15 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-31-22

  1. Good assessment of Pope Benedict, especially in comparison to his successor.

    https://wng.org/opinions/remembering-benedict-xvi-1672500583

    Final graphs:

    ~ I disagree with much of Benedict XVI’s Catholicism, but it is hard not to find his analyses of secularism compelling. I believe his brilliance on this point is likely one reason why Rome for a while became a very attractive option for intellectuals worried about the increasing crassness of western culture and the comparative poverty of Protestantism to provide a framework for responding to the same.

    Ironically, his successor, schooled in the very liberation theology Benedict had worked to suppress, seems a much less profound thinker and indeed a symptom of the superficiality that secularism fosters. Even Rome seems to have passed from an era of great minds to one where Twitter and the Nietzschean battles of raw will on social media have become key—forms of public discourse that preclude thoughtful engagement and fuel the very fragmentation and intellectual corruption that Benedict XVI analyzed so perspicuously. As the pope emeritus is laid to rest, so passes one of the most important religious critics of our day.

    We are all impoverished by his passing. ~

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  2. Time to say good bye to 2022. As much as I was tempted to spend some time discussing some of AJ’s posts in the last week, I spent the time after Christmas cleaning the house. It’s always good to start a new year clean and fresh.

    2022 was as busy as any year
    Putin discovered there was a limit to authoritarianism. And an autocracy invites corruption and blinded group think. It’s rather ironic that a Jewish comedian turned politician exposed him. About 5% of NATO’s budget now goes to Ukraine – probably the best military bargain in decades. It is highly unlikely that conflict will resolve itself in 2023

    Ecnomists demonstrated they know little about inflation. With ideological blinders, central bankers can only blame excess demand i.e. too much money and thus raised interest rates. It never occurred to them an initial supply crunch compounded by temporary fuel shortages drove inflation (ie limited supply) which was sustained by corporations using inflation as cover for profit gouging. Inflation will slow down but unfortunately at the expense of ordinary people whose income will be lower. Thus the dearth of income expansion since the 70s has become exacerbated.

    The Supreme Court combined with Republincans eating their own contributed to a lacklustre mid term. The entrenched two party US systems require “big tent” parties and the narrowing of the Republican base by right wing populists gave Democrats an edge. Interestingly the rejection of standard economic theory by Republican populists means the Democrats became the party of standard capitalism. Right wing populism requires gov’t intervention whether it’s admitted or not. Watching the convoluted logic in the New Year should be entertaining.

    The adoration for Musk’s ownership of the Twitter among right wing populists is also amusing. Right wing populism typically has a larger than life hero to admire – Trump and now Musk are American examples yet both are far removed from the reality of working Americans. While the right is excited by the “Twitterfiles”, they only confirm what the left has been saying since the 50s – the security state and modern capitalism work together to keep the people in line.

    I’d say Happy New Year etc; but on the other hand my natural pessimism and cynicism doesn’t see much happiness – more war, more economic hardship, and more human stupidity is all I see in the coming new year.

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  3. On the other hand, I’ve had a good year.

    My daughter moved home in 2021 and then in 2022, left for Europe. This gave me the excuse for an impulsive visit to Scotland and Ireland, both on my bucket list. Children are far better when they are adults. We had a great time together. And if things line up correctly, I look forward to visiting her in Berlin where she’s currently living.

    I’m currently in my 26th year of teaching and my second last. My school has few discipline problems. I love my assignment and have a good rapport with the kids as well as an excellent intermediate team (gr 7/8).

    My parents continue to age but they are still with us at the age of 95 and 86, the former my dad with physical limitations and the latter my mom with mental limitations. I’m fortunate my brother is nearby taking care of their needs and the gov’t ensures there is little financial burden.

    Sure life could be better – I could be independently wealthy with a trophy wife but I have the food and shelter I need and the rest and relaxation my job allows me to have. For those angry at the current state of the world and the violations of their politcal and social principles should remember we live a privilged life in the western world with material goods, essentials needs supplied and decades of declining violence and increased peace.

    On that optimistic note, have a personal happy new year and hopefully the rest of the world can follow the happiness and comfort we find ourselves in.

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  4. Happy New year to everyone, AJ, HRW, Kizzie, et al. 🙂

    Interesting comments, HRW, on how relatively easy we have it in the west (and in this time in history). Our pastor sometimes asks if we could live in any time in history what would it be — and yes, most of us would quickly choose now with all of the advantages, scientific advancement, our relative comforts, technology, medical care, cars!, air travel!, all things we now pretty much take for granted.

    No, it’s not perfect and many have life much harder than any of us here, be it living with severe poverty, war, or uncontrolled disease.

    It’s also a gospel call to remember — to visit the sick and the prisoner, to be attuned to those who are suffering, to weep with those who weep, to love our neighbors and enemies alike.

    As for seeing “more war, more economic hardship, and more human stupidity” looming in the future, that is likely true as well, as the Scriptures make all-too plain.

    Nothing new under the sun.

    But we have light in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.

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  5. Dj,

    Sadly Benedict had another legacy as well, one that didn’t start with him, but didn’t end with him either, and it shouldn’t be glossed over.

    He and his church’s leadership protected the pedophiles among their ranks.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pope-benedict-church-priest-sex-abuse-scandal-rcna63525

    “Benedict’s brief papacy was marred by the priest sex abuse scandal
    “He essentially continued the cover-up,” says victims advocate David Clohessy of SNAP.”

    “The priest sex-abuse scandal was the albatross around the neck of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s brief eight-year reign as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Vatican analysts.

    Long-suppressed allegations that priests had been preying on children — and that the bishops covered up the crimes — were already roiling the church when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in April 2005 and took Benedict as his papal name.

    Like his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, Benedict also apologized to the victims and then took some steps to punish the predators.

    “I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for the abuses and the errors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate,” he said in February.

    But critics say that the actions Benedict took, which included meeting with and apologizing directly to some victims, were “too little, too late” and that his legacy may forever be stained by the failure to fully address a plague that many say roils the church to this day.

    They say Benedict should have known better, because, before he became pope, he ran, for 24 year, the Vatican department that dealt directly with priest sex abuse allegations — the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

    “He had an inside view of what was going on,” said David Gibson, the director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, who is the author of “The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World.” “His office dealt with these accusations. He knew how bad it was. But he had such a high view of the priesthood, and that affected his judgment.”

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  6. He’s not wrong, but he is cancelled for pointing out the inconvenient truth.

    —-

    https://nypost.com/2022/11/21/el-paso-neighborhood-overrun-with-migrants-amid-border-crisis/

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/thousands-of-illegal-aliens-storm-el-paso-in-one-of-the-largest-mass-crossings-ever

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  7. Well this aged like fine milk in the summer sun.

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  8. An arrest in the Idaho killings.

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  9. But the media will have a different take for sure.

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  10. Of course she did, because it’s always been what she did best.

    “Pelosi Reaches Into Taxpayer Pockets On Her Way Out as Speaker”

    https://victorygirlsblog.com/pelosi-reaches-into-taxpayer-pockets-on-her-way-out-as-speaker/

    “Even as the year draws to an end, soon-to-be-former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi takes another swipe against American taxpayers. For the second time this year, she’s raised the ceiling on how much House staffers can make. Funny how she waited to make the announcement until the last working day of the year, a time when Congress is in recess. Gee, I wonder if she felt the need to outdo President Biden and the omnibus bill that had to be flown to him in St. Croix earlier this week.

    A bit of near history. In August 2021, Pelosi raised the maximum salary for House staffers to $199, 300, up from $173,900. Earlier this year, she once again raised staffers’ maximum pay to $203, 700. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty darned happy with these two raises. I certainly wouldn’t be clamoring for more money so soon. Not that the staffers needed to. Yesterday, Pelosi raised the ceiling again. This time to $212,100. If my math’s right, that means a possible $38,000 raise in less than two years.

    Damn, I wish I could get a raise like that.”

    “Consider this: while the outgoing (yay!) Speaker is handing out raises of thousands of dollars to House staffers, our senior citizens who rely on Social Security are getting a minimal raise in payments this year and much of that raise will go to pay for the increase in their Medicare premiums.

    If that’s not enough to make you at least pause as you consider Pelosi’s 23rd hour play, think about this:

    That means some top staffers will be in the position of earning more money than their bosses. Rank-and-file members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, while certain members of congressional leadership have higher salaries. The House Speaker earns $223,500, while the majority and minority leaders in both chambers, as well as the Senate president pro tempore, earn $193,400.

    Now, I think we’re overpaying most members of our federal government. But to think we are paying House staff members more than our elected officials. . . .”

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  11. Democrats say the stupidest things, and they lie repeatedly.

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  12. The Roman Catholic Church has a huge problem with pedophilia, and yes, it’s been covered by too many.

    Protestant churches and denominations aren’t immune, sadly, as we’ve more recently learned — fallen human nature in a fallen world.

    But Rome, I’d say, provides more opportunity for a universal coverup, combined with not allowing clergy to marry which likely attracted men to the priesthood who had other issues already going on.

    Excellent film from a few year years ago — “Spotlight”:

    ~ a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. The film follows The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States, and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. Although the plot was original, it is loosely based on a series of stories by the Spotlight team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. ~

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  13. *covered up

    *attracted men to the priesthood who MAY HAVE had other issues already going on.

    Back to the theological and cultural direction the church seems to be taking, the current pope is doing the church at large no favors. And that’s where Pope Benedict’s deeper search for theological soundness is really being missed.

    There are institutional and very serious doctrinal issues with Rome that deeply, still, divide those of use who are Protestants and always will (unless Rome comes around).

    But one still does not want to see the institutional RC church (many of us have friends and family we care about in that radius) spin out even further under than it already has under popes who are less seriously thoughtful and are prone to going with the secular cultural trends of our time.

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