Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Holy Shit Hit The Fan!

I just finished reading the book “Sua Santità. Le carte segrete di Benedetto XVI” by Gianluigi Nuzzi or what it’s better known as the Vatileaks.

Ever since the book came out in September of 2012, I have been after it. I read it in Italian but couldn’t understand every word reason why I contacted the writer and offered my services as a translator, free of charge, to have the book translated into English and Spanish. Mr. Nuzzi informed me that the publisher already had the translators. Now the Spanish version, translated by Juan Carlos Gentile Vitale, obviously an Italian even when they tried to make his name into Spanish instead of Giancarlo as it should be, has been published and I bought it. The translation is not fluid and contains quite a few errors, but it’s good enough to understand it.

I expected much more from this book. The book is full of transcripts of events that involved the Vatican but it is obvious that Mr. Nuzzi desperately tries to blame the people around the pope for everything that happened, anyone except the pope.  I am sorry, but if a leader of a State, which is what the pope really is, is so disconnected as to what is happening at all levels of his administration – in this case apparently completely unaware of the corruptions at the spiritual and moral levels, the corruptions at the financial level and the corruptions at the ethical level, then that person should not be the leader of that or any other State. I can understand that no leader can be fully aware of all the intricacies that take place within the State they are governing but, completely and utterly unaware? I doubt it.

The book is not easy to follow and it’s, quite honestly, boring; it lacks that spark that keeps you from putting a book down.  Given the subject, I was not expecting it to be this boring but it was.

According to this book, and to the many letters and documentations from the Vatican attached at the end of the book, the crimes that take place behind the walls of the Vatican are beyond what many of us could imagine and in my opinion the reason why Benedict XVI – formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger – is resigning: The holy shit has hit the proverbial fan.

Through this book, the reader finds out that the Catholic Church received rents from brothels and from pornographic publications for years; they have covered murders (most of us knew that), they've ignored pleas to help Christians in other countries if those pleas interfered in any way, shape or form with the political agenda of the Church. Money and money laundering, as well as almost every type of crime you can think of, has been committed by the Catholic Church and the book provides you with copies of the Vatican’s communications and their incessant efforts to hide the truth from the public eye.

But it is towards the end of the book where I find something very telling, in a letter written by Gott Tedeschi, president of The Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank, (IOR, Instituto per le Opere de Religione) dated June 2011 about the global economic crisis.

Following is a translation of this letter.
“The ongoing economic crisis (that has not ended yet, rather it's just beginning) and the unbalanced consequences of the globalization process that has accelerated the relocation of many productive activities, has transformed the world into two economic areas: the West (U.S. and European) into consumers who are producing increasingly less and the Eastern countries (Asia and India) balanced producers but not yet consumers. This process has created, therefore, a conflict between the three economies and the Western men roles: that of workers and income producers, consumers of convenient goods, the savers and investors of whatever they can find greater prospects for gain. The apparent paradox is that the Western man still produces income by working in domestic companies, but is less and less competitive and therefore at risk of instability. They buy more competitive goods produced elsewhere. Invest in non-domestic companies, in countries where the economy grows because it produces. In practice, strengthens businesses that create employment elsewhere and even compete with the businesses where they work, until that man is without work, and not able to consume and even less to save.

This conflict it’s not being managed and is causing a structural crisis in the economy of the Western world, which was once wealthy. But the Western world is also one whose roots are Christian (Europe and USA), which is evangelized and so far it has sustained the Church with its economic resources. In practice, due to the relocation process, wealth is being transferred from the Christian West to the East not Christianized. Specifically, for the West, this means:

- Less developed (or even negative), lower income, lower savings, lower investment returns, unsustainable higher costs for the aging population, etc.

- Therefore a greater involvement of the state in the economy, increased government spending and higher costs. Demand for higher taxes, fewer privileges and exemptions, greater risks.

Because of the globalization and the economic crisis, the world that is to be Christianized is the one that is becoming "wealthy" and the already Christianized, who was once wealthy, is becoming poor, with consequences on the economic resources of the Church. The end result is that the resources that have traditionally contributed to the needs of the Church (donations, rentals, etc.) may decrease while the necessary requirements should grow for evangelization. In addition, the "secularism" could be harnessed to create a second "Roman Persecution" of attacks on church property (through taxation, retirement privileges and exaggerated increase of controls, etc.). The "Roman Persecution" of the XXI century will not be in the expropriation of the property of the Church, but the loss of their value by lower contributions, by impoverishment of the Christian world, in order of the greatest privileges and predictable rate on goods.”
The only thing that concerns the Catholic Church is not the impoverishing of the Western man and the tribulations they will go through, but the lack of funds that will stop funneling to the Church’s bank accounts. However, I find it very telling that what Mr. Tedeschi described is what we, on the Left, have been saying for years and the Right ignores and even mocks: the economic crisis in our country is due to the continuous outsourcing of American jobs, the carte blanche given to Walmart to inundate our market with cheap products, all sporting the labels “Made in Taiwan," “Made in India,” “Made in Mexico” or whatever other country except “Made in the USA.” And because we have less and less money, we flock to Walmart like moths to the light. Blinded by the prices without thinking, not even once, that the more we buy from them, the deeper we are digging our own graves.

The Catholic Church is not worried about us, their worry is the money that will not be going to the Vatican’s vault. Their concern is not how are we are going to make ends meet, their worry is that governments around the world will start taxing them to compensate for the lack of funds. I would be extremely happy if our country could lead the way, since for the last 30 years the religious institutions (not only the Catholic Church) have decided to get involved in politics, to politically influence their parishioners thus rendering their tax exemption null.

I am glad to see this pope go, perhaps what the book said it’s true and he was unaware of everything that transpired in the Catholic Church, I seriously doubt it, but if it is true then he was useless and should go.  If on the other hand he was aware of the corruption, then he was a son of a bitch whose only concern was money (the main concern of most religious leaders) and he won’t be missed, at least not by me... but then again, I've never missed any of them!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Congressional Assault On Women’s Rights

The 113th Congress of the United States began on January 3rd, 2013; they’ve been in session for less than two calendar months. I make it clear that it’s two calendar months because Congress is not in chambers everyday. No, according to their calendars Congress (House and Senate) was in Chamber a total of 8 times in January and in February and up to the 17h (today’s date) for 7 days; that’s a total of 15 working days in 46 days.

Republicans in Congress have been busy during these 15 days, unfortunately they don’t care about the message the American people sent them this past elections. Once more, Republicans are doing all they can to force women to have children they don’t want – for whatever reason they don’t want them. Once again, they are pushing their religious agenda upon every single woman in this country. There’s even a bill to protect doctors that refuse to perform abortions, but not one single bill to protect physicians that do and those are the ones that are being murdered by the Religious Right these Republicans in Congress represent. I guess that for them it’s OK to murder a physician for performing a legal abortion but no one can even criticize a doctor for not assisting a woman in obtaining information about a legal abortion.

There’s a bill that is founded on a study called “Son Preference and the Role of Culture: Evidence from Asian Immigrants to Canada” (to read the original, click here).  The study was written by three ECONOMISTS: Douglas Almond (Dept. of Economics, Columbia University); Lena Edlund (Dept. of Economics, Columbia University) and Kevin Milligan (Dept. of Economics, University of British Columbia); these individuals are not doctors and they have never claimed to be. This study was done using data from the Census in Canada, not the United States. The Canadian Census suggests that among the Asian communities in Canada there are more male children being born than females, especially if the parents had already two previous children and these children were female. From this information, these economists concluded that these Asian immigrants were selecting the sex of their fetus and having an abortion if the tests resulted in a female fetus. The same it’s not true in the States but that doesn’t matter. This prompted Republicans to create a bill using the Canadian data and a study that was created on population figures, but not one medical study, because they had none and in the study not one medical data was used.

These Republicans that are so obsessed with vaginas and fetuses are the same that are doing all they can to cut funding for Medicaid, Food Stamps and Educational programs. These are the programs that will provide medical assistance to poor families to care for their children and that rely on food stamps to feed those children. But these Republicans don’t care about a child that has passed through the birth canal, for all they care they can go without a doctor’s visit, food or a decent education. Their main concern is that sacred zygote.

It is my opinion – and I am entitled to have one – that the Republican Party wants women to be barefooted and pregnant, so she will not have the time to be involved in politics and moving this country forward. Most women oppose wars – because it is our children the ones that will die in those wars, and Republicans are ballistic, their second obsession is wars. Republicans are pro-corporations, by forcing all women to be giving birth continuously they will ensure these corporations a certain form of slavery, when there will be so many uneducated workers in a short period of time (18 years is not a long time), that they will work for pennies – just like China does.

Another thing to take into consideration is their fear that the White Race is becoming the minority in this country because the majority of the educated white women in this country are being responsible and abstaining from having a large family. What these Republicans don’t stop to think is that by prohibiting abortions and trying to obstruct access to prescribed contraceptives the other races will continue to reproduce at a faster rate, and this country is destined to be a multi-racial country where whites will end up in the minority no matter what they do to prevent it.

Republicans hate it that the left calls their actions a “War Against Women” but, what other name could we give it when it is obvious that they don’t care about women? There are those in Congress that want to ban abortions even in cases of rape, incest and even if the mother’s life is in danger. Women for them are things to be used and not valued. What else can we call it when those Republicans in Congress have abstained voting to pass the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA)? What else can we call it when these Republicans are drafting bills to protect the rights of a rapist to visit the child he procreated through rape? The congressional assault on women’s rights goes on and on.

I will not stop until I see these retrograde, male chauvinists pigs removed from Congress. Draft a bill making men responsible. Draft a bill to control men’s procreation abilities (no more insurance coverage for vasectomies or vasectomy reversals; for Viagra or anything remotely related to male’s reproductive systems). Let’s get into those dusty pants and start probing into those penises. No more turning the other cheek, that has never worked. It’s time to give them a taste of their own medicine, it takes two to tango and that applies in relationships, sex and legislation.

We’ve come a long way, baby to let these dinosaurs take us back to the dark ages.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Waterboy

So his peers honored the “Savior” of the Republican/Tea Party by allowing him to respond to the President’s State of the Union Address.

I am very glad the Republican Party chose Marco Rubio to deliver the response; that decision allowed the world to see that this man is far from ready to be in the spotlight and definitively he is not Presidential material.

I found it particularly funny that he decided to include at the beginning of his response that “For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.” I find this funny because that is precisely what has happened during the last 12 years and what the Party he represents defends to no end: The privileged 1% of America.

Once more we had to listen to Rubio mentioning the humble beginnings of his family, how his dad was a bartender and his mother a cashier and a maid… I was expecting the sorrowful sounds of a violin in the background, but that never came. First of all, bartenders make very good money – even more in Las Vegas and we all know that there is nothing like a drunk to leave a good tip. Second, his family came here not as refugees as he has tried to make all of us believe, but as immigrants that were fleeing their country just the same as so many of those undocumented immigrants he has tried so hard and for so long to deny them the right to stay in this country. His mother, father and grandfather came here illegally. They worked, also illegally, until 1962 when Johnson allowed Cubans to stay permanently in this country; that’s when his family decided to step forward and adhere to the new law. It seems that his parents weren’t too sure about if they wanted to stay in this country or not, because it took them 15 years to become American citizens. Also, even though Rubio claims that they (his parents) were never to return to Cuba and that made them Refugees, it is not entirely true since his parents went back and forth to the island up to 1962. His parents came here for prosperity, to provide themselves and their children a better life but they did not come here fleeing from communism or fearing prosecution. I’ve read in many conservative sites that back in 1956 Cuban people knew already what was to happen to the island and were leaving - that is not true, even those that came in 1959 were hopeful that the Castro regime was not going to last. Many of the Cubans that left before 1959 came to the United States because they were against Batista or Machado, and most of them were Castro’s sympathizers and perhaps that is what happened with Rubio’s parents and there is nothing wrong with that, many Cubans that are now in exile were at one time Castro’s sympathizers, but don’t try to compare their status with those that came after them; those that came after 1959 couldn’t bring a single dime with them, those that came before 1959 could bring everything they owned with them and that makes a huge financial difference. But I am going off subject here.

Rubio continued lecturing America as to what constitutes a “vibrant” economy – as if he has a vast knowledge in this field. According to him a “vibrant free economy” is where people can risk their own money to open a business (no bank loans) and these people will hire other people who in turn will help others start a business and create jobs.  Sorry, but most of these very, very small businesses do not hire people, most are family businesses where every employee is a family member and if not, the employee is at minimum wage with no benefits whatsoever. It seems that the many “business failures” his own father encountered over the years didn’t serve to teach Marco that wishing, good disposition and an entrepreneur mind is at times not enough to make it. Take Marco for instance; if it wasn’t for the student loans he had access to, he would probably be working at a restaurant on Miami Beach. Instead and thanks to the government, who are the ones guaranteeing student loans he became a lawyer and today we have to put up with him.

Rubio continued talking about economy as if he is an erudite on the subject, and while at it lying about what the President has said about the cause of the economic downfall; Rubio claims that the President believes that the cause of America’s problem is that the previous government was too little… when did President Obama ever said such a thing? And then Rubio defined what in his illustrious opinion caused the financial crisis: housing and reckless policies. While the housing crisis didn’t help the economy, and the policies were reckless because Republicans have always believed that companies can regulate themselves and the companies didn’t. If you don't believe me, all you have to do is watch how Republicans oppose strong regulations on Wall Street or the oil industry.

According to Rubio, “more taxes and more government spending” is an old idea that has failed every time it has been tried. Is he for real? Did it failed during the glorious economic era America enjoyed when Bill Clinton was President? Every time the taxes on the very wealthy have been raised in our recent history, the result has been an economic growth, and every time there has been tax cuts (something Republicans love and regardless of results they want to preserve) the economy has shrunk. All serious and renowned economists agree with this, except the “laureate economist” in the Republican Party.

It has been government that has propelled science discoveries by providing funds for these studies, and according to Rubio, government had nothing to do with it. It is government that has aided young people in obtaining a college education – including Rubio, but now Rubio doesn’t recognize that fact. It is government that provides incentives to private businesses to expand, to hire and to innovate thus helping the private sector to create jobs. All the help the government provide to small companies, big companies and the American citizens do not create uncertainty; again, the contrary is true.

I can continue on and on but I won’t because this is supposed to be a blog and not a book. Suffice to say that the thing that bothers Republicans the most is the cut to the Defense budget that the President is demanding and that Republicans want to increase instead… Remember, they are the laureate economists that took us from a surplus to a recession; the ones that care only about those that can buy their vote with money. Time and time again the Republicans have proven that they care not for the regular working class and minorities they only cater to the rich. They have shown the American people with enough gray matter to discern what’s transpiring what matters to their Party.  The previous Congress (112th) will go down in history as the worst and less productive Congress in recent history, that is if the 113th don’t surpass them. Give Republicans a vagina subject and they’ll jump all over it, ask them to help the needy and they'll ignore it. No wonder Rubio needed to drink so much water, it must be difficult to expel that much crap in such a short period of time!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope On The Run

Photograph by Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool/Getty Images
as it appeared in
It has been a while since I’ve written anything substantial. I’ve been depressed and uninspired. However, today Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign on February 28th at 10:00 PM Italian time. This announcement took me and the rest of the world by surprise, just as it did even the people close to the pope. I was in awe, a good awe since I can’t stand the Catholic Church. This man, Benedict XVI was appointed by John Paul II to review the rape cases in the Catholic church, he was the one that tried to hide this from the public, that did absolutely nothing to bring those corrupt priests to justice, Benedict XVI was the one that implied that sexual relationships with children wasn't viewed as depraved in the 70s.  Now, many are speculating as to the reason why this pope has decided to do what no other pope has done since 1415 and incredibly enough, apparently everyone is swallowing the excuse he is giving, not one single mention to the scandal brought to light by the Vatileaks. Following is a translation of his resignation, as it appears in the Vatican website:
Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
© Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


What caught my attention is the part where he says “shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.” It seems to me that the pope has doubts about faith and that doesn’t surprise me. But I am more inclined to believe that the Vatileaks and the investigation brought upon him and the Vatican by them is what has prompted this pope to run and hide in what used to be a monastery inside Vatican City and away from the public eye.
I have ordered the book, written by Gianluigi Nuzzi, “Sua Santità. Le carte segrete di Benedetto XVI” (His Holiness: The secret papers of Benedict XVI” in order to see first hand how incriminating these documents are; I don’t believe that he is too ill or old to perform his Papal duties, previous popes far older and weaker than he is, have held their positions until their death – the difference between those and him is that none of them had their twisted secrets exposed to the world and this Pope does, and as cowards usually do, he is running to hide behind the cross not capable of facing what awaits him… of course, he will be living comfortably without a care in the world. Soon, another Pope – a carbon copy of this one – will take the throne and the farce and corruption will continue as usual.