Chicago Priests Raped and Pillaged for 50 Years (Source The Daily Beast) In a disturbing document dump outlining lurid clerical abuse and a trail of coverups, retiring Cardinal Francis George tries to clear his conscience. Some of the accusations against perverted priests are handwritten letters penned by worried mothers. Others are emails sent decades after the abuses occurred. There are letters so old the mimeographed typewriting is smudged and difficult to read. There are emails so recent, they call into question just how much of the clerical abuse is still going on. In all, more than 15,000 pages from the secret archives of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review have been released on the Chicago Archdiocese website relating to hundreds of lurid sexual-abuse crimes by 36 perverted priests dating back to the 1950s. The Chicago Archdiocese has paid more than $130 million in abuse-victim settlements. “We cannot change the past but we hope we can rebuild trust through honest and open dialogue,” George said in a statement on the eve of the document release.
Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy (Source TPM LIVEWIRE) A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists. Asking “who really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power. Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first. The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month’s ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.
Chomsky to RT: US and its NATO intervention force may spark nuclear war (Source RT) How dangerous is the current confrontation between Russia and the West? Noam Chomsky believes that NATO expansion and US quest for hegemony has put the world in a situation so unstable where any accidental interaction could result in a nuclear war. The “new NATO” that emerged after the Soviet Union collapsed is basically a US-run intervention force, with a completely different mission as compared to the original, Chomsky tells RT. “In fact, one might ask why NATO even continued to exist,” he said. “The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe.” With no more “Russian threat”, the natural conclusion in the 90s would be to disband the alliance, but instead the opposite happened – against all agreements NATO expanded all the way towards the Russian borders. “Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international, the global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world.” In the worst case scenario the current international instability, especially with tensions between US and Russia resembling a new cold war, could result in a nuclear war, in which all parties that initiate it would be eliminated. “And it’s come ominously close several times in the past, dramatically close. And it could happen again, but not planned, but just by the accidental interactions that take place,” Chomsky said. “There have been many cases, not that serious, but pretty close, where human intervention with a few-minutes choice has prevented a nuclear war. You can’t guarantee that’s going to continue.”
Russia’s Lavrov to Meet With US Secretary of State Kerry at APEC Summit: Foreign Ministry (Source Ria Novosti) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Beijing on Saturday during the preparatory events before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Russian Foreign Ministry said. As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, and the deadline to reach the agreement on Iranian nuclear issue drew closer, the meetings between Lavrov and Kerry have become regular and happen nearly every month. Three weeks ago, Lavrov and Kerry met in Paris, and in September they held talks in the framework of UN General Assembly. The Iranian nuclear issue could become one of the topics Lavrov and Kerry will discuss on Saturday, ahead of the upcoming P5+1 group talks with Tehran scheduled to take place on November 11 in Oman. Relations between Russia and the US have been strained in light of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Washington kept blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, while Russia repeatedly denied any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Over the past few months, the US has introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia, and persuaded its allies to add Russian companies and individuals to their own blacklists. However, Russia and the United States are still cooperating on a number of issues, including Iran, Syria and space industry.
Hackers breach some White House computers (Source washingtonpost.com) Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion. White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked. “In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network,” said one White House official. “We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity. . . . Unfortunately, some of that resulted in the disruption of regular services to users. But people were on it and are dealing with it.” The FBI, Secret Service and National Security Agency are all involved in the investigation. White House officials are not commenting on who was behind the intrusion or how much data, if any, was taken.
Ukraine: Kiev Needs to Recognize the Local Elections in Donetsk, Lugansk (Source Press TV)
A political commentator says Western meddling has been hindering a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya made the remark in an interview with Press TV from Ottawa on Monday [November 2, 2014]. He said that the “noises” coming out of Washington DC and Brussels will “obstruct a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.” The analyst also cast doubt on the legitimacy of the recent snap parliamentary elections in Ukraine, saying the restive eastern regions were marginalized and excluded from the votes.
Commenting on the separate elections in Ukraine’s eastern regions on November 2, the analyst said the people of the pro-Russia regions have the right of self-determination and local leaders in Luhansk [Lugansk] and Donetsk enjoy ‘popular support.’ Nazemroaya said the current economic challenges facing Ukraine were caused by the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Russia seeks peace and stability in the region, and has kept its money and gas flowing into Ukraine in recent years, the analyst concluded.
The mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow activists and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russians in mid-April. Violence intensified in May after the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums in which residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
RUSSIA CONDUCTS FULL “NUCLEAR TRIAD” DRILL, LAUNCHES TOPOL-M ICBM (Source Zero Hedge) Russia was busy conducting its most comprehensive Nuclear preparedness drill in recent history, one involving the entire “nuclear triad” consisting of strategic bombers; submarines and an the ICBM. the silo-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Plesetsk in Arkhangelsk Oblast. A few minutes later, the dummy nuclear warhead hits its target on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far eastern corner, the Ministry of Defense reports. The Ministry, conveniently, adds that the Topol-M missile has an “extremely high accuracy of target destruction.” This took place after a close encounter on Friday, when Norwegian F-16s were scrambled from Bodø airbase for the second time this week as a group of four Tu-95 strategic bombers were approaching from the northeast, Norway’s TV2 reports. The bombers, flying out over the Barents Sea from Russia’s Kola Peninsula, were accompanied by four Il-78 tankers. The third arm of Russia’s nuclear triad, the submarine based ballistic missiles (SLBM), were tested on Wednesday, when “Yury Dolgoruky” launhced a Bulava missile from submerged position in the Barents Sea. This was the first operational test launch of Bulava in line with the program of combat training. All previous launches were part of development testing of the new weapon. This was the first operational test launch of Bulava in line with the program of combat training. All previous launches were part of development testing of the new weapon. It is also the first time a Borey-class submarine had a full set of missiles on board when the launch was conducted. The Borey-class submarines carries 16 missiles that each may hold as many as 10 nuclear warheads.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Ordered to Pay $13.5M to Bible Teacher’s Alleged Victim (Source nbcnews.com)
A $13.5 million judgment was awarded Wednesday to a San Diego man who says he was the childhood victim of “very aggressive abuse” at the hands of his Bible study teacher. Jose Lopez, now 35 years old, came forward as one of eight children who accuse Gonzalo Campos of sexually abusing them between 1982 and 1995, according to his lawsuit. Campos served in the leadership of the Linda Vista Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Playa Pacifica Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pacific Beach, Lopez’s attorney Irwin Zalkin told NBC 7. Although the alleged molestation happened on one occasion, the high amount awarded by a judge reflects the severe consequences Lopez has faced as a result, including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and trust issues, Zalkin explained. But the lawsuit does not seek damages from Campos himself, or even the Linda Vista congregation. Instead, it names the defendant as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the entity that oversees Jehovah’s Witness churches. Zalkin said $10.5 million of the amount was for punitive damages as a result of the Watchtower’s response to the Campos scandal.
“Damages that reflect the reprehensible conduct of the Watchtower in how they covered this up for years and allowed multiple children to be injured,” said Zalkin. “They protected and harbored a criminal.”
Maine Judge Rejects Ebola Quarantine for Nurse Kaci Hickox (Source nbcnews.com) A judge in Maine ruled Friday that Kaci Hickox, the nurse who treated Ebola patients and is defying a state-imposed quarantine, can come and go as she pleases, as long as she is monitored for symptoms and lets health officials know where she’s going. The same judge issued a temporary order on Thursday night ordering Hickox to stay at least three feet away from other people and to stay away from crowds and public transportation. But the judge, Charles C. LaVerdiere of state court, lifted those parts of the order on Friday. He found that authorities in Maine had not proved that further restricting Hickox’s movement was necessary to protect the public from infection. The judge said Hickox must submit to what health officials call direct active monitoring — having her temperature taken and being checked for symptoms at least once a day. But he stresses that she has no symptoms and is therefore not infectious. Hickox, who returned from West Africa a week ago, has maintained that authorities in Maine violated her rights by demanding that she stay at home for 21 days. She took a defiant bike ride on Thursday, and Gov. Paul LePage said she was testing his patience. The nurse spent last weekend in an isolation tent near the airport in Newark, New Jersey. She objected to the conditions and had a public spat with Gov. Chris Christie, who dared her to sue him. The judge in Maine gave her a gentle rebuke in his ruling. “The court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational,” he wrote. “However, whether that fear is rational or not, it is present and it is real. “Respondent’s actions at this point, as a health care professional, need to demonstrate her full understanding of human nature and the real fear that exist. She should guide herself accordingly.”
Muslims Pray in Rain After Israel Closes Al-Aqsa Mosque(Source nbcnews) Muslims prayed on a rainy street in the Old City Friday as Israeli authorities continued to restrict access to the Al Aqsa mosque following violence in east Jerusalem. Border police increased their presence in the cobblestone alleyways and around the Muslim access points or gates into the Al Aqsa compound, checking identification papers closely. Worshippers over the age of 50 were allowed inside, a day after the entire site was closed off in a security lockdown. “Yesterday it was painful for me not to pray in Al Aqsa,” said Nahil Salayme, 42, from east Jerusalem. “I go every day. They want to take this place from us. I will never let it happen, I will sacrifice everything, even my children. This is a red line for us.” Nabih Al Basty, 49, a businessman, said: “I prayed today in the street because the Israelis aren’t allowing us to go inside. We walked all the way from Wadi Joz, it’s a long way and it’s raining. My father is 70, he’s been going to the mosque every day since he was seven. Yesterday was the first day he missed going.” Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described Thursday’s closure as “tantamount to a declaration of war” by Israel and called for a “day of rage” in Jerusalem in protest. However the rainfall – the first in Jerusalem for weeks – seemed likely to dampen any protests.