Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Why the Boy Scouts went bankrupt

Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy

CNN February 18/20

12,000 Boy Scouts were abused over decades

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, according to a court document filed in Delaware bankruptcy court early Tuesday.

The youth organization, which celebrated its 110th anniversary February 8, listed liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million and estimated assets of $1 billion to $10 billion.

The bankruptcy filing comes at a time when the organization faces hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, thousands of alleged abuse victims and dwindling membership numbers. As a result of the filing, all civil litigation against the organization is suspended.

Paul Mones, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing "hundreds of sexual abuse victims in individual lawsuits," called the organization's bankruptcy filing a "tragedy."

"These young boys took an oath. They pledged to be obedient, pledged to support the Scouts and pledged to be honorable. Many of them are extremely angry that that's not what happened to them and the Boy Scouts of America did not step up in the way they should have," Mones said.

The Boy Scouts of America was fielding several hundred sexual abuse lawsuits

The Boy Scouts of America faced hundreds of lawsuits from alleged sexual abuse victims across the country -- all of which are now suspended because of the bankruptcy filing.

Several of the lawsuits allege repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex. In response, the Boy Scouts of America said at the time that they "care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting." They added that they were "outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our program to abuse innocent children."

"We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice and we encourage them to come forward. It is the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy that all incidents of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement," the organization said.

Last April, exposed court testimony showed the organization believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children over the course of 72 years.

Mones, who was part of a legal team that won a $18.5 million verdict against Boy Scouts of America for former Scout and sexual abuse victim Kerry Lewis in 2010, said Monday that instead of potentially having their day in court, alleged victims who had pending lawsuits will now need to file claims in bankruptcy court.

Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney whose firm represents 300 alleged victims across the country, said the bankruptcy claims process will be decidedly different for those suffering due to the Boy Scouts of America's alleged inaction.

"They won't have to give depositions involving their life history. Their lives won't be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won't happen with a bankruptcy," Pfau said.

Mones said in the aftermath of the Lewis case, his law office received hundreds of phone calls from adult males claiming to have been Boy Scouts of America sexual abuse victims, but many states had statutes of limitation that narrowed their legal options at the time. It wasn't until years later, when some state legislators enacted new laws that enabled victims to file lawsuits without limits on when the alleged abuse took place, that a barrage of complaints against the youth organization were filed.

Pfau estimates the number of claimants will eclipse those of the Catholic church.

"The Catholic bankruptcies are limited in geographic scope. Here there will be claimants from all 50 states and the American territories," Pfau said. "We can talk about files and numbers, but in reality if you step back and realize the scope of the human carnage, it's stunning."

BLOGGER'S OBSERVATIONS. I used to wonder about entrenched and socially-revered institutions like the Boy Scouts, its unshakeable foundation now completely demolished simply by the emergence of the truth. The dehumanizing phenomenon of systemic abuse is finally, painfully breaking through, often  explosively, and seemingly everywhere. Survivors were isolated, felt they were the only one, dared not speak because they were silenced, and died inside while others went about their way. This is what I call the "oh, surely not/he would never" view, the view of everyday normalcy while hell rages in silence on the other side.  I hate to think how prevalent all this is among people who have been too ashamed, frightened or dead by suicide to come forward. Perhaps the fact that men are now beginning to speak means they will be more readily believed, treated with more respect, and  won't be so barraged with "but why didn't you report it?" silencing tools, which is what women who have been raped almost universally face.

I remember back in the '90s - and everyone seems to have forgotten all about this, though it nearly destroyed my life - the "False Memory Syndrome Foundation", made up of parents and other authority figures who constantly downplayed the prevalence of child sexual abuse. They actually claimed, and the culture desperately wanted to believe it, that incest and sexual abuse was a fairly rare phenomenon, that there was a sort of "abuse bandwagon", and that therapists "implanted" these terrible notions that people claimed they had endured.   

The worst of it was the systematic and ruthless denial that it ever happened, and what we now call "gaslighting" - making the accuser seem "crazy" and delusional. They were usually successful because their victims' lives would be in ruins, and the perpetrators were mostly extremely comfortable, high-status people. They even mentioned it in one of their floods of magazine articles, saying, "We were proud to be such a fine-looking bunch of folks" who "would never" perpetrate such horrors. Survivors were accused of being zombified by abuse propaganda, becoming these harrowing spectres walking around like Stepford wives and bearing poisonous lies, even being coerced into "recanting" and taking it all back. Sometimes, the only way to get your family back was to sacrifice the truth. It was a choice between decapitation and tearing your heart out.

So as bad as I feel about all this, at least this horror is now out of the closet for good - or I hope so. But I believed that it had already happened in the early '90s, though it was all ruthlessly reburied and forgotten about. "False Memory Syndrome" (which doesn't exist, though I believe it forced its way through relentless lobbying into the DSM) was on the cover of EVERY magazine, including Time, Life and Newsweek, but if I bring it up now I get a baffled, "what are you talking about?" look. It's as if it didn't happen at all. Amazing what we do with trauma (i. e. completely forget it ever existed) when we don't want to face it. It doesn't even matter if we have experienced it first-hand or not. It's a cultural numbness which is blessed indeed for those wanting an "out". And amazing, too, how the profound isolation and being treated as crazy and delusional, which so often leads to demolished lives and suicide, seems to last forever.

I found a creepy video which I can't even post here, meant to be an illustration of one of the main tenets of scouting: OBEDIENCE. Now I see that concept as totally poisonous, not just coercive but monstrous. Taking little boys out into the woods and sexually violating them requires automatic submission to authority, a form of grooming and conditioning which paramiltary groups like scouting excel at. Good boys submit, and they don't tell tales, because Scoutmaster John WOULD NEVER do such a thing - and how can you even think of it? Why would such a possibility even come into your mind? What is wrong with you?  

Think how shockingly long it took for the truth to come out - and will it recede back into the shadows again, as it has done so many times before?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

TRIGGERED: why I hate ignorance about my country

This commentary was originally posted in the comments section of a YouTube video about Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the whole "Megxit" scandal which I have been doggedly following like a bloodhound on the scent (though I am not sure why). Some ignorant pundit (and if I hear news people say "pundent" ONE more time, I will scream!) stood up and said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (or whatever they call themselves now) need more security in their hideaway on Vancouver Island because Canadians own MORE guns per capita than the U. S. 

This caused my jaw to hit the floor. But tabloid media (and ALL media) are the province of stories that come unsubstantiated, just out of nowhere:  "a source claims" and "Palace officials have stated. . . ", with no proof of ANY of it. 

I seldom post long commentaries any more, not because I have nothing to say but because I don't know where to start. To avoid being overwhelmed, I must sidestep a lot of it. But this one was too outrageous to let pass. I like to break up big  blocks of text, which I did, with what I hope are appropriate images. 

"I'd like to know where he got his stats on Canadians owning guns! We are NOT a gun-oriented culture, and VERY few citizens arm themselves or own an arsenal, as many civilians do in the U. S. 

Yes, we DO have guns: the criminal element, such as gangs, can always get them illegally. Hunters use them, including indigenous peoples who need them for their food source, but in every case their use is tightly regulated. 

To own a gun, you have to jump through so many hoops (including mental health checks) that it bears NO relation to the U. S., where firearms can be bought at the local hardware store along with duct tape and plumbing supplies. 

We have no "second amendment", no Confederate flag, had no civil war, have an extremely boring history with far less bloodshed, never had a glorious Revolution, are seen as passive and somehow a "lesser" nation, just because we are forced to live cheek-by-jowl with what increasingly looks like a lawless Wild West, where people think the solution to school shootings is arming all the teachers (not to mention some of the students). 

Meanwhile, Trump says "it isn't guns that cause mass shootings, it's mental illness." That's just great, Donald, heaping more BS onto the steaming pile of crap about mental health which by now should be obsolete. So mass shootings are caused by "whack jobs" and "nut bars", and people who are "cray-cray" and "forgot their meds". Maybe it's the fact that I have bipolar disorder and have never even SEEN a gun, or known anyone who owns one, which causes me to wince and even despair when I hear made-up statistics like this. 

But please, no more unsubstantiated assumptions about Canadians and guns. We have been casually compared to the U. S. (inevitably, to our detriment) for as long as I can remember. Either we're that charming little backwater where draft dodgers and ex-royals can hide out, safe from the evil papparazzi, or that nutty place with a hipster fruitcake for a Prime Minister. ENOUGH!"

Monday, February 17, 2020

Is your Wife Helpless - or Dangerous?

Hearst’s Magazine

Is Your Wife Helpless – or Dangerous –

in these times when more idlers make more brutes and more thugs?

These times make more idlers. More idlers mean more brutes and thugs. Brutes and thugs break your house; shock your wife into permanent hysteria and mark your children with a horrible fear for life.

Give your wife the solid assurance of a Savage Protector that she knows she can aim as easy as pointing her finger. That checks the vicious degenerate and heartless criminal.

Fathers, it is your serious duty in these times to arm your home by day and by night with a Savage Automatic – the one arm which every brute and thug fears. They fear its ten lightning shots vs. the 6 or 8 of other makes; they fear the novice’s power to aim it as easy as pointing your finger. Therefore, take pains that you get the Savage – the one the brutes and thugs fear.

As harmless as a kitten around the house, because it is the only automatic that tells by a glance or touch whether loaded or empty.

Take home a Savage today. Or at least send to us for information.


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Friday, February 14, 2020

EXTRA: Monopoly money used to snort Pixy Stix!

Study Shows 85% Of Monopoly Money Used To Snort Pixy Stix
A new study just published by the National Institute of Studying Stuff has pointed to, perhaps, a quite alarming statistic. According to a report on the study’s findings, almost 9 out of 10 bills used to play Monopoly also contain trace elements of pure, uncut, flavored sucrose, or “sugar” as the drug is known on the streets. It would appear, at least according to the NISS’s researcher’s report, that a lot of kids are using Monopoly money to snort Pixy Stix, and so it leaves lawmakers and doctors with the unenviable task of figuring out what they can do to ameliorate the situation.

Some Basic Facts

Each game of traditional Monopoly comes with over $20,000 in cash. Typically, NISS researchers found, it’s the higher denomination bills that  kids are using to snort Pixie Stix. They estimate that nearly 85% of all Monopoly money is eventually used for that purpose, but that for most players it starts with rolling up a fake $500 and blasting their brains with high-potency flavored sugar. There are versions of the game that come with a pretend credit or debit card, to more closely simulate modern commerce, but NISS found that those cards are usually then used to cut up the sugar into small lines, and then players might use the cash from The Game of LIFE instead to snort those lines up.

Pixy Stix have available since 1952. Each “stick” is really just a thin paper straw sealed at both ends, and they all contain an amount of sugar medical professionals would never recommend anyone ingest, let alone through their nasal passages. But snorting Pixy Stix has been a time honored rite of passage for generations of bored adolescents and pre-teens, Dr. Benson Hornaydieux of the NISS research lab told reporters, and he and his team have merely “uncovered a means by which the sugar goes up their nose holes.”

"Obviously our study was done mostly to just confirm whether or not Monopoly money was being used to snort Pixy Stix, and not to make any recommendations or suggestions on what to do with our data,” Dr. Hornaydieux told reporters. “However, clearly if left unaddressed, there could be a generation or more of human beings with an acute desire to roll up a fake bill and blast their brain cells with some of the most high-grade sugar our species has ever seen. We advise swift hearings and meetings to get to the bottom of this burgeoning health crisis.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Brumby: beauty in slow motion

I have had these gifs (finally edited together in a meaningful way) of Australian wild brumby horses for more years than I can count. They're a bit grainy due to their size, but still worth watching. 

Pony on wheels

A gentleman gives a miniature horse a break in this strangely beautiful gif.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Bad Food Roundup

"Dinner" by Hieronymus Bosch

Eggy jelly thingy 

Things stuffed with . . . "stuff".