Monthly Archives: February 2013

Yes, LET’S look at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech

In this frame grab from video, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio takes a sip of water during his Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pool)

Associated Press image

The vast majority of those who claim that crypto-fascist presidential wannabe Marco Rubio didn’t get enough attention to the content of his recent speech on live national television probably haven’t actually listened to or read his entire speech (which you can do here). Having read every word of Rubio’s speech, and having compared it to reality, I can say that he’s damned fucking lucky that the water bottle got all of the attention. 

Associated Press editor Liz Sidoti wrote a column that she (or Yahoo! News) titled “Our Collective Obsession with the Trivial” that is about as original and insightful as was Repugnican Tea Party Sen. Marco Rubio’s speech that she insinuates was overlooked because of the “trivial.”

Every once in a while we pseudo-chastise ourselves about not being serious enough — but then we jump right back into the “trivial” anyway. Let’s face it: We’re never serious about getting serious. And so the vast majority of us who chastise others about not being serious enough, but focusing too much upon the “trivial,” are hypocrites.

Sidoti — who, ironically, is part of the problem that she whines about (the problem of the mass media’s propagation of “trivia”) — begins her column:

Persistently high unemployment. A sluggish economy. Debt. Deficit. Obesity. Fundamental disputes over guns, immigration and the climate. A to-do list that would exhaust even the most vigorous multi-tasker. A meteor in Russia, even.

Yet what created one of the buzziest brouhahas in America last week? Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s inopportune sip of water on live TV.

Enormous challenges pack the nation’s plate, but this country just can’t seem to get enough of the small stuff….

One hopes that we can multi-task, since we’re (even further) fucked if we can’t.

Yes, issues such as unemployment and a sluggish economy, the federal budget deficit (caused in no small part because of runaway so-called “defense” spending by the traitors who comprise the military-industrial-corporate complex), obesity, and global warming persist, although, of course, not all of our so-called “problems” actually are problems; what we so thoughtlessly label (like lemmings) as “progress,” such as indefinite economic expansion — such as the construction of even more strip malls and fast-food chain restaurants and chain stores — often if not usually only contributes to the further degradation of the planet and to the further threats to the future welfare of Homo sapiens and to countless other species and to perhaps even all life on planet Earth. (Indeed, our idea of “economic expansion,” which widely is considered to be “good,” is predicated upon the ideas that the planet has magically infinite resources and that ever-increasing population growth, which slowly is killing us all, is good.)

But those (like AP editor Liz Sidoti) who claim that we’re ignoring the Big Issues and focusing too much on Marco Rubio’s lying-induced-dehydration-related fucktardation on live national television aren’t seriously looking at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech either.

Rubio’s speech — the Repugnican Party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday — was just more trickle-down bullshit (what’s trickling down on us is the plutocrats’ urine), just more right-wing platitudes, just more feel-good, propagandistic, “Go U-S-A! We’re No. 1!”  pap that is right out of the 1950s or before.

If you don’t believe me, read Rubio’s speech yourself, but know that in his speech the man-serpent Rubio lied through his venom-dripping fangs right out of the fucking gate. Here is the beginning of his speech:

Good evening. I’m Marco Rubio. I’m blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. [Right…] Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans. And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers. [Fuck our teachers, nurses and others who work hard every day — it’s only if you’re in the military that your job counts, you see.]

The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. 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. [Because it’s certainly not that way in the United States today, with a tiny plutocratic minority on top of the socioeconomically struggling masses, is it?]

But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them. [Not content with just delivering the “American exceptionalism” propagandistic bullshit, the dim bulb Rubio even felt the need to actually use the adjective “exceptional.”]

Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn’t inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better – the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams. [Gotta love this pro-immigrant rhetoric from the same party that for years now has been attacking brown-skinned immigrants from south of the border, immigrants who have just wanted a better life.]

This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs….*

This is the tired old “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” rhetoric that the right wing just won’t stop spewing. Mom-and-pop businesses for the most part are a thing of the past, having been replaced by the Walmarts with which they just cannot compete long, long ago, yet the Repugnican Tea Party traitors bloviate as though we still live in the days of Mayberry, when, if you wanted to start your own small business and thrive, you could.

In stark contrast to the pretty, red-white-and-blue, Thomas-Kinkade-and-Paul-Harvey-like portrait that right-wing punk Marco Rubio paints of the “exceptional” United States of America, Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz just this past weekend posted an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth.”

Whether Stiglitz wrote his piece at least partially in response to the thirsty Rubio’s pack of lies I’m not sure, but in his piece Stiglitz wrote (bold-faced items are my own emphasis, and the links are Stiglitz’s):

Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity. [Rubio and his anti-government ilk actually claim that we should leave it up to the plutocrats to ensure equality of opportunity, because isn’t that what the plutocrats are all about — socioeconomic equality? (It’s always a great idea to put the foxes in charge of the chickens, isn’t it?)]

Perhaps a hundred years ago, America might have rightly claimed to have been the land of opportunity, or at least a land where there was more opportunity than elsewhere. But not for at least a quarter of a century [has that been the case]. Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches stories were not a deliberate hoax, but given how they’ve lulled us into a sense of complacency, they might as well have been.

It’s not that social mobility is impossible, but that the upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity. According to research from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top. Economic mobility in the United States is lower than in most of Europe and lower than in all of Scandinavia.

Stiglitz also notes that “the life prospects of an American are more dependent on the income and education of his [or her] parents than in almost any other advanced country for which there is data.”

That blows Marco Rubio and his “exceptional,” red-white-and-blue bullshit right out of the fucking water of which he so badly wants a swig, doesn’t it? Where is the punk Marco Rubio’s Nobel Prize in economics?

And it’s not just that Rubio is a pandering fucking liar who long ago decided to parrot the right wing’s feel-good lies for his own personal and political gain.

It’s that these lies are harmful because they induce individuals to believe that if they just can’t make it in this vicious, dog-eat-dog, everyone-for-him-and-herself American economy, in which the insane income gap between the haves and the have-nots rivals the gap that we saw back in the 1920s, then there is something wrong with them.

In the right-wing worldview, it’s always the individual who is at fault — never the fucked-up system, which always gets off scot-free. The Thomas Kinkade landscape, even though it’s wholly made up and captures nothing of reality, is always just fine; it’s always the individual who is the failure.

So yes, there is plenty about the content of Marco Rubio’s speech to not only find fault with, but to find to be fairly terrifying, since the lying, pandering Rubio obviously is an ambitious asshole.

So let’s dispense with the myth that Marco Rubio’s wonderful speech was overlooked by the fact that he bizarrely acted as though he wasn’t on live national television, that he bizarrely acted as though if he just pretended that we couldn’t see him do something on live national TV, then we couldn’t. His apparent mindset of juvenile and magical thinking, in which he creates reality, could be a whole other blog post (and might be one day, but not today).

Marco Rubio, like the other dumb punks in the Repugnican Tea Party who have been hailed as the party’s “future,” such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan (who, like Rubio, was parched during his vice presidential debate with Joe Biden, who kicked his punk ass), is only finding out that his flimsy facade won’t withstand the scrutiny of the national spotlight. That’s his fault, not ours.

And I agree wholeheartedly: It’s not about the little water bottle that Marco Rubio grabbed during a live national television address.

It’s about the fact that no one who asserts that we still live in a time that, if it ever existed at all, ceased to exist decades ago, is fit to lead.

You can lead only if you are planted firmly in the present and in the problems of the presentnot if you’re still stuck in an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

*Again, Rubio’s full speech is here. I find most of it not worth regurging here, as most of it is the same, tired old anti-government, pro-fox-and-anti-chicken and anti-fair-taxation (let’s let the rich and their corporations off from paying a fair share of taxes, since then they’ll just give their tax savings to the rest of us, right?) rhetoric that the right wing has been spewing out for some decades now.

But I do find Rubio’s “solution” to the problem of massive student loan debt interesting. In his little speech he said:

“When I finished school, I owed over $100,000 in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago. Today, many graduates face massive student debt. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.”

That’s it. That’s his “solution.”

Wow.

Rubio won’t say that treating our college students like cash cows to be milked for decades after they graduate with their often-worthless-in-this-economy degrees is wrong.

He certainly won’t advocate that we, say, divert some of the billions and billions of dollars from the bloated-beyond-belief U.S. military budget — which is just a way for greedy fucking traitors to loot the U.S. treasury under such guises as “national defense” and “national security” — and use it to at least help our college students (say, perhaps, those who earned the better grades in high school) to pay for college.

No — Rubio’s “solution” is to “give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.” Not to save them from the student-loan sharks, you see, but to just tell them about them.

Meanwhile, under Rubio’s “vision,” the student-loan sharks remain free to savage our students, and the student-loan sharks remain the only source of funding that is available to many if not most of those who want to go to college.

This is leadership?

This is what Joseph Stiglitz, on the other hand, has to say about education and student-loan debt in the U.S. in his New York Times piece:

…Probably the most important reason for lack of equality of opportunity is education: both its quantity and quality. After World War II, Europe made a major effort to democratize its education systems. We did, too, with the G.I. Bill, which extended higher education to Americans across the economic spectrum.

But then we changed, in several ways. While racial segregation decreased, economic segregation increased. After 1980, the poor grew poorer, the middle stagnated, and the top did better and better. [Indeed, the current yawning gap between the rich and the rest of us started under Ronald Reagan, due to his pro-rich, right-wing policies.] Disparities widened between those living in poor localities and those living in rich suburbs — or rich enough to send their kids to private schools. A result was a widening gap in educational performance — the achievement gap between rich and poor kids born in 2001 was 30 to 40 percent larger than it was for those born 25 years earlier, the Stanford sociologist Sean F. Reardon found. …

Unless current trends in education are reversed, the situation is likely to get even worse. In some cases it seems as if policy has actually been designed to reduce opportunity: government support for many state schools has been steadily gutted over the last few decades — and especially in the last few years. Meanwhile, students are crushed by giant student loan debts that are almost impossible to discharge, even in bankruptcy. This is happening at the same time that a college education is more important than ever for getting a good job.

Young people from families of modest means face a Catch-22: without a college education, they are condemned to a life of poor prospects; with a college education, they may be condemned to a lifetime of living at the brink. And increasingly even a college degree isn’t enough; one needs either a graduate degree or a series of (often unpaid) internships.

Those at the top have the connections and social capital to get those opportunities. Those in the middle and bottom don’t. The point is that no one makes it on his or her own. And those at the top get more help from their families than do those lower down on the ladder. Government should help to level the playing field.

Americans are coming to realize that their cherished narrative of social and economic mobility is a myth. Grand deceptions of this magnitude are hard to maintain for long — and the country has already been through a couple of decades of self-deception.

Without substantial policy changes, our self-image, and the image we project to the world, will diminish — and so will our economic standing and stability. Inequality of outcomes and inequality of opportunity reinforce each other — and contribute to economic weakness, as Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton economist and the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has emphasized. We have an economic, and not only moral, interest in saving the American dream. …

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2013: The stupid white man’s last stand?

Hopefully the Bad-and-Scary Santa Pope (pictured above) will be replaced with a Cute-and-Cuddly Santa Pope who is not European. In the meantime, I take Pope Palpatine’s rare resignation — the first resignation of a pope in about 600 years — as a great fucking birthday gift.

The examples of the continuing downfall of the stupid white man are so numerous that this piece should write itself.

Let’s see. Where to begin?

We still have stupid white men John McCainosaurus and Lindsey Graham, both U.S. senators with the Repugnican Tea Party, still yelling about “Benghazigate” when no one is listening.

Stupid white man Mittens Romney had tried to make “Benghazigate” a Big Fucking Issue during the second presidential debate, but moderator Candy Crawley slapped him down like the bitch that he is, and Barack Obama went on to win re-election nonetheless, 51 percent to Mittens’ incredibly ironic 47 percent.

Perhaps especially after the Repugnican traitors got off scot-fucking-free from the thousands of preventable American deaths on September 11, 2001, and the thousands of preventable American deaths in the illegal, immoral, unprovoked, unjust and wholly bogus Vietraq War that used 9/11 (and not, say, war profiteering and Big-Oil profiteering) as its main pretext, Americans just weren’t in the mood to spank the Obama administration too hard over the deaths of four Americans, which is a much, much, much, much, much lower body count than we saw during the eight-year reign of the unelected Bush regime (in which I would include the almost 2,000 Americans who unnecessarily were killed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005).

The last that I heard, the miserable closet case (or, as they say, “confirmed bachelor”) Lindsey Graham was promising to hold up the nomination of Repugnican former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the new secretary of defense. Graham seems undaunted by the fact that he virtually is alone in this little crusade, with the possible exception of McCainosaurus.

I’m not big on Hagel — as I have noted, it sickens me that so many so-called Democratic presidents fairly routinely have picked Repugnicans as their defense secretaries, when not once in the history of the nation has a Repugnican president ever picked a Democrat as his defense secretary (“bipartisanship,” you see, means that the Dems cave in all the fucking time but that the Repugs never give a fucking millimeter) — but who the fuck is Lindsey Graham to try to play president?

In his last election, in 2008, Graham, who hails from the 24th most populous state, South Carolina (which has a population of not even 5 million), received just over 1 million votes. In that same November 2008 election, Obama garnered more than 69 million votes (and he was re-elected with just under 66 million votes).

I get it that South Carolina was the first backasswards red state to secede from the Union, and so that it politically helps the white supremacist Graham with his white-supremacist constituency for him to be taking on the nation’s first black president, but the clear majority of Americans elected Barack Obama, not the bitter pansy Lindsey Fucking Graham, to be commander in chief.

Treasonous chickenhawk pipsqueak Lindsey Graham needs to sit down and shut the fuck up, unless it’s to come out of the closet already and to apologize to the nation for his having afflicted us with his sorry pansy ass.

Then there is President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight — which stupid white man Ted Nugent is to attend as the guest of a stupid-white-male (of course) Repugnican Tea Party U.S. representative from Texas (of course), as a middle finger extended to Barack Obama and to anyone else who opposes massacres perpetrated by lunatics (usually stupid white men who are card-carrying members of the NRA) with assault rifles in public spaces, because there is no doubt that the “freedom” to kill as many innocent people as possible at one time surely is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment.

The vile, washed-up piece of shit, white-trash traitor and gun nut Nugent has made many thinly veiled references to President Obama and other political opponents of his treasonous Repugnican Tea Party being shot — it’s the “tea party’s” “Second-Amendment remedies” for when things don’t go their way at the ballot box, you see — yet some stupid-white-male U.S. representative from Texas thought that it was a classy thing to invite Ted Nugent to the State of the Union address.

Way to reinvent the party that long has been alienating the majority of us Americans, yes — to bring to the State of the Union the guy who has made thinly veiled threats about President Obama and other Democratic elected officials being assassinated?

Then there is the uber-cheesy “So God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl ad for the Dodge Ram that the wingnuts relished because it pretended that we still live in the 19fucking50s — or before.

It must be said that dead right-wing radio show host Paul Harvey — who was the Thomas Kinkade of the radio, painting tacky, sappy, gauzy portraits of a time in the United States of America that probably never existed at all but that certainly no longer exists now — gave his “So God Made a Farmer” speech at a Future Farmers of America convention in 1978. So that’s already more than 30 years ago. But wait, there’s more — he based his 1978 speech on a piece that he’d written for a newspaper in 1975, and it gets even better: Apparently the piece that Harvey wrote in 1975 was ripped off from a letter to the editor of a newspaper from 19fucking40 — more than 70 fucking years ago.

Don’t get me wrong — to the extent that we even have any independent farmers left, I’m sure that many if not even most of them are hard-working, decent individuals, as Dodge’s nauseatingly misleading and manipulative ad alleges. However, surely not every farmer’s son wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, as the ad also alleges, and surely there have been many who have found farm life to be fucking miserable.

And are we really to single out only certain professions as being valuable — the right-wing, macho professions, usually, such as farmers, firefighters, cops and members of the military — and others (the traditionally female-dominated professions, such as nursing and teaching, perhaps especially) as not?

And how can we simply overlook the fact that Big Agriculture, which has enjoyed the full support of the big-corporation-loving Repugnican Party, has killed the independent/family farmer? How can we pretend that we’re still a nation of farmers? What the fuck?

Funnyordie.com’s parody of the God-awful “So God Made a Farmer” ad is probably the best response to the ad that’s out there. It’s called “So God Made a Factory Farmer,” and it gives a much more truthful overview of what farming is about today and ends with the fitting tagline, “Here’s to shameless heartland pandering.”

Speaking of the idea that members of certain professions are to be worshipped, how about “the Shooter”?

“The Shooter” is the apparent stupid white man who (reportedly, anyway) assassinated Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when he was a member of the Navy SEALS. (Reportedly his name isn’t being released because if it were, his life would be in jeopardy from Osama-loving revenge killers.)

“The Shooter,” who, I am guessing, is just another stupid white man who wants all of us to drop to our knees and suck his cock just because he was in the military — even though the military’s bloated-beyond-belief budget is bleeding our nation to death and is destroying us all, a la the militarily overextended ancient Roman empire — apparently has whined to Esquire magazine that although he left the Navy after only 16 years of service when he knew that 20 years was the requirement for him to receive a pension, he is being screwed because he won’t get his pension anyway.

I’m pretty sure that there was no clause in there that said that if you assassinate Osama bin Laden, you can decide on your own to leave the military four years early with impunity, yet this guy is calling himself a victim.

Why special treatment for this man? How would it be fair to his comrades to bend the rules for him?

My understanding is that the first Navy SEAL to encounter bin Laden in the compound in Pakistan was to take bin Laden out. It could have been another member of the SEALS team that did the deed had he encountered bin Laden first, I understand. It’s not like “the Shooter” was the Divinely Anointed One to Avenge Us for 9/11, was it?

That aside, I can’t imagine that the extralegal assassination of Osama bin Laden on another nation’s sovereign soil was allowed by international law anyway. “The Shooter,” in my book, acted illegally.

True, he was just a pawn, but so were the Nazi soldiers who were “just following orders.” We can’t allow that “excuse” for illegal actions. All of us are responsible as individuals when we break the law, whether we carry out the illegal action with our own hands or whether we order it from afar (yes, this makes Barack Obama criminally liable for the extralegal assassination of bin Laden, too, of course). We can’t try to hide behind some larger structure and disavow any personal responsibility for our own actions. Shit like that allows atrocities like the Holocaust and My Lai and Abu Ghraib to happen.

That aside, it’s the entitlement mentality of “the Shooter” that really rankles me. You hear so many current and former members of the military acting like all of us civilians owe them something, usually becuase they have protected our “freedoms.”

No, we don’t owe them anything — they get their paychecks and their benefits (unless they, oh, say, leave service four years too early); that is their pay, and we, the taxpayers, pay them — and looooong ago they stopped fighting for our “freedoms.” Now, they are just taxpayer-funded thugs who enable the plutocrats and their corporations to strong-arm other nations into handing over their natural resources over to the plutocratic and corporate profiteers.

Iraq, for instance, certainly never threatened any American’s freedoms, as it had had no fucking way to do so, but the Vietraq War sure was great for Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton’s no-bid federal contracts and for the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp, including, of course, Big Oil, which when Saddam Hussein was in power was not in Iraq but which is in Iraq now, which tells you what the Vietraq War was all about — the “liberation” not of the Iraqis, of course, but of the oil under their feet.

Our soldiers don’t protect our interests — they protect the plutocrats’ interests, which the plutocrats propagandistically call “our” interests so that we don’t go after them with torches and pitchforks like we should.

Our soldiers actually are doing us more harm than good by allowing the military-industrial machine to keep on chugging and to keep on destroying the American empire, telling us that while we can afford an ever-growing military, we can’t afford to provide for basic human needs, such as adequate health care and decent schools. The military, which we pay for, just can’t afford us, you see.

And lo and behold, if the U.S. military slaughters and savages enough innocent civilians abroad, especially in the Middle East these days, it will create enough enemies, real and fabricated, to try to justify its continued existence. Nice gig, if you can get it — to first create the threat or “threat” and then to claim that you are so vitally needed to deal with it.

Most U.S. military adventurism makes us Americans much less safe, not safer, by creating more animosity against the U.S. abroad.

Yet, again, these soldiers, most of them stupid white men, expect us to stop in the streets and give them head. They are special, they are exempt, they deserve our worship.

“The Shooter” not only left service four years too early, but, AFP notes, his talking to Esquire like he did was prohibited:

Soldiers and spies, whether retired or not, are required to submit manuscripts to the Pentagon for review to ensure no sensitive information is published. But the Esquire piece was not submitted to the department for vetting beforehand, a U.S. defense official said.

The Defense Department is now looking at the article to check if any classified material was divulged, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The Shooter” isn’t some poor, selfless soldier who, according to the sensationalistic cover of Esquire, is being “screwed.” He’s a selfish, self-promoting, rules-ignoring egomaniac who didn’t belong in the military in the first fucking place, along with hordes of other stupid white men who don’t belong in the military for the same reasons.

But there are glimmers of hope on the horizon.

Stunts like the Ted Nugent invitation usually backfire (think of Clint Eastwood talking to that empty chair at the last Repugnican Tea Party National Convention); “the Shooter” is more likely to be seen as the self-serving prick with an outsized sense of entitlement that he is rather than as the “screwed”-over hero that he’d like to portray himself as being; corporations probably will think twice before putting out more nauseating, right-wing, propagandistic, back-to-Mayberry-like ads like Dodge did; Chuck Hagel probably will get confirmed as secretary of defense, despite the attempts of white-supremacist red-state senators to hit at Obama via Hagel; and maybe one day soon Lindsey Graham will be busted like former Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry “Toe-Tappin'” Craig was for soliciting same-sex sex in a public restroom.

We have an actual date for the exit of one stupid white man from the world stage: February 28 is to be Pope Palpatine’s last day, which I consider to be a great fucking birthday gift. (My birthday is February 29, which I celebrate on February 28 and on March 1 three out of four years. [I don’t lose three birthdays every four years — I gain three birthdays every four years…])

Pope Palpatine is an example of the fact that the phenomenon of the stupid white man is not exclusive to the United States. Although I’m not Catholick (in fact, I enjoy watching the Catholick church die here in the United States and in Europe), I was aghast when the Catholicks chose the former Hitler Youth member Joseph Ratzinger as pope in 2005. (The Associated Press notes that “When he was elected the 265th leader of the church on April 19, 2005, [Ratzinger], aged 78, was the oldest pope elected in 275 years and the first German one in nearly 1,000 years.”)

I don’t know — it seems to me that the pope should be cute and cuddly, like the last pope was, not this mean, very old, right-wing German guy who looks waaaay too much like the evil emperor of the “Star Wars” films.

Speaking of “Star Wars,” I recall that cheesy line of Princess Leia’s to her captors on the Death Star in the 1977 installment: “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

Ratzinger came in as pope believing that the church had gone way too liberal. The modest reforms of the Vatican II, which took place even before I was born more than 40 years ago, were too liberal for Ratzinger; it was back to the Dark Ages for him.  His attempts to bolster the church’s membership by swinging it to the far right, however, only lost the church even more membership in Europe and the United States, like more star systems slipping through his fingers.

Educated and enlightened people increasingly reject the oppressive and backasswards stances of the Catholick church, which apparently is growing only in third-world nations, as though the poor peoples of those nations didn’t already have enough problems.

That said, I hope that the next pope is from Latin America. Or hell, I understand that there’s even this Canadian guy who is in the running. If it can’t be a Latin American, I’ll take the Canadian. (No, I don’t want there to be an American pope. Hell no. The patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic Catholicks have too much power here as it is.) This string of European popes needs to stop, and the selection of the first non-European pope ever would be the world equivalent of Barack Obama’s having been the first non-white U.S. president, in my book.

It will be interesting to see if any Big Scandalous News is revealed after Pope Palpatine’s departure. He is, after all, the first pope to resign since the year 1415.

Maybe it’s just his old age that’s the problem — popes who lived before the days of television probably could be incapacitated for years and get away with it, since they weren’t expected to appear regularly on the non-existent television — but one remains dubious.

In any event, for now, anyway, it seems that after February 28, the world might just get a little bit kinder and gentler after Pope Palpatine is put out to pasture, and one hopes that the year will only continue to get better as the rule of the stupid white man continues to wane all over the globe.

P.S. (Wednesday, February 13, 2013): A simple Google search brings up ample articles on how the membership of the Catholick church indeed has been falling not only in Europe, but in the U.S. as well.

This article from The Week from April 2010, for instance, reports:

How severe is the crisis?
It’s “the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history,” says the National Catholic Reporter. Worldwide, the Roman Catholic Church now has 1.1 billion members, compared with 1.5 billion Muslims and 593 million Protestants. In the U.S., all the major denominations have seen their numbers decline in recent years, but the Catholic Church has taken the biggest hit. Since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics have left the church for every one who has converted, according to a 2009 Pew study. [Emphasis mine.] In 2008 alone, Catholic membership declined by 400,000. More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995, and the number of priests has fallen from about 49,000 to 40,000 during that same period. Some 3,400 Catholic parishes in the U.S. now lack a resident priest. “Catholicism is in decline across America,” says sociologist David Carlin.

What about in Europe?
The situation there is even more dire, especially in the most historically devout countries. In 1991, 84 percent of the Irish population attended Mass at least once a week. Today the weekly attendance figure is less than 50 percent. In Spain, 81 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic, but two-thirds say they seldom or never attend services. And the priest shortage is acute — in England and Wales, the church ordained only 16 clergy members in all of 2009.

The full article is here:  http://theweek.com/article/index/202388/catholics-in-crisis

And again, a simple Google search will turn up many similar articles and statistics online.

The apologists for the Taliban-like Catholick church are entitled to their fucked-up opinions, but not to their own fucking facts.

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