buddhists called the Mosuo, they live in a surprisingly modern way: women are treated as equal, if not superior, to men; both have as many, or as few, sexual partners as they like, free from judgment; and extended families bring up the children and care for the elderly. But is it as utopian as it seems? And how much longer can it survive?
Go to the link and read the rest. It is fascinating.
Well, that is all I have for you today…this is an open thread..have at it.
Thursday Reads: Villagers Turn On Obama, Texas Tornadoes, West TX Investigations, and Boston Bombing NewsPosted: May 16, 2013
It’s beginning to look like Obama’s second term is pretty much over before it begins. We’re facing years of Republican scandalmongering and “investigations” of a president who won’t fight back or even fight for his own favored legislation or judicial and government appointments.
What is Obama actually doing every day? Does he spend the time he isn’t fund-raising or doing meaningless public appearances deciding which “extremist” to drone strike next? Because he certainly doesn’t seem to be governing.
Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows. All I know is that the Villagers are finished with him. We got the news yesterday from Politico’s top gossip mavens Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen in one of their trademark “Behind the Curtain” posts: D.C. turns on Obama.
The town is turning on President Obama — and this is very bad news for this White House.
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on — so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up.
Really? if powerful Democrats weren’t “big fans” of Obama, why did they work their asses off to hand him the nomination in 2008 when they could just as easily have chosen Hillary Clinton?
Of course the “establishment Democrats” that Vandehei and Allen choose to quote in their piece are hardly current insiders, as Charles Pierce pointed out:
Not to minimize the inherent political savvy of Chris Lehane, one anonymous former Obama aide, one anonymous “longtime Washingtonian,” or Vernon Jordan — who, I admit, I’d thought had long gone off to peddle influence in the Beyond — but I think they’re pretty much camouflage here for the fiery tantrum summoned up by the authors.
(And, not for nothing, but “longtime Washingtonian” may well be the beau ideal of TBOTP sourcing. They should make it the company motto. And the two presiding geniuses are going to be shocked one morning when they look in the mirror and see Sally Quinn staring back at them.)
Nevertheless, the Villagers certainly pay more attention to Vandehei and Allen’s pontifications than Pierce’s. Here’s a little more of their venom:
Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.
This White House’s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. “It feel like they don’t know what they’re here to do,” a former senior Obama administration official said. “When there’s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.”
Even Greg Sargent acknowledges that Politico probably speaks for the DC establishment, particularly the corporate media.
Liberals are to blame for the success of right wing canards and screamers because they don’t elevate the conversation. They fixate on the bloviator.
Of course, not all right-wing pundits spew hate. But the ones who do are the ones we liberals dependably aggrandize. Consider the recent debate over whether employers must cover contraception in their health plans. The underlying question — should American women receive help in protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies? — is part of a serious and necessary national conversation.
Any hope of that conversation happening was dashed the moment Rush Limbaugh began his attacks on Sandra Fluke, the young contraceptive advocate. The left took enormous pleasure in seeing Limbaugh pilloried. To what end, though? Industry experts noted that his ratings actually went up during the flap. In effect, the firestorm helped Limbaugh do his job, at least in the short term.
But the real problem isn’t Limbaugh. He’s just a businessman who is paid to reduce complex cultural issues to ad hominem assaults. The real problem is that liberals, both on an institutional and a personal level, have chosen to treat for-profit propaganda as news. In so doing, we have helped redefine liberalism as an essentially reactionary movement. Rather than initiating discussion, or advocating for more humane policy, we react to the most vile and nihilistic voices on the right.
Media outlets like MSNBC and The Huffington Post often justify their coverage of these voices by claiming to serve as watchdogs. It would be more accurate to think of them as de facto loudspeakers for conservative agitprop. The demagogues of the world, after all, derive power solely from their ability to provoke reaction. Those liberals (like me) who take the bait, are to blame for their outsize influence.
Okee dokee then.
This may be the single dumbest op-ed in the NY Times this year, which would be an accomplishment, given that Friedman, Brooks, Douthat, and Bruni all write there. Apparently Steve Almond thinks that if liberals would just ignore nasty old Republicans, then we’d have an amazingly civil public discourse and Fox news would shrivel up and die. The logic goes something like this:
1.) Ignore Mean Republicans
This is something like clap-for-Tinkerbelle in reverse. If we stop enabling righties by paying attention to them, they’ll go away.
I would like to say that I don’t feel personally victimized by escalating right-wing fanaticism. Most of the time I feel more like a helpless bystander watching barbarians sack my country.
WTF is wrong with you? We now have walking, talking, reproducing humanoids that think taking from the poor and giving to the rich solves all of our economic problems, that poor people deserve to starve and die from lack of insurance because there’s something morally wrong with them, a basically ineffective right of center president is a socialist, Kenyan Muslim who has spent us into no man’s land, Fox News is actually news and not just made up shit that rich Republicans want you to believe, and fertilized egg has more right to “life” than a woman or a man that’s been wrongly convicted of a crime or GLBT people. We’re supposed to ignore the propagandists and just spout platitudes about “big ideals”? Gimme a friggin; break and buy a clue, dude! We tried Air America. It bored every one. Eliot Spitzer got sent to out media land for having heady conversations. What planet is this?
That is all.
I spent most of Saturday inside a mall in Atlanta. The place was packed but people were not spending much, aside from the pretzel joint and The American Girl store. Geez, those dolls were everywhere. Some girls even carried two of these freaky “Talky Tina” incarnate dolls, and what a sight…all three wearing the same outfit. Hmmm, I wonder how many of those dolls come to life and wind up telling Telly Savalas, “My name is Talky Tina, and I’m going to kill you.” (Yes, I know it is a cheap reference to Twilight Zone, don’t worry I have some other stories to share with you that will also have literary or film references.)
Yesterday, Dakinikat posted a link in the comments that I think deserves front page mention. The article is about the latest revelation out of the Catholic Church…and I’m not talking about contraception. Court filing: Bevilacqua ordered shredding of memo identifying suspected abusers
Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered aides to shred a 1994 memo that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children, according to a new court filing.
The order, outlined in a handwritten note locked away for years at the archdiocese’s Center City offices, was disclosed Friday by lawyers for Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former church administrator facing trial next month.
They say the shredding directive proves what Lynn has long claimed: that a church conspiracy to conceal clergy sex abuse was orchestrated at levels far above him.
Cardinal Bevilacqua died this past January 31st…
The revelation is likely to further cloud Bevilacqua’s complicated legacy in the handling of clergy sex abuse and could shape what happens at the historic trial, the first for a cleric accused of covering up sex abuse. Jury selection began this week. Opening statements are March 26.
Prosecutors say that Lynn, as the secretary for clergy, recommended priests for assignments despite knowing or suspecting that they would sexually abuse children. Facing trial with him are two former parish priests accused of molesting a boy in the 1990s, the Rev. James J. Brennan and Edward Avery.
The Defense is arguing that the recently discovered memo is proof that the cover up of repeated child sex abuse was directed by church officials.
This story reads like a pitch for a Showtime movie of the week, or maybe a sick mini-series on Lifetime.
After becoming secretary for clergy in 1992, they say, Lynn began combing the secret personnel files of hundreds of priests to gauge the scope of misconduct involving children. He did it, his lawyers said, because he “felt it was the right thing to do.”
The result was his February 1994 memo that identified 35 priests suspected of abuse or pedophilia. Lynn allegedly gave it to his superior, Msgr. James Molloy, the assistant vicar for administration, who shared his duties documenting abuse complaints.
Bevilacqua discussed the memo in a March 15, 1994, meeting with Molloy and Bishop Edward P. Cullen, then the cardinal’s top aide, the filing says. After the meeting, Bevilacqua allegedly ordered Molloy to shred the memo.
One week later, Molloy allegedly destroyed four copies, with the Rev. Joseph Cistone as a witness. “This action was taken on the basis of a directive I received from Cardinal Bevilacqua,” say Molloy’s handwritten notes.
But Molloy apparently had second thoughts. Without telling anyone, he took a copy of the memo, and his notes, and placed them in a portable, locked safe.
According to the motion, that safe remained untouched and unnoticed until 2006, when archdiocesan officials found it and hired a locksmith to open it. It’s unclear why the records inside were only recently turned over to Lynn’s lawyers and prosecutors, although church lawyers have said they have been reviewing thousands of files to comply with trial subpoenas.
Back in 2002, Bevilacqua had mentioned a list of 35 suspected priests, of which the archdiocese had giving information on to the Philadelphia District Attorney. However…
…He did not mention any memo from eight years earlier or his order to shred it.
During 10 appearances before a grand jury in 2003 and 2004, Bevilacqua denied knowing details or playing a significant role in the handling of sex-abuse complaints, saying he delegated those duties to Lynn.
“I saw no evidence at any time that we did any cover-up,” he testified.
This now places some concern about the Cardinals videotaped testimony, and whether he perjured himself…and what effect this will have on the prosecution’s case. James Molloy died in 2006. The article mentions an interview he gave before his death that may have hinted at the memo and extra copy of the list of abusive priest.
In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Molloy described reaching a point when “I couldn’t be sure that I could trust my superiors to do the right thing.” So, he said, he became diligent about documenting his actions.
“I wanted my memos to be there if the archdiocese’s decisions were eventually put on the judicial scales,” Molloy said then. “This way, anyone could come along in the future and say, this was right or this wrong. But they could never say it wasn’t all written down.”
It looks as though Lynn has been used as a scapegoat…but if this is all true it sounds eerily similar to the abuse situation and cover-up at Penn State. .
Think about the parallels between the two cases. Though they are not exact, they seem to mirror one another.
In the Sandusky scandal, an assistant coach walks in on Sandusky anally raping a young boy in the school’s gym shower. He goes to the men in charge, head coach, college president and head of college security…and tells them what he saw. The cover up goes from there…and nothing is done to protect the children who are being abused by Sandusky.
In Lynn’s case, two of the main players, the Cardinal Bevilacqua and Msgr. Malloy are now dead…with Penn State, Head Coach Joe Paterno died last month. Testimony was given in both cases to a grand jury before the men died…it would be something if the Feds find a “smoking” gun or memo in the documents they have subpoenaed from Penn State this past week.
Since I have brought up the Sandusky Child Abuse story, I might as well update you on that.
Jerry Sandusky scandal: Feds subpoena Penn State for top officials’ info
I am going to stick with US news for now…so more after the jump.