Tag Archives: omega house

The Shutdown is Temporarily Over but Not the Danger: the Emperor Has No Clothes

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

The Shutdown is over much sooner than I expected it to be. I predicted that it would be long and bad, and for the moment I am wrong, but the temporary spending bill is just that and nobody really knows on February 8th when this agreement expires.

There are a lot of questions but at least the Democrats got the Republican House to approve a six year extension for the CHIP act which funds healthcare for children and the GOP House had fought for months. It did not however address the Dreamers although Mitch McConnell has promised that the DREAM Act will be addressed and voted on by the Senate before the next shutdown deadline. That may happen in the Senate but McConnell neither controls Paul Ryan’s House which is dead set against it not to mention President Trump.

Now the President was for a really big and loving solution to the DREAM Act until he wasn’t so only God, Jerry Falwell Jr., and maybe Franklin Graham know for sure know for sure. Of course whether they do or not really doesn’t matter until they speak with Stephen Miller and John Kelly who seem to acting as Trump’s brain in the absence of Sloppy Steve Bannon; after all after he was for it last time they told him that he was against it. I’m surprised that the President hasn’t branded Flip Flops with his name yet.

There are some very troubling things that came out of this episode. First it didn’t have to happen and that is not the Democrat’s fault, they have never been fans of shutting down the government and the proof is in the deal that Chuck Schumer thought he made with the President last Friday and the quickness in them agreeing to this continuing resolution despite the uncertainty of what will happen next.

That has pissed off a lot of progressive Democrats who are pressing for the Dreamers. Honestly I wished they had pushed harder for it but I do understand the long game in this. If McConnell honors his words and a decent majority, in the Senate approves the measure then it goes to Ryan and his Omega House caucus of bullies. The thing is that most Americans by a wide margin think that the Dreamers should be put on a path to full citizenship and if the Omegas don’t fail to do it then the next shutdown belongs to them. If they do agree to it and Trump vetoes it then it belongs even more to him. Of course the rabid immigration hawks would support them it doesn’t end well. Of course I could be wrong, I was wrong last week to a degree and I still don’t trust the President, nor McConnell, nor Ryan.

I was impressed that the Democrats did grow a spine last week and despite the crowing of the most convinced Trumpers and the anger of most disillusioned Democrats this was not a loss for the Democrats. Their willingness to negotiate followed by their stand to bring on the shutdown exposed Trump the “dealmaker” as an empty suit for all the world to see, bluster aside he was a non-player in this despite his tweets.

The danger not is that the emperor has been shown to have no clothes and that is profoundly disturbing when dealing with the current world crises. Neither our allies or our enemies will believe a word that he says and when something really bad happens he is going to have to find a way to show his manhood, and that will likely end in terrible wars, possibly nuclear. The same could prove true regarding the economy. No-matter what happens domestically in the wake of this shutdown, the next one could be worse and Trump’s now completely exposed weakness might well lead to disaster.

I admit that not every is going to agree with me. I may be a progressive and I have my idealism, but I am also a realist. The Democrats don’t have a majority and they only way to get it back is to help the GOP sink itself.

“As Sun Tzu wrote:“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.” 

If the Democrats win in November, even a temporary loss on the Dreamers doesn’t matter. So anyway, until tomorrow,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

 

 

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Papal Conclave Day One: Secrecy Oath, Black Smoke and 50 Shades of Gray Smoke

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Well today the Cardinals of the Catholic Church entered into their first day of sequester, I mean Conclave which is kind of like sequester but easier to spell. The Cardinals who had completed a number of meetings last week in preparation for the Conclave and today after the completion of the Mass, lunch and a no host bar, entered the Sistine Chapel. Amid the solemn choral sounds of the Vatican Men’s Chorus and Madonna the Cardinals took the double top secret oath of secrecy binding them to absolute secrecy with no real penalties should they break the oath. Their aides and others in the chapel prior to this also took an oath of secrecy which if they break will be excommunicated and get to spend eternity in Hell. Yes, it is a double standard but someone will have to pay if the cloak of secrecy is broken and it will not be Cardinal Roger “Dodger” and Tweeter Mahoney of the “Cardinal Mahoney Love Network.”

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I was watching the procession into the chapel at lunch as I ate my soup. Amid the pomp, splendor and mystery that surround such solemn occasions I was reminded of another solemn ceremony which I saw decades ago for the first time and watch at least a couple of times a year. That ceremony of the young men of Omega Theta Pi of Animal House who also took a solemn pledge, “thank you sir may I have another” is forever etched in my mind. But how can it not be?

After the 115 voting Cardinals swore the oath which among other things they pledged the oath of secrecy:

“In a particular way, we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff and regarding what occurs in the place of the election, directly or indirectly related to the results of the voting; we promise and swear not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff; and never to lend support or favor to any interference, opposition or any other form of intervention, whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree or any group of people or individuals might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman Pontiff.”

The only thing missing was the Cardinals getting whacked on the backside like Kevin Bacon as they made the oath. But I digress….

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After several hours the now sequestered Cardinals gave an indication of where the process was at. Dark black smoke began to issue out of the temporary chimney above the Chapel indicating that the Cardinals had not yet elected a new Pope. This was not surprising to me because unlike the Baseball Hall of Fame election, seldom does a man become Pope on the first ballot. But then the Baseball Hall of Fame candidates cannot vote for themselves, and don’t get a vote for anyone, they have to depend on Sports Writers. Let’s see anyone but Cardinal Dolan or Cardinal O’Malley get elected if they had to depend on Sports Writers.

Tomorrow the balloting will continue. Most experts expect that the balloting will continue at least through tomorrow evening or more likely Thursday. Actually since I am sure there must be a betting line in Vegas I hope it drags out until Friday or later. I mean what else do these guys have to do? Many work in Rome and those that don’t are probably getting per diem payments while away from home.  Besides, look at the business that it brings to the money changers and trinket sellers in Vatican Square. It is good for their economy and what is good for the economy is good for the economy.

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Could Cardinal Ouellet become Pope Bob? Eh? 

Now there is a lot of speculation on which of the 115 Cardinals will be elected Pope. Honesty I don’t want an American, European, Asian, African, Romulan or Vulcan. I want a Canadian and I want him to choose the name “Pope Bob” which I think would be very blue collar. First because Canadians are peaceful and ecumenical people who love to beat the crap out of each other during hockey or World Baseball Classic games.

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Second because I cannot wait to hear the benediction “In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti eh” at the end of each Papal Mass. That would be worth it. When I listened to the Cardinals doing their best Latin during the secrecy oath I just liked the way that the Canadians did it. It sounded right and it would make great fodder for South Park. I would love to see an audience with Canadian Pope Bob and Eric Cartman and the rest of the South Park kids and maybe even Terrance and Phillip.

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Apart from this and all kidding aside, pray for these men as they meet to elect the next Pope. After all, even for non-Catholics a good Pope can do a lot of great things. Besides the Church is always in need of good, holy and decent leaders who have not lost their souls to the institution or their own desire for power. That is possible and it has happened before.

Maybe tomorrow we will see White Smoke, or maybe just 50 shades of gray smoke, but whatever it is important to all of us who the next Pope is.

So until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Omega House Rules: Mitt the Bully and Other Bullies

“You’re all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me twenty!” Doug Neidermeyer Animal House

Neidermeyer, Marmalard and Omega Bullies

I can’t stand bullies. I did’t like them when I was a kid and I don’t like them now. When I first heard about and read about Mitt Romney leading a mob chasing down, pinning and forcibly cutting the hair of a gay student at his exclusive prep school I was disgusted but not surprised. (See http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/former-romney-classmate-describes-bullying-supreme-a-pack-of-dogs-who-targeted-differentboy/ )

You may want to know why I am not surprised. I just see this action as part of a pattern. During his career as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital he specialized in buying up, parting out and for the most part destroying companies while shipping the jobs overseas.  He can boast that he helped some companies but for the most part his actions as a businessman only benefited him and his stockholders. He preyed on the weak as a businessman and was quite successful in doing so. Mitt was a Bully again during this year’s Republican Presidential primary campaign. He carpet bombed his opponents, notably Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum with a nasty, negative ad campaign that even left many conservative Republicans crying foul.  I wasn’t a big fan of either Newt or Rick but Mitt’s destruction of them was the work of a bully who obviously relished his work. I lost whatever respect I had for Mitt during those primaries.

Mitt Romney reminds me of Greg Marmalard and Doug Neidermeyer, the leaders of the elite “Omega” Fraternity in the movie Animal House. They were rich, sanctimonious and polished bullies that attempt to bully and brutalize the socially unacceptable students over at Delta House.  Mitt has  serial bully who loves to destroy those he believes might become a threat even if they are weak and underfunded.  However he seems to be afraid of the bullies of the Religious Right, but since he needs their support he is willing to let them dictate his decisions. This happened most recently when he appointed an openly gay man as his foreign policy spokesman and then tossed him under the bus after being excoriated by Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association. Fisher then mocked Mitt for buckling to him, a self described “Yokel.”

Bullies are not tough guys, they prey on the weak or those they perceive to be weak while inside they are spineless and soulless.  Maybe that’s why he is on three sides of every issue and was described as an “Etch-a-Sketch” by one of his senior campaign aides during the primaries.

Mitt sort of apologized in a non-apologetic way today saying “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.” That was a crock. He claimed not to remember the incident and I almost want to believe him, simply because I see the bullying trait as part of who he is, he probably doesn’t remember because the incidents all kind of run together.

However, if one is basically a peaceful person that does not habitually engage in physical or emotional abuse of those that you deem less than yourself you tend to remember violent acts in your life. It doesn’t matter if you participated in something that you later regretted and didn’t repeat because you knew that you were guilty of something that was wrong, immoral and against your moral code or if you were the victim of someone else. Violent and traumatic acts burn themselves into our memories.

When I was a kid I was not very big and was pretty much always the new kid in town. As a result there were some places where I got picked on or bullied. I was an easy target for some. I remember every fight that I got into, where I got hit and the emotions that I felt when bullied, the fear of wondering if someone else was going to bully me. In every case I fought back against bullies or groups. My first fight was when I went to the aid of a neighbor kid that was being beaten up by the block bully, a kid that was older and bigger than the kids on my street. I got the worst of it and the fight was broken up by adults. My new school jacket was ripped and I had a black eye and was grounded by my parents for getting into a fight. However the bully didn’t bother my neighbor or me again. I could give details of the others but it would pretty much be the same story, except I was the kid getting bullied and decided to defend myself. There was one event in 4th grade when I transferred mid year to a school in a different state and two in Junior High School.  Those in Junior High were against kids that were much taller and bigger than me, one who had bullied me for all three years before I knocked him down hard with an uppercut to the jaw.

Those incidents are burned into my memory. If Mitt was not a serial bully who whether it was the rich kid that picked on those he deemed unworthy of being in his privileged prep school, those that he destroyed as a venture capitalist or his political opponents I think that he would remember details. But then maybe he does remember and like so  many other things in his campaign he is simply trying to lie his way out of it, giving as ambiguous apology as he can without admitting any real guilt. Romney denies knowing that his victim in prep school was gay, but others say that he knew.

One thing that I learned in all four incidents was that bullies like to pick on those smaller or different than them. Those that the perceive as weak and those that they think they can dominate. They seldom feel guilty for their acts or have any empathy for their victims.

Mitt is now supported by various leaders of the “Christian right.” These men and a few women are mostly minsters or heads of para-church and allied organizations. All are associated closely with Evangelical Christian groups conservative Catholic ministries not directly connected with the Church. They include on the evangelical side Bryan Fisher, Peter LaBarbera, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer, Franklin Graham, Bill Donohue and Randall Terry. These guys don’t seem to mind bullying those that they see as different (Moslems), inferior (Women) or believe that God particularly hates (Gays).  Of course it’s okay because they believe that the Bible or Church Tradition gives them that right. Of course they almost always ignore the parts of the Bible and Church Tradition that don’t agree with their position.

I find that bullies are bullies and always will be bullies. They prey on those different than them, they prey on those smaller and weaker than them and they will use whatever rational they need to use to justify behavior that is unjustifiable.

Why is an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago important and relevant in the election of a President? Because it demonstrates a lack of character and willingness to victimize the weak. It is important because it shows that his business practices and his treatment of his fellow Republican primary contenders. It important because he seems to think it is not important and even chuckled as he apologized. It shows that appears that to believe that different rules apply to him.

Mitt Romney seems to be an unrepentant and unabashed bully. He is a real life Greg Marmalard or Doug Neidermeyer.

The Omega’s will rule, unless the Delta’s fight back. If we don’t we’ll all be on our knees saying “Thank you sir may I have another.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

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