Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for April 4th, 2012

Dutch Catholic Church rocked by castration scandal

Posted by Charles II on April 4, 2012

Via Scott Horton, an article by Leo Cendrowicz in TimeWorld:

The newspaper [NRC Handelsblad] said the castrations [which were done in the 1950s] were regarded both as a treatment for homosexuality as well as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse. The newspaper said 20-year-old Henk Heithuis had been surgically castrated on the instructions of Catholic priests in 1956 after he told police he was being abused at the Harreveld boarding school in Gelderland. Although the monks were convicted of the abuse, Heithuis was nonetheless sent to a Catholic psychiatric hospital and then castrated. He died two years later in a car crash. The newspaper adds there are strong indications that at least nine other young men were castrated around the same time, either for whistle-blowing or for supposed homosexuality.

There are also allegations that the practice was known to politicians at the highest level, including Victor Marijnen, who was Dutch Prime Minister from 1963 to ’65. In the 1950s, Marijnen was vice chairman of the Dutch Catholic child-protection agency and chairman of the Gelderland children’s home where Heithuis and others were abused. In that capacity, he intervened to have prison sentences dropped against several priests convicted of abusing children by writing letters to the Queen on their behalf.

Yes, they’re allegations until proven.


Posted in WTF? | 1 Comment »

They were warned (so they tried to destroy the evidence of having been warned): the torture memos

Posted by Charles II on April 4, 2012

George Washington University’s National Security Archive:

The State Department today released a February 2006 internal memo from the Department’s then-counselor opposing Justice Department authorization for “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the CIA.

According to Zelikow’s accounts, he authored the memo in an attempt to counter the Bush administration’s dubious claim that CIA could still practice “enhanced interrogation” on enemy combatants despite the president’s December 2005 signing into law of the McCain Amendment, which, in Zelikow’s words, “extended the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment to all conduct worldwide.”

Posted in torture | 3 Comments »

Conservatives: Freedom means nothing left to lose

Posted by Charles II on April 4, 2012

Via Avedon, a post from Dahlia Lithwick that deserves attention, even if it is on Slate:

The fight over Obamacare is about freedom. That’s what we’ve been told since these lawsuits were filed two years ago and that’s what we heard both inside and outside the Supreme Court this morning.

It’s always a bit strange to hear people with government-funded single-payer health plans describe the need for other Americans to be free from health insurance.

Freedom also seems to mean freedom from the obligation to treat those who show up at hospitals without health insurance, even if it means letting them bleed out on the curb.

This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old.

This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.

No, Dahlia. It’s not 1804, when the dense web of social obligations meant that the wealthy felt compelled to do charitable work. This is a vision of some future Hell, in which the poor are the fallen enemy, to be dispatched as cheaply as possible.

Janis Joplin said it.

Also, the conservatives are informed not by legal precedent, but by Tea Party rhetoric

Posted in Supreme Court | 6 Comments »

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