Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poll: 75% Blame George W. Bush for Current State of Economy.

A new Gallup poll conducted March 26-28 shows that 75% of Americans surveyed still place most of the blame for the current economy on former President George W. Bush.

TPJ: And while the number of people who blame Obama for the bad economy is increasing it is still blatantly evident who set off this time bomb in our economy--Bush. In my view, the major reason people are starting to blame Obama is that they don't realize the economy is like a giant ship, which once going in the wrong direction, (thanks Bush) takes some time to correct course. We Americans are impatient by nature but just because the lagging indicator of unemployment hasn't decreased much at least it isn't increasing.

I think by this time in 2012, we'll be doing much better economically. I have hope in that and know we can do it. Obama is pushing forward in a positive way where all the right seems to have to offer is criticism and half-baked ideas like abolishing the federal income tax and demanding to see Obama's birth certificate!!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Is Home Schooling a Bad Idea?

Do home schooling parents have to be accredited because otherwise how are those kids getting a basic standard of education? I mean, I have a history degree and could teach them history and geography but once the science and math classes came around those kids wouldn't be getting a good, well-rounded education.

Most parents aren't qualified to be educators and while I don't doubt that there are some very smart parents out there, teaching requires years of study, preparation and experience.

Are these kids prepared to enter universities? Oh wait, I forgot---they're all basically socialist universities because they're run by the guv'ment!! So say some on the right-wing.

Yeah, is that why so many conservatives still attend them, earn credible degrees and succeed in job opportunities because of their time at a public university? I'm all for private schools and universities but home schooling seems reckless but then again, at one point I was half way to a Phd and we all know how you can't trust people with a Phd!!

Why? Because Phd stands for "People who Hate Democracy!!" (sarcasm).

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

GM Paid Back Loans Five Months Early.

ABC News reports, “General Motors today repaid $8.1 billion in government loans, five years ahead of schedule and nine months after the troubled auto giant declared bankruptcy, signaling that the auto maker may be on the path to profitability.” Announcing the payment to a plant full of GM workers, Chairman Ed Whitacre (who, we should note, was a retired phone company man last June) announced, “As of today, GM has repaid in full and interest the loans made last July by the U.S. Treasury and Export Development in Canada.”

TPJ: But, but, but....I thought the bailout was a big secret SOCIALIST plot so the guv'ment could run the car industry (sarcasm)!! See, the sky didn't fall and now we have a better, newer domestic auto industry. But, that doesn't fit into a very sexy headline like, "Sheikh Obama is now personally running our auto industry, will tell you what car to drive and eats babies for lunch!!!" O.k., I added that babies part but the hysteria over helping to maintain a domestic auto industry is beyond hyperbolic and silly. This just proves that the calm, rational leadership of President Obama was right in helping the industry until it got back on it's feet. It would be devastating to lose our domestic car industry. This also blows up the idea that we bailed out the industry when we what gave them was a loan--to be paid back in full, which they have nearly done---FIVE YEARS EARLY!!!! So, calm down.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

GOP Newsletter: Female Representative Should be, "Put Back in the Kitchen."

The Medina County Republican Party in Medina, OH has put out a Spring 2010 edition of its newsletter titled the “Republican Review” that urges supporters to “slow the pace of President Obama’s slippery slide down the slippery slope toward a more socialistic society.” The newsletter names several Democrats that should be defeated and includes a sexist swipe at Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH):

"Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back into the kitchen!"

TPJ: Ahem. I'd just like to take this time to welcome Republican ladies who rightly are disgusted with such throw-back sexism to the Democratic Party where fighting for women's rights is a central plank of our party platform.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Racial Profiling Law in Arizona Targets Latinos.

Let me start by saying that I do not support illegal immigration but the law that is being passed in Arizona is nothing short of legalized racial profiling. The bill that is now on the governor's desk requires police officers to become immigration and custom enforcement officers and detain anyone whom they think is an illegal immigrant. As if the police aren't busy enough!!

These anti-government Republicans down in Arizona will have to hire more police officers to enforce this law, which is more government--how ironic. And how do they assess who they think is an illegal immigrant besides by the color of their skin, speaking Spanish or having a Spanish accent? All of which are racial profiles because there are many Latino-Americans who speak Spanish and/or have a Spanish accent.

Republican Representative Brian Bilbray claims you can tell who is an illegal immigrant by the type of clothes and shoes they wear!!!! Huh?!! What does he think, Latinos all look like Juan Valdez (pictured above)? Juan Valdez is a fictional character who resembled a Colombian coffee grower for a Colombian coffee company. He has, however, become to some a stereotype of Latinos. The lawmakers say the Arizona law wouldn't single out Latinos but how many white skinned redheads are they going to detain for questioning?

But wait, it gets worse:
The bill makes it a state crime for immigrants not to carry authorization papers, requires the police “when practicable” to check the immigration status of people they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally and allows people to sue cities and counties if the law is not being enforced.
James: So in other words people will have to carry around birth certificates, passports or other "proofs of citizenship" just in case they are confused for an illegal immigrant, which is nothing short of a police state where everyone has to "show their papers." What's next? Setting up road blocks to search all the cars that have dark skinned people in them? This is like Alabama in the 1960s--It's a horrible precedent and should be pushed back against with all our effort.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Colorado Medical Marijuana Bill Seeks to Allow Cities to BAN Dispensaries.

Recently here in Colorado there has been a lot of discussion around medical marijuana with most it of being positive. The state legislators decided to take up a bill to hammer out some basic guidelines such as dispensaries not being able to be within so many feet of a school. However, the House has inserted into the bill (that now heads to the Senate) a proposed amendment, which would allow any city in Colorado to outright BAN medical marijuana dispensaries:
Furthermore, lawmakers reinserted an amendment into the bill that would allow local governments to ban dispensaries. This comes after dispensary owners' early objections to--and the subsequent removal of--a provision that would have allowed local governments to call a public vote on whether to ban marijuana dispensaries. The bill approved by the house allows them to bypass the public vote.
This is absolutely unconstitutional as it goes against the voters intent because the amendment passed by the people of Colorado applies state wide. This medical marijuana law has been enshrined in the state's Constitution and for the legislator to tamper with this is absolutely unacceptable. I hope all Colorado residents will email their state leaders to keep the Senate from passing this over-reach of government. I would hope even those who don't personally like medical marijuana will email their leaders because If the legislator can do this to the medical marijuana amendment to the Constitution then they can do this with any other right guaranteed by our constitution. This is about basic freedom and if we really believe in the will of the voters then we all need to stand up on this one and say, "Enough!!" Find who your state Senator is at this page and email him or her.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Republicans Defend Big Banks By Opposing Obama Financial Reform Bill.

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TPJ: Populist anger on the left and the right against the big banks is palpable, so why are the Republicans supporting the big banks over Obama's financial reform bill meant to tighten restrictions on Wall Street? Because the Republicans have long been the party of big banks. It's pitiful that the right seems to oppose everything Obama proposes.

It makes you wonder if they'll let him pass anything before his re-election campaign in 2012, and if that's the case then they won't have much of a positive, forward thinking message to take to America. What are they going to say? "Vote for us: We hate progress." Who could be for defending the big banks right now? At least the Dems are trying.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

World Opinion of U.S. Since Obama Election Improved Dramatically.

Since Barack Obama entered office, the world's view of the United States has 'improved sharply,' according to a poll carried out by the BBC World Service. Nearly 30,000 people in 28 countries were asked to rate countries on their positive impact upon the world.

This year 46% of the respondents rated the US's influence as positive - the first time since 2005 that the survey returned more positive votes than negative for America.

TPJ: And with improved opinion comes improved respect of America abroad, and thus a greater willingness to work with us. Gaining respect and co-operation abroad doesn't necessarily mean we need to be feared as some on the right would say. Being liked and being respected aren't mutually exclusive.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxes Under Obama are Less for Middle-Class.

On Tuesday, a wave of protesters, upset with overly-burdensome taxation by the federal government, are set to descend on the nation's capital to express their displeasure. But does their anger reflect the truth about today's tax rates? After all, neutral economists insist that, under the Obama administration, the overwhelming likelihood is that your tax burden has gone down, not up.

Even conservative economic analysts acknowledge that there really is no basis for middle- and working-class Americans to believe that they're suddenly paying more. "The only tax I think that has been put in place so far is an increase in the federal cigarette tax. I can't think of another Obama tax that has gone in place so far," said Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at the conservative Cato Institute.

TPJ: Even if you still have to pay taxes this year, chances are you're paying them at a lower rate. So says the non-partisan, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, "A family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 4.6 percent of its income in federal income taxes this year, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. This is the second-lowest percentage in the past 50 years."

Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes said of taxes, "Taxes are the price we pay for civilized society." Taxes are like the dues to enjoy the privilege of living in the highly advanced and developed America. Those who are making a lot of money who complain about paying taxes need to remember that they were able to make that kind of money because they live in America, which demands we all pay our fair share to maintain that quality of life. They are likely in the position they enjoy thanks to public education. I doubt these people would have made such money had they been born in Congo, Haiti, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Colombia.

We love our clean streets, smooth roads, (without pot holes) clean water, safe medicines, excellent emergency services and any other benefits one gains from government that is funded by our taxes. We are pretty spoiled and often forget all the good that government does for us, which makes our daily life easier, nicer and safer. Taxes aren't evil--they're the price of being able to live and thrive in a modern society. Oh yeah, and government isn't some amorphous entity separate from us as many seem to believe. Government is US, so if we hate government then we are hating ourselves.

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Obama Still Popular in the Polls. Would Beat Most Candidates in 2012.

For all the talk, saber rattling, obstruction and fervent peddling of alternate realities Republicans have engaged in since President Obama took office, one might think they'd be doing a little better in the polls, even if by merely playing the role of a lesser of two evils in the eyes of the masses. Not quite.

President Obama is still by far the most national politician in the United States, according to a new CNN poll [PDF link] which stacked leading Republicans against the president and asked who respondents would vote for in 2012.

"The poll shows Obama topping Romney 53 percent to 45 percent, beating Huckabee 54 percent to 45 percent, defeating Gingrich 55 percent to 43 percent and topping Palin 55 percent to 42," the network reported. CNN's survey also claims that half of Americans see Sarah Palin as "honest and trustworthy," although a full 69 percent do not believe she is qualified to be president.

TPJ: This poll tells me that the Tea Party and it's influence is hyped up more than it actually exists. You get a group of a couple thousand people speaking into a mega-phone and jamming hyperbolic signs into the greedy cameras of the media who like moths to a flame are attracted to the side show of it all. It creates this narrative that Obama is going down in flames and will be a one term president but the rational, silent majority know that the president is doing his best and like what he's doing overall.

They know that he is trying his best to fix the Bush recession and bring jobs and tax cuts back to middle America. He's reducing the nuclear threat around the world, killing terrorists in Afghanistan via predator drones, which keep our troops safer. Plus, he's popular abroad, which helps our foreign policy. I haven't agreed with some of what he has done but I recognize that he's the only stable, cool headed politicians in the country these days. His health care plan may not be perfect but what plan is? He readily admits to wanting to return to the bill later in his presidency to tweak the bill to improve it.

And you know what? At least he seriously tackled the problem that so many presidents have put off for decades. It may not be popular with conservative Republicans and the Tea Party but at least he had a plan and the courage to take on a difficult subject. The Republicans have done virtually nothing for a comprehensive health care plan. Saying, "No" to everything is a very cynical campaign message. Americans want to know what you are for. You can't just be a nihilistic party who wants to totally dismantle the government and in the process America as we know it.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anti-Tax Tea Party Rally Cost Tax Payers $14,000.

As Michele Bachmann riled a group of feisty Tea Partiers to rail against taxes and government spending, taxpayers were quietly forced to pick up a $13,600 tab for their festivities. While use of congressional funds for events is common among both parties, it might be considered unseemly for lawmakers and Americans to protest big government and runaway spending by spending thousands of taxpayer dollars.

TPJ: I'd also like to take this opportunity to extend an offer to these anti-government types. I'd be more than happy to have you sign over your social security and Medicare benefits to me since I know government is so unbearable to you. However, my guess is that you won't do that because you're a big, lying, stinking, sack of steaming hypocrite. If they hate government and taxes so much I would kindly suggest to them that perhaps they'd be happier in a country, which better reflects their beliefs. In that regard I hear that Somalia has little to no government or taxes. Just looking out for you and your "real Americanism."

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stock Market Hits the 11,000 Mark for 1st Time Since 2008. Signs of Recovery.

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average returned to positive territory and above the 11,000 mark in midday trading Tuesday.

TPJ: Woohoo!! This will help the retirement account!! The economy appears to be getting better and many economists are saying the recession is nearly over. Of course unemployment is a lagging indicator meaning it will be one of the last things to recover but we know that the numbers of new unemployment keep getting smaller and smaller.

So, the trend is going in the right direction, which we should all be grateful for. In addition, tax refunds are up by 10% this year thanks to Obama tax cuts for the middle class--$3,000 more. And who is getting those higher refunds from tax cuts? Ninety-five percent of Americans. We need to be talking more about these good things to help people realize that Obama hasn't destroyed our economy but that in fact he is slowly but surely bringing it back around.

Yet It seems that some would rather play politics than see the country move forward, and want the economy to stay stagnant to help them win elections. That's cynical, dangerous and not in the best interest of Americans.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Associated Press

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Latest on Catholic Abuse Scandals. Connecticut Catholic Priests Oppose Abuse Law.

The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including "the good of the universal church," according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature. The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican's insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church's doctrinal watchdog office.

TPJ: For the "good of the universal church??!!" Would Jesus allow a child molesting apostle to carry on with his abuse of kids for the "good of the universal church???" I think we could safely say, "No way." This is yet more evidence that the Catholic church is more interested in maintaining the power of the hierarchy than protecting innocent children. They often refer to the Pope as "God's" representative on Earth and the shepherd of his flock. Well, what kind of shepherd allows a wolf to stay amongst the sheep? Hey, Pope!! I still remember a lot of my Bible from my 22 years as a Christian. Surely you remember this one? Luke 17: 2, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."

Or have you discarded that too for the "good of the universal church?" In other Catholic abuse news:
Hartford, Connecticut (CNN) -- A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure. Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations. The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.
TPJ: There are a couple of problems here. First, if the Catholic church really is interested in protecting "the least of these" as Jesus referred to children then why would be oppose the statue of limitations being lifted? Do they not want to see child abusers brought to justice regardless of age? They should if they truly believe in the punishment of sins and crimes. It's obvious that there are one set of rules for the patriarchal hierarchy of the Catholic church and one for the average, trusting lay practitioner.

The other issue here is that this priest is preaching politics from the pulpit and urging his followers to get involved in politics to oppose this measure. Thus, it should be stripped of their tax exempt status. Too many religious figures are getting away with preaching politics to their flock.

This church has gotten so far away from the essence of the Jesus of the New Testament that I know that it's hard not to see them as rotten to the core. If I was a Catholic Christian then I'd be done with them. After the abuse cases of the 90s and now these implicating the Pope himself? That would be it for me--I've move onto another church or new religion altogether.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tax Refunds Up 10% in Part do to the Stimulus.

US President Barack Obama on Saturday stressed the importance of tax benefits offered by his 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan that was enacted last year in the hope of boosting the US economy.

He pointed out that
Americans who had already filed their taxes have discovered that the average refund was up nearly 10 percent this year - to an all-time high of about 3,000 dollars and it was due in large part to the Recovery Act.

TPJ: As we all know it takes awhile to turn an entire economy around -- especially one as huge as the American economy. We know that unemployment is a lagging indicator and now the tax returns are up 10%. It looks like the economy is turning around and should be much better by 2011; if not by the end of this year and the Republicans have done nothing to help but complain. When the economy turns around they'll be exposed for the cynical nihilists that they are.

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Drug Cartel Takes over Smuggling Routes to U.S.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — After a two-year battle that has killed more than 5,000 people, Mexico's most powerful kingpin now controls the coveted trafficking routes through Ciudad Juarez. That conclusion by U.S. intelligence adds to evidence that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel is winning Mexico's drug war. The agent told The Associated Press those sources have led U.S. authorities to believe that the Sinaloa cartel has edged out the rival Juarez gang for control over trafficking routes through Ciudad Juarez, ground zero in the drug war. "If you control the city (Ciudad Juarez), you control the drugs," the federal agent said.

TPJ: All this violence on the border revolving around drugs often makes me think of the gangster days in America during the 1930s. All out wars were fought in the streets of Chicago, New York, Detroit and many other places over the illegal alcohol trade. This saw the rise of infamous kingpins like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Bugs Moran. Not surprisingly much of the violence occurred on the Canadian/U.S. border just like now with marijuana on the southern border. Here are some numbers on how much crime went up over the prohibition of alcohol, which is something we've seen similarly with the modern drug war:
  • Police funding: INCREASED $11.4 Million
  • Arrests for Prohibition Las Violations: INCREASED 102+%
  • Arrests for Drunkenness and Disorderly Conduct: INCREASED 41%
  • Arrests of Drunken Drivers: INCREASED 81%
  • Thefts and Burglaries: INCREASED 9%
  • Homicides, Assault, and Battery: INCREASED 13%
  • Number of Federal Convicts: INCREASED 561%
  • Federal Prison Population: INCREASED 366%
  • Total Federal Expenditures on Penal Institutions: INCREASED 1,000%
TPJ: I found these comments on The Huffington Post to be insightful. This from "Potatoe Head:"
St. Valentine's Day 1929 seven men were lined up against a whitewashed wall and pumped with 90 bullets from submachine guns, shotguns and a revolver. It was the most infamous of all gangland slayings in America, and it savagely achieved its purpose--the elimination of the last challenge to Al Capone for the mantle of crime boss in Chicago. Sound familiar? It should, by eliminating rival Juarez gang for control over trafficking routes through Ciudad Juarez, ground zero in the drug war is vital to Guzman's efforts to grow his massive drug cartel's operations. Drugs like alcohol, once a controlled substance, aren't killing people it's the trafficking of drugs that are causing the deaths. It was stupid then and it's stupid now.
TPJ: And this from "robpmgc":
But when we legalized alcohol again, didn't EVERYBODY become an alcoholic? Didn't the sky fall? It didn't? Hmmmmmm. Kind of like what happened in 1996 when California passed medical marijuana laws. Remember what the DEA said would happen then? It was the end of the world. It's been 14 years. I don't see marijuana cartels shooting it out on Venice Beach. Nope, they're shooting it out in Juarez. Keep drugs illegal, or drug dealers will need unemployment benefits, too!
TPJ: The war on marijuana is the same situation as prohibition of alcohol. Now we're seeing the natural consequence of making a widely popular and less harmful drug than alcohol illegal. Is there seriously anyone left out there who thinks legalizing marijuana isn't a good and beneficial thing for not only our society but that of Mexico too? As I've said many times before--Marijuana hasn't directly killed a single person--ever. There are more deaths from aspirin than marijuana!! And given the deficits that we are facing in every state it makes sense to legalize it, regulate it to make it harder for teens to get and tax it. Make it work for us instead of against us and the crime at the border will nearly dry up overnight.

The case for legalization is very convincing and thus shouldn't be held up because some might personally be morally against it because of their personal religion. We aren't a theocracy and someone's religion shouldn't prevent others from exercising their personal liberties to ingest a drug that is less addictive and harmful than alcohol in the privacy of their own home. At the same time I very much support banning its use in public and while driving. Other than that though it should be left up to the individual adult to choose. It makes sense logically, financially and legally. It's time to stop the insanity, this waste of tax dollars and lives. We also need to look at other hard drugs to see if we can be handling their use in a different way than via the criminal justice system.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Old Dominion Rises Again.

Now that the Governor of Virginia has apologized for omitting slavery in his declaration for making April, "Confederate history month" I'm still bothered. For one, the tooth paste is already out of the tube. By that I mean, he's already made the headlines about omitting slavery and reached it's target audience in the Republican base who respond to this kind of thing. It's easy to now go back and say, "Oops, sorry. You know that thing I said about slavery not being an important issue to Virginia during the Civil War? Yeah, I didn't mean it. Forget I ever said that." He knows though that there are a lot of die-hard racists in the Republican and Tea Parties. So he sounded his dog whistle and can now play dumb and naive about that slavery issue just slipping his mind.

Yet another issue I forgot to add was that the governor, Bob Mcdonnell thought this "Confederate History Month" would bring in tourism dollars. Yeah, maybe for white people but how many African-Americans want to hear how "courageous" the Confederates were when they are descendants of slaves OWNED by those very Confederate soldiers and leaders McDonnell wants to glorify!!!! This combined with the racist tyrades being witnessed by several Tea Party and anti-health reform people is starting to sound eerily similar to the bad old days. I hope cooler heads will prevail but I don't see a grown-up in the Republican-Tea party who can (or is willing) to provide that role such as a Bob Doyle or an Alan Simpson.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Confederate History Month in Virginia is Rewriting History.

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, reviving a controversy that had been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his position with his conservative base.

TPJ: Strengthen his base??? Who's his base? The Ku Klux Klan???

McDonnell left out anti-slavery language.

TPJ: Of course he did. It's not like slavery had anything to do with the civil war and the confederate cause. The governor is declaring a month of remembrance of the civil war that is worded in a way that most historians would be horrified with. The declaration says we should be "thankful" for the "sacrifice" the Confederates made to our history?!! What sacrifice? Dying in the name of over-throwing our government???

McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."

TPJ: So, slavery didn't have much significance for Virgina??? Are you kidding me??? Just before the start of the civil war in 1860 the state of Virginia had 1,105,453 free citizens and 490,865 slaves. Tell the descendants of those slaves that slavery wasn't a significant issue for Virgina!! The statement goes on to say that the war was a, "Four-year war between the states for independence!!" Actually it was a war over a rebellion against the Constitution of the United States of America as embodied by the union. The declaration also says that it was a war where the rebels, "Fought for their homes and communities and commonwealth." And why did they have to fight for them? Because they chose to REBEL against America and declare war against it in part over differences on slavery!!

UPDATE: The governor has apologized for not including slavery in the declaration but there is still much to dislike about the declaration besides the slavery issue. For example, there is nothing in there about how the Confederate cause evolved after the war into Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, etc.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Karzai Threatens to Join the Taliban.

KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform, several members of parliament said Monday.

Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting Saturday with selected lawmakers – just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year's disputed elections.

TPJ: So, the head of the government we're defending in Afghanistan is threatening to join the Taliban??? WTF? Is it time to leave? There are also rumors that he's got a heroin addiction!!

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Archbishop: Nobody Has Confronted Abuse Better than the Catholic Church.

New York Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan was praising more than God on Sunday. Asked about the Church's response to ongoing sex abuse scandals, the Archbishop was upbeat, saying, "Nobody nowhere has confronted this crisis... better than the Catholic Church."

TPJ: Yeah, sure and I suppose the sky is green as well? Their insulation to the scope and seriousness of this long-term scandal sexual abuse scandal is breath-taking. Everyday it's a new excuse and claim. It's like they are in a panic and throwing anything out there as a defense in hopes of something sticking but what ends up happening instead is a faith in arguments that clearly don't hold water to anyone but the most naive.

They aren't use to people questioning their authority, practices, and credibility. Inside their church, what they say goes and they don't know what to do with a public that can see straight through their screen of bullshit. And we're not afraid to doubt you and your flimsy excuses and defenses. Their public relations roll-out after this latest scandal has been horrible. That's what happens when you appoint one of your own insulated people to defend your cover-up tactics to a sophisticated secular world.

I found this well summarized comment on the abuse scandals at a comment forum:

I'm generating a list of rules they seem to follow:

1. Always play the victim card no matter how much you've victimized others: The Pope's Pastor claiming that anger at the church is like anti-Semitism.

2. Always blame others, never accept full responsibility: Blaming the media for the exposure.

3. Always stonewall. Never apologize: New York's Archbishop claiming that the Church is doing a great job dealing with the abuse.

4. Never hold one of your own accountable: Just keep moving him into new positions within the organization. In a pinch--promote him up.

5. Make every decision guided by how it will effect your image rather by what would constitute real governance.

TPJ: Another great related comment that I found:

The Archbishop meant to say that "Nobody nowhere has covered up this crisis... better than the Catholic Church." And in that clarification, I most definitely agree with the distinguished Archbishop.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Weekend Tainted as Catholic Abuse Scandal Continues.

US Cardinal William Levada, a staunch defender of Pope Benedict XVI in the paedophile priests scandal gripping the Vatican, reassigned a US priest and alleged child molester in the 1990s without warning his parishioners, court documents showed. Despite objections, Levada said he did not warn the parishioners about the priest's past because it could have impacted the man's work and caused him embarrassment.

TPJ: Embarrassed?!!! I think the parishioners deserved to know if a predator is in their ranks!!! A little embarrassment is the least that this priest should have to endure. The priests and cardinals--even the pope--are so out of touch with not just their parishioners but with the world at large. During Easter (which is named after a Pagan goddess by the way, Eostre) services today the beleaguered Pope was defended by his aides:
The remarks by the prelate, Angelo Sodano, a former secretary of state and the dean of the college of cardinals, came among a chorus of denunciations by church officials of what they have framed as a campaign of denigration of the church and its pontiff. Holy Father, the people of God are with you, and do not let themselves be impressed by the gossip of the moment, by the challenges that sometimes strike at the community of believers,” Cardinal Sodano said. Jesus spoke of courage in the face of tribulations, the cardinal continued.
TPJ: First of all, there is ample evidence that a wide spread cover-up has occurred in regards to molesting priests in countries world wide. What's so courageous about transferring abusive priests? And if they are facing tribulations it's their own damn fault. It's typical of isolated hierarchies to blame everyone but themselves because they believe the institution is more important than an individual--even if that individual is an abused child, or, for that matter--hundreds of children.

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, cited an “offensive that aims at destabilizing the pope, and through him, the church.”

TPJ: If this is destabilizing the church and the pope (again) it's the their own damn fault. People around the globe didn't criticize the pope on this until this scandal leaked out of the Vatican's tight walls of secrecy. As we say in America, "Where there's smoke there's fire." We are simply following the trail of smoke and if it leads to the pope then so be it. They are use to their priests and followers simply believing whatever they say and not asking questions but they can't just tell the rest of us non-Catholics to shut up and fall in line. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and we are all simply following the clues and stench of scandal where ever it may lead. The truth and defense of victims demands it. I don't care if this scrutiny riles up the usually secretive Vatican--they have failed to protect children and now it's time for the secular world to hold them accountable. If they can't stand the heat of an investigation then to me that's a sure sign that they are guilty.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Additional Evidence that Pope Sheiled Abusive Priests.

TPJ: Another abuse case emerges that further shows the Pope failing to stop the abuse and turn the abuser over to authorities.

"Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that as a Vatican cardinal, the future pope took over the abuse case of the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.

In another Tucson case, that of Msgr. Robert Trupia, the bishop wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. Bishop Manuel Moreno called Trupia "a major risk factor to the children, adolescents and adults that he many have contact with." There is no indication in the case files that Ratzinger responded."

"There's no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed 'satanic' by their own bishop," Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta's victims, said Friday. It took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take.Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that as a Vatican cardinal, the future pope took over the abuse case of the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.

In another Tucson case, that of Msgr. Robert Trupia, the bishop wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. Bishop Manuel Moreno called Trupia "a major risk factor to the children, adolescents and adults that he many have contact with." There is no indication in the case files that Ratzinger responded. The details of the two cases come as other allegations emerge that Benedict – as a Vatican cardinal – was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality. "There's no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed 'satanic' by their own bishop," Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta's victims, said Friday. In the 1990s, a church tribunal found that Teta had molested children as far back as the 1970s, and the panel determined "there is almost a satanic quality in his mode of acting toward young men and boys."

The tribunal referred Teta's case, which included allegations that he abused boys in a confessional, to Ratzinger. The church considers cases of abuse in confessionals more serious than other molestations because they also defile the sacrament of penance. It took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take. Teta was accused of engaging in abuse not long after his arrival to the Diocese of Tucson in 1978. Among the eventual allegations: that he molested two boys, ages 7 and 9, in the confessional as they prepared for their First Communion.

Teta was removed from ministry by the bishop, but because the church's most severe punishment – laicization – can only be handed down from Rome, he remained on the church payroll and was working with young people outside the church. In a signed letter dated June 8, 1992, Ratzinger advised Moreno he was taking control of the case, according to a copy provided to the AP from Cadigan, the victims' attorney. Five years later, no action had been taken. "This case has already gone on for seven years," Moreno wrote Ratzinger on April 28, 1997, adding, "I make this plea to you to assist me in every way you can to expedite this case." It would be another seven years before Teta was laicized.

TPJ: The Vatican can close ranks, isolate itself and pretend this scandal and lack of confidence in the church hierarchy isn't there but the reality is that the Pope has been shown on several occasions to have delayed, hidden, and in some cases flat out ignored abuse cases. He has been shown to have been an enabler of these sick priests and Catholics around the globe are paying attention to see what the Pope will do next. The very legitimacy of the church is in question, and it doesn't appear as though this scandal is going away anytime soon. This is what happens when you have one set of rules for priests and another for parishioners. Power goes to their heads to where they honestly believe that they are infallible and have the authority to pardon sex offenders who have committed very real and disturbing crimes.

So, what we have are two branches of this scandal: One obviously being the abuse itself, but two the cover-up and a culture of secrecy, obfuscation and cult-like loyalty amongst the hierarchy who value priests (even molesting ones) more than children. The authority, veneration and specialness lauded upon these priests has given them a feeling of invincibility, unaccountability and an appalling disdain for civilian authorities. If this current batch of scandals rocking the church doesn't bring it down then I wonder how long before it does collapse. That, ironically would be the best thing for them. They could start anew with a whole new crop of leaders that haven't been there for decades upon decades to where they've become out of touch with their followers and world around them.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Catholic Priest Abuse Scandal Stems Back for at Least Five Decades.

LOS ANGELES — The head of a Roman Catholic order that specialized in the treatment of pedophile priests visited with then-Pope Paul VI nearly 50 years ago and followed up with a letter recommending the removal of pedophile priests from ministry, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The letter shows that the Vatican knew, or should have known, about clergy abuse in the U.S. decades ago
. The letter proves that Vatican officials knew about clergy abuse decades ago and should have done more to protect children, plaintiff attorney DeMarco said.

TPJ: They have been covering this up for FIVE decades. If this stems from as far back (as far as we know) to Pope Paul VI in the 60s and is still a problem with Benedict then surely every pope since Pope Paul has at least known of it.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has emerged as one of the most vigorous defenders of Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, as the Catholic Church reels from revelations that Ratzinger was made aware of a priest who molested more than 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin, and yet declined to punish him. The Times continues to editorialize about the "pedophilia crisis,: when all along it's been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.
TPJ: Even if I accept his argument, (which I don't) even if these priests are "gay" it doesn't change the fact that molestation is molestation. It's child rape. As much as I support gay rights I'm not going to defend the actions of a gay pedophile!! However, most gay men aren't attracted to young boys. Pedophiles are attracted to young boys. If the priests were molesting young girls (which surely happens in the church) would Donohue say it's a heterosexual problem? Doubtful. Their sexual orientation is secondary. The fact remains Bill that these priests aren't punished but simply transferred from diocese to diocese. Several transfers occurred under the current Pope (then Cardinal Ratzinger)!!

In more Bill Donohue non-sense news: "The head of the influential Catholic League says that the priest who allegedly sexually abused 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin did not engage in pedophilia because 'the vast majority of the victims [were] post-pubescent." TPJ: Bill, it doesn't matter. It's still molestation and rape. So, you can try and distract all you want but the public is tired of this rotting carcass that has become the Catholic church. As one comment said on this story:

There is only one reasonable thing for thinking Catholics (not an oxymoron) to do: walk away. Your presence in the church gives them credibility; as long as you stay, they will feel they can do anything they want. And they will be right, if, after this most heinous of crimes, you STILL stay in the church."

TPJ: And finally, "Even when priests did confess to the abuse or were found guilty by internal church investigations, the local diocese often paid off the victims to avoid criminal prosecution."

What would Jesus do? Would he have sold out his followers by buying off Rome to avoid crucifixion?

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