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Quelle surprise

Who would have thought?

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is investigating seven priests from the troubled Legion of Christ religious order for alleged sexual abuse of minors – evidence that the scandal over the order’s pedophile founder doesn’t rest solely with him, The Associated Press has learned.

Two other Legion priests are being investigated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for alleged sacramental violations, believed to involve abusing spiritual direction and other pastoral care to have inappropriate sexual relations with women.

The investigations mark the first known Vatican action against Legion priests following the revelations of the Legion’s founder, who was long held up as a model by the Vatican despite credible accusations – later proven – that he was a drug addict who raped and molested his seminarians.

The Legion, which is now under Vatican receivership, has insisted that the crimes of the Rev. Marciel Maciel were his alone.

But the Vatican investigation of other Legion priests indicates that the same culture of secrecy that Maciel created within the order to cover his crimes enabled other priests to abuse children – just as abusive clergy of other religious orders and dioceses have done around the world.

Militarizing the police

Isn’t it just a tad ironic that we have people being treated as potential military enemies at the Olympics?

“Goodwill,” indeed. Get rid of them, what’s the point?

On the lamb

Charlie Pierce.

Nuking Islam

The BBC editor who covered this story wondered why so many people sat through this class and didn’t report it to anyone. I don’t wonder—I’m going to make a wild guess that these were some of the far-right fundamentalist Christians who are trying to infiltrate and control the military:

America’s top military officer has condemned a course taught at a US military college that advocated a “total war” against Muslims.The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, said the course was “totally objectionable” and “against our values”.


The voluntary course at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia also suggested possible nuclear attacks on holy Muslim cities such as Mecca.The course has now been suspended.”It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound,” Gen Dempsey said.He added that he had ordered a full investigation when the course was suspended in April after one of the students objected to the material.


The officer in charge of the class, Lt Col Matthew Dooley, has been suspended from teaching but has kept his job at the college in the city of Norfolk.The Pentagon has also confirmed that the course material found on their website is authentic.’Barbaric ideology’The story broke after a copy of the presentation of the course material was posted online byWired.com’s Danger Room blog.


“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam’,” Lt Col Dooley said in the presentation last July.”It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”


He added that international laws protecting civilians in armed conflicts – such as the Geneva Conventions were “no longer relevant”.That left open the option, the instructor continued, of applying “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki” to Islam’s holiest cities, and bringing about “Mecca and Medina destruction”.


Lt Col Dooley has made no public comments on the issue since the story broke.The Pentagon hopes a full report will be out by the end of the month, the BBC’s North America editor Mark Mardell reports.

Too poor to go bankrupt

Yes, thanks to senators like Tom Carper Joe Biden, the former senator from MBNA, the bankruptcy “reform” act was like killing off any chance at all for poor people to recover from their debts. It also made credit card companies more powerful – and profitable, so as far as the politicians are concerned, win/win!

If there’s anything at all that I wish the Occupy movement would focus on, it would be overturning this travesty:

This year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to be too broke to file for bankruptcy.
The average cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, the most common form of consumer bankruptcy, is more than $1,500, according to recent research submitted to the National Bureau of Economic Research.


As a result, anywhere between 200,000 and one million consumers are estimated to be unable to afford that steep cost this year.
The research, conducted by a group of professors from Columbia University, the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis, examined how bankruptcy filings spiked after people received their tax rebates in previous years. They estimate that another 200,000 consumers, who would otherwise not have enough money to file, will use their tax refunds to pay for bankruptcy this year.


“For lots of people, bankruptcy has been taken off the table as an option because of the severe fees involved,” said Jialan Wang, co-author of the report.
Among those fees is a charge of about $300 just for filing the paperwork with the federal court, while the rest typically goes to bankruptcy lawyers, said Wang.
And there are other expenses on top of that, including fees for mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and a pre-discharge debtor education course. These average about $85 altogether, according to a recent study sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute.


That means many of the Americans who have seen their debt snowball out of control due to events like job loss, foreclosure or a medical emergency during the economic downturn are now left without their last financial lifeline, she said.


“It becomes harder and harder to pay off the debt as interest payments get higher, so your debt grows larger and larger,” she said.


The cost of filing for bankruptcy has risen in recent years as a result of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which aimed to reduce the number of bankruptcies taking place by adding more requirements to the filing process — including additional paperwork and the credit counseling and debtor education.

Just like this train

Lately I don’t count on nothing/ I just let things slide.

Joni:

Oops

JPMorgan shares tanked with the news of their $2 billion loss:

JPMorgan Chase & Co lost $15 billion in market value and a notch in its credit ratings on Friday while a chorus of regulators and politicians reacted to its surprise $2 billion trading loss by demanding stiffer oversight for the banking industry.


The loss by one of Wall Street’s most respected banks embarrassed chief executive Jamie Dimon, a leader lauded for steering his bank through the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis without reporting a loss.


“We know we were sloppy. We know we were stupid. We know there was bad judgment,” Dimon said in an interview with NBC television to be broadcast on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Stoned soul picnic

Laura:

Would that be the same EPA that let BP off the hook for the massive Gulf oil spill? The same EPA that says it’s safe to eat Gulf seafood? Just wondering, since they don’t seem to have a very good track record with “facts”:

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Federal environmental regulators say testing of scores of drinking-water wells in a northeastern Pennsylvania village has failed to turn up unsafe levels of contamination, providing ammunition to a gas driller that denies it polluted the aquifer with hazardous chemicals while prompting accusations the government is distorting the data.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released test results for an additional 12 homes on Friday and said they “did not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action.” It was the fourth and final release of data for homes in Dimock, a rural Susquehanna County community that’s found itself in the middle of a passionate debate over the safety of drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in deep rock formations like the Marcellus Shale.


The EPA testing is only a snapshot of the highly changeable aquifer and will not be the final word on the health of the water supply. But pro-industry groups and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., the Houston-based driller whose faulty gas wells were previously found to have leaked methane into the aquifer, assert the test results justify their position that Dimock’s water is safe.


“Cabot is pleased that EPA has now reached the same conclusion of Cabot and state and local authorities resulting from the collection of more than 10,000 pages of hard data — that the water in Dimock meets all regulatory standards,” spokesman George Stark said Friday.


But residents who are suing Cabot and anti-drilling activists say the EPA has issued a series of misleading statements on what the tests show. They say some of the wells had a combination of chemicals, metals, gases and salts that suggest the influence of drilling and fracking; that drinking-water standards have not been established for some of the toxic substances that turned up in the wells; and that testing also revealed high and sometimes explosive levels of methane in about a third of the wells. Opponents also raised technical concerns about the data.

Nothing but a miracle

Diane Birch and Daryl Hall:

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