UPDATE: We are on our way to Portland (Tues PM)
By Kay Ebeling
"We knew they were going to come. They showed up in buses," said Joel Engelman of NY, who was there when church supporters threw coins at crime victims demonstrating in front of Assemblyman Vito Lopez' office in Brooklyn. "After being there a good part of the week, I’d never seen any of those buses, but they were screaming, 'We're from the neighborhood,'" Engelman said.
"Then Lopez spoke, pointed at the survivors, and said, 'They're here for the money, and we're here for justice.' They started throwing coins and dollar bills and saying go home, here’s your money, go home. A couple of aides in the crowd incited them, after Lopez said these people want to bankrupt the church."
Lobbyists against the New York Child Victims Act, working for the Catholic Church, have been using the same questionable tactics as lobbyists against National Health Care Reform, busing people in to demonstrations, after coaching them to chant, holler, and disrupt genuine public discourse.
Tim Walsh of Long Island was also at the incident: "It went on for a good half hour, at the end there were coins all over the street.
"Once the assemblyman said, they want money we want justice, the people started throwing coins," Walsh, who is a New York activist, said.
(Photo left, Rev. Kieran E. Harrington)
"Harrington said, 'I'm just here supporting the church,' and I said, what about the people yelling and throwing coins, you haven’t reached out to victims right there being harassed?," Walsh said.
"He’s like, we can’t afford to allow that kind of legislation go through."
Tim Walsh continued: At first I saw the dollar on the street and was going to pick it up, then I thought no there’s too much going on. Then I looked and saw more coins on the street, then I saw a couple people tossing someting and realized, oh wow, they're throwing coins at us.
"This little pug of a priest about four feet tall is hugging Lopez and smiling, nearly humping the Assemblman's leg, [LAUGHTER] it was pathetic, it was really pathetic."
(Photo left, Similarities between demonstrations against Health Care Reform and against the New York Child Victims Act are too similar for it to be a coincidence.)
"There were about two hundred of them and they didn't know about the Child Victims Act," said Walsh. "They looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about. I went up to some of them and said, we applaud any good acts Lopez does in the neighborhood. We're here because of the backroom deals in Albany Lopez has made trying to stop this bill. They looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about."
Engelman, who works as an activist with Survivors for Justice in NY City, said, "They didn't know what Lopez was doing about the legislation. They didn't know about the Child Victims Act."
Engelman added: "It wasn’t the whole crowd doing it, it started with one, others followed suit, not all throwing coins. It was just people here and there, they were on barricades screaming things like, You look like a pedophile pointing at us. They were just there was no shame.
"A couple hundred from the other side were bused in, the Hassidim community bused in people too," Engelman added.
"They literally didn't know why they were there, but were just standing there because they were told to. I know how that system works, the Hassidic guys, they are in the system throughout the day where they study and get paid to study.
"They just say get on the bus, we've got to be at this place."
(At left, A Demonstrator from local Hassidic Community demonstrating in favor of Child Victims Act outside Vito Lopez office in Brooklyn, New York)
Around the country, crowds bused in by lobbyists are often uninformed on topics about which they are heckling demonstrators. We've seen people on Medicare bused in to Health Care town hall meetings, where they call out that they don't want government interference in their health coverage. And we've seen Catholics young and old and newly immigrated to America, bused in to Vito Lopez' office in Brooklyn NY to heckle adult child sex crime victims demonstrators. The group bused to Lopez' office did not even know there is a Child Victims Act.
We first read about the coin throwing incident in Marci Hamilton's July 28th column: "When the survivors confronted the marchers with the truth about the bill, some of the marchers actually threw coins at the survivors," Hamilton wrote at FindLaw.
Adult victims of pedophile clergy hoped to get the Child Victims Act, which is in a kind of pergatory in the state of New York, passed this year, but deep pockets of church lobbyists prevented it.
Quotes from Hamilton's column about the incident:
"The ugliest confrontation to date, engineered by the bishops and pitting believers against survivors, occurred in front of Lopez's office. A handful of Jewish and Catholic survivors have been staging a protest there for weeks. DiMarzio organized a group of believers to march in support of Lopez's opposition to the Child Victims Act. Two busloads of people were taken to the neighborhood and told – contrary to the facts - that the CVA would bankrupt the dioceses, causing losses of services.
"About a dozen survivors, who had been raped as children by priests and rabbis, stood across the street holding signs in favor of the Child Victims Act. When the survivors confronted the sadly uninformed marchers with the truth about the bill and the misinformation from the bishops and Lopez, they told me directly, some of the marchers actually threw coins at the survivors.
Some of the marchers actually threw coins at the survivors.
Marci Hamilton column that prompted this post:
The New York Catholic Conference's Aggressive Bid to Stop Reform of Child Sex Abuse Laws
(Above, a spontaneous demonstration by persons involved with the issues?)
HOW DID COIN THROWING START?
Engelman said: "It started with one or two people and
then many more of them and then more joined. There were from what I saw, one guy actually threw a 20 dollar bill."
There had been 15 to 20 survivors demonstrating in front of Vito Lopez' office for the past two weeks, and the day of the incident there were the same 15 persons there.
"What happened earlier was the police came," Engelman said, "and when they saw there were suddenly hundreds of people there, they divided the street with barricades, one side for survivors, the other Lopez supporters."
Tim Walsh gave more details about the coin throwing incident:
"Six pastors arrived and they had shipped in two busloads of parishioners. I was talking to one, I said why are you here and he said, oh you guys are going to bankrupt the church
"And there were little old ladies standing around him like they worshipped him. I threw out the facts that I had, facts that we've been using over the months with the legislators in Albany, undermining everything he was saying.
"The guy pushed me, in front of the ladies. And not angrily, but he pushed me away from him."
CofA: That's assault.
Tim: Yeah, and I said to the ladies, ths is how the church treats its own victiims of sex abuse, and the ladies were in shock and he was apologizing. But I didn't accept his apology, I walked away.
Joel: Come on. An assemblyman (like Lopez, pictured left) who can’t get two hundred people to scream in his support and come on their own accord? Those hecklers were there because they were giving back to Lopez, they were getting some kind of thing from the church or from Lopez.
Tim: The Catholic Church and a Jewish group sent in 3 buses, two Catholic kool-aid drinkers and the other was Jewish guys who must snort the stuff. They were all there supporting Lopez saying he does good, with their little posters.
Joel: We knew who was from the neighborhood and none of them looked familiar. They were totally clueless.
Tim: Lopez said, They want money, we want justice. Here he’s only allowing the two year extension of the statutes, and playing right in to what the church wants.
City of Angels was alarmed to find this video at YouTube from the day they tossed the coins:
Joel Engelman said:
The neighborhood is Williamsburg, I grew up there. It's pretty big and while we were out there for a good part of the week, in front of his office, it was very surprising for us to hear that most people in the neighborhood hated him. They were saying, I'm so glad you guys are here.
They'd walk by saying, "Vito Lopez - he’s gotta go." We got to know the locals and got some info on him.
Several people told me that Lopez is not Spanish, the neighborhood is Spanish. Lopez is maybe Italian of Spanish descent but he’s actually Jewish.
He’s been in the neighborhood wheeling and dealing real estate, he was doing that before anything else and he was known as a shady guy. He’s been in the paper, he doesn't even live in Brooklyn, he lives in Queens, but he represents Brooklyn. He probably has a place in Brooklyn, but everyone knows he lives in Queens.
The guy got into office and through his dealings with the community, he became the real estate boss in that part of Brooklyn. All of Brooklyn is pretty corrupt, but this guy is a powerful guy in the Democratic party in Brooklyn. . .
Tim Walsh added:
Lopez, he’s the assemblyman from Brooklyn. He’s pro gay marriage and pro choice and the Catholic Church is offering him a land deal at the same time he is fighting the Child Victims Act
I met the bishop’s henchman Father Harrington in Albany a month or two ago, he stands outside the assembly chambers lobbying, with his collar on, saying the church is going to go bankrupt, the church is going to go bankrupt.
He said they want money, we want justice, and then they started throwing coins.
Here is video of Vito Lopez rallying his troops against the Child Victims Act in Albany:
At the channel hosting above video from Albany on YouTube it says:
New York State Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D, 53rd District) speaks at the Knights of Columbus prayer rally on May 12, 2009 regarding two sexual-abuse bills under consideration in the assembly and state senate.
At the channel hosting the video of the hollering demonstrators outside Vito Lopez' office it says:
A Rally that demonstrated the good that M of A Vito Lopez has done for BUshwick and Williamsburg. And to further let opponents of the Lopez Bill know that we support M of A Lopez, and trust his judgement. [sic]
Like City of Angels reported here, this rallying of crowds around a unifying common hatred is known as Fascism.
More info on Anti-Health care demonstrations across the
"Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks. Republicans respond that the protests are an organic response to the Obama administration’s health care restructuring proposals.
"There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.
From New York times report Saturday August 8, 2009
Democrats say protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups
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