Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Reader Vents

I think in the six years I have been doing this blog, I have commented on a comment once. This is because Ratbang Diary is not a dialog, nor is it a conversation. Readers are welcome to say what they want, unless it's overly abusive or overly long, and I will print comments. But although I think comments are interesting to readers, they are not interesting or important to me.

However, I just received a comment from "anonymous" regarding my blog today (December 21, 2010) about the Pope. Anonymous said: "ma vedi di andartene affanculo!!" Or, "see, go fuck yourself".

And I am going to comment on it.

Leaving a nasty comment in a language other than English and signing it "Anonymous" is not clever. It's weaselly,  ignorant and silly. Disagreement is good, well-thought-out argument is good. But cowardice and abuse is not good. And cowardice and abuse is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has been guilty of and is what I am railing against.

Dear Pope Ratz: Don’t Ask Yourselves, Ask Me!


Get this! The guy in the Vatican who bears the main responsibility for the monumentally wrong-headed, uncivilized and unconscionable goings-on in the Vatican for the last 30 years--Cardinal Raztinger, now Pope Benedict XVI—on Monday addressed the current abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and said in a Christmas message to the Vatican hierarchy: “We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred, We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen.” He also said the abuse scandal had reached “a degree we could not have imagined” this year.

Well, maybe Ratz could not have imagined it because he and the Curia and all the Church sycophants who unctuously kiss his ring and live in Vatican City—a rarified, isolated little universe in Rome where the inhabitants are protected by Italian law from knowing or understanding anything about what goes on in the world---but any 16-year-old outside of Vatican City could have imagined in full-color and easy-to-read prose exactly the degree to which the abuse scandal would gain traction and become known to the world.

It was Ratz who was Pope John Paul’s “enforcer” and whose job it was to silence all Roman Catholic dissidents. It was Ratz who was was made head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 1981 and whose job it was to deal with priests who were accused of molesting children. And although this month the Vatican has found and made public a letter from 1988 that shows that Ratz had tried to find ways to punish pedophile priests, the Vatican says he was unsuccessful.

And why do you think he was unsuccessful? Because he didn’t want to be successful. 

Ratz also said in his Christmas message that we have to realize that even in the 1970’s the devastation of pedophilia was not well understood. 

Now that is pure bullshit! The effects of pedophilia on the victims has been well understood for decades everywhere in the world but in the Vatican, which, for reasons not well understood, has chosen to ignore the information on pedophilia that has been available.

And who, we might ask, is the boss in the Vatican that within the last year has allowed a Vatican spokesperson to report to the world at large that the abuse scandal was a concoction of the New York Times and RC haters who wanted to discredit the Church? Who allowed a Vatican spokesperson to opine that press coverage of the RC Church abuse scandal was like anti-semitism? Who allowed a Vatican spokesperson to say that women priests are worse than pedophiles? Pope Ratz,that’s who.

So…yesterday, for Christmas, the Pope declared that he and his cohorts must look all over and in every nook and cranny and find the reasons WHY the RC Church is in the sad state it’s in.

Well, Pope, you have two options:
No. 1) You can ask me and I will tell you; or,
No. 2) Look in the mirror. There he is: The RC Church abuse-enabler for the last 30 years.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prequel to “The Man Who Hated Christmas”


Yesterday, the New York Times printed a page 1 story in the Metropolitan Section about Bob Kulicke. It was called “The Man Who Hated Christmas” by Wendell Jamieson. Jamieson had been a sort-of stepson of Bob’s in New York City during the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

I loved the article because Bob Kulicke had been a really good friend to me in the 50’s and 60’s—‘way before Wendell Jamieson’s mom and Bob got involved, Bob had even saved my sorry ass one memorable time.

When I knew him, Bob Kulicke had a frame shop at 73rd Street and York Avenue on the east side of Manhattan. My husband Ron Gorchov and I and our tots Michael and Jolie lived on the first floor of a three-story brownstone at 73rd and York. Ron was (and still is) a painter. Bob did the framing for the Museum of Modern Art back then. He was a sweet, warm-hearted, volatile, very funny guy. By 1960, Ron and I were in the midst of a break-up and Ron had moved out. I think Bob and his wife Barbara (Bobby) were having troubles back then too.

Our son Michael was about 7 years old and he loved going over to the frame shop. Bob let him help making frames, like applying the first coat of gesso on what would become a baroque and “distressed” rococo frame. It wasn’t unusual for Bob to drop by our apartment around 4:00 in the afternoon for a cup of coffee. One afternoon, I recognized his knock on the door and I invited him in. The kitchen was the first room you entered. I’d just made a pot of coffee.

We sat down at the round kitchen table near a window looking on 73rd Street. Bob happened to glance over at a wide shelf on a floor-to ceiling-cabinet where I kept odds and ends like cookbooks, pens and pencils and bills to be paid. An item on the shelf caught his eye. He picked it up.

“What the fuck is this…I mean…what IS this?”

“Hmmmm…well Bob…I guess it’s what it says…it’s an eviction notice.”

Eviction notices came in different colors. Like, the first one was pink. One ignored pink ones. The second one was yellow. One ignored yellow ones. The final one was green. You either didn’t ignore the green one or you got evicted. Bob was looking at a green one.

“But jesuschrist! This is for tomorrow.”

“Yeah…nine ayem…that’s what it says.”

“And you are doing WHAT?”

“I’m getting evicted!”

You’d have to know Bob to picture him bolting out of his chair and waving his arms and yelling, “Well Jesus! Well my God! What the hell! FUUUUUCK!”

He stalked into the room that had been Ron’s painting studio before he had moved out. “What have you got to sell? You got anything to sell?”

“Bob, look around…I got NOTHING…that’s why I’m getting evicted.”

“What’s this?”

“It’s a painting John Graham left with us before he went to Europe. It doesn’t belong to me.”

“Of course it belongs to you…it’s here and he’s there.”

Bob picked up the painting...it had no frame. It was just the painting on the stretched canvas. But it was a quintessential Graham—about 18” by 18”, the head of a woman with crossed eyes, and a gash on her neck, in a blue dress and a big black hat.

“I’m buying this,” Bob said. “How much is your rent? How much do you owe?”

“You can’t buy that, I don’t own it. And my rent is $120 and I owe three months.”

“Of course I can buy it. I’m buying it. Okay?” Bob tucked the painting under his arm and walked back to the kitchen. He sat down at the table and reached in his pocket for his wallet. He pulled out two checks and started  scribbling on the checks. “Here’s a check for $360, and another one for $100. Go pay your rent and go buy some food or whatever for yourself.”

Needless to say, I stopped arguing and took the checks. I grabbed my baby daughter from her crib,  threw some warm clothes on her and put her in her stroller. We ran up to 80th Street to the realtor’s office. We got there just as he was leaving for the day.

Funnily, just before Bob had knocked on my door that afternoon, I had been lying down having a conversation…a rather one-sided conversation…with God. “Alright,” I had said. “The ball is in your court. I’ve done everything I can do. Now it’s up to you.”

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Words of Christmastime Wisdom


What’s It All About?

Getting through all this shit with some kind of grace. Because no matter who you are or what you believe in, you are going to have to go through a whole truckload of shit.

And, as Elizabeth Edwards would no doubt tell you this morning: Everything she thought was important, isn’t.

Like, a plain Jane marrying a self-absorbed male beauty and attempting to turn him into a person; reviving a moribund marriage by trying to replace a dead child and using questionable medical wizardry to do it that was all but guaranteed to cause horrendous mental and physical problems; making the trophy hubbo president of the United States at all costs. None of it was worth a damn.

More words of wisdom: slow down accomplishing everything important you have to do. And speed up everything that can be done whenever.

That’s it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

DEA: YIKES! Headley Is a TERRORIST!


This morning the New York Times’ David-Headley-crew (Ginger Thompson, Eric Schmitt, Souad Mekhennet) published another astonishing story about the United States’ Laurel-and-Hardy drug-and-spy bumblers—DEA, CIA, FBI--"DEA Deployed Mumbai Plotter Despite Warning".

We are coming up to the second anniversary of the terrorist attack on Mumbai, India that occurred November 25, 2008, in which American (and sometimes Philadelphian) David (Daood) Headley was one of the masterminds.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the DEA, which used Headley as an informant, was negligent in two areas concerning Headley. The drug agency chose not to believe numerous reports from people close to Headley that he was a terrorist. And it chose to let him run so free without supervision that he was able to train in Pakistan in terrorist craft like making bombs and scoping out attack venues.

And why was the DEA so laisser-faire? Because Headley was theirs. They had bought him and they trusted him.

Did you have any idea the DEA was so girly? Headley fed them a line of bullshit, the DEA fell in love and then (sob!) he done them wrong.

At first, the DEA said it started using Headley as an informant in 1987 but stopped using him in 2001. Recently, the DEA back-tracked and said it stopped using him in 2003. Now it is clear from investigative reports that the DEA used Headley as an informant even after 9/11.

Everyone being interviewed now is so surprised David Headley would go from dealing drugs to terrorism. Why the surprise?

In 1983, when Daood and I worked in his mother’s bar in Philadelphia, he was a violence-spouting, AKA-47-harboring, Shiite sympathizer. And I believe, though I cannot prove it, that when Daood was jailed in Pakistan in 1983 for selling drugs and miraculously was set free by the intercession of his mother, it was then he started working with the DEA. I also believe, with no proof to back it up, that Daood worked with the DEA right up to the point in 2009 when he told them he was a Mumbai terrorist. And oh yes! He TOLD them…the entire sorry DEA agency admits it didn’t see it coming, or so it says.

This is a woeful story of American hubris and naivete in our drug and law enforcement agencies.

WHAT THE HELL WERE THE GUYS IN THE DEA, FBI, and CIA thinking? They weren’t thinking. They simply believed the heroic stories they told about themselves and assumed no one could outsmart them.

Daood Headley loved to use Britishisms like “bully” and “jolly good”. He also was partial to the expression: “assume makes an ass of u-and-me”.



Thursday, November 04, 2010

NYT Election Post-Mortems

First, it’s heartening to see that the New York Times reminds readers this morning: “the likely House speaker, John Boehner” has made a few boasts that aren’t true, such as, American voters want to repeal health care reform and they blame Obama for our economic problems.

In its “Sorting Out the Election” column, the NYT said: “The ‘loud message’ to cut spending cited by Mr. Boehner was actually far more muted. The polls showed that 39 percent of voters say cutting the deficit should be the highest priority of Congress, but a statistically equal 37 percent prefer spending money to create jobs. Fully a third of those who want to spend money to create jobs were Republicans.

“More voters (correctly) blamed President George W. Bush for the economic problems than President Obama, and even more (also correctly) blamed Wall Street.”

It’s no doubt a path Boehner is going to stick to—claiming results for this election that aren’t true--because the GOP has failed to propose alternatives to Obama’s policies.

Or, as the NYT said this morning, “The question is how the Republicans will act. For two years, they have refused to cooperate on any of those ideas (Obama’s) simply to deny Mr. Obama a policy victory and try to reduce his re-election prospects. If they are serious about accepting Tuesday’s mantle, they will join in governing and not simply posturing."

Now that the GOP has won an advantage, John Boehner and his cohorts are going to have to put aside their horror at having a black president and start working for the good of the country…if they can remember what working for the good of the country entails.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reminders From Me and Frank Rich

Reminder One, Mine:
In the midst of the election posturing, DO NOT FORGET: Every woe we are facing today is directly due to the crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated by the George W. Bush administration from 2000 through 2008. And whatever Barack Obama has faced since the moment he took office on January 20, 2009, and whatever he has done during his term has been to alleviate and correct the mess left by the Bush administration in 2008.
Reminder Two, Frank Rich’s:
As usual, Frank Rich’s column in the New York Times this morning cut through the bullshit that has taken over the media’s reporting on Obama’s presidency so far and the up-coming election.
In his lede paragraph, Rich wrote: “One dirty little secret of the 2010 election is that it won’t be a political tragedy for Democrats if a Tea Party icon like Sharron Angle or Joe Miller ends up in the United States Senate.”
And the reason is, Rich says: “The Tea Party’s hopes for actually affecting change in Washington will start being dashed the morning after. The ordinary Americans in this movement lack the numbers and financial clout to muscle their way into the back rooms of Republican power no matter how well their candidates perform.”
However, Rich also points out that the movers and shakers in the Republican Party will be thankful if the Tea Party candidates lose since they are a distraction and embarrassment. But the fate of the Tea Party candidates doesn’t really matter. The old-guard, far-right, hooray-for-the-wealthy-and-me-and-mine Bush administration GOP power brokers are going to call the shots in the Republican Party in any event.
And Rich says, “what the Tea Party ostensibly wants most — less government spending and smaller federal deficits — is not remotely happening on the country club G.O.P.’s watch. The elites have no serious plans to cut anything except taxes and regulation of their favored industries.”
“That’s not happening either,” Rich says. “Mitch McConnell (Minority Leader-KY) has explained his only real priority for the new Congress with admirable candor. ‘The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.'"
There you have it. Frank Rich has put it in a nutshell. The GOP has allowed the Tea Party candidates to be center-stage, to distract, to embarrass, to muddy the waters, to be the clown act in the Republican three-ring-circus, because the real aim from January 20, 2009 until the next election for president is to unseat Obama, no matter what it takes.
The Republican focus has not been about policies, it has not been about ending or continuing wars, it has not been about Health Care, and it has not been about the economy--which will correct itself in time.
The GOP’s cause celebre has been to make sure Obama does not win a second term. And in light of that fact, we can toss down the toilet the idea that Sarah Palin will run for Prez in 2012. That would be folly. The GOP will have to run an electable male candidate.
Ignorant, narcissistic female buffoons need not apply.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Daood/David Headley…Again

So…the New York Times came out with a news story this morning about David Headley (“U.S. Had Warnings About Plotter of Mumbai Attack”). Not to go into too much detail, but Daood/David Headley is the son of Serrill Headley who owned a couple bars in Philadelphia. I worked in one of them with Daood/David in 1983. He subsequently plotted the devastating terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008.

Now we learn that two of Daood's three wives ratted him out to the US Embassy, telling the officials that they were sure their husband was plotting a horrendous deed. It is fascinating to find out he was married to all three women at the same time.

The US (as in, the FBI and the CIA) is claiming that they listened to what the women had to say, but thought they were simply women who were pissed off at an errant husband.

We also find out that the DEA says it used Headley as an informant but ceased the association in 2001.

Um…do I have some opinions about all this?

Are pumpkins orange?

Opinion Number 1
It is safe to assume that the DEA NEVER cuts off ties with informants who sell their souls to the DEA in exchange for favors like the DEA making it impossible for toxic governments (Pakistan and India) to do whatever they want and with great creativity to drug-dealing scum.

Opinion Number 2
Although American newspaper accounts are full of info about Daood’s arrests in 1988 and 1997 for drug-trafficking, they never mention that Daood tried to sell drugs in Pakistan in 1983 and his mother had to go to Pakistan and get him out of the jam.

Now I grant you, Serrill Headley could summon up salty tears to sob over her life in general (which version she changed to suit her reason for the histrionics), her disastrous love affairs and her son’s wayward ways. But she told me (yes, in tears) that Daood had been arrested in Pakistan and that she was going over to get him out. I know he went to Pakistan toward the end of 1983 to visit relatives, I know he contacted his mother that he was in jail. And I know she went to Pakistan and he returned to Philadelphia. All of us who worked in the Khyber Pass North bar were amazed she could do it. We conjectured she had friends in high places or spent a fortune on bribes or both.

This had to be in 1983, because I never saw any of the crew again after Daood fired me the day after the Raiders won the Super Bowl in 1984.

Opinion Number 3
What I cannot corroborate, but would bet my bottom dollar on, is: it was in 1983 that Daood started working for the DEA and he never stopped working for the DEA.

And that is why the NYT reported this morning: “An examination of Mr. Headley’s movements in the years before the bombing, based on interviews in Washington, Pakistan, India and Morocco, shows that he had overlapping, even baffling, contacts among seemingly disparate groups — Pakistani intelligence, terrorists, and American drug investigators. Those ties are rekindling concerns that the Mubai bombings represent another communications
breakdown in the fight against terrorism, and are raising the question of whether United States officials were reluctant to dig deeper into Mr. Headley’s movements because he had been an informant for the D.E.A.”

Some things are predictable, if not inevitable. Whenever he’s in trouble, Daood will always cut a deal, with whomever, wherever and do whatever it takes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Woody Allen in Today’s New York Times

A guy named Dave Itzkoff interviewed Woody Allen about Allen’s new movie (“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”) and one quote stood out.

Itzkoff asked, “Were you prepared for the firestorm of media coverage you set off by casting Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in your next movie, ‘Midnight in Paris’?”

Allen said, “I was very surprised at the level of journalism that occurred in relation to her. She has a small part in the movie — a real part, but it’s a small part. And I shot with her the first day, and then all the papers said she was terrible, and I did 32 takes with her. Of course I didn’t even do 10 takes with her. This was just a magical number that some guy created in a room. Then they printed that her husband came to the set and was angry with her. He came to the set once, and he was delighted. He felt she was a natural actress and couldn’t have been happier.”

Nicholas Sarkozy is, of course, the current President of the French Republic, and Carla Bruni is, of course, the woman he married in 2008 after a torrid and public affair.

Allen went on to say, ”For some reason, the press wanted to say bad things about her. I don’t know if they had something against the Sarkozys, or it was a better way to sell papers. But the fabrications were so wild and so completely fake, and I wondered to myself, Is this is what happens with Afghanistan and the economy and matters of real significance? This is a trivial matter. That’s a longwinded answer to your question: I was not prepared for the amount of press that was attached to the picture because of Madame Sarkozy.”

I too wonder if that’s what the press does concerning matters of true importance.

Another trivial matter that makes one wonder about matters of real importance was a Versace ad on page 29 of the September 20th issue of "The New Yorker”. It had been so weirdly photo-shopped that the sleeve of the woman in white looked like she had elephantiasis. Probably the armpit of the woman in black had to be re-defined so that it didn’t melt into the woman in white…but still…in so doing everything got loopy and out of proportion and out of sync.

Our news is getting loopy, out of proportion and out of sync. It all started when reporters (or their editors and publishers) decided to change the old Who-What-Where-When formula of the lede paragraph of all news stories, to a paragraph that sounds like the beginning of an asshole’s idea of the Great American Novel.

Not a good change.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

LATEST MORMON/JEW CLASH IS NUTTY

But then…most religious disagreements are nutty.

That said, this one goes beyond reason, if one can reason about religion.

This morning, the New York Times reported (“Utah: Mormon Holocaust Survivers Reach Accord”): “The Mormon Church says it has changed its genealogical database to better prevent the names of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps from being submitted for posthumous baptism by proxy.”

That lede sentence is mind-numbing to start with. Take a moment to try to wrap your mind around it.

Okay…continuing....

The short article went on to state: “In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors said a new computer system and policy changes should resolve a yearslong disagreement over the baptisms. Mormons believe posthumous baptism by proxy provides an opportunity for deceased persons to receive the Gospel in the afterlife. The names used are drawn from a church-run genealogical database. Jews are offended by the idea that Mormons are trying to alter the religion of Holocaust victims.”

I have to admit, I laughed.

But, the fact is, the Mormons believe they can baptise people into their religion after they have died. This, of course, is to save those who weren’t baptized while living from eternally roasting in hell now that they are dead.

I, who am not noted for being all that compassionate towards people whose belief systems differ from mine, can understand that this is a deeply held belief of the Mormon religion and I can respect it. (Just barely, but what the hell.)

But for the Jews to get their undies in a twist over this belief of the Mormons is, by me, totally nutsoid.

It’s my understanding that the Jews do not hold with baptisms. It is not part of their belief system.

So fine. I, personally, like the idea of baptism…the rite, by me, is lovely, whether done to babies, or taken on by adults, I like it.

But what I don’t understand is:  Why do the Jews care if the Mormons baptise everyone who ever lived and who are now dead?

The folks are dead…so WHAT THE FUCK?

Oh well, maybe these Mormons and Jews don’t have enough to worry about. Maybe what is going on in the world of the quick is not sufficiently worrisome, so they are taking on the vast world of the dead to fill the void.

But to me, it is totally nutty. And even the d├ętente is nutty.

But I will grant, a nutty d├ętente is preferable to a nutty argument.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blackwater Founder Decamps to Abu Dhabi

How about that?

This morning, the New York Times reported: “Erik Prince, whose company, Blackwater Worldwide is for sale and whose former top managers are facing criminal charges, has left the United States and moved to Abu Dhabi, according to court documents.”

Abu Dhabi, is the largest of the seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates. It is located in the Persian Gulf region and adjoins the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman.

The NYT went on to report: “Mr. Prince, a former member of the Navy Seals and an heir to a Michigan auto parts fortune, left the country after a series of civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations singled out Blackwater or its former executives and other personnel. His company, now called Xe Services, has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States government since 2001.

“Mr. Prince does not face any criminal charges, but five former top company executives have been indicted on federal weapons, conspiracy and obstruction charges. Two guards who worked for a Blackwater-affiliated company face murder charges from a 2009 shooting in Afghanistan, and the Justice Department is trying to revive its prosecution of five former Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

“In documents filed last week in a civil lawsuit brought by former Blackwater employees accusing Mr. Prince of defrauding the government, Mr. Prince sought to avoid giving a deposition by stating that he had moved to Abu Dhabi in time for his children to enter school there Aug. 15. In the documents filed in federal court in Virginia, Mr. Prince’s lawyers describe Abu Dhabi as Mr. Prince’s place of residence. His deposition is now scheduled to take place there next week, lawyers involved in the case said.

“Mr. Prince made a name for himself during the height of the war in Iraq, when Blackwater became the most recognizable brand name in the booming field of private security contracting. The company, which Mr. Prince founded in 1997, expanded rapidly, winning a series of contracts with the State Department, the C.I.A. and the Defense Department.”

In case readers of Ratbang have any lingering doubts about how much of a skunk Erik Prince is, and in case readers of Ratbang do not remember that former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney elevated Erik Prince to the throne of power he enjoyed during their unnecessary and egregiously wrong-headed war in Iraq, I am reprinting herewith an article I wrote about Blackwater, which appeared in BuzzFlash on May 14, 2007.

“A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION by Joy Tomme

We've been warned. Is anyone listening?

Jeremy Scahill's book, "Blackwater, The Rise of the Most Powerful Mercenary Army" lays it all out in detail. "Blackwater" was published this year and is touted as a New York Times Bestseller. And yet, I don't see a groundswell of outrage in either the blogosphere or in the mainstream media.

For me, the most unsettling thing about our State Department paying a bunch of gun-for-hire mercenaries and deploying them to Afghanistan and Iraq is that a far right Christian religious fanatic is training these thugs. And the second most unsettling thing is that each soldier in this shadow army, numbering 120,000, is being paid $1,000-a-day by the U.S. State Department.

Currently, the United States military has about 130,000 troops in Iraq, but the mercenaries bring that number to a total of 250,000 troops in Iraq.

General David Petraeus says the latest buildup of 28,000 extra troops will be in place by mid-June, at which time the U.S. will have a total of 280,000 troops in Iraq. The U.S. will pay 160,000 of these troops the regular military pay for its grunts in Iraq. But 120,000 of those troops will get $1,000 a day, the going rate that Blackwater USA pays its mercenaries.

What is Blackwater? And who are these guys the State Department has secretly hired to double our troop level in Afghanistan and Iraq?

In 1998, William Kristol, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and a score of other neocons issued their Project for the New American Century manifesto. It was a written validation for the United States to make pre-emptive strikes on any nation the U.S. government had a bad feeling about. Essentially, it justified United States' global aggression.

Also in 1998, wealthy far-right Christian fanatic and former Navy SEAL Erik Prince broke ground on the construction of a training camp for mercenaries. Prince had bought a 100,000-acre tract of land in Camden County, North Carolina for his proposed training camp. Not so coincidentally, the training camp was a half-hour ride from the largest naval base in the world, Norfolk Naval Base.

Although Prince billed his camp as a "$2 million dollar outdoor shooting range," it actually was a camp to train militias to fight the battles Prince foresaw as coming up between believers in Jesus and the U.S. government. The name Blackwater is a reference to the black waters of The Great Dismal Swamp, a huge peat bog in northeastern North Carolina near the Blackwater compound.

Prince and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson had the same vision for the course Christians would have to take. Dobson said, "I stand in a long tradition of Christians who believe that rulers may forfeit their divine mandate when they systematically contravene the divine moral law. We may be rapidly approaching the sort of Rubicon that our spiritual forebears faced Choose Caesar or God. I take no pleasure in this prospect, I pray against it. But it is worth noting that such times have historically been rejuvenating for the faith." Dobson wrote and Prince agreed that the United States was heading for "a showdown between church and state" and a "morally justified revolution."

It is the Prince family that has bankrolled James Dobson. The U.S. State Department has paid Blackwater USA to the tune of $750 million since June 2004 to deploy mercenaries to Afghanistan and Iraq.

They are called "contractors" and/or "security forces" by the State Department, which claims they are a necessary adjunct to the U.S. military. However, there is no oversight of these hooligans. They can do whatever they damn well please and they get $1,000 a day for doing it.

Plus, they have been trained by Erik Prince, a right-wing religious fanatic who believes that private Christian militias should rise up and take over the ungodly, unholy U.S. government.

Our State Department is aiding, abetting, funding, and promoting Blackwater USA, the American equivalent of a jihadist organization. I ask again, is anyone listening?”

Here is my prediction. Erik Prince is willing to make a deal with the Devil himself, if it means promoting his brand of thuggery and fanatiscism. But even Prince has no clue as to the company he will be keeping in Abu Dhabi. I think he’s out of his league and in for an ugly comeuppance.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Vatican Outdoes Its Troglodyte Self


Whoa! This morning, when I read the New York Times report on the Vatican’s latest PR gaffe, not to mention its latest Biblical malfunction, I almost could not believe it. But hold on!

It was the Vatican making the incredible pronouncement…so what’s not to believe?

What the Vatican said was (and I quote the NYT): “The Vatican issued revisions to its internal laws on Thursday making it easier to discipline sex-abuser priests, but caused confusion by also stating that ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia.”

Yep…there you have it.

Nevermind that the early followers of Jesus included women, who, Biblical historians tell us, not only sponsored the early church with money from their own (not their husbands, but their own) coffers, but also acted as servers of the Eucharist. But now the Vatican says that since the men-only club has been in existence since Christ, women cannot be considered as priests, and the idea of a woman as priest is an offense as grave as pedophilia.
 
The NYT reported that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, a top official in the group, called the document a “welcome statement,” even as he took pains to praise the role of women in the church. “The church’s gratitude to women cannot be stated strongly enough” ne said. “Women offer unique insight, creative abilities and unstinting generosity at the very heart of the Catholic Church…but the Catholic Church through its long and constant teaching holds that ordination has been, from the beginning, reserved to men, a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times.”

And well might a Vatican spoksman praise the women in the Roman Catholic Church who have been a free workforce for priests for eons. But it is also true that the constant teaching of the RCC that ordination must be reserved to  men is a choice of the RCC, not a mandate from God.

The early Christian church’s founders (which of course, includes Jesus Christ) believed women were on a par with men. And this idea that the ordination of women is as evil as pedophilia must have them rolling in the graves.

BTW, one can look at this ruling from the RCC in two ways:

1.      The Vatican feels that the ordination of women is equal in evil to pedophilia, or,
2.      The Vatican feels that Pedophilia isn’t all that bad since a lot of the guys in the Vatican are participating in pedophilia and they don’t think it’s any worse than ordaining women.

Well,  I know which ruling I think sounds like Vatican thinking.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Well, I Never…!

Gail Collins’ Op/Ed piece in the New York Times this morning (“Bad News Bears”) is hilarious. And juicy. It’s about Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol and her sometimes-sometimes-not-bf Levi Johnston now deciding to get married.

Collins starts out saying, “Today’s additions to the category of No Good Can Ever Come of This: Mel Gibson is on the phone; The Bachelorette is close to selecting the man of her dreams; Bristol and Levi are back together.”

Since the Palin family isn’t big on speaking to each other one-on-one, the world found out about the Bristol/Levi plans, as did Family Palin, via an eight-page spread in “Us” magazine. And the world found out that Sarah Palin is not happy about this newest wrinkle in the Bristol/Levi saga, as did Bristol and Levi, via a press conference.

Following up the “Us” tell-all with a “People” tell-all, Bristol said her mother would come around when Levi got an education and a job and proved that he could support their son Tripp “the right way”. As Collins said, the wrong way, presumably, is earning a living as he previously tried to do by posing for “Playgirl”.

The jury is still out on whether Bristol’s attempts to make money by becoming a celebrity unwed mother, being the spokesperson against teen pregnancy and hyping sexy clothes is the right way.

Apparently, the nearly non-verbal Levi and his sister Mercede have found words to say to each other, because before they broke off relations when she got mad and said it was time for her to tell her side of the story, she said, “No I will NOT sit down and shut up!” To prove she would not shut up she claimed Bristol got pregnant on purpose.

Collins bets (hopes?) we’re going to be treated to “an all-Palin-Johnston edition of ‘Dancing With the Stars.’”

Or, alternatively, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin could marry for the good of the Tea Party and put to rest all those rumors about racism and Steele being in the closet, in one swell foop.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Medical Bullshit


One of the things that keeps us drug-dependent and constantly in a doctor’s office is the ruling from the AMA that a norm for blood pressure for all adults including senior citizens is 120/70, else one is suffering from high blood pressure. That, of course, is baloney.

But now the journal “Pediatrics” has just come out with a real lulu of a finding.

This morning, the authors of an article in “Pediatrics” reported that all children should be screened for cholesterol: The authors said, “Screening all children for cholesterol, rather than just those with a family history, will uncover many more cases of the condition that can be treated early to prevent heart disease later in life. In addition, they said, “Statin therapy has been shown to be safe and effective in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) and the added and undeniable benefit of identifying and screening parents and other first-degree relatives as a result to finding elevated LDL levels in their children could lead to the prevention of premature cardiac events in adults that may have otherwise gone undiagnosed."

Bullshit Detector just went off!

Who said statin therapy is "safe and effective"? Who said there is an "added and undeniable benefit"? That is total nonsense!

The jury is still out about cholesterol medications for adults. Many are not safe…many have side effects that no one is his right mind would stand for. And many times, when they are prescribed for adults, they are unnecessary.

AND, whether in fact, lowering LDL cholesterol is preventing heart disease is totally unclear. PLUS, whether high cholesterol in children leads to heart trouble as an adult is likewise totally unclear.
Which of course, leads to the big question…should ALL children be screened for high cholesterol, which  screening will put more money in pediatricians and screening labs coffers and into the bargain drain health care insurance plans…if one and one’s children have health insurance  plans in the first place..

And the answer is a resounding NO! It’s an insane idea that all children should undergo high cholesterol screening when even calling high cholesterol a disease that MUST BE treated with drugs in adults is a questionable practice.

Pediatricians have found that a huge number of our children have Attention Deficit Disorder and are Autistic…debatable findings, both. And these findings are more likely to be due to the testing parameters rather than the facts.

Medical doctors and now pediatricians cannot be trusted because they are in the employ of the pharmaceutical industry.

What to do? Use common sense and say NO to tests that are wildly speculative and will not lead to increased well-being in any case.

Oh yeah! You CAN say no to lawyers and doctors. Amazing thought though that may be.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Pope Ratz Is Going to Hate This!

On Friday, July 2, The New York Times laid out the full extent of Pope Ratz’s irresponsibility over the last twenty years regarding pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church.

The article, “Church Office Failed to Act on Abuse Scandal” begins by saying, “In its long struggle to grapple with sexual abuse, the Vatican often cites as a major turning point the decision  in 2001 to give the office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger the authority to cut through a morass of bureaucracy and handle abuse cases directly…but church documents and interviews with canon lawyers and bishops cast that 2001 decision and the future pope’s track record in a new and less flattering light.”

The Vatican’s penchant for declaring that media bias, particularly NYT bias, is at the root of the recent firestorm about pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church, will surely be the Vatican’s fallback position re this new article.

We find out that although the Vatican has maintained that Cardinal Ratz immediately got behind a faction in the church hierarchy demanding immediate investigation of molestation charges, Ratz actually was the leader of the foot-dragging and protection of pedophiles that has characterized the Vatican’s response to reports of molestation of children in the RCC for the last twenty-plus years: “The office led by Cardinal Ratzinger, the Congregeation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had actually been given authority over sexual abuse cases nearly 80 years earlier, in 1922, documents show and canon lawyers confirm,” the article reports, “ but for the two decades he was in charge of that office, the future pope never asserted that authority, failing to act even as the cases undermined the church’s credibility in the United States, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere.”

The most damning revelation is that in 2000 a group of Bishops were so outraged that Ratz was being unresponsive to the growing pedophile problem, that the Vatican sponsored a secret meeting to hear their complaints: “The Vatican took action only after bishops from English-speaking nations became so concerned about resistance from top church officials that the Vatican convened a secret meeting to hear their complaints — an extraordinary example of prelates from across the globe collectively pressing their superiors for reform, and one that had not previously been revealed.

“And the policy that resulted from that meeting, in contrast to the way it has been described by the Vatican, was not a sharp break with past practices. It was mainly a belated reaffirmation of longstanding church procedures that at least one bishop attending the meeting argued had been ignored.

“Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, an outspoken auxiliary bishop emeritus from Sydney, Australia, who attended the secret meeting in 2000, said that despite numerous warnings, top Vatican officials, including Benedict, took far longer to wake up to the abuse problems than many local bishops did.

“But the future pope, it is now clear, was also part of a culture of nonresponsibility, denial, legalistic foot-dragging and outright obstruction,” the NYT reports. “More than any top Vatican official other than John Paul, it was Cardinal Ratzinger who might have taken decisive action in the 1990s to prevent the scandal from metastasizing in country after country, growing to such proportions that it now threatens to consume his own papacy.”

It's maddening to read that, “During this period, the three dozen staff members working for Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were busy pursuing other problems. These included examining supernatural phenomena, like apparitions of the Virgin Mary, so that hoaxes did not ‘corrupt the faith,’” while other sections of the Ratz’s Doctrine of the Faith “weighed requests by divorced Catholics to remarry and vetted the applications of former priests who wanted to be reinstated.

It is clear that Ratz has always had priorities other than protecting the children in the Roman Catholic Church. Priorities such as: protecting the image of the RCC, ridding the RCC. not to say the entire globe and perhaps the universe of homosexuals, plus making sure that the world accepts the myth that the Pope and the Vatican are equal in omniscience and power to God, if not a bit higher and more powerful than the Great I Am!

I can only say, read the article. It’s illuminating.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Reminder Reminding

It is time once again for a global reminder that whatever your beef may be…you hate the Democrats, you hate Obama, you love Sarah Palin… Whatever… Do not forget that George W. Bush and the tyrannical rule of the Republicans for eight years brought the world to the sorry state that it was in when Barack Obama took office. Whatever the sorry Tea Party may be up to, whatever the sorry racists may be plotting, whatever the white supremacist despots in the GOP may have up their collective sleeves, do not forget: We would not be in deficit spending land if the Republicans had not invented a war in Iraq to mask their greed for oil and power. We would not have had a financial meltdown if the Repubs had not ignored all the signs pointing to a financial meltdown. We would not be trying to repair the damage to America’s worldwide reputation if the Republicans had not put the mentally impaired, narcissistic religious fanatic George W. Bush in charge. Just doing my duty here, lest we ever forget.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New York Times Explains LOST To You

Well, I too cried all through the finale’s two hours. But I wouldn’t have (I don’t think I would have...but who knows?) if I had known they were all dead the whole last six years. Now that’s where the NYT and I differ in our opinions. This morning, the NYT’s Mike Hale said everything that happened on LOST’s island was real. I guess Hale and I saw a different finale. Hale says he too thought they were all dead from the beginning and then he watched the finale a second time. I’ve only seen the LOST finale once, and I haven’t read Doc Jensen’s finale final in EW yet. But, by me, from the moment Jack opened his eye in Segment One, Season One, they were all dead and going through a sort of Judgment Day reconciliation for the next six years, which could have happened in an eye-blink in eternity time. And actually did, by me, when Jack closed his eye last Sunday night and Judgment Day was over. And I really hate that idea, but that is how it played out for me in the finale. Ugh! And even through my tears (before realizing the last scene would be a communal funeral carrying everyone into the white light), I was disappointed in the hokey end. OHMYGOD! So much hokum. So many laughably contrived scenes. So much giggle-inducing crappola...like all that rope stuff and the guys not looking like they were really pulling on anything but ropes tied to n0thing. Oh well...I do like the idea (my belief, not Mike Hale’s) that Hurley was the honcho all along through all the six-year-long Judgment Day proceedings and Ben was his assistant. Love that! And BTW, is there a better actor in this world (and maybe the next) than Michael Emerson? Here’s to you Ben Linus/Michael Emerson...long may you live in all possible worlds!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What’s The Tea Party About?

If the words “deep” and “Tea Party” are not mutually exclusive, deep in the founding of the Tea Party has been a plan for betrayal. The people who encourage other people to put up money and start an association always have their own agenda. The Republicans at the heart of the Tea Party recognized there was a dissatisfied faction in America that felt disconnected from the mainstream. These were the people who hated the idea of a black president, the people who wanted big government to bug out of their lives, the people who hated the idea of homosexuality. the people who hated abortion and birth control and the people who felt a gun pointed at anyone’s head would solve any problem. The Republicans who organized this disaffected fringe decided that if this bloc could be corralled and brought into a cohesive group, they could be a major voice in all elections. However, no group with political power can be effective unless it works within the established system. Hence, betrayal was built into the very foundation of the Tea Party. All the aims of the little people in the Tea Party, all the complaints, all the bigotry, all the prejudices, all the little angers and piss-offs were going to be sacrificed, and the big guns who started the Tea Party knew it from the git-go. Hence, the Tea Party was based on betrayal. Right about now when Rand Paul’s unfortunate racist comments are making Tea Party bigwigs uncomfortable, the little people are beginning to realize that not only do Tea Party moguls want them to shut up about the US needing to go back to its segregated heyday, but racism, white supremacy and gun-totin’ militias were planned from the beginning to be sacrificed by the founders of the Tea Party. But the biggest betrayal in the Tea Party is going to be directed not only at, but will come from Sarah Palin. The organizers knew she would be a terrific draw to get the little people on board, and so far, she has done her job to a fare-thee-well. But it won’t be long before the powers in the Tea Party tell Sarah Palin exactly what she is going to have to say and do in order to be effective. They got Palin to sign on because they knew she wanted to be a celebrity and make lots of money. But the Tea Party big guys are just about to present to the public a manifesto detailing what the Tea Party is FOR and Palin’s playbook is only about what she is AGIN. She doesn’t even know what she’s for. But when she gets the Tea Party’s guidelines enlightening her about what she is for, very soon they will hear from Palin’s own lips, “I didn’t take this job to be told what to do and how to do it!” Oh yes, Sarah, you did. And if Palin thinks these good ol’ boys are mesmerized by her charms, she should rethink her whole grandiose image 0f herself. Not only are these guys totally prepared to tell her to “take a hike” if she doesn’t agree to go-along with their plans to make the Tea Party a viable group. They are totally prepared to ruin her financially, and personally if she balks. It would be well for the Palin family to start counting their money and socking some of their ill-gotten gains into a rainy day account. Because a morning line is assuredly in the offing about what is going to happen first-- Sarah walks out on the Tea Party in a huff or the Tea Party kicks her out.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Specter Out, Thank God!

This morning, a headline in the New York Times says: “Specter Defeat Signals a Wave Against Incumbents”. It may be true that there is a wave against incumbents, but the Specter defeat is not about a general dissatisfaction with guys who are in office. The Specter defeat means that Pennsylvanians have had it with Arlen Specter and we decided to oust him. The Specter defeat means that Pennsylvanians think Arlen Specter is too old and too unwell to cut the mustard. The Specter defeat means that Pennsylvanians don’t want a Senator who has flipped from Democrat to Republican and back to Democrat in order to get elected during his thirty (THIRTY YEARS!) as a career Senator. The Specter defeat means Pennsylvanias don't want Specter to ever run for office again. However, I do hope the Specter defeat is a signal that Congressmen must have term limits.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We’re Waiting, Pope Ratz

When can we expect your Wow Finish? For decades now, you’ve been protecting pedophile priests and throwing little kids under the bus. Then when the truth finally came out about the Vatican’s uncharitable, immoral and callous behavior and your own culpability in the international priest abuse scandal, you immediately pointed the finger at others and publicly prayed for their repentance and for their souls. So how about it, Ratz? When can we expect you to climb up on your holy pedestal and say, “Mea culpa! I am one of the worst offenders! I protected pedophiles for decades and I am truly sorry!” We’re waiting, Ratz! When are you going to act like a man, stop pointing at others and admit your own woeful, fallible and unchristian behavior?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh, And Sixthly...Good Lord Deliver Us

The New York Times reminded me this morning that Senator Arlen Fucking Specter has always supported Republican nominees to the Supreme Court and was outrageous in his “contentious questioning of Anita Hill, the law professor who testified against Clarence Thomas in 1991.” That, in and of itself, is enough to pray God that Specter doesn’t get a sixth term.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Senator Specter, Good Lord Deliver Us

First, there is his certifying the magic bullet theory regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The magic bullet theory is ridiculous and Senator Specter should be ashamed of himself for having supported it as assistant counsel for the Warren Commission investigation in 1963. And he should really be ashamed of himself for defending the theory 47 years later. But secondly, and more importantly, Senator Specter has made a career of being a US Senator. He has been in the Senate for 30 years. NO ONE should be a Senator for 30 years. The job was never intended to be a career. Six or 12 years is more than enough. And thirty years should never be sought after. Even if there is no term limit, which there should be, any man or woman with integrity and with a view toward wanting the best for the US Senate should NEVER want to be a Senator for 30 years. Thirdly, there is Specter’s age and health. The man was 80 this past February and in 2008 he informed the public that he had a recurrence of lymph gland cancer. Both facts make him a horrible political prospect. IMHO, he has always been a horrible political prospect, but now his age and health put him completely out of the running. Fourthly, he has switched from Democrat to Republican and now he’s back to Democrat, all in aid of remaining a US Senator for 30 years. Ugh! Not a good thing. And fifthly, who can stand to look at the man and listen to him for whatever time he has left on this earth? He is a walking cadaver and much of the time he makes no sense. Ugh! Really not good! Good lord deliver us!

Monday, May 10, 2010

WHY? The Big Question for the Vatican

The Vatican has to be able to answer the big question before it can come to terms with the current scandal: Why have there always been pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church? The current scandal is the result of modern technology, which makes it impossible for the Vatican to continue to hide its pedophile priests. But this perversion among Roman Catholic priests has been going on for centuries. WHY? The simple answer is that in the Vatican pedophilia is not seen as a perversion or a mortal sin. It’s a quirk. And again, WHY? Protecting the virginity of women has nothing to do with women. It has to do with men wanting to ensure that their heirs are legitimate. In that regard, in many Latin American and Mediterranean countries, it is acceptable for men to have anal sex with women before marriage because the entrance to the womb has been kept sacrosanct. In the same way, since both women and children are viewed as chattel, it’s acceptable to have sex with little boys because this is not sex as such, since REAL SEX is SEX only when a male penetrates a female's vagina. This is doublethink nonsense that has been accepted as right and proper in the Vatican for centuries. It’s the same skewed logic as was used by Michael Jackson when he called his little boy friends "Rubba". The name explained what he was doing with the little boys in bed. He wasn’t having sex with them, he was being gentle and kind and affectionate. He was rubbing himself against little boys to be loving. To the priests in the Vatican who have been engaging in pedophilia for centuries, they were not doing anything wrong since little children have no importance and the priests were just being kind and affectionate. To the men in the Vatican who protected the pedophiles, they weren’t protecting criminals; they were simply giving God and their religion priority before children who weren’t very important. And besides, what the priests were doing was just an idiosyncrasy that wasn’t hurting anyone. The outrageous medieval attitude about women and children in the Roman Catholic Church has to stop before progress can be made regarding the abuse of children by priests. It may be that Pope Ratz is a brilliant theologian...I’ll give him that, grudgingly. But that said, he is also a hopelessly backward, ignorant, underinformed, unreconstructed cretin about human sexuality and relationships.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Vatican Says, “Better Eight Innocents Suffer...”

Turning Blackstone’s formulation on its ear, the Vatican says “it’s better that eight innocent men suffer than that millions lose their faith”. So, forget that a foundation of criminal law dates back to Genesis 18-23-32 when Abraham importuned God not to destroy the innocent along with the wicked. And never mind that the Biblical passage in Genesis was used by jurist William Blackstone in the 1760’s when he wrote “Blackstone’s ratio“, which is—“better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. And never mind that this understanding of criminal law has been used as a basis for the presumption of innocence since the 1880’s. Now the Vatican says, Screw that! Better that eight innocent men suffer than that the Roman Catholic Church be shown to be a hollow mockery. It takes a lot for the Vatican to shock me these days. But I am SHOCKED!!!! Here’s the backstory. In 1998, a Vatican canon lawyer, Martha Wegan, told two of Father Marcial Maciel’s victims at the Legionaries of Christ in Mexico that she had “bad news” for them. The two men--Jose Barba Martin and Arturo Jurado--along with six other men who had been raped by Father Marciel had brought a formal complaint to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, led by Cardinal Ratzinger. Martha Wegan told the men that the Vatican had decided not to investigate the matter further because, Ms. Wegan said, “It is better for eight innocent men to suffer than for millions to lose their faith. Now, later, it's true, Cardinal Ratz changed his mind for political reasons. But let’s be very clear. The idea that it is better for eight innocent men (read, innocent children) suffer the horrors of the damned at the hands of perverted pedophiles than that the Roman Catholic Church should get bad press, has been the ruling idea and pervasive modus operandi at the Vatican, in the Curia and with all the popes for the last 1500 years. AND THIS MODUS OPERANDI STINKS.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Here’s My Point...

...and I do have one. The Vatican and the hopeless Curia and Pope Ratz may bloviate and steam and rant that reporters are being unfair to them by releasing documents about all the pedophile priests who have been attracted to the Roman Catholic Church and who have been protected by the Roman Catholic Church. But the fact is, the Vatican has been more concerned with protecting the reputation of the church than with protecting the children who attend the church. THAT’S MY DAMN POINT!!!! Even this morning the PR division of the Vatican is grinding out stories about how the RCC is going to be transparent and throw all abuse cases to the civil authorities now. But the Vatican is still defending the fact that in the past, for 1500 years or more, the RCC has protected its pedophile priests rather than protect the little children who go to church. And the Vatican announced this morning through it’s mouthpiece Father Lombardi that the facts the Vatican uncovers in its investigation of Father Maciel, the head of The Legion of Christ who molested little boys and fathered a number of children, will not be made public. And I don't understand how protecting Father Maciel and other pedophiles can be a good thing. Even if you are Pope Ratz and stand on your head and scream and yell that you are a good person, I don't see how protecting pedophiles and letting them continue to molest children for years and years and years can ever be a good thing. The RCC forced children to sign oaths that they would not tattle on pedophile priests. How is that a good thing? How can that ever be a good thing? How can calling children liars and swearing that a lie is the truth ever be a good thing? How can it even be defensible? That’s what I don’t understand. AND THAT’S MY POINT!!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What If The Vatican Actually Man-Upped

It’s a 20-1 longshot, but what if Pope Ratz and the weasel-y College of Cardinals together with the clueless sycophantic curia actually wanted to cleanse themselves of their self-protective, corrupt and perverted ways? What would they have to do? Well, now that Bishops are resigning all over the world and admitting they molested little boys during their entire career as priests (not to mention, some of them are admitting they beat the crap out of young children—Pope Ratz’s brother, Monsignor Ratzinger was one of those sterling gentlemen who slapped kids around in his choir); and now that adult males are finally able to be believed when they say priests molested them when they were little boys, it’s small comfort for the molested and no solution whatsoever for the Vatican to say it belatedly plans to investigate all molestation charges with speed and transparency. And the reason that the Vatican’s assurances are no solution is because the question that still hangs in the air like the stink from a rotting corpse is this: Why have thousands of pedophiles found a welcoming home in the Roman Catholic priesthood for centuries? And the answer is that pedophiles have been attracted to the Roman Catholic priesthood because it’s a men-only club where they have been able to find a never-ending supply of little boys and where they have been protected and their perversion has been kept secret by their fellow priests. The fact that the RCC says it will vigorously investigate claims of pedophilia does not solve the problem because little-boy molesters are going to continue to gravitate to the Roman Catholic Church. And we cannot trust the Vatican to do what it says it’s going to do because the Vatican has been putting a fox in the chicken coop to rid the chicken coop of foxes for 1500 years. So what does the Vatican have to do? Stop being an all-men club a) Let priests marry b) Allow women to serve at the altar And what will happen to the Roman Catholic Church if it doesn’t make changes and reform itself? Outwardly, the RCC will seem to be exactly the same as it is now. Except that no mother in any diocese in any place in the world will be able to trust her little children with any priest. And that is such a big deal, the Vatican and the Catholic Church may crumble under the weight of it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

History Replaying Itself

No one wants the Roman Catholic Church to go out of business. Least of all me. And people who are thinking of leaving the Catholic Church because of the ugliness and abuses that are coming to light should seriously rethink the thought. In any case, 90% of the people who are walking out will walk back in within a short period of time. If you have been born and raised in a strong religion, associate it with beauty, peace and love, and it’s your connection to God, anything else will seem bogus and weak. It’s interesting that what the RCC most needs right now is what Judaism most needed 2000 years ago: Change and reform. Jesus Christ never wanted to start a new religion. But he was very upset about what was going on in his religion. He wanted Judaism to reform itself so that it might once again be a connection to the one God and be the source of all things holy and moral. It was the intransigence of the Jewish leaders, their fear of change and their defense of corrupted values at the time of Christ that made a break with Judaism seem attractive to the people who had heard Jesus speak. It’s hard to say what would have occurred had the Jewish leaders either ignored Jesus and the early Christians, or at least admitted that Judaism needed an overhaul. It’s inconceivable that Pope Ratz and the College of Cardinals would come out with one voice and say, “Yes, it’s true. We’ve gotten on the wrong track and we’re going to change things.” But that is what should happen. But then, the Pope and the Vatican would need to actually make good on their confession and move toward instituting monumental changes in the Roman Catholic Church. And neither the leaders of the RCC in the Vatican nor Pope Benedict XVI have the moral fiber, the honesty, the understanding of Christian values or the reverence for God to want to remold the Roman Catholic Church in the image of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Open Letter to Al Pacino

Yo, Al. Back in 1996, I interviewed you for “The Ritz Guide”. We talked about your just-released “Looking For Richard”—a documentary about putting Shakespeare’s “Richard III” on film. I asked about your future plans. You said, "Well, you just sort of bring the body and the mind will follow...whatever...you go to the next assignment. It' s funny. There are two worlds. There' s the world where you have an idea and then there's the workaday world where you're into the next job. And you need both. The job helps you learn a craft. And the idea only comes rarely, but when it does come you have the craft to act on it." The article’s tag line was: “But specifically. Since he's 56, how about King Lear?" You answered: "Hmmmm. Well, yeah. I hope...one day. Now that you mention it. Why not?" So Al, what better time than now? Your HBO movie, “You Don’t Know Jack”--the Dr. Kevorkian story--premieres on April 24th. You are now 70...how about doing “King Lear”?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Giving the Pope Power He Doesn’t Have

Although I’m not a Roman Catholic, I too invest Pope Ratz with power that isn’t his to have. The RCC followers have let the Vatican bully them into believing the Pope speaks for God, which he doesn’t, and that he knows the mind of God, which he can’t. Still, I too have let the Pope and the Vatican influence my beliefs about what I think they are capable of. On Monday, Pope Ratz met with 46 cardinals to mark the fifth anniversary of his election to popedom. According to the front page of the Vatican newspaper, “L’Osservatore Romano” the pope said he “very strongly feels that he is not alone; that he has on his side the entire College of Cardinals, sharing with him tribulations and consolations.” I really had to laugh. Because by me, that's as close to a Godfather threat as I’ve heard save from a movie about wiseguys. Vatican-watcher Marco Politi said that the curia (administrative arm of the Vatican) had not been very helpful to Pope Ratz during his recent tribulations. Well, that is surely true. Every step those clowns take to alleviate Ratz’s problems have only added to his problems. They are totally inept soldiers in the mob...er...group. And Ratz may or may not deal with them in appropriate Ratzian manner. But the College of Cardinals, that’s something else again. The New York Times reported this morning that the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Soldano, speaking after the Monday lunch thanked the pope for leading the church “with great generosity.” Heh-heh! Yeah...so far...but look out guys...his Popeness has just said, “If I go down, you go down.” But then, maybe I’ve given Ratz too much power.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pope Goes to Malta and Tells a Huge Lie

So, there’s this tiny island between Sicily and North Africa called Malta where, it is said, St. Paul was shipwrecked. And Pope Ratz went to Malta this past Saturday to celebrate the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul’s shipwreck. And while there, Pope Ratz decided to have a meet-and-greet with pedophile abuse victims. Get this, on this tiny...I mean TINY island there were 10 men who in 2003 had filed a suit against four pedophile priests--ten from this little island alone. The Vatican is at pains to say that this is not precedent setting. Like, don’t expect Ratz to meet with pedophile victims in every country he visits. And also, the Vatican said the meeting is more “symbolic” than “legal”. So, getting that straight right off the bat, the Pope made it clear that he is in no way legally liable for anything. And then he gave the ten abused men 20 minutes of his valuable time, during which Pope Ratz “prayed with them and assured them that the church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future.” What nonsense! And what an enormous lie! The church is doing all it can now to deny all the allegations and, it did all it could in the past to shield those who are responsible and to put young people in jeopardy. As the spokesman for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Peter Isely noted, it’s “astonishing” Benedict said the Vatican was doing “all in its power to investigate allegations...it hurts and endangers kids when adults confuse inaction with action and recklessness with effectiveness...it’s wrong, when thousands are being molested, to just make vague promises.” It’s also wrong for the Pope to blatantly lie. But popes and the Vatican have been doing it for so long that no one notices anymore.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pope Doesn’t Get it, and Never Will

He can’t. Pope Ratz thinks he’s God. When many victims of priest pedophiles finally talk as adults about their molestation, they say they thought the priest was God and that if they didn’t do what God said, they’d go to Hell. The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church are at pains to explain that priests are never to give this impression. That, of course, a priest is simply a conduit. At the same time, these churches will say that no matter how depraved and morally bereft a priest may be, his or her behavior does not taint the sacrament he or she is conferring on a recipient. Now that the RCC is under scrutiny because it is finally coming out that priests have been molesting children for the last 1500 years, it cannot be ignored that one of the Vatican’s problems is the very fact that many men in the RCC God business have taken on the role of not representing God, but of implying they are God. Else, how can it be explained that Pope Benedict, even now, is making speeches about how everyone (except himself) in the Roman Catholic Church should repent of their woeful sins. Repent and do penance he said yesterday. But how about the sins that Archbishop Ratzinger, Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Ratz have committed by willfully and cynically allowing priests to continue molesting children while Ratz let it happen? Not only are the Pope’s men saying Ratzinger never did anything wrong. They are implying that of course he couldn’t do wrong because a Pope is God’s clone. And, as of yesterday, the Pope’s men said that if wrong was committed, it was because homosexuals in the church had slipped into being pedophiles. And we know that a cause celebre of Pope Ratz has been to oust all gay persons from his men’s club. Also yesterday, Vatican reporter Sandro Magiste said of Pope Ratz: “He is trying to explain to the church and to the bishops and the clergy, many of whom are unfortunately of low quality, even morally, that they should transform themselves...he (Pope Ratz) knows the church needs to be reborn.” Right. Everyone needs to repent, do penance, be reborn, except God Ratz. Ratz said in his homily yesterday that there is a need for “obedience to God”. That is, obedience to God Ratz who says the God whom he has become wants all women who are sexually active to have a baby every year of their reproductive lives, wants children to keep mum about priests who rape them, wants homosexuals to get out of the church or at least keep mum about being gay, and calls conformism a sin except when conforming to Vatican Rules In other words, if God were a corporeal being, he would not be Jesus Christ, he would be the Pope. What we have here, God Ratz says of the pedophile scandal, is not a failure of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church to communicate. And it’s not a moral breakdown of the Pope, the Curia and the College of Cardinals. Nor is it a body of delusional men carrying on like grandiose pscyhopaths. What we have here, God Ratz says, “is a crisis of faith”.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vatican Rule: Women and Children Last

The good part about the pedophile scandal rocketing through the Roman Catholic Church is that it has forced the world to take a look at the way the oldest men’s club has been operating for the last 1500 years. And what we see is that the most salient characteristic of the men who inhabit the Vatican—the College of Cardinals, the Curia and the Popes—is that nothing is or ever has been more important to this collection of self-serving, egomaniacal Chief Executive Officers parading as religious men than to keep their men-only club operating. When you consider that the reason for organizing a religion called Christianity was to venerate the second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ the Son. And when you consider that since the time of Constantine, Christ’s mother Mary has been as important a person in the Christian Church as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And when you consider that the first people who had the fortitude and courage to seek out Jesus in his tomb after his crucifixion were the women who were Jesus’ disciples, it passes strange that the Roman Catholic Church not only demeans women, but it looks on sons and all children as being of lesser importance than perverts, and of no importance whatsoever where maintaining the existence of the Roman Catholic men’s club is concerned. It is appalling to think that this pope, in only one of many instances, waited more than three years to respond to a request to defrock a priest who had molested children in California, saying that “the good of the Universal Church” needed to be considered. What Pope Ratz has been preaching for decades is that the existence of his job and his men’s club is more important than the women and children who worship God in the Roman Catholic Church. And Pope Ratz and his cronies fully intend to continue making rules on subjects they know nothing about, such as human sexuality and raising children, for everyone in the world, because their arbitrary and unmerciful rules keeps their men’s club flourishing, and because they can. Here is the solution: Let these depraved men of the Vatican have their men’s club and their insular society. Let them have their palace and their little J. Arthur Rank farce nation, ruling cabinet, frocks, Prada shoes, gold chalices, encrusted rings and holy bling. Let them speak in tongues or Latin or however they want to chant their fraternity songs. And walk away. Leave these Vatican assholes rustling their papers like Joseph McCarthy when no one was listening to his HUAC nonsense anymore. Just walk away. Find other churches in which to worship God and Jesus and go about your lives.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Three Big Questions For the Vatican

A New York Times article reported today (“German Church Abuse Hotline Gets Flood of Calls”): “The Roman Catholic Church’s phone line for victims of sexual abuse in Germany was overwhelmed with calls last week.” Last week was the first week of the hotline’s operation and according to Andreas Zimmer, the director of the counseling center at the Diocese of Trier, which is handling the nationwide free line, 13,293 attempts were made to get through to the psychologists and social workers on the hotline. Question One Why are so many Roman Catholic Priests pedophiles? It seems obvious that the Vatican’s pro forma response that the same percentage of priests are pedophiles as obtains in the general population (1%-5% of the adult population) is untrue and that the percentage of pedophile priests in the priest population is way higher than 5%. Question Two Why are priests required to be celibate in the RCC? The pro forma response to this question has been that priests have to remain unmarried because Christ was unmarried and also, to devote themselves to serving God rather than being concerned with family matters. This answer is a conspicuous lie on two levels. First, having a family has not been a deterrent to serving God in other religions. And second, the RCC originated as a religion in which the priests were married. But it was found that having to deal with heirs to the church’s vast holdings and properties was a terrible problem for the hierarchy in the church. Church historical documents abound with rules and regulations about sexual relations between priests and their wives. As in, from 306 AD, a priest who has sex with his wife the night before mass will lose his job. In 580 AD, Pope Pelagius II said married priests were not to be “bothered”, as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children. And never forget, there were eleven popes who were sons of popes. Granted, illegitimacy was the rule rather than the exception. Question Three Does the requirement for priests to be celibate cause deviants to be attracted to the Roman Catholic Church? Apparently 9th century bishop St. Ulrich thought so. A document shows that he argued that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry. (Incidentally, a 9th century document speaks to the problem of abortions and infanticides in convents and monasteries to cover-up activities of un-celibate clerics). All of this nonsense about church dogma being immutable is thrown in a cocked hat when you read church history. In 352 the Council of Laodicea ordered that women were not to be ordained. In 1095 Pope Urban II had priests’ wives sold into slavery and their children were abandoned. In the 14th century Bishop Pelagio complained that women were still being ordained and hearing confessions. Yes, the Vatican can change its mind, and it has consistently done so since the first pope reigned over the Vatican palace. The Vatican is still operating in the belief that church officials must keep esoteric knowledge from the populace because ordinary people don’t have the education or wisdom to understand it. Yes, I know, it is to laugh when you consider the level of stupidity governing the Vatican.