"0ne of those pathetic bloggers who tries to make a living out of attacking other bloggers and media folk in an effort to illicit a reaction and draw traffic to his site." -- Owen Robinson of Boots and Sabers
Archbishop Timothy Dolan booted the pedophile Franklyn Becker out of the priesthood.
He paid him $10,000 -- with no limits on how the money should be spent. He sent him to Mayfield Mayville-- he informed the sheriff but not the neighborhoods or the community. And he didn't provide for counseling.
And now, per Peter Isely, the Midwest director of the Surivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Becker is living in an apartment with a view overlooking a playground?
And somehow Dolan's going to skate on this?
That would appear to be the case as of 12:03 a.m. (late night for the housework-tasked Brawler). The name Dolan appears not once in the Journal Sentinel story about the scandal that appears due for Friday's paper.
Now, the Brawler fully expects the amoral likes of Charlie Sykes to politicize this, to say "Look what happened under Rembert" while saying Dolan has done an "extraordinarily good job in trying to clean up this mess."
Charlie says that a lot of people are in denial about what transpired under the liberal Rembert Weakland. And when he says people he means liberals. To which the Brawler says: prove it.
The Brawler says let the Lord have mercy on Rembert for what happened under his watch. The Brawler, being human, brooks no excuses.
But the suggestion that Dolan is somehow above the mess is absurd.
Dolan said Thursday in his column and in an e-mail to priests and parish leaders that the first of 10 cases of abuse allegedly committed more than 30 years ago in California by two former Archdiocese of Milwaukee priests has been scheduled for trial Nov. 6.
In response, he says, he is following up on a promise to be upfront. That included taking the unusual step of mailing Thursday's Catholic Herald, which included a variety of information on the archdiocese's response to the sexual abuse crisis, to all 200,000 households of registered Catholics in the 10-county archdiocese.
Noting in his Herald of Hope column that "we sure need a lot of HOPE right now," Dolan tells people to expect more secular news coverage of a settlement and trial process that will have harmful effects. He cites "the valuable work and ministries of the archdiocese, which could be seriously curtailed if the resolution of these cases results in staggering financial consequences against us. What adds to the sadness of all this is that we had been making some steady progress."
Among other effects that Dolan cites are:
• "Victims/survivors, who have already suffered so much, will be hurt again . . . as past wounds are reopened."
• "The greater Catholic community of southeastern Wisconsin, all 700,000 of us, will be ashamed again, as the church is dragged through the mud, as we are reminded of indefensible, immoral behavior by unfaithful, preying priests over a quarter-century ago, and the failure of some church leadership to deal effectively with it back then."
• "Our virtuous priests, 97% of whom have always acted appropriately . . . will once again suffer because of the disproportionate publicity given to an offender."
I dunno. If he'd been upfront, wouldn't Dolan have told the community of Mayville about Becker?
Does the Journal Sentinel really think the way to "deal effectively" with Becker was to ship him off to Mayville?
And speaking of denial, let's recall how JS columnist Patrick McIlheran bemoaned how the church was on the hook for millions in damages and quoted an archbishop who said most Catholics are tired of being "pillaged" by plaintiffs attorneys:
There's money in reparations, since new cases are scarce, so plaintiffs' lawyers have backed such "windows" in other states, Wisconsin included. This is one of the few ways in which Catholics aren't helpless.
There's no justice in lifting the statute of limitations in Wisconsin, and Catholics here should be unafraid to say so. Victims of abuse now can sue as late as age 35. Wisconsin doesn't shut out victims.
Compassion for victims does not require Catholics to stand silent as law is changed to let the retribution go on - especially now that the church appears to have closed the door on this evil.
Or just shunted it off to Mayville. Jesus totally would have said that.
Here's an excerpt from the archdioceses' statement on Becker:
In November 2004, responding to a petition by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Holy See removes Becker from the clerical state. A payment of $10,000 is provided to subsidize emergency medical insurance until Becker is eligible for Medicare. Notifications are made to the Sheriff in the county where Becker was last known to be residing (that's being upfront! -- Brawler), and neighboring parishes are also informed that he is living in area and can no longer function as a priest (good to hear -- The Brawler).
It seems pretty clear that Dolan hoped -- after everything -- that Becker would just go away.
Now, the Brawler is all about moving on. But let's get real. Dolan. to all appearances, was hoping to sweep Becker under a rug. Not informing the community? (and, as has been shown with McCann, informing law enforcement is not the same as informing the community). Sweet Jesus.
Dolan, to all appearances, was not part of the solution here. He may have been a part of distancing Becker from the church, but informing the sheriff of Walker's whereabouts where he "was last known to be residing" fall significantly short of accountability. And Dolan should be called to account for that.
Addendum: Isely raises issues about Dolan in the first segment of Sykes' show on Thursday. You can find the podcast here. Marvel as Charlie changes the subject every time Isely mentions Dolan's name. Admire his courage as he excuses Dolan -- after Isely is off the show.
The documents SNAP is releasing even claim that current Archbishop Timothy Dolan paid off Becker when they removed him from the priesthood, didn't help him with treatment, and didn't tell the public about his alleged past.
Dolan admits in a letter to the Archdiocese that it didn't handle the Becker case perfectly.
"Poor decisions were made," says Dolan in regards to Becker's case involving allegations of abuse from 1970 through the early 1990s. "The Church's decisions about Becker were badly misguided."
Why didn't the Journal Sentinel pursue this angle?
Briggs & Stratton CEO John Shiely performed a public service with his column in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn't disappoint.
He demonstrated that, when it comes to discussing the future of Milwaukee and how the city can thrive in a global economy, he doesn't deserve a seat at the table.
It's not just that his column is a literally hysterical attack on a hallucinatory array of enemies who range from Henry Maier to a MATC professor to journalists to vaguely defined socialists. It's not just that his suggestions for how Milwaukee should compete barely rise to the level of bromides -- be welcoming to business! -- when they're not out and out ludicrous and counterproductive -- reduce your standard of living to Alabama levels!
It's that he quite literally seems incapable of telling the truth.
And as Milwaukee navigates the Scylla and Charybdis of globalization, it's going to require that the people who -- collectively -- are trying to figure out how to proceed are honest enough check their ideological hobby horses at the door. That means lefties must recognize that big bidness needs a seat at the table (and the Brawler doesn't think that this is unexpected). And it means righties are going to have to recognize that tax cuts aren't going to bring the infrastructure and education system that Milwaukee is going to need if it's going to ever regain the exemplary position it played in the nation's economy in the first half of the 20th Century (a period dominated by fiscally conservative socialist politicians).
John Shiely is not one of those people.
Why does the Brawler say that?
Well, first, Shiely says this:
First of all, we have no operations in Mexico, and our Chinese factory accounts for well under 10% of our output. Over 90% of our production occurs in the United States.
This literally defines disingenuous. Briggs very well might not have operations in Mexico today -- but it moved jobs out of Milwaukee and into Mexico in the 1990s.
From the Chicago Tribune, 5/19/94:
More than 400 jobs have been shifted out of the company's auto lock division in nearby Glendale to its maquiladora plant in Juarez, Mexico. About 240 more jobs are projected to shift to Mexico by next year, with the company citing "severe pricing pressures from low-wage competitors."
The auto lock business was spun off as Strattec. So Shiely is correct in saying that Briggs has no operations in Mexico. But Briggs unequivocally moved jobs out of Milwaukee and into Mexico.
Then he goes on to say this:
Keep it simple. Most prospects don't view targeted tax cuts, uneconomic transportation initiatives and special subsidies positively over the long term. They are generally inefficient. Create a broadly positive business climate.
Now, on one level the Brawler agrees with this. But he recognizes that this is not the way the world really works. And it's certainly not the way that Briggs works when it pulled jobs out of Wisconsin and built plants in southern states. Here's one example:
In 1994, Briggs & Stratton signed a deal with the Bulloch County Development Authority to build a $75 million engine plant in Statesboro. A few weeks later, citizens used the Open Records Act to reveal that aside from giving Briggs & Stratton $12 million in tax breaks, the development authority agreed not to recruit another major industry for one year, thus assuring cheap labor for Briggs & Stratton. ("Sunshine Laws? What Sunshine Laws?, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/19/97).
(How would Charlie Sykes react if, under the cover of darkness, Big Jim Doyle reached a deal with a manufacturer that included the proviso that he would not recruit another major industry to the state for another year? Not just a competitor, but another major industry?)
And he says this:
Choose the right model to emulate. Rosen suggests Germany, but Germany is a welfare state with chronic unemployment and is exporting an alarming number of jobs to Eastern Europe, despite having academic achievement far superior to Milwaukee. We do not want to be Germany. Maybe we should look at Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri or Alabama. These regions admire capital providers, bend over backward to help local companies achieve a superior value proposition, keep taxes low and rarely use "two Americas" rhetoric.
Apart from his insipid suggestion that we look to three southern states that couldn't be more unlike us and we couldn't imitate if we wanted to, he fails to mention that Briggs still shut down a Missouri plant despite that state's admiration for capital providers and bending-overness. (Shiely blamed new EPA regs; it smelled to the Brawler like a case of inefficiency.)
Without question, Milwaukee has its issues. It needs to figure out how it's going to proceed into the future. But the Brawler suggests giving the podium to a bonafide BSer -- who denounces incentives despite taking them in the past, who fudges about the company's past actions -- is counterproductive.
Incidentally, as long as Shiely is going to throw "socialist" aspersions, is it worth pointing out that he's a big rightwinger who's donated nearly $41 grand to GOP politicians/organizations since 1997, including $20 grand to the RNC in 2004. He gave $2,100 to Romney in March.
Over at The Political Environment, Jim Rowen suggests Shiely get over perceived injustices from more than a decade ago. Paul Soglin, as usual, has smart things to say.
UPDATE: Once again, a mysterious comment under a "Brawl"-related pseudonym appears ... provenance (as always) of Brookfield. Dad...is that you? And please provide evidence of your compelling thesis. And what was the political affiliation of the skilled laborers you reference? Thanks!
Washington Post crack reporter Dana Priest, citing an internal Army study, reports that a record number of soldiers "have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan."
From the story:
Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006
At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.
Wars lasting longer than planned The Army was unprepared for the high number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among its troops, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued far longer than anticipated. Many Army posts still do not offer enough individual counseling and some soldiers suffering psychological problems complain that they are stigmatized by commanders. Over the past year, four high-level commissions have recommended reforms and Congress has given the military hundreds of millions of dollars to improve its mental health care, but critics charge that significant progress has not been made.
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed severe stress on the Army, caused in part by repeated and lengthened deployments. Historically, suicide rates tend to decrease when soldiers are in conflicts overseas, but that trend has reversed in recent years. From a suicide rate of 9.8 per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2001 -- the lowest rate on record -- the Army reached an all-time high of 17.5 suicides per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2006.
As for treatment:
The study, which the Army's top personnel chief ordered six months ago, acknowledges that the Army still does not know how to adequately assess, monitor and treat soldiers with psychological problems. In fact, it says that "the current Army Suicide Prevention Program was not originally designed for a combat/deployment environment."
Staff Sgt. Gladys Santos, an Army medic who attempted suicide after three tours in Iraq, said the Army urgently needs to hire more psychiatrists and psychologists who have an understanding of war. "They gave me an 800 number to call if I needed help," she said. "When I come to feeling overwhelmed, I don't care about the 800 number. I want a one-on-one talk with a trained psychiatrist who's either been to war or understands war."
British lefty poet Adrian Mitchell reads his anti-Vietnam War poem "To Whom It May Concern" at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1965. The bearded dude connected to the shoe in the opening seconds is, I'm guessing, Allen Ginsberg.
I don't have anything truly compelling or insightful to say about the sad news of Heath Ledger's death.
I just want to note that Ledger's performance in Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There," a movie that explores the phenomenon that is Bob Dylan through seven different incarnations played by seven six different actors, was one of the most brilliant bits of acting I've seen in years. All the more so because it was an understated performance (none of the pyrotechnics thrown by Cate Blanchett as the amphetamine-fueled 1965 Bob) that stuck with you for weeks.
Ledger plays an actor whose life shares some similarities to the arc of Dylan's. We see Ledger as an young countercultural actor who falls in love with the luminous Charlotte Gainsbourg. Ledger's smile is infectious, his energy palpable.
And we see Ledger as a much-less attractive man 10 years on. His wit has deevolved into snide, sexist remarks (chicks can't be poets). He's sold out careerwise. He's a shitty father. He beds actresses and airline stewardesses. He fuels his solipsism with booze and drugs (above).
But Ledger manages to make him human, when lesser actors would have turned him into a monster. Human in that flashes of that young beautiful soul that Gainsbourg and the audience fell in love with shine through. Human in that he communicates -- through his voice, his looks, his movements -- the profound self-hatred and shame he feels for himself as he tears apart his family.You don't "sympathize" with the character in that you feel sorry for or excuse him. But Ledger's performance forces you to see him as a human being, A Portrait of the Artist as a Burnt Out Case. It's a performance that's all the more remarkable given he was 26 or 27 when he delivered it.
Two scenes, both fleeting, stick with me most. The still above, of him getting drunk and stoned in his house as his family collapses around him, is one. The other is a long shot of him confronting his wife and kids outside her car after the divorce is finalized.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Thomas J. Boldt, Chairman and CEO of Appleton's Boldt Co., has been elected chairman of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
As Paul Soglin and others have written, WMC undermines Wisconsin's business environment by endlessly harping on "issues" -- such as taxes -- that rank higher as GOP talking points than they do as actual concerns of real live business leaders. Its service to its members is also dubious: WMC's late-in-the-game endorsement of Mark Green was a truly boneheaded move.
Will Boldt lead the WMC in a better direction? Based on the pattern of his political donations -- including $3,500 in 2004 to the Republican National Committee -- the safe answer is "No."
UPDATE: In comments, KR makes an interesting point about Boldt's support for stem cell research and work in green construction.
As we all know, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran believes that Democrats and Nazis are on a continuum because both believe in an activist government. Sure, one wants the state to provide affordable health care while the other used it to prosecute genocidal warfare. But both actions are fruit of the same poisoned tree.
In the same post and comment string in which he made that curious argument, and said (falsely) that the Nazis instituted a welfare state that would make any socialist proud, Patrick said this:
To the best of my observation, the more ideological someone is about his leftism, the more totalitarian and anti-American are his views.
The more ideological someone is about his rightism, the more likely he is to want to privatize the traffic lights and to carry a picture of Ayn Rand in his wallet. ...
Those on the right in America tend to favor a more limited government and prefer its role in society be subsidiary to voluntary institutions, such faith or families. Nazi ideals held nothing of the sort, instead seeing such voluntary institutions as utterly at the service to the nation itself as embodied in the state. There is no continuum as there is on the left.
Funny that Patrick should mention privatization. Because, as it happens, the Nazis were ahead of their time on that front. From a thesis by one Gema Bel titled "Against the Mainstream: Nazi Privatization in the 1930s" (h/t Orcinus):
The Great Depression spurred State ownership in Western capitalist countries. Germany was no exception; the last governments of the Weimar Republic took over firms in diverse sectors. Later, the Nazi regime transferred public ownership and public services to the private sector. In doing so, they went against the mainstream trends in the Western capitalist countries, none of which systematically reprivatized firms during the 1930s. Privatization in Nazi Germany was also unique in transferring to private hands the delivery of public services previously provided by government. The firms and the services transferred to private ownership belonged to diverse sectors. Privatization was part of an intentional policy with multiple objectives and was not ideologically driven. As in many recent privatizations, particularly within the European Union, strong financial restrictions were a central motivation. In addition, privatization was used as a political tool to enhance support for the government and for the Nazi Party.
It is a fact that the government of the Nazi Party sold off public ownership in several Stateowned firms in the mid-1930s. These firms belonged to a wide range of sectors: steel, mining, banking, local public utilities, shipyards, ship-lines, railways, etc. In addition, the delivery of some public services that were produced by government prior to the 1930s, especially social and labor-related services, was transferred to the private sector, mainly to organizations within the party.
Rather than being driven by ideology, Nazi privatization was driven by political considerations (striking alliances with industrialists) and practical considerations (Germany facing budget constraints as it revved up its war machine).
Of course, very little privatization in the U.S. is ideologically motivated, i.e., people suddenly deciding that street plowing is a function best handled by ACME Company instead of the government. Instead, privatizations usually are rewards to favored constituencies or to relieve pressure on strained budgets (not that necessarily happens). The Nazis favored privatization to fund rearmament. Republicans favor privatization to fund tax cuts for the rich.
By Patrick McIlheran's standard, these privatizations put Nazis quite squarely on a "continuum" with the modern American right.
That standard, as applied to the American left and right, is, of course, ludicrous.
The Brawler has returned to Patrick's "continuum" post a number of times because it fits into a nasty and uninformed line of attack on the left exemplified by Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism. In that tome, Goldberg includes a definition of fascism that's so broad that it can encompass everyone from Bob LaFollette to FDR (the itals are by lefty blogger Spencer Ackerman):
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve that common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy.
What he offers isn't a very serviceable definition, but rather one that can offer about 40 feet of bridge to cross the 50 feet of chasm between liberalism and fascism, in an attempt to get the reader to continue on into a Wile E. Coyote-esque act of intellectual gravity-defiance. Fascist regimes do not impose their wills by force "or" through regulation and social pressure. They systematize violence. There isn't anything at all fascist about a neighborhood noise ordinance, and nothing at all fascist about scrunching up your noise in discomfort when someone lights a cigarette. But this is how distinctions between statism and fascism collapse, a necessary move when redefining fascism to include liberalism. (Brawler's emphasis)
One imagines McIlheran fluttering in space shouting "There is a continuum! There is!" Sadly, the canyon floor is a long way down.