Treasury Secretary Geithner Delays Currency Report

(Adds former China adviser’s comment in 13th paragraph, trade chamber’s report in 22nd.)

April 4 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner delayed a scheduled April 15 report to Congress on exchange-rate policies, sidestepping a decision on whether to accuse China of manipulating the value of the yuan.

Geithner in a statement yesterday urged China to move toward a more flexible currency and said a series of meetings over the next three months will be “critical” to bringing policy changes that lead to a stronger, “more balanced” global economy. The delay comes as Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit Washington for a nuclear summit April 12-13.

The Treasury chief faces demands from Congress to label China a currency manipulator for keeping the value of the yuan little changed from about 6.83 to the dollar for almost two years. Geithner is instead betting that China will take steps on its own in the next several months to strengthen its currency, analysts said.

Read moreTreasury Secretary Geithner Delays Currency Report

Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism

‘Anti-Semitism’???

The catholic church has all the ‘Nazis’ (in this case the rapists and abusers) in its ranks. The catholic church is not the victim here.

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS (New York Times)

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests (Flashback):

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.

And now the catholic church wants to get away with it:

How Vatican Tries to Dodge Legal Fallout of Sex Abuse (AOL News)

Vatican offers 3 reasons it’s not liable for abuse (AP)

Religion: Pope claims legal immunity; Vatican, Bishops, defend cover-up (Examiner)

For all these children all around the globe we cannot allow this to happen.


Pope’s preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism

VATICAN POPE HOLY THURSDAY
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the feet-washing rite in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Thursday April 1, 2010. The feet-washing ceremony symbolizes humility and commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his 12 apostles on the evening before his Good Friday crucifixion. (AP)

(AP) VATICAN CITY  – Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher on Friday likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.

See also:
Attacks on Pope over child abuse scandal are ‘akin to anti-Semitism’ (Times)

The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday homily with the pope listening in St. Peter’s Basilica that a Jewish friend wrote to him to say the accusations remind him of the “more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”

Read morePope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism

Looting Main Street: How the nation’s biggest banks are ripping off American cities with the same predatory deals that brought down Greece

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If you want to know what life in the Third World is like, just ask Lisa Pack, an administrative assistant who works in the roads and transportation department in Jefferson County, Alabama. Pack got rudely introduced to life in post-crisis America last August, when word came down that she and 1,000 of her fellow public employees would have to take a little unpaid vacation for a while. The county, it turned out, was more than $5 billion in debt — meaning that courthouses, jails and sheriff’s precincts had to be closed so that Wall Street banks could be paid.

As public services in and around Birmingham were stripped to the bone, Pack struggled to support her family on a weekly unemployment check of $260. Nearly a fourth of that went to pay for her health insurance, which the county no longer covered. She also fielded calls from laid-off co-workers who had it even tougher. “I’d be on the phone sometimes until two in the morning,” she says. “I had to talk more than one person out of suicide. For some of the men supporting families, it was so hard — foreclosure, bankruptcy. I’d go to bed at night, and I’d be in tears.”

Homes stood empty, businesses were boarded up, and parts of already-blighted Birmingham began to take on the feel of a ghost town. There were also a few bills that were unique to the area — like the $64 sewer bill that Pack and her family paid each month. “Yeah, it went up about 400 percent just over the past few years,” she says.

The sewer bill, in fact, is what cost Pack and her co-workers their jobs. In 1996, the average monthly sewer bill for a family of four in Birmingham was only $14.71 — but that was before the county decided to build an elaborate new sewer system with the help of out-of-state financial wizards with names like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. The result was a monstrous pile of borrowed money that the county used to build, in essence, the world’s grandest toilet — “the Taj Mahal of sewer-treatment plants” is how one county worker put it. What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human shit into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street — and misery for people like Lisa Pack.

Read moreLooting Main Street: How the nation’s biggest banks are ripping off American cities with the same predatory deals that brought down Greece

Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical

See also:

Monsanto in the White House Garden: One Recess Appointment That’s Toxic (Buzzflash):

And I thought Monsanto had it good in the Bush Administration. But it turns out that Big Ag is never lonely, no matter who’s in control.

Not only has Obama already installed Roger Beachy, a former Monsanto big wig, in charge of policy at the USDA, but CropLife is an equal opportunity corrupter that is hedging its bets in the coming election. In fact, 66 percent of the campaign funds they’ve donated in this election season so far went to Democrats, an increase of about 10 percent over 2008.

Furthermore, Siddiqui gave the maximum individual donation to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, though not until it was kind of obvious who was going to win. Not that things would be any different if he hadn’t, though. CropLife President Jay Vroom gave the maximum amount to Republican presidential candidate John McCain around that same time in the campaign.

Obama Gives ‘Pesticide Lobbyist’ Post as Chief Agricultural Negotiator (Huffington Post)

The following article is highly recommended!


“Washington lobbyists haven’t funded my campaign, they won’t run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of working Americans when I am president”.
– Barack Obama

change-we-can-believe-in

Today, President Obama announced that he will recess appoint Islam A. Siddiqui to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Siddiqui is a pesticide lobbyist and Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agribusiness lobbying group that represents Monsanto.

Following is a letter sent by 98 organizations to U.S. Senators in opposition to Siddiqui’s appointment, and a fact sheet about him.

Dear Senator:

The following 98 organizations are writing you to express our opposition to the nomination of Islam Siddiqui as Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative.  Our organizations- representing family farmers, farmworkers, fishers and sustainable agriculture, environmental, consumer, anti-hunger and other advocacy groups-urge you to reject Dr. Siddiqui’s appointment when it comes up for a floor vote, despite the Senate Finance Committee’s favorable report of his nomination on December 23, 2009.

Siddiqui’s record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his role as a former registered lobbyist for CropLife America (whose members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow), has revealed him to consistently favor agribusinesses’ interests over the interests of consumers, the environment and public health (see attached fact sheet). We believe Siddiqui’s nomination severely weakens the Obama Administration’s credibility in promoting healthier and more sustainable local food systems here at home. His appointment would also send an unfortunate signal to the rest of the world that the United States plans to continue down the failed path of high-input and energy-intensive industrial agriculture by promoting toxic pesticides, inappropriate seed biotechnologies and unfair trade agreements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.

Read moreObama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical

Pope Benedict Appointed Bishop Accused of Ritually Beating Orphaned Children

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The child abuse scandal rocking the Vatican grew yet again Wednesday when former children in a German orphanage submitted written statements that a German bishop habitually beat them.

The Bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, was a controversial conservative churchman appointed by Pope Benedict in 2005 and has been called his friend.

According to the statement, Mixa used to hit and degrade the children repeatedly during sessions of punishment at the Catholic orphanage. Among other details, Mixa is accused of using a carpet beater on the bare behinds of victims as he screamed: ‘Satan is in you and I must drive him out.’

Read morePope Benedict Appointed Bishop Accused of Ritually Beating Orphaned Children

Germany: Catholic Church Abuse Hotline Overrun Amid New Allegations

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Images of abuse victims displayed on Wednesday in Berlin by the victims’ group SNAP.

A hotline set up by the Catholic Church in Germany to counsel victims of sexual abuse was overrun on its first day, with almost 4,500 calls. Further allegations have continued to emerge even as Chancellor Angela Merkel says the church is taking “necessary measures.”

It was a much criticized idea. Earlier this month, Germany’s Catholic Church announced that it was planning a hotline for sexual abuse victims to call should they be in need of counselling or advice. Given the ever-increasing wave of abuse allegations being levelled at clerics in Germany this spring, however, many critics doubted whether victims would phone up the organization that was responsible for their suffering in the first place.

The critics were wrong. On Wednesday, the first full day of the hotline’s operation, fully 4,459 people phoned up — far more than the therapists hired to man the phones could handle. Indeed, they were only able to conduct 162 counselling sessions, ranging from five minutes to an hour in length. Andreas Zimmer, head of the project in the Bishopric of Trier, admitted that he wasn’t prepared for “that kind of an onslaught.” Zimmer insisted, however, that those who leave a message will be called back.

Read moreGermany: Catholic Church Abuse Hotline Overrun Amid New Allegations

Police State: US Court OKs Repeated Tasering of Pregnant Woman For Refusing to Sign a Speeding Ticket

us-court-oks-repeated-tasering-of-pregnant-woman

A federal appeals court says three Seattle police officers did not employ excessive force when they repeatedly tasered a visibly pregnant woman for refusing to sign a speeding ticket.

The lawyer representing Malaika Brooks said Monday that the court’s 2-1 decision sanctioned “pain compliance” tactics through a modern-day version of the cattle prod.

“To inflict pain on a person if that person is not doing what the police want that person to do is simply outrageous,” said Eric Zubel, the woman’s attorney. “I cannot say that loud enough.”

Zubel said he would ask the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear Friday’s 2-1 decision that drew a sharp dissent from Judge Marsha Berzon:

“Refusing to sign a speeding ticket was at the time a nonarrestable misdemeanor; now, in Washington, it is not even that. Brooks had no weapons and had not harmed or threatened to harm a soul,” (.pdf) Berzon wrote. “Although she had told the officers she was seven months pregnant, they proceeded to use a Taser on her, not once but three times, causing her to scream with pain and leaving burn marks and permanent scars.”

Read morePolice State: US Court OKs Repeated Tasering of Pregnant Woman For Refusing to Sign a Speeding Ticket

Delay in UN Report on Benazir Bhutto Assassination on Request of President Asif Ali Zardari

UN to shut Pakistan offices over Bhutto report (Hindustan Times)

Bhutto commission report is complete (AP)


Delay in UN report on Bhutto murder bemuses people in Pakistan

benazir-bhutto
Benazir Bhutto

ISLAMABAD, April 1 (Xinhua) — Criticism and confusion seemed to be rising among the Pakistani people as the United Nations investigation report on slain former Pakistani Premier Benazir Bhutto has been halted Tuesday at the request of her husband, President Asif Ali Zardari.

“Common Pakistanis especially workers of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are much worried and confused over current situation because their party first called for the UN probe but now has requested not to release the report,” said Muhammad Yusuf, a bookshop owner.

“Everyone of us is thinking why Pakistani government asked UN for delay, what they got must be publicized urgently,” Yusuf told Xinhua.

“The UN Commission that investigated the assassination will not reopen its probe in response to the Pakistani government’s request to delay the report for two weeks and its claim that two heads of state may have new information on Wednesday,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told media on Wednesday in New York.

“The investigation report is complete and now will be released publicly on April 15,” said Nesirky.

Read moreDelay in UN Report on Benazir Bhutto Assassination on Request of President Asif Ali Zardari

The ‘Pedophile’s Paradise’: Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a ‘dumping ground’ for child-molesting priests (Flashback)

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Rachel Mike, who won a settlement in a case involving Father Poole, at her confirmation in the summer of 1975. Behind her is Father George Endal, accused of raping or molesting several boys and allegedly walking in on another priest performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy and doing nothing to stop it.

One spring afternoon in 1977, 15-year-old Rachel Mike tried to kill herself for the third time. An Alaska Native, Rachel was living in a tiny town called Stebbins on a remote island called St. Michael. She lived in a house with three bedrooms and nine siblings. Rachel was a drinker, depressed, and starving. “When my parents were drinking, we didn’t eat right,” she says. “I just wanted to get away from the drinking.”

Rachel walked to the bathroom to fetch the family rifle, propped in the bathtub with the dirty laundry (the house didn’t have running water). To make sure the gun worked, Rachel loaded a shell and blew a hole in her bedroom wall. Her father, passed out on his bed, didn’t hear the shot. Rachel walked behind their small house. Her arms were too short to put the rifle to her head, so she shot herself in her right leg instead.

Rachel was found screaming in a pool of blood by her Auntie Emily and flown 229 miles to a hospital in Nome. The doctor asked if she wanted to see a priest. She said yes. In walked Father James Poole-a popular priest, radio personality on KNOM, and, according to allegations in at least five lawsuits, serial child rapist. Father Poole has never been convicted of a crime, but the Jesuits have settled numerous sex-abuse claims against him since 2005, in excess of $5 million, according to an attorney involved in four of those five lawsuits. Exact figures aren’t available because some of the settlements involve confidentiality agreements. The Jesuits have never let a single case against Father Poole go to trial.

In a 2005 deposition, Rachel testified that she had been molested by Father Poole in 1975, while in Nome for her second suicide attempt, an attempted overdose of alcohol and pills. He’d come sit by her bed, put his hand under the hospital blanket, and fondle her, she said.

She traveled between Stebbins and Nome several times in the late 1970s, spending time in hospitals and receiving homes. By 1977, Rachel testified, Poole had given her gonorrhea, and by 1978 she was pregnant with his child. In an interview with The Stranger, she said Poole encouraged her to get an abortion and tell the doctors she had been raped by her father. She followed his advice. “He brainwashed me,” she said. “He messed up my head, man.”

Rachel Mike’s father died in 2004. A year later, she heard Elsie Boudreau, another survivor of Poole’s abuse, being interviewed on the radio. Listening to Boudreau, Rachel was moved to finally tell the truth.

Read moreThe ‘Pedophile’s Paradise’: Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a ‘dumping ground’ for child-molesting priests (Flashback)