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With Failed Appeal, Archbishop Forced to Testify About Role in Sex Abuse Cover-Up

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After years of claiming ignorance and dodging questions, it appears that Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt will finally be forced to answer questions about his role in the decades-long sexual abuse cover-up within his archdiocese. Earlier this week, the Minneapolis Court of Appeals rejected Nienstedt’s attempts to prevent his upcoming deposition, due April 2.

The court also ruled that former Vicar General Kevin McDonough, who has already resigned in disgrace for his role in the cover-up, will have to testify on April 16.

The ruling supports Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North’s original ruling from earlier this year, forcing McDonough and Nienstedt, one of the nation’s most vocal anti-LGBT Catholics, to testify, as well as allow investigators access to evidence pertaining to sex abuse.

As Jeff Anderson, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said, “Our reading of this [order] and the language in it is that they have ruled that we are able to move forward with discovery … [and] that the trial court was right.”

The archdiocese’s spokesman, Jim Accurso, did not dispute the ruling, and it appears the depositions will go ahead as scheduled.

In addition to testifying, Van de North also ruled that the church would be forced to compile a list of church officials accused of sexual abuse – including Nienstedt – since 2004. The list, submitted last month, can be kept under seal, but the church has recently come under fire after a Minnesota Public Radio report showed that the archdiocese’s previous public list of those “credibly accused” wasn’t even half of those the church believed may have abused parishioners and children.

Meanwhile, a hearing Thursday will focus on the transfer of a list comprising 40 priests credibly accused from the archdiocese to the county. The archdiocese has asked to delay handing over the list, which is due on March 31, by 90 days. According to a memo filed Monday by archdiocese attorneys, “This is an exhaustive, time consuming and extremely expensive and burdensome process.” Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the request was simply “another attempt for them to keep their secrets and delay information from coming out.”

 

Image of John Nienstedt via YouTube

Casey Michel HeadshotCasey Michel is a graduate student at Columbia University, and former Peace Corps Kazakhstan volunteer. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, and he has contributed multiple long-form investigations to Minneapolis’s City Pages and the Houston Press. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Silenced by Psaki: Reporter Pushing Right Wing Talking Points Can’t Answer Press Secretary’s Basic Questions About Them

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A reporter was silent after pushing right-wing talking points during the White House’s daily press briefing and being asked to explain her question. The Q&A was so disturbing one well-known political scientist weighed in on social media to declare the White House press corps an “embarrassment.”

“Just a quick question on inflation,” the unnamed reporter began as she asked her question on the administration’s plan to strengthen the social safety net and grow jobs. “Many believe that government spending is a big factor in the current inflation levels. Can you speak to concerns that spending plans that come out of Build Back Better aren’t paid for, and so could mean higher deficits and more inflation in the future.”

Psaki, a little stunned, confirmed she heard correctly: “Aren’t paid for? Build Back Better is paid for.”

The reporter was silent. As time moved on, so did Psaki.

“Entirely,” she added, definitively.

“Okay,” replied the reporter, apparently out of facts and with little understanding of what she was asking. “Can you speak to the concerns that are coming in that it’s not, actually?”

“Who are the concerns from though?” Psaki asked.

Silence again.

“Who’s saying it’s not paid for?” Psaki pressed.

More silence.

“Because there have been a range of economists saying it’s entirely paid for, and that has been a priority for the President. It has also been concluded by a number of Nobel laureates and experts from a range of economic experts on the outside that it will not contribute to inflation. So those are the global experts that we would point to, but there may be others suggesting something else, but I don’t know who those people are,” she said, allowing the reporter to offer a different response, to possibly retain her dignity.

“So if those bills do pass it will not raise taxes?” the reporter asked, which is an entirely different question.

“Well, something being entirely paid for means that part of that is the highest income Americans highest that companies would be asked to pay a little bit more. That has been part of the proposal and part of reforming the tax system to make it more fair,” Psaki explained.

“So they’re also not expected to contribute to future inflation, then?”

“The Build Back Better Bill? Again, it’s fully paid for, we would point to Nobel laureates and a range of global economists who have conveyed that it would not contribute to inflationary pressures.”

Watch:

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Influential Far Right Conservatives Ballistic Over Breyer Retirement: ‘They Must Be Stopped’

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As soon as the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current session, right-wing activists began declaring that Breyer had been “bullied” into stepping down and therefore Republicans must do everything they can to block whomever President Joe Biden nominates to fill that seat.

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network and Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch both asserted that Breyer had been forced out of his seat on the court.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America declared that Biden must use the vacancy to unify the nation by appointing to the court a “constitutionalist” (which is conservative code for “right-wing ideologue”).

Proclaiming that the Senate is the “our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices,” Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel used the opportunity to promote his own campaign.

Rep. Lauren Boebert proclaimed that Biden should take a hint from Breyer and “follow him out the door.”

Right-wing activist Brigitte Gabriel openly asserted that it doesn’t even matter whom Biden nominates, “they must be stopped.”

Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh demanded that the position remain vacant until following the midterm elections in November, insisting that “it would be an assault on our democracy” to confirm any nominee before then.

Taking things a step further, radical Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers called on the U.S. Senate to “filibuster, stall, delay and hold Biden’s Supreme Court pick until 2024.”

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Florida Dems Walk Out After DeSantis’ Surgeon General Refuses to Say if Vaccines Work

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Democrats on a Florida state Senate committee walked out of the confirmation hearing of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Surgeon General nominee, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a far right-wing anti-science extremist after he refused to answer if vaccines are safe and effective, and why the Dept. of Health has stopped publicly posting COVID data.

Ladapo, who has been in the position for months, has ties to an infamous conspiracy theorist doctor who talks about alien DNA, demon sperm, and pushes hydroxychloroquine as a COVID cure.

Asked if the COVID vaccines are effective, Ladapo refused to say “yes” or “no.” The Tallahassee Democrat reported Ladapo’s answers were “long-winded, indirect,” and that he “gave murky answers about his criticism of the Biden administration and his ability to work with the federal government, and whether he had a plan for ending the pandemic in Florida.”

“I would say that, that the, the question is a scientific one and it’s one that is answered with data. So, so, the, the question, the question is informed by data on specific outcomes and specific, specific therapies. So that’s a that’s the, that’s the scientific question.”

The Senator, polite but frustrated, pushed back: “Just a yes or no. Do vaccines work? In fighting against COVID-19? Yes or no?”

Related: DeSantis Vows to Fight FDA After COVID Treatment His Top Donor Invested in Is Found to Not Fight Omicron

“Senator,” replied Ladapo, an anti-vaxxer who opposes testing for the deadly coronavirus. “I just, I as a scientist, you know, I I, I am compelled to answer the scientific question, and I’d be happy to answer any specific scientific question that you have related to vaccines and COVID-19.”

So she tried again.

“Scientifically, does the, do the vaccines work against preventing COVID-19? Yes or no?”

“So, yes or no questions are not that easy to find in science,” Ladapo obfuscated. “So, I will I understand I think I have better clarity about your your question at this point. So what I would say is that the most commonly used vaccines in the United States, which would be the the Pfizer product and the product that was was developed by Moderna have been shown to have relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization.”

Later, he was asked why the state has stopped publicly releasing COVID data. He again obfuscated.

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