The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 27th, 2015: Il Papa, Don’t Preach

Recently, “Il Papa”, Pope Francis, has pissed off several (often overlapping) factions of conservative “Christian” politicians, pundits, and what I’ve decided to call “pulpiteers”, aka Evangelicals. Apparently the Pope is only “infallible” when his flock agrees with his pronouncements or actions. I find it deliciously ironic that the first Pope in, well, “god” knows how long, to actually emulate the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ according to their own bible makes all of these faux christians so suspicious, dismissive, and ultimately hypocritical. I can just imagine one of the conversations:

Derp 1: “Washing the feet of poor people and criminals? Who the hell does that?”
Derp 2: “Well, according to the Bible, Jesus Christ did. Oh, and Christ fed the poor, too – you heard that Frankie wants all of us Christians to do that, too, right?”
Derp 1: “I know, is he crazy?! C’mon, that do-goody stuff isn’t supposed to be taken literally!”
Derp 2: “No, of course not, not those “New Testament” Jesus-y parts, anyway; just the parts about dominating the earth and all its resources, and the parts about stoning homos and wimmen and your kids if they sass you.”
Derp 1: “Exactly, that’s my point, we have to put the fear of god into these $chmuck$, er, potential voters!”

After already dissing unbridled capitalism and corporate greed, among other things, in his 2013 missive “Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World”, last week Pope Francis issued his now-infamous encyclical focusing on man-made climate change, and his idea of the correct Christian, and, as he noted, human course of action necessary to combat it for the good of Planet Earth and all of her children.

While some Catholic and other Christian groups agreed with Pope Francis and are willing to preach his ‘gospel’ to their flocks, other self-proclaimed “Christians” pretty much think that either Pope Francis is wrong, or that he should mind his own goddam beeswax. In particular, the many Catholics (or whatever “Christian” flavor) among the numerous Republican 2016 Presidential hopefuls would prefer that the Pope stay quiet. From the ThinkProgress article:

“At a town hall event in New Hampshire…[Jeb] Bush said that religion “ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”

 

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home,” Bush said, “but I don’t get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.”

No, Jeb, you certainly don’t get your economic policy from your pope, otherwise you’d actually have to DO something to help the poor. And it doesn’t seem to be working out when it comes to “making [you] better as people”, unless somehow by “better” you mean “more hateful.”

However, you and your ilk seem perfectly happy to get your SOCIAL policy, in particular regarding women’s rights, abortion, and LGBT rights, from your pope and your bible.  And you definitely LOVE it when your flavor of religion ends up crafting legal policy for the entire country, you fuckwad.

The article goes on to say that:

“Bush’s views on climate change and religion have, at times, been contradictory. In May, the presidential candidate and brother of George W. Bush said that the science surrounding climate change was “convoluted.”

“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”

Once again, NO, Jeb, it’s NOT “intellectual arrogance” when the vast majority of scientists who have studied all of the data have come to the inevitable conclusion that global climate change is real, it’s mostly man-made, and it’s going to make the lives of your – and everybody else’s – grandchildren and greatgrandchildren a miserable hell.

And, of course, Rick Santorum had to get his twisted views out there:

““The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science,” Santorum told radio host Dom Giordano. “We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”

WHAT the huh? Morality? Wait, he’s got more:

“I’m saying, what should the pope use his moral authority for?” Santorum asked. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change.”

Are you fucking kidding, Rantorum? Oh, hold on for the finish:

“When we get involved with controversial and scientific theories, I think the Church is not as forceful and not as credible,” Santorum continued. “I’ve said this to the Catholic bishops many times — when they get involved in agriculture policy, or things like that, that are really outside of the scope of what the Church’s main message is, that we’re better off sticking to the things that are really the core teachings of the Church as opposed to getting involved in every other kind of issue that happens to be popular at the time.”

Okay, for Jeb and Sick Rantorum and every other Catholic and self-proclaimed Christian: If you are true to your supposed faith, then every official utterance of Pope Francis or any other Pope is, according to YOUR dogma, the infallible transmission of the Word of your God. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the Pope is supposed to be the unquestionable representative of your Trinity. And if you and your science-denying conservative cohorts DON’T think that global climate change is the MOST pressing problem confronting the Earth, then you don’t deserve to even be aspiring to the Presidency of these United States. Just sit down and shut up.

Anyhoo…NOW Pope Francis has done something to ruffle the feathers, to say the least, of Israel and her supporters: According to Foreign Policy Magazine:

“On Friday [June 26], the Vatican signed a comprehensive treaty with Palestinian authorities, formalizing a basic agreement between the Catholic Church and the PLO back in 2000. In essence, it is a formal declaration of the Holy See’s support for the creation of a Palestinian state and the peace process with Israel. “[I]t is my hope that the present agreement may, in some way, be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both Parties,” wrote Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher.”

 

“The news is not going over well in Tel Aviv. “This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.”

 

“[G]iven its sordid history of anti-Semitism, book-burnings, forced conversions and Inquisitions, the Catholic Church should think a hundred times over before daring to step on Israel’s toes,” wrote Michael Freund, former deputy communications director to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Jerusalem Post on May 18. “If anything, the pope should be down on his knees pleading for forgiveness from the Jewish people and atonement from the Creator for what the Vatican has wrought over the centuries.”

I’m really starting to enjoy this new Pope Francis reality show (especially as a former Catholic) – it beats the hell out of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice Asshole” or “19 and Groping.”  Heh.

This is our daily Open Thread–go ahead and talk about things!

Sunday Roast: March 17, 2013 – Including NSFW

So what is going on this Sunday, not much, and that’s not always bad. I picked a fews reads for you, I hope you all slept in 😉

President Obama will be in Israel next week. The so-called peace process, was there ever a real effort (?), is not only stalled, it is at it’s lowest point since I remember. The Economist picks up the topic:

IN 1942, as the Holocaust in Europe was entering its most horrific phase, a pacifist American rabbi called Judah Magnes helped found a political party in Palestine called Ihud. Hebrew for unity, Ihud argued for a single binational state in the Holy Land to be shared by Jews and Arabs. Its efforts—and those of like-minded idealists—came to naught. Bitterly opposed to the partition of Palestine, Magnes died in 1948 just as the state of Israel—the naqba, or catastrophe, to Palestinians—was being born. Decades of strife were to follow.(read more)

Cyprus needs a bailout. That’s not really news, but the account holders will get a haircut, oops:

Cypriots reacted with shock that turned to panic on Saturday after a 10% one-off levy on savings was forced on them as part of an extraordinary 10bn euro (£8.7bn) bailout agreed in Brussels.(read more)

Formula 1 is on, finally, The Lotus Effect:

Kimi Raikkonen proved he and Lotus have what it takes this year to become Formula One world champions after storming to victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.(read more)

And, kids, you look the other way now:

Close your eyes and ears,” warns an off-screen voice, “because here comes a sex comedy that’s all about bonking and banging.” Then Bavarian character Sepp appears on screen. As he assumes a wide-legged stance in an Alpine pasture, a cow gazes awe-struck at the fly of his lederhosen. Thunderbolts shoot out of his tight leather shorts, bulging with excessive man-power.( read more)

Again, there’s not much going on really, I could have brought you ‘She Who Must Not Be Named’ and her CPAC speech, but I am not cruel.

This is our Open Thread. All Yours!

Protest!

shalom2salam writes in the text for the video:

This song is dedicated to the thousands of ordinary people around the world, including many Jews, who worked together to break the Israeli siege on Gaza in August 08 by sailing two small wooden boats from Cyprus to Gaza and bringing medical supplies, baby food, and other necessities. Since that first siege-busting voyage, the Free Gaza movement has succcessfully sent to Gaza four additional boats, and are planning on sending many more. They have shown that the concerted efforts of ordinary civilians working together in the name of justice can confront and successfully challenge Israel’s brutal policies.

And in an update:

At a time when Gaza civilians, including women and children, are being slaughtered by the hundreds (by now 700 Palestinians have been killed, and some 3,000 others are wounded — most of whom are civilians, including women and children) it is not time to sing about peace. It is time to act, productively, to stop this barbarism and insanity.
1. If you are Jewish or have Jewish friends, ask them to sign:
“Jews Call on Israeli Soldiers to Stop War Crimes”
http://www.ajjp.org/campaigns/signSta…
2.Demand from your leaders immediate international intervention to stop the massacres. Demand the U.N. General Assembly establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel under Article 22 of the UN Charter.
Details here:
http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3856

From a distance: My Wish List for President elect Obama

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The general election has a first positive impact: Europeans are for the first time in many years applauding America. I haven’t spoken to a single person here, who is not happy with Barack Obama as President elect. You voters have made a huge step in mending the abysmal reputation of America.

I am personally delighted with the result, but that won’t surprise anybody, I guess. So, what am I expecting from an Obama Administration? A lot. Continue reading

The sunday papers – Middle East turmoil

The world is turning outside the US primaries, too and it keeps spinning towards a very nasty escalation in the Middle East. Gaza is burning and despite a security council meeting to end the violence, Israel seems determined to subdue the Palestinians in Gaza at all cost. It has initially warned Palestinians of a holocaust, if the rocket attacks targeted at Israeli towns wouldn’t stop. Israel fired rockets on Gaza and killed two Hamas members, which in turn led to an increased firing of rockets onto Israeli soil. The situation is now deteriorating rapidly with Palestinians in the West Bank clashing with Israeli troops. Scores of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, many if not most of them, civilians. President Abbas has cancelled all scheduled peace talks. Saudi Arabia and Kuweit have advised their citizens to immediately leave Lebanon.

The Times

Israel’s top brass is saying that its major incursion into Gaza, while very big, is not yet “the big one,” the full-scale invasion and re-occupation of the territory that Israel left in 2005.

The Guardian – Observer

The latest bloodshed comes as an Observer investigation revealed how Israel is again deliberately obstructing the transfer of urgent medical cases for treatment outside Gaza, in the latest extension of its policy of collective punishment of Palestinians.

The Independent

Yossi Beilin, the former minister and ex-leader of the left of centre Meretz Party, said that a diplomatic rather than military solution was needed.

He said that Hamas had at least twice made requests “via a third party” to agree a truce. He added: “My solution is to reach a ceasefire with Hamas.”

A Haaretz-Dialog poll this week showed that 64 per cent of Israelis were in favour of such an agreement to end the rocket fire, and secure the release of the Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit, who was abducted by Gaza militants in June 2006.

The Telegraph

The head of emergency services at the Palestinian ministry of health said Saturday’s death toll was the worst in Gaza from a single day of fighting for five years. At least three women and nine children, ranging in age from 13 months to 17 years, were reported among the dead.

Condoleeza Rice is due to arrive in the Middle East this week for a new round of talks.

Personal Reasons?

via Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nicholas Burns, the U.S. pointman on Iran and India and the number three U.S. diplomat, is expected to step down for personal reasons in an announcement to be made on Friday, a U.S. official said.

Nicholas Burns was the key-player in negotiating sactions against Iran, due to their alleged nuclear weapons program. He will likely be succeeded by the ambassador to Moscow, William Burns. Condoleeza Rice will announce this shortly.

Given the situation in the Gulf and the apparent efforts of the neocon faction in the Bush Administration to get their war with Iran, one can’t but wonder what the “personal reasons” are supposed to be.

Meanwhile the violence in the Middle East increases again. Israel in it’s neverending push for Peace with the Palestinians has launched another attack against Gaza and the Hamas and has flattened the interior ministry of Hamas.

The Middle East – again

As if yesterday’s blog entry needed confirmation, here are just two developments from the Middle East, that came up today.

Israel has killed the Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar’s son in an intense battle in Gaza. Israel was destroying houses that had been used to fire rockets into Israel. Both, the firing of rockets and the retaliation have to stop if anything remotely resembling a peace process is meant to be brough to life. Hamas was never invited into the peace process, so they don’t have to feel bound by it. But Israel is part of it, at least thats what we hear on press conferences. Whenever we look at the headlines we see blood.

In Lebanon a bomb has targeted an US embassy vehicle. Four people were killed in the explosion. Lebanon doesn’t look much different than Somalia these days.

Don’t look away. The primaries will be over soon, the election even. The Middle East turmoil is going to be a lasting legacy of the Bush Administration.