Google (and Target) both fell victim to a common cryptocurrency scam, where hackers impersonated the company and promised free bitcoin.
I’m reading Catholic News Agency editor J.D. Flynn’s excellent Twitter coverage of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ meeting, and it’s really depressing, though in an enlightening way. Everybody’s mad at the bishops, and believe me, I get that. Yet reading through the coverage, which includes quotes from the questions the bishops are asking of each other about how to police themselves on sexual misconduct, I keep thinking about how futile the effort is bound to be. I hope I’m wrong about that, but Flynn’s real-time coverage makes me wonder what on earth a bishop who earnestly wanted to do the right thing could possibly accomplish within the bounds of the Catholic institutional structure.
I’m seeing some serious questions asked by bishops (reported by Flynn), but before I get to them, let me share this series of tweets with you, referring to comments by the Archbishop of Miami:
Good. Grief. Let me tell you something about outrage, and Wenski’s archdiocese. Here’s a link to the long, ugly Gawker report about “the Catholic Church’s secret gay cabal” (their headline), centered on the Archdiocese of Miami. (NSFW.) Most of this happened under the previous archbishop; Wenski was sent in to clean things up. And maybe he has done that! But reading that 2011 account of the rampant homosexual corruption in that Archdiocese before Wenski got there in 2010, it’s a wonder that the Catholic Church in Miami has any credibility at all, much less communicants. If people aren’t outraged by what’s been happening, they aren’t paying attention. After McCarrick, the Don Corleone of the Church’s lavender mafia, no American bishop should be whining about the outrage industry.
More episcopal cluelessness, this a hundred times worse:
If Cardinal McCarrick was the Don Corleone of the lavender mafia, then Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles is the Don Barzini. It is hard to overstate how rotten Roger Mahony’s record on sex abuse is. In 2013, the Washington Post editorialized, correctly, that Mahony is lucky to have avoided prison. More:
His continued prominence reflects the culture of impunity in the Catholic Church a decade after its tolerance and complicity in the abuse of children was exposed. The church has adopted policies intended to avoid fresh outrages, but it also has fought to protect supervisors who shielded criminal molesters.
Cardinal Mahony is a prime example. Even after his archdiocese reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of abuse in 2007, he and the hierarchy did everything in their power to avoid individual accountability. As recently as last week, church lawyers tried to keep secret the names of top officials and parish priests implicated in abuse cases. Fortunately, a California judge ordered disclosure of the relevant church personnel files.
That triggered publication of some 14,000 pages, including notes between Cardinal Mahony and a top aide showing that they repeatedly transferred abusive priests out of the country and the state to evade investigators and publicity. The cardinal also cautioned against exposing abusive priests to therapists who might be legally obligated to report their crimes.
Rather than defrocking priests and contacting the police, the archdiocese sent priests who had molested children to out-of-state treatment facilities, in large part because therapists in California were legally obligated to report any evidence of child abuse to the police, the files make clear.
In 1986, Cardinal Mahony wrote to a New Mexico treatment center where one abusive priest, Msgr. Peter Garcia, had been sent.
“I believe that if Monsignor Garcia were to reappear here within the archdiocese we might very well have some type of legal action filed in both the criminal and civil sectors,” Cardinal Mahony wrote.
Monsignor Garcia admitted to abusing more than a dozen young boys, most of them from families of illegal immigrants, since he was ordained in 1966, and in at least one case he threatened to have a boy he had molested deported if he talked about it, according to documents filed in court.
He was never criminally prosecuted, and has since died.
Mahony and his aides selected therapists who they knew wouldn’t report abuse to authorities, and urged suspected molesters to remain out of state to avoid police investigations and lawsuits. Mahony ordered one priest who had admitted preying on as many as 20 children to stay away from California “for the foreseeable future” to avoid prosecution.
Inside the Los Angeles Police Department’s Sexually Exploited Child unit, detectives had come to think of clergy cases as a footrace against the chancery. When a tip about a priest came in, the starting gun went off.
“Even if it was at the end of the day and we were supposed to go home, we knew we were at the starting post,” said Det. Dale Barraclough, who spent 20 years in the unit.
LAPD policy was to notify the archdiocese when an investigation was underway. But once the church was informed, Barraclough said, “we knew that the suspect, 99% sure, that he was going to be out of the country or out of state.”
Detectives begged parents not to inform the church and held off telling their own supervisors, Barraclough said in an interview, buying time to talk to witnesses, track down other victims, and seize toys and photos from rectories.
Officers often lost the race. In early 1988, police learned that a visiting priest allegedly molested several boys over nine months before fleeing to his native Mexico. In an effort to identify all the potential victims, detectives asked for a list of altar boys at two L.A. parishes.
Mahony was adamant that the roster not be provided: “We cannot give such a list for no cause whatsoever,” he wrote to aides in an internal memo.
Det. Gary Lyon became fed up and poured out the story of Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera to a Times reporter. Lyon told the newspaper that church officials knew the priest was leaving the country but contacted authorities only after he was gone. Now, Lyon complained, they were preventing police from identifying the children who may have been harmed.
Right, so this is the retired cardinal archbishop who dares to show up at the USCCB meeting and talk about the need for the bishops to focus on their affection for each other, and to consider asking each diocese to build a “house of prayer” for priests! The narcissism is boundless. In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — led by Mahony from 1985 until his retirement in 2011 –settled all outstanding priest sex abuse cases for a record $660 million. Back in 2002, I remember conversations I had as a journalist with prominent Catholics in L.A. who feared that Mahony would pay anything to avoid having to testify under oath, and who were busily trying to move archdiocesan monies for charities and philanthropic works into accounts that Mahony couldn’t touch. Mahony never did testify about his leadership of the LA Archdiocese.
Canon lawyer and journalist Ed Condon correctly characterizes Mahony’s intervention today:
Cardinal Mahoney, formerly of LA, currently delivering a long intervention on “our devotion to each other as members of the college of bishops.” His presence echoes that of Cardinal Law speaking at same meeting in 2002.
— Ed Condon (@canonlawyered) November 13, 2018
Does anybody doubt that if Bernard Law was still alive, and had come to this meeting, not a single bishop would have rebuked him in public or in private? Has even one bishop read the riot act to Cardinal Mahony? Or does their “affective relationship” preclude such unpleasantness.
True story: a Catholic layman I know saw a conservative bishop in the airport, headed to the 2002 Dallas meeting. The layman greeted the bishop, and said, “I’m glad to see that there will be at least one good bishop at this meeting.” The conservative prelate snapped, “They’re all good bishops.” He wasn’t joking.
What if the heart of the self-governance problem is this “affective relationship,” which obliges the righteous bishops to stay silent in the face of bad bishops’ corruption? One can easily understand their fear of the US Church becoming a disaster zone of warring factions, where the informal schism that has existed for a long time becomes clearer and sharper. But being nice and pretending that everything is just fine has brought them to this sinkhole, where they have no credibility left.
Cardinal DiNardo said he’s received thousands of letters from Catholics since the scandal broke this summer. “One thing that nags at everyone is the Archbishop McCarrick thing. It just seems to be ubiquitous. This is the one that has to be addressed.” #USCCB2018
— Daniel Burke (@BurkeCNN) November 13, 2018
That’s because McCarrick is a condensed symbol of the entire crisis. He was a serial predator whose predation (of seminarians) was not much of a secret, for a long time. Yet he rose to the most elite level in the Catholic Church. He presented himself publicly as a faithful and irenic churchman, and, when the scandal broke in 2002, he took the lead public relations role as the voice of institutional reform. But he was a lying hypocrite — and without question more than a few bishops knew that he was a lying hypocrite. Nobody said anything. Nobody did anything. Such was the bishops’ affective relationship to each other. So, a lot of laypeople now have this crazy idea that the bishops are presiding over a racket — that the pursuit of holiness is boob bait to keep the laity comforted and distracted.
Sixteen years after Dallas, and they still cannot figure out how to govern themselves. They still give cretins like Roger Mahony a place of respect.
+@BishopBarron: This crisis began with McCarrick. Ppl want us to get to the bottom of McCarrick scandal, and we should pursue that. What is the status of the Holy See’s review of its own files? Can we bring “respectful pressure to bear” for an investigation?#USCCB18
— JD Flynn (@jdflynn) November 13, 2018
“Respectful pressure.” One understands this; it’s the Pope he’s talking about. But at what point does “respectful” amount to a kind of capitulation? These men have been so “respectful” of each other and the pontiff that they have allowed the house to burn down but haven’t raised their voices out of fear of being impertinent. Maybe the problem is not the lack of procedures and policies, but the lack of moral courage, of character.
One quick take-away is this: If the February summit was already high-stakes, those stakes have now grown exponentially. For the Vatican to ask the bishops’ conference of the fourth-largest Catholic country in the world, and one deeply scarred by the crisis at the moment, to wait three months before taking meaningful action suggests the February meeting better deliver something dramatic, or, at least in this country, there will be blood in the water.
In much American media discussion on Monday, casual references to “the Vatican” standing in the way of the U.S. bishops abounded. However, the plain truth is that under Francis, the traditional structures of the Vatican have lost most of their power in favor of personal leadership by the pope himself.
Sooner or later, the question will become not where “the Vatican” stands, but the pontiff himself.
Francis’s response to the Viganò allegations is an answer: he’s going to stonewall, portray the bishops and himself as victims, and continue to issue empty proclamations. Given the fact that the Catholic Church is a monarchy, it is hard to know what American bishops who are sick of the filth and the institutional rot, and who have a clear idea of the nature of this crisis, can do in the absence of effective leadership from the pope.
I can’t see how this crisis gets resolved. If you see a clear path forward, by all means let’s hear it. I believe that the Catholic Church will endure, but that those lay Catholics who are still around when the crisis ends will be those who took some form of the Benedict Option to strengthen themselves and their families while the moral authority of the Church’s institutional leadership collapsed. This thing is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Alex Gallardo/Associated Press
The league determined the playing surface “did not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday.”
Images of the field’s condition, with multiple divots and spots without grass, surfaced earlier this week. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported players were considering sitting the game out due to concern over their safety.
“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller said in a statement. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But, the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game. As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”
The NFL has played regular season games at Estadio Azteca each of the last two seasons.
Because of the switch, the Rams will be hosting their first Monday game at the Coliseum since November 1979. The NFL requires “host” teams of international games to keep their stadiums open in case of an emergency.
Lindsey Thiry of ESPN reported the Rams will provide tickets to first responders to recent tragedies in California.
On Tuesday (November 13), Hemsworth took to Instagram to share a chilling photo of the damage, with the burned remains of the letters “L-O-V-E” that once adorned the space.
“It’s been a heartbreaking few days. This is what’s left of my house. Love,” the actor wrote. “Many people in Malibu and surrounding areas in California have lost their homes also and my heart goes out to everyone who was affected by these fires. I spent the day in Malibu yesterday and it was amazing to see the community pulling together to help each other out in any way they can. Malibu is a strong community and this event is only going to make it stronger.”
On his Instagram Story, the 28-year-old added a before-and-after look at the “L-O-V-E” letters.
Hemsworth also expressed his gratitude to the firefighters who continue to battle the blaze, and encouraged his followers to donate to relief efforts. According to the Associated Press, the couple are also donating $500,000 to The Malibu Foundation through Cyrus’s own Happy Hippie Foundation to “restore Malibu’s magic.”
Cyrus echoed her fiancé’s sentiments in her own series of tweets late Sunday night, writing, “Completely devastated by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong. I am grateful for all I have left.”
Deadly fires began tearing through California late last week, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and leaving at least 42 people dead. Cyrus and Hemsworth, along with their pets, were among many celebrities — including Gerard Butler and Neil Young — who safely evacuated but sadly lost their homes.
Find out how you can take action and help those affected by the wildfires.
The 26-year-old security guard who was stabbed in the neck by terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali on Melbourne’s Bourke Street last week says he tried to defend himself but there was too much blood.
In an interview with Victoria Police, the security guard Shadi, who only wanted his first name used, said Shire Ali came out of nowhere.
“After that everything was just very quick, it was just a blur at the time,” Shadi said of the attack on Friday.
“Everyone was screaming and running, then out of nowhere … I got attacked.
“I didn’t even have time to react. He straight away stabbed me, tried to kill me, he hit me in the neck.”
Despite his injuries, Shadi said he was worried about Shire Ali attacking other innocent bystanders.
“The attacker was on the loose, stabbing people for no reason, no cause whatsoever.”
‘Too much blood’
“My main concern was to make sure he does not attack any more civilians, innocent people, to save their lives,” he said.
But Shadi, covered in blood and struggling to see, had to run away to save himself.
“I tried to defend the attacker off, but I couldn’t defend myself anymore.”
“There was too much blood on me. I couldn’t physically see out of the left side of my eye, I had to get out of there.”
He said he was lucky to have gotten away alive.
“If I stayed there, different story,” he said. “I had to think quickly.”
He said he would now like to become a police officer after the experience, to help others.
The 26-year-old from Hampton Park has been a security guard for three years. He had been working at a Bourke Street venue for a month.
He was treated in hospital for stab wounds and released on Sunday, but has not yet returned to work.
Police said Shadi asked them to film the interview because he was “quite overwhelmed by media and was very nervous telling his story”.
He has asked that his privacy be respected.
Police said he was now spending time with his family and friends.
Now that we’ve slogged through our own real-life election drama, the talented director Jason Reitman has invited us to revisit one of the first modern political sex scandals. The Front Runner stars Hugh Jackman as 1980s Democratic office-seeker Gary Hart and the always amazing Vera Farmiga as his wife Oletha (Lee) Hart.
National Review’s Kyle Smith has a terrific (if thumbs-down) review in which he quite rightly states that the movie itself is a period piece in that it disses journalists for exposing a politician’s sex life. In 1999, after liberal backlash over Kenneth Starr’s Inspector Javert-like investigations into Bill Clinton, this might have been seen as liberal commentary. But in today’s era of Ronan Farrow (let alone Christine Blasey Ford) uncovering powerful people’s private sexual secrets and abuses, Reitman’s approach of accusing the accusers marks him as more of a subversively Gen. X libertarian-conservative than a frontline “Hollywood liberal.” It’s a point that’s been made about him for some time.
Smith faults Reitman for telling, rather than showing, how brilliant and irresistible and incomparably talented Gary Hart was. I disagree. I would submit that this is exactly the right approach for a film about Hart. While undeniably brilliant and visionary, Hart was branded as the wave of the future because his fawning cheering section in the Boomer punditocracy told us he was brilliant and visionary.
While not a Boomer himself, Gary Hart looked young enough to pass for one. He’s also credited with having inadvertently bred the first “yuppies”—a term originally used by rising young neoliberal columnists like Michael Kinsley, Joe Klein, Sidney Blumenthal, and Maureen Dowd, to describe Hart’s New Democrat fanbase (Young Urban Professionals who had done the hippie thing and were now getting their first real taste of partnerships, BMWs, and two-story homes).
Hart first came to national prominence working under his mentor, University of California intellectual Fred Dutton, in 1972. He told George McGovern that it was high time to toss the white lower-middle class into the basket of deplorables and focus on a coalition of socially and religiously liberal, well-off coastal whites. In Hart’s 1974 Senate election, he pointedly dissed the greatest remaining giant of New Deal-style liberalism, declaring that “We’re not a bunch of little Hubert Humphreys” anymore.
Hart and Al Gore were the only major candidates for president during my lifetime who had even the faintest inkling of how to deal with the death of Detroit and the rise of Silicon Valley. But while Gore was about as likable and warm as Anton Chigurh, Hart was “charming” in a smarmy, Warren Beatty/Robert Wagner sort of way, with perfect teeth and wavy hair. All you had to do was get past the dripping self-righteousness and unctuousness.
The World War II and Korea veterans who were the Boomers’ parents—Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Mario Cuomo, Bob Dole—couldn’t imagine an economy where companies like Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Uber, and Tesla would be as or more important than General Motors, General Electric, and Sears. That meant they couldn’t understand that policies would need to be put into place to cushion Americans as things transitioned from a manufacturing-and-retail-based world into an irrevocably financialized and globalized information economy. In that sense, no matter what your politics were or are, Hart’s political death was a true loss.
While The Front Runner’s subtext seems to be, at least in part, “wouldn’t things have been great if this guy had been president?” it’s impossible not to play a little alt-history of our own and wonder what might have happened had Lee Hart done what the next would-be Democratic first lady did in 1992 (and again in 1998 during the Monica Lewinsky crisis). And that takes us to a darker—even downright triggering—question mark.
Many high-powered Boomer executive women saw in Hillary Clinton the first potential first lady they could really identify with, one who mirrored their own lived experiences, balancing demanding careers with a difficult husband and motherhood. When Bubba’s sex life went public (just as Gary Hart’s did), a bunch of aging white male journalists like Ben Bradlee, Johnny Apple, Bob Novak, and Mike Wallace seemed poised to deny Hillary her rightful chance to be a partner in power, to shatter the glass ceiling of co-presidency. And all because of mistakes her husband had made!
These savvy feminists weren’t having any of it. Nina Burleigh ruled the roost when she wrote (during Monicagate), “These [male reporters and politicians] had neither the personal experience nor the credentials” to know what was and wasn’t appropriate, “nor to give a good goddamn about it.”
Lee Hart had worked respectable careers as a teacher and in real estate, and was certainly well enough educated. But by her own admission, she worked more because she had to than because she wanted to. (Despite Gary Hart’s A-list celebrity fan club, he was considered one of the “poorest” members of the Senate’s Old Boys Club.) So while Lee Hart wasn’t exactly a submissive housewife watching Jan Crouch and Tammy Faye Baker, she also wasn’t a high-powered Hillary Rodham Clinton, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, either.
And that takes us to the crucial question. Suppose Lee Hart had gone full-tilt boogie in mounting a media-blitz defense of her husband—from 60 Minutes and Today to Oprah, Barbara Walters, and Larry King to NYT and WaPo op-eds—the way her soon-to-be-successor did. Would female doctors, lawyers, executives, and even upscale soccer moms have seen her as a fabulous Murphy Brown or Diana Christensen, kicking the boys’ butts, giving orders, taking names, and looking fabulous?
Or—without Hillary’s star power and A-list career—would they have considered Lee a pathetic victim, standin’ by her man? (Of course, many more “traditional” wives and mothers might have found Lee Hart infinitely more sympathetic than Hillary Clinton. But the Edith Bunkers of the world also weren’t lining up for Gary Hart even on a good day.)
Like a white man lecturing a black or Hispanic person on racial issues, it could be said that I don’t really have the right to even address these things, that they do not “belong to me.” Point taken. But if I’m not allowed to do it, then when The Front Runner hits wide release on November 21, I want to see a hell of a lot of (female) film and TV critics addressing this forthrightly and in detail, political correctness be damned. I’m talking everyone from feminist writers to female fundamentalists, from career women to crunchy-cons. For a movie that wants to be a Serious Statement On The Way Things Are—and comes just six short weeks after Dr. Ford v. Judge Kavanaugh and at the height of #MeToo—these power and class dynamics simply must be addressed in any “think piece” on Gary Hart. Full stop.
I also want to underline that I think it is absolutely not fair that in the end, the responsibility and blame for saving their errant but talented husbands’ careers always redounds to the real-life Good Wives, even when those wives were completely blameless with regard to the marriage. But unfortunately, that seems to be the way of the world—or at least, the way things were with Gary Hart and Bill Clinton.
And that brings us full circle to the very sad ending to both Hart’s movie and his political career. At the end of the day, it was the media’s craving for a performative, slick, $1.98 John F. Kennedy reboot that made Hart happen in the first place. And it was their unslakable appetite for circulation, ratings, and scandal that took it all away.
Telly Davidson is the author of a new book, Culture War: How the 90’s Made Us Who We Are Today (Like it Or Not). He has written on culture for ATTN, FrumForum, All About Jazz, FilmStew, and Guitar Player, and worked on the Emmy-nominated PBS series “Pioneers of Television.”