1

The Real Sermon on the Docks

This seems appropriate for the feast day of Saint Joseph the Worker.

Probably the most powerful sermon ever placed on film, Father Barry speaks of Christ and his crucifixion on the docks.  The best performance Karl Malden ever gave.  Elia Kazan’s masterpiece, On the Waterfront  (1954) was also his response to the criticism he received for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.

 

 

The character of Father Barry was based on the actual work on the docks of a hardbitten Irish-Catholic Jesuit Priest, Father John Corridan.  From 1946-1957 he waged a one man crusade in New York against the gangsters who controlled the International Longshoreman’s Association.  One of the bosses who controlled the union was “Tough” Tony Anastasia,  a brother of Albert “The Madhatter” Anastasia, one of the former bosses of Murder, Inc.

In the face of these murderers, Father Corridan, son of a New York cop who had died when Corridan was nine, was completely fearless.  Teaching longshoremen Christian principles in labor\management relations at the Saint Francis Xavier Labor School, Father Corridan faced down a union thug sent to disrupt his class:  “If anything happens to the men I’m trying to help here, I’ll know who’s responsible, and I’ll personally see to it that they are broken throughout this port. They’ll pay and I’ll see that they pay.”

Father Corridan compiled information which eventually filled sixteen filing cabinets on the mobsters who controlled the ports and who made life miserable for honest longshoremen.  He shared this information freely with reporters, including Malcolm Johnson of the New York Sun who won a Pulitzer for his series in 1948 on “Crime on the Waterfront”.  Father Corridan realized the pressure that could be exerted on the mob and the crooked politicians who protected the mob by such stories, and he used every opportunity to expose them in the press.  He wrote scorching articles himself for America and other publications.  Gradually the public began to become aware of the problem of mob domination of the docks.

A turning point came in 1951 when a faction of the longshoremen rejected a union negotiated contract and went on a wildcat strike.  Father Corridan supported them to the hilt.  The strike shut down ports in New York and New Jersey for twenty-five days.  To refute a claim by the mob dominated union that the strikers were communists, Father Corridan held a public prayer service with the strikers.  He also successfully pressured Governor Dewey of New York to address the issue of mob control of the docks.

Father Barry in the movie had his sermon on the docks.  Father Corridan preached many of them and one of them had this memorable statement:  “I suppose some people would smirk at the thought of Christ in the shape-up. It is about as absurd as the fact that He carried carpenter’s tools in His hands and earned His bread by the sweat of His brow. As absurd as the fact that Christ redeemed all men irrespective of their race, color, or station in life. It can be absurd only to those of whom Christ has said, ‘Having eyes, they see not; and having ears, they hear not.’ Because they don’t want to see or hear. Christ also said, ‘If you do it to the least of mine, you do it to me.’ So Christ is in the shape-up.”

The shape up was the system by which the mob completely controlled which longshoremen would work and which would not.  Father Corridan succeeded in having the shape up banned by the time that he left the docks in 1957, and a New York\New Jersey commission was in place to regulate the harbors.

Father Corridan went on to teach economics at LeMoyne College in Syracuse , theology at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City and was a hospital chaplain in Brooklyn until his death at 73 in 1984.  It is said of Father Corridan that he could swear like a longshoreman himself at the sight of injustice.  If true, then I imagine his language is pure in his final abode.

35

The Beauty Queen and the Priest

As faithful readers of this blog know, for my sins, no doubt, I am an attorney.  Over my 35 years at the bar I have been involved as defense counsel in more than my share of criminal cases.  In regard to what follows please recall that I am going by accounts in the media and that is a very poor substitute for actually being involved in a case.  However, what I have read, as a defense attorney, troubles me greatly, hence this post.

Back in 1960 Irene Garza had life by the tail.  She was 25 years old, a beauty queen, a teacher of disadvantaged kids, and a faithful Catholic, a daily communicant.  On Easter eve she decided to go to Confession.  A then 27 year old priest John Feit, a visiting priest at Sacred Heart parish in McAllen, Texas, said he heard her Confession at the rectory.  Two days later her body was found floating in an irrigation canal.  She had been beaten, suffocated and raped while unconscious.  Suspicion focused on Feit and he was brought in for questioning.  He was never charged, allegedly due to influence by the Catholic Church.  Feit denied that he had murdered her and has continued to deny that murder.

Feit left the priesthood in 1972, got married and had kids.  Over the years there were efforts to reopen the investigation but nothing came of these efforts until 2016 when an indictment was returned by a grand jury.  The trial was held this year and Feit was sentenced to life imprisonment.  Go here to read about the background to the trial and the trial.

I rather suspect myself that Feit was probably guilty of the murder, but his trial, as describe in the media, seems unbelievable from the way in which it tromped on the rights of the accused, and the weakness of the evidence.  Go here to read an account of the trial.  Here are some of the major problem areas that I hope an appellate court addresses.

  1.  The prosecution was allowed to bring into evidence at trial evidence of alleged pressure by the Catholic Church against prosecution of the priest back in 1960.  How in the world did that have any legal relevance to the murder charge?  Even if were relevant the prejudice clearly outweighed any probative value and the trial judge should not have allowed a second of it to come before the jury.
  2. A former monk was allowed to testify that Feit confessed the murder to him in 1963.  It flabbergasts me that the judge allowed that in.  Rule 505 Of the Texas Rules of Evidence  should have clearly banned that testimony from admission.  Go here to read Rule 505.
  3. A few weeks before the murder a woman was attacked in church, she fought off the man, at a parish where Feit was serving.  Feit was charged after the woman picked him out of a lineup.  After two trials with hung juries, Feit pleaded no contest to a charge of attacking the young woman, a greatly reduced charge, and was fined $500.00.  Once again, this should not have been allowed into evidence.  The probative value is outweighed by the prejudice to the defendant.

Without these items the evidence against Feit was insufficient and the jury should have returned a verdict of not guilty.  I hope his conviction is overturned on appeal.  The murder of Irene Garza cries out for justice, but the cause of justice was ill served by this dog’s breakfast of a case.  The case had become a political football and allowed the current District Attorney to be elected against the incumbent in 2014.  Go here to read an article from 2014 which gives a taste of the politics involved.

 

How do you convict an ex-priest of a 57 year old murder?  With anti-Catholic bigotry I fear, and a judge who apparently badly needs a remedial course on Evidence.

 

Update:

Go here to read an article on the testimony allow in about the alleged history of the Catholic Church in shielding predator priests.  This alone should be sufficient for reversal on appeal.

The judge hearing this case, who denied a defense motion for a change of venue although the case of Irene Garza was clearly a political football in the county, was once suspended from practice in the federal courts for two years.  Go here to read about it.

The District Attorney was allowed by the Judge to suggest that the Catholic Church got rid of physical evidence linking Feit to the murder although there was zero evidence of this.

This case is an insult to all self respecting kangeroos.

 

 

20

Charles Manson Dead

A reminder of evil times past:

 

The man who masterminded one of the most heinous murder sprees in American history — is dead  … this according to the sister of his famous victim.

Debra Tate tells TMZ she received a call from the prison telling her Manson died 8:13 PM Sunday.

We’re told the prison is contacting all of the victims’ families.

Manson was recently wheeled into Bakersfield hospital and escorted by 5 uniformed cops. Our sources had said at the time, “It’s just a matter of time.” He was covered in blankets and looked ashen in the gurney.

TMZ broke the story … Manson was taken from Corcoran State Prison to the hospital back in January where he was being treated for intestinal bleeding.

As we reported … Manson was supposed to undergo surgery but it was deemed too risky.

Manson has been locked up since his arrest in December 1969 for the Tate-LaBianca murders. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit the slayings, which occurred one day after the next in August 1969.

 

Go here to read the rest. Charles Miles Maddox, known as Charles Miles Manson, founded a muderous cult known as the Manson Family.  A petty criminal, Manson spent his life in and out of state and federal prisons, being released in 1967.  Manson for years was fixated on starting a race war in which he would play the role in the apocalyptic aftermath of Jesus Christ.  That summary does too much credit for the ravings of Manson who clearly was mentally ill.  One of his followers Catherine Share stated how Manson’s fixation on the Beatles helped initiate what Manson called the Helter Skelter scenario:

“When the Beatles’ White Album came out, Charlie listened to it over and over and over and over again. He was quite certain that the Beatles had tapped in to his spirit, the truth—that everything was gonna come down and the black man was going to rise. It wasn’t that Charlie listened to the White Album and started following what he thought the Beatles were saying. It was the other way around. He thought that the Beatles were talking about what he had been expounding for years. Every single song on the White Album, he felt that they were singing about us. The song ‘Helter Skelter’—he was interpreting that to mean the blacks were gonna go up and the whites were gonna go down.”

It says much for just how bizarre the late sixties were in the 1960s, and how many lost souls were running around, especially in California, that Manson had no problem, although clearly crazy and dangerous, in assembling a following eager to do his bidding.

As a result of this lunacy a total of seven people would be murdered in the Tate-LaBianca murders, on August 9 and August 10, 1969, with Manson and his followers attempting to leave clues that would convince the police that Black militants had performed the slayings.

Being a bunch of drug-besotten losers, the plan quickly backfired with Manson and his loons being arrested and placed on trial.  Manson was sentenced to death with his death sentence being commuted to life imprisonment, following the California Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty was unconstitutional in 1972.  As a result of this, the relatives of the victims had to relive the crimes each time that Manson came up for parole, he would appeal before the parole board twelve times, and they testified that he should never breathe free air again. The board on his last appearance noted that Manson had never given any sign of remorse for his crimes.  His next parole hearing would have been when he had attained the age of 92.  He was 83 at the time of his death.

It is chilling to recall that a portion of the hard left regarded Manson as a hero back in 1969:

The charismatic Bernardine Dohrn, later a friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, feverishly told Weatherman followers: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

When I asked Weatherman Mark Rudd why his otherwise intelligent friends paid homage to Manson, he told me: “We wanted to be bad.”

Like Dohrn, Rolling Stone later went on to enjoy mainstream respectability despite publishing bizarre views on one of the twentieth century’s most notorious serial killers. Whereas Manson looked every bit the madman on the cover of Life, he appeared as a visionary on the front page of Rolling Stone. Therein, the magazine depicted Manson’s refusal to offer an insanity plea as a principled stand and characterized his criticism of the legal system as “obviously accurate in many ways.” In calling him Charlie, a first-name-basis intimacy later reserved for Madonna, Prince, Bruce, and other singing celebrities, the magazine actively sought to humanize the man who dehumanized so many.

Other underground newspapers went further. The Los Angeles-based Tuesday’s Child proclaimed, “Manson: Man of the Year” on one cover and depicted Manson as Jesus Christ dying on the cross under the tag “Hippie” on another. The Los Angeles Free Press ran a weekly column penned by Manson. The Other, playing off controversial remarks made by the president, headlined an issue “Manson Declares Nixon Guilty.” Upon the release of an album of Manson’s music, several underground newspapers provided advertising for it gratis.

Go here to read the rest.

One of his followers, Lynette Alice, “Squeaky”, Fromme attempted to assassinate President Ford on September 5, 1975.  Sentenced to life imprisonment, she was paroled in 2009.

Looking back on the evil, wasted life of Charles Manson we see the end to which the misuse of free will can drive a person, and the mystery of why Christ died for even such as Charles Manson, but God can love even when Man can’t.

 

4

November 16, 1940: Mad Bomber of New York Plants First Bomb

George Metesky, the most disgruntled of all disgruntled workers, planted his first bomb at a Consolidated Edison power plant on Manhattan.  A former Marine, Metesky had worked for Consolidated Edison and been injured at a work place accident in 1931.  Consolidated Edison successfully defeated his legal attempt to obtain compensation, his last appeal occurring in 1936.  (He waited too long in order to file a claim under workers compensation.)  He developed a strong hatred for the company, and decided to use homemade bombs to get his vengeance.  His first bomb was a crude one, a brass pipe filled with gunpowder, with an ignition mechanism consisting of batteries and sugar.  The bomb was discovered before it could go off.  It was wrapped in a note signed F.P. stating :  CON EDISON CROOKS – THIS IS FOR YOU.

 

 

 

In September 1941 the police found a similar bomb, this time a dud, without a note, laying in the street, five blocks from Consolidated Edison headquarters.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Metesky sent a note to the police stating:  I WILL MAKE NO MORE BOMB UNITS FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR – MY PATRIOTIC FEELINGS HAVE MADE ME DECIDE THIS – LATER I WILL BRING THE CON EDISON TO JUSTICE – THEY WILL PAY FOR THEIR DASTARDLY DEEDS… F.P.

He kept his word, and took a ten year hiatus from planting bombs.  Between 1951-1956 he planted at least 31 bombs in New York City, twenty-two of which exploded.  Mercifully no one was killed, but fifteen people were injured.

The public was getting hysterical due to the police inability of stopping the bombings, the New York City police being surrounded by blind leads and a wave of false confessions.  They turned to criminologist James Brussels who worked out a profile of the bomber that was published in newspapers by the police:

Male, as historically most bombers were male. Well proportioned and of average build, based on studies of hospitalized mental patients. Forty to fifty years old, as paranoia develops slowly. Precise, neat and tidy, based on his letters and the workmanship of his bombs. An exemplary employee, on time and well-behaved. A Slav, because bombs were favored in Middle Europe. A Catholic, because most Slavs were Catholic. Courteous but not friendly.

Has a good education but probably not college. Foreign-born or living in a community of the foreign-born – the formal tone and old-fashioned phrasing of the letters sounded to Brussel as if they had been written or thought out in a foreign language and then translated into English. Based on the rounded letter “w’s” of the handwriting, believed to represent breasts, and the slashing and stuffing of theater seats, Brussel thought something about sex was troubling the bomber, possible an oedipus complex – loving his mother and hating his father and other authority figures.

A loner, no friends, little interest in women, possibly a virgin. Unmarried, perhaps living with an older female relative. Probably lives in Connecticut, as Connecticut has high concentrations of Slavs, and many of the bomber’s letters were posted in Westchester County, midway between Connecticut and New York City.

Pleased by all the publicity, Metesky entered into a taunting correspondence with the police by sending letters to the New York Journal American.  A Consolidated Edison clerk, Alice Kelly finally broke the case.  She had been assigned to examine files in which injured workers had made explicit or implicit threats.  She noticed that some of the phrases used in Metesky’s letters to Consolidated Edison matched the correspondence  sent by F.P. to the New York Journal American.  Police arrested Metesky on January 21, 1957.  He made a complete confession and told the officers that F.P.  stood for Fair Play.  Found to be insane, Metesky spent 25 years in a mental hospital before being released, having been unresponsive to therapy but otherwise a model inmate.  He died twenty years later in 1994, age 90.

18

Mentally Handicapped Man Tortured By Four Monsters

 

 

Unbelievable, even by Chicago standards:

 

Chicago Police detectives are questioning four African-Americans suspected of torturing a white mentally disabled man on videotape while someone yelled “F— Trump!” and “F— white people!,” a police spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

“The video is reprehensible,” said Anthony Guglielmi, the police spokesman.

The white victim lives in northwest suburban Crystal Lake, Guglielmi said.

Detectives think the young man, who appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s, met some acquaintances in northwest suburban Streamwood and they drove him to Chicago in a stolen vehicle, Guglielmi said.

The victim is believed to have been held hostage and tortured in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side, Guglielmi said. Continue Reading

12

A Horrific Crime You Will Probably Hear Little About

Craig Hicks

 

 

May the souls of the three murder victims rest in peace.  You probably won’t hear much about this crime:

 

Police say a dispute over a parking space spurred the murder Tuesday of three North Carolina college students, but the Muslim father of two of the victims insisted Wednesday that his daughters’ neighbor and alleged killer had menaced them before and was driven by hate.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to police in Chapel Hill overnight. Although a Facebook page in Hicks’ name that described him as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and blasted “radical Christians and radical Muslims” for causing strife in the world prompted rampant suspicion the crime was motivated by hate, police said Wednesday it was about a parking space at the condominium complex where the murders took place.

Those killed were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Raleigh, N.C. resident Razan Abu-Salha, Chapel Hill Police said in a statement.

 

Three Victims

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14

Jesus Wept

 

I like to think that there are some things so terrible that no one would even imagine them, let alone do them, and then we have something like this occur and my pleasing illusion goes out the window:

 

At least 26 people were killed, including at least 18 children, when a gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning, a law enforcement official said. The alleged gunman, a 20-year-old male, was later found dead at the school.

The incident sent crying children spilling into the school parking lot as frightened parents waited for word on their loved ones.

 

 

“I was in the gym and I heard a loud, like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner, so we all huddled,” one student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown told NBC Connecticut during its live broadcast. “And I kept hearing these booming noises. And we all … started crying. Continue Reading

34

A Brief Thought on Immigration

Conservatives are fairly comfortable with the point that if you ban or severely restrict guns, than only the criminals will be armed.

Let’s then ask ourselves: If we ban or severely restrict immigration (most especially from a right-next-door country with a much poorer economy, such as Mexico) aren’t we assuring that only criminals immigrate?

If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?

28

Changed My Mind: Three Strikes Laws

I’ve been challenged on a few occasions, as one tends to be if one is a fairly strong adherent of one end of the political spectrum or another, as to whether I’ve ever changed my mind on anything to a position contrary to the standard conservative one. And so, an example:

When a three strikes law was put on the ballot in California (where I lived at the time) I was a strong supporter. California was one of the first states to pass a three strikes law, and there was huge support for it because California was suffering badly from the 90s crime wave. The case for it seemed simple: If you’ve committed three felonies, you’re clearly not learning your lesson, and 25-life will take you off the streets and prevent you from continuing to be a danger to society. Support for the bill was heavily fueled by frustration with a justice system which seemed to act far too much like a revolving door, with rapists and murderers often being back on the streets within 5-8 years, and proceeding to commit similar crimes again. With the judiciary and prison system seemingly unwilling to do their job in keeping criminals off the streets, the case seemed strong for citizens to pass legislation forcing them to, and the three strikes law seemed like an obvious way to do it.
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4

The Real Sermon on the Waterfront

Hattip to the ever reticent lads and lasses at Lair of the Catholic Cavemen.    Probably the most powerful sermon ever placed on film, Father Barry speaks of Christ and his crucifixion on the docks.  The best performance Karl Malden ever gave.  Elia Kazan’s masterpiece, On the Waterfront  (1954) was also his response to the criticism he received for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.

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3

Gun Control and School Shootings

Politicians are already considering how to tighten gun control laws as people respond with shock and horror to a school shooting spree which took the lives of 15 victims and the 18-year-old shooter in a small town today in Germany. The problem is, Germany already has some of the tightest gun laws in Europe, a continent of tight gun laws.

In 2002, in the wake of a school shooting which killed 17 plus the shooter, Germany went so far as to require a permit for airsoft guns and starter pistols. Under current German laws, someone must have a gun license for each gun he purchases, and licenses expire and must be renewed at least every three years. To get a license, you must a 18 for an airgun or .22, and 21 for larger calibers. Applicants are subjected to a criminal and psychological background check and must demonstrate ability and safety knowledge.

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