Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Riffs and Whiffs

Mother to be hawk was hunkered and bunkered down in the nest this morning, not to anthropomorphize too much, but looking slightly miserable. The sycamore leaves are starting to sprout, extending cover for the expectant brood.

I went to get a coffee yesterday, was sitting there talking to Warren and had a man I never have spoken a word to suddenly unload on me, "You jews have to mind your own business, the pope is none of your concern." Kept spouting off. An ex cop. Don't know if he is a reader or where it was coming from but Warren said that I need to be careful, the guy hates blacks, doesn't care for hebrews and is a potential Fox manchurian candidate. He skulked off into a corner and threw stink eyes at me for a couple minutes.

I thought about confronting the guy but was asked to refrain. I hear he is a real dick. Perhaps he reads the blog? Maybe word is getting around, wonder who else I have offended? Have to start wearing the flak jacket in public around here.

The sequester business is pretty funny. It was supposed to be so easy to lop off a measly 2.5%. Now every cut is cutting into to somebody's pet project. Yesterday was Senator Thune's turn to be indignant. "Obama is playing politics, blah, blah, blah." Easier to cut entitlements, most of the politician's paths never really cross those people's, they certainly don't live in the same neighborhoods. The President said from the start that the cuts would hurt and now that they are starting to, he is accused of politicizing every single cut. Can't have it both ways. Sorry Wind Cave National Park.

Republicans think that Obama has to show his sincerity and come to them to accomplish something big and meaningful. Cut the democratic base out of the herd. Of course the GOP aren't willing to give another inch on the revenue side. They are not moving. All on you, Barack.

CPAC is turning into a disaster on every front, a divided party on hispanic outreach, abortion, immigration reform, etc. Today the hot topic was the propriety of slavery and the modern disenfranchisement of whites. And you thought the civil war was over.

Senator Rob Portman has suddenly had an epiphany regarding gay marriage now that his own son has come out. Wouldn't it have been swell if he could have had this change of heart before it hit so close to home? Before it became expedient. That he could have empathy for people outside his family?


The North Dakota State Senate passed two anti-abortion bills on Friday that would be the first laws of their kind in the United States and would ban most abortions in the state. One bill would prevent women from having abortions as soon as the fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, and the other bans abortions in cases of fetal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome or other fetal anomalies.

State Rep. Bette Grande (R), the author of both bills, said during her testimony before the Senate this week that she is not concerned with their constitutionality. Of course not. Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you the party of limited government.


The Vatican has gone into a full court press over allegations that the new pope did nothing to stand up for two priests who were apprehended by the Argentinian junta. I don't know, I wasn't there. One of the priests has died, the other one is clamming up.

I certainly don't think that the prelate was pushing dissidents out of airplanes but some priests were certainly quite complicit with the dictatorship. The story of Christian von Wernich is quite enlightening. The german born priest worked hand in hand with the Argentine junta. In 2007 a jury found him guilty of complicity in seven homicides, 42 kidnappings, 32 instances of torture, and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Survivors say that he questioned them under torture, asked for confession and then violated the sacraments by breaking the confessional seal. The Bishop Martín Elizalde, apologised for von Wernich being "so far from the requirements of the mission commended to him", and said "at the appropriate time von Wernich's situation will have to be resolved in accordance with canonical law" yet von Wernich was still permitted to officiate as priest at prison mass as recently as three years ago.

From the New York Times:
Cardinal Bergoglio was formally accused by an Argentine lawyer in a lawsuit of being complicit in the military’s kidnapping of two Jesuit priests whose antigovernment views he considered dangerously unorthodox.
The priests, whom he had dismissed from the order a week before they disappeared, were discovered months later on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, drugged and partially undressed. At the time the lawsuit was filed, the cardinal’s spokesman dismissed the accusations as “old slander.”
The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but the debate has continued, with Argentine journalists publishing articles and books that appear to contradict Cardinal Bergoglio’s account of his actions. These accounts draw not only on documents from the period, but also on statements by priests and lay workers who clashed with Cardinal Bergoglio.
After the church had denied for years any involvement with the dictatorship, he testified in 2010 that he had met secretly with Gen. Jorge Videla, the former head of the military junta, and Adm. Emilio Massera, the commander of the navy, to ask for the release of the priests. The following year, prosecutors called him to the witness stand to testify on the military junta’s systematic kidnapping of children, a subject he was also accused of knowing about but failing to prevent.In a long interview published by an Argentine newspaper in 2010, he defended his behavior during the dictatorship. He said that he had helped hide people being sought for arrest or disappearance by the military because of their political views, had helped others leave Argentina and had lobbied the country’s military rulers directly for the release and protection of others. 
In November 2005, Cardinal Bergoglio was elected head of the Argentine Conference of Bishops for a three-year term, which was renewed in 2008. At the time he was chosen, the Argentine church was dealing with a notorious political scandal, that of the Rev. Christian von Wernich, a former chaplain of the Buenos Aires police who had been accused of aiding in the questioning, torture and death of political prisoners.The church authorities had spirited Father von Wernich out of the country and placed him in a parish in Chile under a false name, but he was eventually brought back to Argentina and put on trial. In 2007, he was found guilty on seven counts of complicity in homicide, more than 40 counts of kidnapping and more than 30 of torture, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.Father von Wernich was allowed to continue to celebrate Mass in prison, and in 2010 a church official said that “at the appropriate time, von Wernich’s situation will have to be resolved in accordance with canonical law.” But Cardinal Bergoglio never issued a formal apology on behalf of the church, or commented directly on the case, and during his tenure the bishops’ conference was similarly silent.Only in November 2012, a year after Cardinal Bergoglio had stepped down as head of the bishops’ conference, did the group address the issue of its role during the dictatorship. It came in response to remarks in which the former dictator, General Videla, had, in the words of the statement the bishops issued, “attributed to those who then led the Conference complicity in criminal acts.” The bishops’ statement denied General Videla’s accusation and claimed that church leaders of the time “tried to do what was within their reach for the welfare of all.”
I can understand not wanting to ally with either the liberation theologists he deemed dangerous marxists or the dictatorship that murdered 30,000 people, tortured and kidnapped indiscriminately. If you were a teacher, union leader or wanted to help the poor in those days, you were dead. Tough having to pick sides sometimes. What could he do? The Vatican says that the accusations are from an anti clerical left. Is that fair? Are the questions legitimate? Will be interesting to see what else shakes out.


Ken Seals said...

When the church is such a dark and powerful force in the world, it's everyone's business! I guess that guy is not a big believer in the first ammendment.

randyman said...

That business with the ex-cop is profoundly disturbing... just the phrase "you Jews" is (in this context) so hateful and frightening it would really do a number on me.

Of course, that's exactly what the asshole wants... steer clear, and good luck... don't let the world hammer you down.

Anonymous said...

Arrange for an accomplice to let the air out of his tires while he is instructing you on how "you Jews" are supposed to behave. The clown can not have it both ways. If the pope is a world public figure, he is the world's business red shoes or not.

grumpy said...

wish i coulda been there; i love free speech, even when it's wrong; makes for excitement, as long as no blows, other than verbal, are exchanged.