Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Republicans filibuster premature Democrat attempt to discuss financial reform in USA Senate


(Catholic Watchdog South Africa; c.f. Fox News Radio (Conservative; Secular; American; Independent, but some link it to Republican beliefs) 26 / 04 | April / 2010 (The 5 minute news summary has since been updated); Radio Vaticana (Catholic; Hierarchical with relative independence; Vatican based) 27 / 04 | April / 2010 )

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|External Note: Republicans fear more bailouts, of the scope of those of Obama and of Bush.|

Article by Marc Aupiais





Title / Heading: Republicans filibuster premature Democrat attempt to discuss financial reform in USA Senate

Financial reform is thought to be Barack Obama’s Democrats’ number one priority, as the approval ratings of the US president have dipped to and even below the psychological 50% mark. Unemployment is just below 10%, and with passing of controversial healthcare legislation without any Republican support, despite mass public concerns, and without much of the vital explanations media believed were due to the public, Obama and his Democrats have much to worry about at the November polls, especially with recent iconic Republican wins in by-elections. One of the Republican wins has insured that unilateral financial reform has been filibustered in Yesterday’s procedural Senate vote. The reform is hoped by some Democrats to be a platform to garner support for Democrats via a focus on helping small rural business, and other reforms which could win Democrats votes in November. Republicans have also noted support for reform, but with some slight alterations to the bill, which they see as necessary.

The Democrats, Yesterday, had 57 votes on their side for the financial reform, while 41 Republican side nay votes opposed a proposal in the American Upper House of Parliament, to open debate on the matter; this was enough in the procedural vote to prevent thus far, financial reform, under the current Democrat proposal.

The Republicans are also concerned to insure financial reform goes through, especially as around two thirds of Americans reportedly are in favour of reforming the financial sector, after the recent aftermath of the hot-point of the financial crisis, and given the bail-outs during the Republican Bush, and Democrat Obama Administrations: of firms which otherwise, in ordinary capitalism, would have failed.

Their concerns relate to small but vital segments of the bill. They believe that the federal government could be over-reaching, and would prefer certain details of what they see as a complex issue to be ironed out more carefully. Despite this, their negotiators have reported to media that they are close to a solution. Fox news, a popular news service in America, accused by some of a sympathy towards the Republican cause has said that it is unlikely the Republicans will delay for much longer, due to a desire to garner the support of public opinion ahead of November elections.

Republican efforts at stricter financial regulations, pushed by Republican John McCain and others: during the 1990’s were blocked by Democrats, and it would seem unlikely for the bill to pass without Republican support, since Kennedy was replaced with Brown: as a representative in the Senate from Massachusetts, once a Democrat stronghold.

While both sides have claimed that they are close to a negotiated solution, the Democrats attempted, Yesterday: to push the bill forward for discussion prior Republican satisfaction, in a move similar to the unilateral overhaul of healthcare pushed through by the Democrats, and in the unilateral manner Barack Obama has pushed through legislation in: for much of his presidency. This despite promises of discussion and at attempting bi-partisan efforts during campaigning against his then Republican rival John McCain. Barack Obama has speeches set up in multiple areas (ending in a spot in Illinois), in order to garner more public support for the overhaul.

The question is whether Republicans will gain their concessions on details they believe should change, before the bill is either voted through or before the though highly unlikely, possible shelving of the legislation. The Democrat position seems to be aiming for a Democrat bill to pass, with as few of the Republic concessions within it as possible. Republicans could make an embarrassment for Obama before November polls, but have much to risk given high public support for financial reform, but also given the cost to public confidence, if they pass an inadequate bill, or are seen as a non-issue, or as betraying their ideals as regards Wall Street and other issues of importance to conservative voters: in the Senate.











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Thursday, April 22, 2010

New York Times alleged to have defamed pope



(Catholic Watchdog South Africa)

Article by Marc Aupiais

One of the best sources on British Roman Catholicism Telegraph Blogs' Editor: Damien Thompson has an interesting letter to quote, on alleged bad reporting on the pope:



Hat-tip to the Just B16 blog for this letter sent to The New York Times by Prof John Coverdale, professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey. It wasn’t accepted for publication, you’ll be astonished to learn. Here it is:
Like many other people, I have felt in recent weeks that some news outlets have unfairly targeted Pope Benedict XVI in connection with sexual abuse by priests.
In part this is a question of emphasis, with daily coverage of what may or may not have been minor mistakes in judgment decades ago and almost no attention to the major efforts Pope Benedict has made to remedy what is undeniably a horrible situation.
With some frequency, however, I have observed what strikes me as deliberate distortion of the facts in order to put Pope Benedict in a bad light. I would like to call your attention to what seems to me a clear example of this sort of partisan journalism: Laurie Goodstein and Michael Luo’s article “Pope Put Off Move to Punish Abusive Priest” published on the front page of the New York Times on April 10, 2010. The story is so wrong that it is hard to believe it is not animated by the anti-Catholic animus that the New York Times and other media outlets deny harboring.
Canonical procedure punishes priests who have violated Church law in serious ways by “suspending” them from exercising their ministry. This is sometimes referred to as “defrocking.” (According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary to “defrock” is to deprive of the right to exercise the functions of an office. )
A priest who has been suspended may request that he be released from his vows of celibacy and other obligations as a priest. If granted, this petition to be “laicized” would leave the former priest free to marry. Laicization (which is altogether different from defrocking and which may apply to a priest who has committed no crime but simply wishes to leave the priesthood) is not further punishment. It is something a priest who has already been punished by being suspended might well desire, as do some priests who have committed no crime and who have not been suspended..
The priest who is the subject of the article had already been punished by being suspended long before his case reached Rome. He asked to be laicized. Cardinal Ratzinger delayed his laicization not his “defrocking” as the article incorrectly says. He had been defrocked years earlier when he was suspended from the ministry. All of this is clear without reference to outside sources to anyone who knows something about Church procedure and reads the article with sufficient care. It is anything but clear, however, to a normal reader.
My complaint here is not that the article misuses the word “defrock” but rather that by so doing it strongly suggests to readers that Cardinal Ratzinger delayed the priest’s removal from the ministry. Delaying laicization had nothing to do with allowing him to continue exercising the ministry, from which he had already been suspended.
Not only does the article fail to make these distinctions, it positively misstate the facts. Its title is “Pope Put off Move toPunish Abusive Priest.” [italics added] It describes Cardinal Ratzinger’s decision as involving whether the abusive priest “should be forced from the priesthood” [italics added]. Even a moderately careful journalist would have to notice that all of this is incompatible with the fact (reported in the second paragraph of the article) that the priest himself had asked for what Cardinal Ratziner delayed.
Had the facts been reported accurately, the article would have said that the priest was promptly punished by being removed from the ministry for his crimes, but that when he asked to be reduced to the lay state, which would have given him the right to marry within the Church, Cardinal Ratzinger delayed granting the petition. That, of course, would hardly have merited front page treatment, much less a headline accusing the Pope of “Putt[ing] off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.”
The second half of the article reports that the priest later worked as a volunteer in the youth ministry of his former parish. This is obviously regrettable and should not have happened, but he was not acting as a priest (youth ministers are laymen, not priests).
A careful reader who was not misled by the inaccuracies in the first part of the article would, of course, realize that his volunteering as a youth minister had no factual or legal connection with Cardinal Ratzinger’s delaying the grant of laicization. The article does not say in so many words that it did, but an average reader might well conclude that there was some connection when he is told that “while the bishop was pressing Cardinal Ratzinger to defrock Mr. Kiesle, the priest began volunteering in the youth ministry of one of his former parishes.”
Any one of these errors might be due to carelessness, but their cumulative effect, coupled with the decision to make this front page news accompanied by a two column photo of Cardinal Raztinger’s signature, strongly suggests to me that something worse than carelessness is involved. I urge you to look into whether some major news outlets have indeed been engaged in a campaign to vilify the Pope and into whether their desire to do so has caused them to slip below minimum standards of professional journalism.











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