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      That’s the news, basically. Well, Iran also seized a Liberian flagged one one, not sure why (may be operating for a British company.) Also not sure why the UK seized an Iranian tanker in the first place. The UK has said it supports the Iranian nuclear deal, and the US sanctions it was operating based […]
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“These men…are devils and the wrath of God is upon them…”

Father Gerald Fitzgerald

Father Gerald Fitzgerald

Those words were written in 1957 in a letter from Father Gerald Fitzgerald to the Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Edwin V. Byrne. The National Catholic Reporter uncovered documents containing letters that Fitzgerald wrote to Bishops, Archbishops, and even the Pope, warning that priests who sexually abused children could not be rehabilitated.

Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an order established in 1947 to deal with problem priests, wrote regularly to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood should be laicized immediately.

Fitzgerald was a prolific correspondent who wrote regularly of his frustration with and disdain for priests “who have seduced or attempted to seduce little boys or girls.” His views are contained in letters and other correspondence that had previously been under court seal and were made available to NCR by a California law firm in February.

The NCR has made the letters available here (warning, PDF file). Continue reading

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Suicide or Self-defense?

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It’s long been known that attacking Iran is a neoconservative wet-dream.  Many people believe that Dick Cheney was the “senior Bush administration official” who shortly after the invasion of Iraq uttered the statement “Anyone can go to Baghdad; real men go to Tehran and in February 2007 Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian reported that:

Neo-conservatives, particularly at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, are urging Mr Bush to open a new front against Iran. So too is the vice-president, Dick Cheney.

The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran (pdf) that came out later that year put the kibosh on Darth Cheney’s plans when it stated:

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.

Jump forward to early this past January and then President-elect Barack Obama’s  interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges and as I said during the campaign we have a situation in which not only is Iran exporting terrorism through Hamas, through Hezbollah but they are pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race.

I guess Teh Precious was too busy running for President to read the NIE.  Now adding fuel to the fire is Benjamin Netanyahu as Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic reports:

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

Oh great!  As if we didn’t have enough on our plates right now between Iraq, Afganistan and the financial meltdown.  Not to mention what Russia and China might do while we have our hands full.  MJ Rosenberg at TPM writes:

An Israeli attack on Iran would jeopardize a myriad of American interests in the region, starting with 130,000 US troops but Netanyahu talks as if he can call the shots without any regard for our interests. The fact is that, in the eyes of Iran (and the world), there is essentially no difference between an Israeli attack and one by us. Israel is viewed as our client. In other words, any blowback from an Israeli attack is as likely to be against us as against Israel. Americans in Iraq, or here at home, could pay the ultimate price.

Unless they use some of the nuclear weapons that they won’t admit they have I seriously doubt that Israel can do more than piss Iran off with air strikes.  I can think of several possible outcomes to an unprovoked attack, all of them bad.  Netanyahu reminds me of a little guy who picks fights at parties knowing that his bigger friends will back him up.

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As Steve Hynd at Newshoggers points out:

Any strike by Israel on Iran would have to pass through US-controlled airspace (the Persian Gulf or Iraq) or through the airspace of America’s NATO ally Turkey (also patrolled by U.S. warplanes). An Israeli strike on Iran would either be contested by American air defenses or seen as carried out with American complicity if it was allowed to proceed unchallenged.

I just hope TOTUS doesn’t have the bright idea that a war would be good for the economy based on the myth that World War II ended the Great Depression.  Remember Joe Biden’s warning that Obama would be tested by an international crisis?  If President Hopenchange gets us in another war then every goddamn kossack and member of MoveOn that bashed Hillary for her AUMF vote should be handed a rifle and sent to fight.  The head Cheeto can lead them.

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Wednesday: Obama puts a gun to the UAW’s head

Labor protests and mourns the Triangle Shirtwaist fire

Labor protests and mourns the Triangle Shirtwaist fire

I am unabashedly pro-union.

Yeah, I know that unions are not free from corruption and sometimes their demands can seem ridculous and anachronistic.  But I would defend them to the death.  Why?

They brought us the weekend.

Let’s just think back to all of the laborers who protested and went on strike and sometimes risked their lives and livelihoods in order to achieve dignity and justice in the workplace.  Without them we wouldn’t have the minimum wage or overtime or weekends.  Working life might still be non-stop, unsafe, for little pay and no benefits.  Unions fought for all of the stuff we non-union people take for granted.  We indirectly benefit as long as unions fight for and set a standard for compensation, benefits, safety and division of labor.  Unions negotiate for themselves and it trickles down to the rest of us. In fact, the trickle down theory only makes sense with respect to unions.

And the business overlords hate them.  They’ve been under attack since the beginning of the 20th century.  Unions got stronger under the New Deal provisions of the Roosevelt Administration and met their nemesis in Ronald Reagan 40 years later.  It’s been all downhill since then.

Cesar Chavez of United Farm Workers

Cesar Chavez of United Farm Workers

Now, comes Barack Obama, who once called unions a “special interest”.  The auto industry is being forced to accept the government’s plan for rescue that will surely result in concessions from them. From the NYTimes, we get a picture of what’s going on:

If he does not act, Mr. Gettelfinger could imperil the workers he has fought to protect. In bankruptcy, companies can seek to persuade a judge to set aside labor contracts and terminate pension plans, by making a case that they are too expensive, forcing workers to rely on smaller government-provided retirement checks. But Mr. Gettelfinger also has to persuade his members that any cuts would be vital for the companies’ survival.

Pressure is mounting. G.M.’s new chief executive, Fritz Henderson, said Tuesday it was “certainly more probable” that G.M. would file for bankruptcy. Mr. Obama, on Monday, left no question that the government would not hesitate to go that route if necessary.

Obama, the “Democrat”, is finally doing what the GOP could only accomplish in their wet dreams.  Obama is putting the final nails in the unions’ coffins.  What he would not force on the bankers or the investment and insurance industries, he will ram down the throats of the guys who assemble your cars.  Gettelfinger thinks he can get a good deal with Obama.  I wouldn’t be too sure about that.  Obama is an opportunist first, last, always.  If he thinks he can get away with stripping the union of any power without raising any fuss from the public, he will.  His banker buddies will reward him lavishly for it someday.

And let’s make this clear, the people who assemble your cars did not make the management decisions to build gas guzzlers or engage in risky investments.  All they wanted were living wages, a share of the profits and a secure retirement.  They negotiated with their management for these things in good faith.  They defered part of their compensation to get pensions and health care in their old age.  Their contracts should be just as binding as any Vice President of Financial Products.  But right now, Obama is holding a gun to their heads and is forcing them to break their own contracts in order to keep their jobs.  This is not required of the criminals and thieves who took out 401K money.  Only the unions are required to do this.

“What we’ve worked for, for 25 years, can be gone in 25 days, basically,” said Bob Vistinar, an assembly inspector who has spent a quarter-century at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich. “That’s how fast this is moving.”

I’m standing in solidarity with the unions.  An attack on working people anywhere is an attack on all of us.  And I’m not giving up my weekend.

Money speaks for money, the devil for his own

Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?

The comfort to the widow, the light to the child

There is power in a union.


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