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Cult

10 Catholic priests charged with sexual abuse

Ten Spanish priests were charged with child sexual abuse on Tuesday, in a case brought after Pope Francis telephoned the victim to offer the Church's apology, court documents showed.

The victim, now 24, wrote to the pope to say he had been molested when he was an altar boy. The pope called the man in August to apologize, Spanish news site Religion Digital reported in November, a report later confirmed by the pope himself.

The pope said in November that he had ordered a church investigation. The Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, removed several priests linked to the case from their duties.

The victim said the abuse had happened over a period of years from when he was 14 to the age of 17 in a house rented by the abusers in a suburb of Granada, the court said.

Pope Francis has promised a policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse of children by clerics after church scandals in several countries over many years. Groups representing victims say he has still not done enough.

The Vatican said last year it had defrocked about 850 priests between 2004 and 2013 who had been accused of sexually abusing minors.

Comment: Just another sad case of predators preying on children. Parents and children expect absolute safety when they engage with the Church, and unfortunately that seems to be the opposite of what they get.

Pistol

Gunman opens fire in Minnesota city council meeting

© Screenshot from youtube.com/channel/UChrfVRXVr1rieeZ4IIFJ7zQ
A gunman has opened fire during a law enforcement swearing-in ceremony at a city council meeting in a Minnesota town. Two police officers were injured and the gunman was fatally wounded.

Authorities had yet to identify the name of the suspect as of Tuesday morning, but acknowledged that the man was killed when the officers returned fire inside New Hope City Hall outside of Minneapolis.

The ceremony began at around 7 pm local time Monday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the two new officers, Joshua Eernisse and Adam Johnson, were sworn in within the first 15 minutes. At around that time, the paper reported, the officers walked out of the chambers and encountered a man with a "long gun," according to officials, who then opened fire.
Light Saber

80+ cartoonists and comics workers say: 'No business as usual with Israel'

The following press release was published today:

Lewis Trondheim (creator of the Angoulême mascot), Jacques Tardi, Jaime Hernandez, Alison Bechdel, Warren Ellis, Dylan Horrocks, Kate Beaton, Eleanor Davis, Ben Katchor, Jeet Heer, and Palestine Comics festival expand on 2014 letter to Angoulême Festival

More than 80 cartoonists and other workers in the comics industry, including colorists, writers, critics, and editors, from over 20 countries, signed an open letter released today addressed to Franck Bondoux, the head of the International Festival of Comics at Angoulême, which opens in France on January 29th.

The letter, a follow up to a 2014 letter, demands that he sever ties between the Festival and Sodastream, an Israeli manufacturing company complicit in the occupation of Palestinian land. The authors of the letter include 10 prize winners at Angoulême itself, two winners of the MacArthur "Genius Grant," many Eisner and Ignatz awardees, and a Palestinian cartoonist previously imprisoned for his work by the Israeli military.

The organizers of the letter also released an accompanying statement, in the wake of the slaying of cartoonists Wolinski, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Charb, among many others in Paris this month. "These horrific acts of violence compel artists of the world to act urgently for a world where the dignity, freedom, and equality of all people are respected and promoted," said cartoonist Ethan Heitner and writer Dror Warschawski, organizers of the open letter. "We affirm that the Palestinian boycott movement is one important step towards that vision, and we urge others to join us."
USA

Americans' satisfaction with the federal government is at an all-time low

If you have to deal with the federal government - be it the seemingly innocuous Social Security Administration or the eternally-despised Treasury Department, home to the IRS - prepare to be even more annoyed than in the past.

According to a report released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, our satisfaction with the federal government has hit an all-time low (at least since the company began collecting data for this index in 2007). The federal government now scores a 64.4 out of 100 in terms of satisfaction (the average across all industries is 75 out 100). This is the lowest score across the 40 different industries - including industries like airlines, cable companies and others - that the ACSI measures, with the exception of Internet service providers.

"Overall, the services of the federal government continue to deliver a level of customer satisfaction below the private sector," the report - in which ACSI interviewed 1,772 randomly selected people - concludes.

When asked what they specifically didn't like about the government, some Americans cited issues with the staff and customer service. Indeed, Americans are more annoyed with the government's customer service (specifically how courteous, helpful and professional the government staff are) than they were in 2013: customer service rankings for the government plummeted 6% from a year ago - from a score of 80 to a score of 75. While this sounds bad, ACSI Director David VanAmburg says that some of it has to do to with the fact that some agencies have fewer staff members now than in the past, which makes consumers more frustrated when trying to get something accomplished in a timely manner.


Comment: Maybe if the government spent as much time and money on servicing the people who fund its operation as they did bombing, looting, and pillaging various sovereign nations there wouldn't be so much angst by citizens having to deal with the federal government.

Gold Coins

Thieves crash SUV into museum of original San Francisco Wells Fargo bank, steal Gold Rush era nuggets

wells fargo museum robbery
© Kristin Bender, Associated Press
A vehicle is seen smashed into the window of the Wells Fargo History Museum in downtown San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Thieves in the SUV smashed through the glass doors of the museum and made off with gold nuggets on display.
Thieves in ski masks smashed a stolen sport utility vehicle into the site of the original Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco's Financial District early Tuesday and held a security guard at gunpoint before making off with gold nuggets from California's Gold Rush era, police said.

The crash-and-grab heist - the latest of a series of similar incidents in San Francisco - happened about 2:30 a.m. at the bank's museum at 420 Montgomery St.

The intruders rammed the GMC Suburban through the museum's glass revolving doors, police said. A security guard investigating the crash was held at gunpoint by the assailants, who then smashed into display cases and made off with historic nuggets and gold ore, police said.

Comment: Wow, even thieves understand that gold has value whereas cash will soon have none.

Eye 2

The propaganda that is 'American Sniper'

american sniper
© skreenrant
Programming complete?
If ever the direction of a film and the shape of a particular narrative of US history, as written by, say, the fiction set on Fox News, could come together, then American Sniper is it. Not that you will have director Clint Eastwood, screenwriter Jason Hall and main actor Bradley Cooper agree.

It all begins with a view of history seen through the eyes of the late Navy Seal Chris Kyle, deemed one of the US Army's deadliest snipers who served on four tours of duty in Iraq. It is from that preserve that the cinematic account springs from, guided by the memoirs titled American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History (2012).

Eastwood's choice of conflict is excruciatingly cruel, an example of naked force exercised on false pretences. It was a war that commenced with a deception, marshalled against the dictates of international law. The Bush administration, doing its level best to imaginatively read available intelligence, invaded Saddam Hussein's Iraq, assuming it had those fabled Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). The conflict served to destabilise not merely a state but the Middle East, unleashing the Sunni-Shiite fault line with incandescent fury and laying the ground for a future fracturing of the state. The Islamic State, to name but one force, has profited immensely from the zealous, foolhardy exercise.

Comment: Also see:

Vader

Denver police shoot and kill 16 year old girl

Jessica Hernandez
© unknown
Jessica Hernandez
A 16 year old girl named Jessica Hernandez was fatally shot by two Denver Police officers early Monday morning.

The young girl was driving a car that the police allege was stolen, and claim she hit an officer's leg with the vehicle before both officers opened fire on the car containing four teenage girls and a teenage boy. It is unclear who reported the car stolen, who stole it, or who it belonged to. No information has been given on whether or not the vehicle belonged to a relative of one of the teens.

The department has stated that they do not know if Hernandez intentionally struck the officer, but this is the third time they have claimed to have shot someone in response to a vehicle being used as a weapon in less than seven months. The officer was treated and released from the hospital with a minor leg injury. Hernandez was reportedly unarmed.
Question

Texas residents on edge as more dogs go missing


Wise County - Jack, a two-year-old black lab, has been missing from the Lewis family's backyard since Dec. 27.

His bright blue collar still hangs above his kennel."It makes me think of him," said Robin Lewis.

But it wasn't until Robin turned to Facebook that she realized there may be much more to his disappearance.

"If you back track it to the beginning of November, it's frightening."

Two dogs from her neighbor Jana's yard went missing on the same day.

Around the same time, Cassidy McKibben's four-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Lily, disappeared.

"I noticed that my fence was messed up, and I have posted something everyday since she's been gone," McKibben said.

They would eventually learn more than 40 dogs have gone missing in and around Wise County in just the last two months.
Sheriff

Wisconsin: Cops ordered to forcibly round people up for jury duty

gavel
© unknown
According to multiple recent media reports, Eau Claire County police officers were sent out onto the street to select people at random and forcibly take them in for jury duty.

Ironically, after these people were threatened and had their day wasted, the judge in the case decided that the jury was unfit and dismissed all of them!

"We did talk about cases like this where a number of people have to go out and get people summoned to the jury," Eau Claire County Sherriff Ron Cramer told reporters.

Susan Schaffer, Eau Claire County Clerk of Courts was the official who gave the orders, saying that the Wisconsin Statute on "Insufficient Jurors" allows them to forcibly pull people off the street to serve in juries.
Crusader

'Killing ragheads for Jesus': "American Sniper" glorifies 'Christian' supremacy and war

© Fandango
"American Sniper" lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society - the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a "Christian" nation to exterminate the "lesser breeds" of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.

The movie opens with a father and his young son hunting a deer. The boy shoots the animal, drops his rifle and runs to see his kill.

"Get back here," his father yells. "You don't ever leave your rifle in the dirt."

"Yes, sir," the boy answers.

"That was a helluva shot, son," the father says. "You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day."

The camera cuts to a church interior where a congregation of white Christians - blacks appear in this film as often as in a Woody Allen movie - are listening to a sermon about God's plan for American Christians. The film's title character, based on Chris Kyle, who would become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, will, it appears from the sermon, be called upon by God to use his "gift" to kill evildoers. The scene shifts to the Kyle family dining room table as the father intones in a Texas twang: "There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe evil doesn't exist in the world. And if it ever darkened their doorstep they wouldn't know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep. And then you got predators."

The camera cuts to a schoolyard bully beating a smaller boy.

Comment: Again and again, as we observe what is going on in the world, we can see how conscienceless acts are glorified and rewarded. This is the influence macrosocial evil has on our society. It is truly sickening to see such barbarity embraced by the population.

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