Tuesday, March 16, 2010

News Headlines Roundup 16 Mar 2010

From Denny: Today it seems mainstream religion and cult religion have one thing in common - silencing their followers and mistreating them. The Catholic Church has yet to fully understand how weak they have been on this issue of sexual abuse in the church. They still continue to come down on the side of the corrupt sick priest who has defiled his office. Every religion has sex scandals - from the Jews to the Muslims to the Protestant Christians and more. At the heart of every religious organization is a group of people running it. And, as we always say at our house: "A group or company is only as good as the people running it. It stinks from the top down or flies high doing good."

Just how much do you know about the cult of Scientology? Time Magazine did quite a piece on that psychopathic group of mind control fanatics and turned up some interesting details of just how pervasive they are in our American culture. They are poised to go global. If the right wing conservative Christian Republicans want something to fear then this is the group. They are intent on world domination. Sweet. Yet another version of Hitler - only cult religion this time. Come to think of it, Hitler was treated like a god.

And not to leave you all steamed up... Something cheerful: A lost Shakespeare play just may have been found! And more fun on getting the health care reform bill passed in the House. Read the latest procedures available to circumvent the obstructionists. Clever stuff!

Vatican Moves into Damage Control on Sex-Abuse Scandal: (Time Magazine) Amid controversy, the Vatican's instinct is typically to protect the man at the top, particularly when it comes to what is known in both secular and ecclesiastical terms as scandal. That is evident again with a pedophile-priest controversy from the 1980s in Germany that is threatening to draw in the German-born Benedict XVI, even as his countrymen demand that he respond directly. "The Pope was not part of what happened back then, and he shouldn't be part of it now," a Vatican insider tells TIME. "He should offer the greatest silence possible, not because he doesn't care about the abuse but because it would involve him in scandal and undermine his magisterium" — that is, his papal teaching authority. Indeed, the officials at the Vatican have characterized the German revelations as a targeted campaign to discredit the Church as a whole...

...As the Pope suffers in silence, Catholics in his native Germany are growing increasingly angry as revelations pile up. They were first set off by accusations from former students at a prestigious Jesuit high school in Berlin. But much of the attention has now shifted to the case of Peter Hullermann, a priest who sexually abused minors in the late 1970s and was transferred to Munich in 1980, initially for treatment, but was later allowed to return to full pastoral duties. The man at the helm of the Munich Archdiocese at the time of Hullermann's arrival was Ratzinger, who moved on to Rome in 1982 to become a senior Vatican official and eventually rose to the papacy in 2005 with the name Benedict XVI...

...Church officials in Munich have confirmed that in 1986, Hullermann was convicted of sexually abusing children in the Bavarian town of Grafing — and was then allowed to again work among children, though no further accusations of abuse have arisen since. Vatican officials have denied that the future Pope knew anything about Hullermann's being allowed to work with children again, and his deputy at the time quickly took full responsibility last week for the transfer. On Monday, March 15, Hullermann was suspended from his current position, and his supervisor, Prelate Josef Obermaier, resigned. ...

The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: (Time Magazine) By all appearances, Noah Lottick of Kingston, Pa., had been a normal, happy 24-year-old who was looking for his place in the world. On the day last June when his parents drove to New York City to claim his body, they were nearly catatonic with grief. The young Russian-studies scholar had jumped from a 10th-floor window of the Milford Plaza Hotel and bounced off the hood of a stretch limousine. When the police arrived, his fingers were still clutching $171 in cash, virtually the only money he hadn't yet turned over to the Church of Scientology, the self-help "philosophy" group he had discovered just seven months earlier.

His death inspired his father Edward, a physician, to start his own investigation of the church. "We thought Scientology was something like Dale Carnegie," Lottick says. "I now believe it's a school for psychopaths. Their so-called therapies are manipulations. They take the best and brightest people and destroy them." The Lotticks want to sue the church for contributing to their son's death, but the prospect has them frightened. For nearly 40 years, the big business of Scientology has shielded itself exquisitely behind the First Amendment as well as a battery of high-priced criminal lawyers and shady private detectives.

The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents — many charging that they were mentally or physically abused — have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."

Yet the outrage and litigation have failed to squelch Scientology. The group, which boasts 700 centers in 65 countries, threatens to become more insidious and pervasive than ever. Scientology is trying to go mainstream, a strategy that has sparked a renewed law-enforcement campaign against the church. Many of the group's followers have been accused of committing financial scams, while the church is busy attracting the unwary through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and even remedial education.

In Hollywood, Scientology has assembled a star-studded roster of followers by aggressively recruiting and regally pampering them at the church's "Celebrity Centers," a chain of clubhouses that offer expensive counseling and career guidance. Adherents include screen idols Tom Cruise and John Travolta, actresses Kirstie Alley, Mimi Rogers and Anne Archer, Palm Springs mayor and performer Sonny Bono, jazzman Chick Corea and even Nancy Cartwright, the voice of cartoon star Bart Simpson. Rank-and-file members, however, are dealt a less glamorous Scientology.

According to the Cult Awareness Network, whose 23 chapters monitor more than 200 "mind control" cults, no group prompts more telephone pleas for help than does Scientology. Says Cynthia Kisser, the network's Chicago-based executive director: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members." Agrees Vicki Aznaran, who was one of Scientology's six key leaders until she bolted from the church in 1987: "This is a criminal organization, day in and day out. It makes Jim and Tammy [Bakker] look like kindergarten."

To explore Scientology's reach, TIME conducted more than 150 interviews and reviewed hundreds of court records and internal Scientology documents. Church officials refused to be interviewed. The investigation paints a picture of a depraved yet thriving enterprise. Most cults fail to outlast their founder, but Scientology has prospered since Hubbard's death in 1986. In a court filing, one of the cult's many entities — the Church of Spiritual Technology — listed $503 million in income just for 1987. High-level defectors say the parent organization has squirreled away an estimated $400 million in bank accounts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Cyprus. Scientology probably has about 50,000 active members, far fewer than the 8 million the group claims. But in one sense, that inflated figure rings true: millions of people have been affected in one way or another by Hubbard's bizarre creation...

Centuries Later, Lost Shakespeare "Found"?:

(CBS/AP) Is this love's labor no longer lost? A scholar says a play written in the 18th-century is very likely based on a missing work by William Shakespeare.

After years of literary investigation, a professor at the University of Nottingham said Tuesday he's certain "Double Falsehood, or the Distressed Lovers" was born out of "Cardenio," a play Shakespeare scholars believe existed.

Some scholars believe Lewis Theobald's "Double Falsehood," first performed in London's West End in December 1727, was based substantially on the Bard's "Cardenio."

"There is definitely Shakespearean DNA," said English literature professor Brean Hammond, who has worked since 2002 to determine if "Double Falsehood" has Shakespearean roots. Arden Shakespeare, an authoritative publisher of the Bard's works, has released an edition of the play edited by Hammond - a decision the publisher acknowledges is controversial.

Arden's general editor, Shakespeare scholar Richard Proudfoot, agrees with Hammond and says there is no absolute way of knowing if "Double Falsehood" is based on Shakespeare's work, but he argues it is a "sufficiently sustainable position" that it represents the play in some form.

"My position is one of fairly confident - but cautious - acceptance," he said.

"Double Falsehood" is inspired by Don Quixote, and features two female protagonists, dashing leading men, and an aristocratic villain. "An interrupted marriage, a series of mad scenes and a near-rape ensure that the play does not lack incident," Arden Shakespeare said in statement.

Theobald said at the time he'd based his work on Shakespearean manuscripts. But few believed him, and Theobald was considered a fraud by many.

There is strong evidence "Cardenio" existed: records showed the actors in Shakespeare's company were paid for acting in it. And Hammond said Theobald claimed he had used three of the Bard's manuscripts when he wrote "Double Falsehood," which opened to positive reviews in London's West End...

...Hammond's analysis turned up strong links to Shakespeare in elements like spelling, imagery and syntax...

...Proudfoot said that in recent years, opposition to the suggestion that Shakespeare worked with other writers has faded, which helps their belief that "Double Falsehood" had its genesis in "Cardenio."

"It all depends on your take on Theobald - whether he's a a great scholar and an honest man, or a hoaxer," Proudfoot said. "We believe the former is the truth."

House Might Pass Bill Without Voting on It: (CBS) After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it.

Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed.

The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure...

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