Pope Francis

Pope Francis Helps Normalize Security & Police State in the U.S.

Largest security operation in U.S. history unlikely to hold that record for too long.

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nordique/flickr

More than 800,000 pilgrims flocked to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway yesterday to watch Pope Francis celebrate Mass in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the "Rocky" museum). They poured into security checkpoints that took hours to get through. They were prohibited from bringing in things like ammunition, explosives, firearms, and selfie sticks but also things like apples and other hard fruit, because of the potential for those things to be used as projectiles. 

None of the pilgrims going through the checkpoints had any chance of being anywhere close enough to the pope to chuck an apple or a battery or anything else at him. Better safe than sorry, right? On MSNBC over the weekend, Chris Matthews gushed over how much "style" the Vatican's own security detail had. He told the story of being able to see Bill Clinton walking through Lafayette Park (across the street from the White House) and how you used to be able to walk into Capitol Hill to see your Congressman, before "everything changed."  

That security deserves higher prioritization today than it did before 9/11 is a widely held belief that goes without scrutiny in some circles, including much of mainstream media. The pope's visit to the United States could've been a powerful moment to challenge that orthodoxy. A man who puts his life into God's hands could spurn the Secret Service's. A pope who calls Christian gunmakers "hypocrites" could pump the brakes one driver of demand for firearms—the ever expanding theater of U.S. security services. Instead, the papal visit produced the largest security operation in U.S. history. Pilgrims got to test their faith not just with the journey to Philadelphia, but the journey through the checkpoint too.  

My wife and I, who have been living in Philly for the last year and a half, drove down to West Philly yesterday to try to walk over to see the papal Mass. A national guard at one of the security checkpoints pointed to a man holding a Chinese flag about halfway between where we were and where the security check started. It had taken him an hour to get there, the guard said, so we went to a local restaurant to watch the Jets fail to get the Eagles to 0-3. The first one was closing because business had been so quiet. The second was open and we were the only patrons there the entire time. The bicyclists had a blast—many normally ride through the streets like there are no cars, but this time there actually weren't. The streets were closed to vehicles for miles around where the Mass was being held.  

Philadelphia's city government got a lot of heat for scaring away potential tourists this weekend with their obsession for security. The city changed tacks earlier this summer, launching campaigns to encourage Philly residents and businesses to stick around for the papal visit. It was probably too little, too late. While some businesses expected a busy weekend—especially since the city government had noted the economic boon the papal visit would be—and stocked up accordingly, businesses that stayed open saw significant drops in sales this weekend. Pilgirms, apparently, came to Philly to see the pope not eat a cheesesteak. The street vendors selling Pope Francis- and Vatican-branded merchandise told me their sales were good and that the local police and other security agencies on the ground were leaving them alone. Even pilgrims want a souvenir to commemorate their trips.  

The economic costs of the papal visit to Philadelphia—estimated by some to be equal to the losses incurred during Hurricane Sandy—will be what's debated among Philly residents and what local politicians will be punished for if it gets that far with voters. It may not. Mayor Michael Nutter leaves office this year, and the election in November is expected to be a walk for the Democratic candidate in the majority Democrat city.  

But no one will be punished electorally for allowing Philadelphia to be the ground zero for the largest security theater performance in U.S. history because, as Chris Matthews and so many other media personalities said this weekend, "everything changed," Except it hasn't. Abraham Lincoln's assassination changed the course of U.S. history but didn't lead to the creation of a security bubble around the presidency. Neither did Chester Arthur James Garfield* getting offed by someone looking for patronage,  nor William McKinley's assassination by a foreign-born anarchist "terrorist."  

The assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981 didn't lead the pope to demand a tighter security bubble on future public trips. Instead he asked for people to pray for his would-be assassin. He met the man's mother and sibling and even visited him in jail. In 2000 the pope asked the president of Italy to pardon the man who tried to kill him. To his credit, like John Paull II, Francis has eschewed a bulletproof popemobile. But he should be eschewing the larger security bubble that feeds a culture of fear, and the violence that breeds, as well. 

Terrorists, anarchist, Islamist or otherwise, can only kill people and destroy property. They can't change social and political norms. Only reactions to terrorism can do that. And they have been doing that. The pope, Philadelphia, the feds, the mainstream media, all of "us," failed to take the opportunity of the papal visit to reverse that trend, instead contributing to the further normalization of the all-encompassing security state.

*Never forget.

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  1. I like how he leads by example.

    1. Do you mean by not throwing things at people, or by refusing to dignify ridiculous security theater by not going through checkpoints? Either way, good on ya Pope Frank.

  2. To his credit, like John Paull II, Francis has eschewed a bulletproof popemobile. But he should be eschewing the larger security bubble that feeds a culture of fear, and the violence that breeds, as well.

    Not sure if this is a typo or a mistake, but JP2 did use the popemobile, and I believe it did have bullet-resistant glass. I’d much prefer the popemobile to the security bubble for all the reasons you give.

    1. I think he’s confused.

      The Popemobile is just a car that the Pope rides around in – designed to make the Pope more visible to crowds as he rides around greeting large crowds.

      Some were simply open air – like the large sedans politicians have used (and Kennedy was killed in) – and later ones, after the assassination attempt on John Paul II have had bullet proof glass.

      As a matter of fact, its was JP2’s post-assassination armored Popemobile that brought the Popemobile into mass public awareness – though he has, at times, uses non-armored ones.

      This is one he used at one point in 1995.
      http://tinyurl.com/o2y78n8

      The wiki on the Popemobile

      http://tinyurl.com/poytl5w

  3. Terrorists, anarchist, Islamist or otherwise, can only kill people and destroy property. They can’t change social and political norms. Only reactions to terrorism can do that. And they have been doing that. The pope, Philadelphia, the feds, the mainstream media, all of “us,” failed to take the opportunity of the papal visit to reverse that trend, instead contributing to the further normalization of the all-encompassing security state.

    Ed, no one wants to be in charge when the Pope is shot, or another major terrorist act happens. So why chance it, better to over-react and nothing happen than not react and get caught short.

    A determined enemy will get through your defenses, and there is nothing you can do if someone is willing to die for their cause, but the powers that be will try to prevent it, not matter what.

    1. Better yet not to be in charge at all and tell the Pope to piss up a rope as far as security goes. Bring it yourself.

      1. Better yet not to be in charge at all and tell the Pope to piss up a rope as far as security goes. Bring it yourself.

        That will never happen. But yes, that would be the best thing to do.

  4. But he rides around in a Fiat Popemobile.
    See how humble and earth-friendly he is?
    He’s a fucking panhandler in a dress.

  5. But no one will be punished electorally for allowing Philadelphia to be the ground zero for the largest security theater performance in U.S. history because, as Chris Matthews and so many other media personalities said this weekend, “everything changed,”

    And also because the pope-induced leg tingles were off the mf charts. “We’re so touched! Everyone! It’s amazing! Even for non-Catholics!”

    And don’t forget how simple and unassuming this pope is. He won’t ride in a Mercedes! He will, however, shut down three major American cities.

    1. I lol’d at “pope-induced leg tingles”.

    2. Seriously, he rode around in a fiat sure, but why didn’t he just get in one of 20 suvs providing his protection instead?

      1. Let me know when they start liquidating the church’s assets to pay for bringing food to the homeless.

      2. Let me know when they start liquidating the church’s assets to pay for bringing food to the homeless.

        1. What is this? That’s the second time today.

          1. I’m seein’ double here. Four posts!

        2. Let me know when they start liquidating the church’s asshats to bring food to the homeless.

        3. Th’only raison Roman church is so wealthy is that so many of the clergy are constrained by vows of poverty. It sells a nonessential product at inflated prices and most of the work is done by slave labour.

          1. Voluntary isn’t slave. You’re using the same language run of the mill Leftists use.

      3. “Humilty, you’re doing it wrong”

    3. Look , the Premier for *China* – that egalitarian worker’s state – got two blocks around his hotel sealed off.

      Our own president demands craaaaaaazy accommodations when he travels – even the freaking First Lady (who is absolutely nobody).

  6. Speaking of His Whateverness – a bunch of people were sharing a “quote” from Pope Frank on how it’s OK to be an atheist and totally cool not to go to church.

    Like, I’m sooooo shuuuuurrrr the supreme leader of a world religion that counts on robust attendance at church to support its expensive clothing and jewel habit would say such a thing.

    People want to think this guy isn’t actually a Catholic priest, and is instead some sort of Bernie Sanders doppelg?nger.

    1. It’s crazy. They pull all the quotes that fit their narratives and completely ignore everything else he says. The media is just trying to troll the religious right, it’s kind of hilarious given how many of the sects of the religious right are at best ambivalent and at worst at odds with the catholic church.

      1. In this case, it’s not just cherry-picking – he never said any such thing. It defies logic that anyone would believe the head of a major world religion would even think such a thing. People have gone full retard over this guy.

        1. Oh my God, that quote is such obvious bullshit. It reads like a hippy dashed it off haphazardly on the third day of a hashish binge.

          Also, if you need the Pope to validate your atheism, maybe go fuck yourself, maybe.

      2. Exactly. Catholics tend to vote team blue.

        1. I find that strange too,here in Parkersburg WV there are many Catholics and the ones I no are R’s,many own a business though.Small business owners and self employeed folks are more likely to be R’s .

          1. Not really I find West Virginians to be confused about many things, an example being that they seem to fly a greater amount of confederate flags than their neighbor to the east.

            1. /region warz

      3. Growing up around evangelical, I’m talking about Baptists and Pentecostals, etc, I was taught that the Catholics were tools of da debil. Seriously, you are spot on about this, most of the religious right I’ve known and I’ve known many, have no respect at all for the pope or anything Catholic.

        This is just typical of the left. They will latch onto anything that anyone says that might be in agreement with any of their political positions as hard evidence that someone else agrees with them, about everything of course.

        1. They will latch onto anything that anyone says that might be in agreement with any of their political positions

          To be fair, the right does the exact same thing with literally any black person who is in any way conservative. See: That 13 year old black kid getting a job with Ted Cruz’s campaign despite being, you know, a dumbass 13 year old. That really ended well when that kid started lying about being blocked by President Obama’s twitter account.

          1. To be even more fair, the cosmotarians around here will do the same to prove that once again, we’re having a libertarian moment.

            1. To be unfair, the local yokeltarians latch onto every piece of bad news so they can crow tediously about how terrible things are and how the End Times are always upon us.

              1. yokeltarians

                Define please.

                1. I think he means the commentariat.

                2. Anyone who claims to be libertarian but wraps themselves in socially conservative kulturkampf issues, or who rails against the welfare state while ignoring the warfare state, or who consistently falls for Team Red’s empty pillow talk, or who gives credulity to retarded positions on no other basis than the people he doesn’t like are arguing the opposite.

                  Essentially, anyone who uses the term ‘cosmotarian.’

                  1. Hugh,

                    Thanks for the answer.

                  2. I thought the yokeltarians were the Lew Rockwell types.

              2. To be fairest of them all, everyone but me should shut up.

          2. With regards to conservative blacks, what I see from the right is mostly how the left hates any black that strays from the Progressive Plantation. Sowell and Steele are probably the two most hated blacks for most of your doctrinaire Progressives.

            1. Nevermind Clarence Thomas, who’s kinda the left’s version of Satan.

      4. Well the last I counted, there were at least 95 items in a theses.

    2. Like, I’m sooooo shuuuuurrrr the supreme leader of a world religion that counts on robust attendance at church to support its expensive clothing and jewel habit would say such a thing.

      He doesn’t want “robust attendance”, he wants money. They two have little to do with one another even in the US. In Europe, he just gets almost all his money from taxes.

    3. People want to think this guy isn’t actually a Catholic priest, and is instead some sort of Bernie Sanders doppelg?nger

      Philosophically there are plenty of similarities.

    4. It’s bizarre. It reminds of how these people breathlessly track British royalty.

      Apparently, the 1% are evil, unless it’s an actual hereditary monarchy, or the supreme religious leader of the largest Christian church in the world. In which case, suddenly, they’re all “ooh la la!”

      1. Its the difference between killing 10 people and a million.

      2. Principals, not principles. The Catholic Church is one of the most insidious, oppressive, misogynistic, greedy institutions in the history of the world. Unless the latest pope is saying good things about capitalism and climate change, in which case we ought to listen to his wisdom.

      3. Or sports star.

        I love all the po’ folk who scream about the 1% rich bastards and then turn around and pay $10 for a beer at a football stadium while they watch grown men chase a ball around for salaries that puts them instantly into the 1% class.

    5. Like, I’m sooooo shuuuuurrrr the supreme leader of a world religion that counts on robust attendance at church to support its expensive clothing and jewel habit would say such a thing.

      People have been doing this with Francis from square one. I remember some facebook meme floating around where Francis’ was saying something about how homosexuals can achieve a closeness to God or something. People were showing this as proof of his radical progressive views, when in reality what he said has been Catholic doctrine since Vatican 2 (I think?). They completely ignore Francis’ comments on gay adoption and parenthood, which were nowhere near as positive. They also ignore how ‘being closer to God’ for homosexuals translates to never having sex and actively recognizing the sinfulness of your own existence. This apparently makes him pro-homosexuality and just a refreshing change from…the exact same Catholic doctrine from the last five decades.

      1. “I remember some facebook meme floating around where Francis’ was saying something about how homosexuals can achieve a closeness to God or something. People were showing this as proof of his radical progressive views, when in reality what he said has been Catholic doctrine since Vatican 2 (I think?).”

        Oh yeah, ancient church doctrine, from almost sixty years ago. That far back, how can we even trust any of the fragmentary records that have survived the ages between?

        And what the blazes is “closeness to God or something”? Just taking the words at face value, it seems kind of meaningless, since we are all equally equidistant from God all the time, regardless how gay or queer we’re acting at the moment.

        1. Yes but, one cannot produce male offspring as cannon fodder for a future army to throw off one’s oppressors if: 1) one spills his seed upon the ground or, 2) one wastes same seed on the rectum of another.

          So, get out there breed is the commandment of the church’s elite.

      2. In addition, sin is not of itself a major impediment. In Catholicism, in fact, it’s almost no impediment at all. That’s a consequence of believing in a cosmic order that maintains perfect justice. Practically, it’s supposed to be an obstruction to awareness, but it’s inevitable. This doesn’t compare to the spiritually destructive effects of pride and delusion, specificly. It doesn’t take some special access of pride or delusion for a person to go fornicating or adulterising, regardless what proportion of participants of which sexes he does it with. Imagining oneself to be a homosexual, however, to the point that one talks about being a homosexual despite maintaining perfect celibacy, certainly requires a fair share of pride and delusion. So, if one follows the earliest tradition, the latter is a major impediment, while the former doesn’t amount to much. The earliest tradition would also discourage any selfstyled Catholic from making too much of whether his unchristian neighbours chose to act gay or queer or whatever. So it’s not like the Pope’s statement could really be seen as revolutionary in the sense of reversing previous tradition, but one could see it as revolutionary in that it continues the process of making it all more convoluted and stupid.

        1. Inherent sinfulness is obviously a root aspect of Catholicism, I only bring it up because of the way Francis’ comments are framed. People were trying to present his quotes as some kind of radical challenge to traditional Catholic norms.

          Francis views homosexuals as sinners, along with pretty much everyone else, but portraying them as such for their own existence isn’t the ‘progressive’ viewpoint. I mean, a Republican politician says something about homosexuals being sinners? Horrible, horrible homophobe. The Pope says the exact same thing? Take some of his statements out of context and hail him as the Great Progressive Pope.

    6. “People want to think this guy isn’t actually a Catholic priest, and is instead some sort of Bernie Sanders doppelg?nger.”

      He does what he can to avoid dispelling this illusion.

  7. Hey! I did what I could by not giving a shit. I didn’t even know the Pope was still in the US yesterday.

  8. I was at a High School football game a bit north of Philly last weekend. The signs on the highway were positively Orwellian. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why did the city and state think is a good idea?

  9. A contact in SEPTA (Philly transit authority) says their loads were 50% of what was expected, so maybe 600,000 people showed up to see the Pope not 1.2 million projected. News media will continue to pump up the event and talk sweetness and light about the one baby he kissed and ignore the 1,000 others he didn’t.
    In any case, this event proves there aren’t an army of suicide bombers in America intent on terrorizing the citizens. If there were, as Ed notes, there were ample opportunities to cause chaos outside the security zone. Heck, a few calls on burner phones about bombs along the route would have been enough. While some vigilance is always necessary, this overkill shows the terrorists have already won.

  10. Can we also talk about the ridiculous ball-licking on cable news? CNN must have aired mass four or five times, interruption-free, over the weekend. It was completely bizarre.

    1. Who watches CNN?

      1. Yeah i think the better question is who is so lame that they are able to keep track of how many times CNN does anything over a weekend?

        1. You know I am that lame, dude.

    2. The cable news folk are so desperate to have something new and different to cover. It is so strange.

    3. They kept interrupting the Miami v. Nebraska game for his trip to Cuba. Irritating.

      1. Miami v. Nebraska

        I’m sure there were Cuban expatriots from Miami who were very happy to have a football game interrupted so that they could watch a major religious figure hug it out with their former oppressor.

        1. I wasn’t certain if they were pandering to Catholics or trying to piss off ex-Cubans.

    4. Only if we can also talk about the ball-licking that the NFL announcers engaged in yesterday during the Vikings/San Diego game.

      The announcers went on a 10 minute rampage about how the new Vikings stadium was sooooo good for the community and the yokels in San Diego were dolts for not also giving their owner billions to build a new stadium.

      They went on and on about how the new Vikings stadium had spurred so much development downtown. My kids had to bring me several beers to stop me screaming at the TV about how the only new things that are being built are all govt crap. Like a park for $22M. Or a fucking bridge over the light rail line for $9M.

      1. The bridge really galls me because of how worthless it is.

        The new stadium is built on the same site as the old one. There were 0 deaths at the old stadium, yet we now need to add a bridge because for 10 days a year there will be a lot of drunks milling around and a train might hit them?

        1. Dude, you can’t just show up here and start posting comments! We’ve got to think about your safety.

          Anybody want to make Pope Jimbo’s car bullet-proof? I’m going to be busy shutting down a couple of major highways.

      2. My kids had to bring me several beers

        Personally, I never refer to the orphans as “kids”, but to each his own, I guess.

        1. He has trained actual goats to procure and transport beer.

        2. RC, my son, everyone is my child. Now go get your shine box.

      3. To be fair, any upstanding redblooded American likes football, whereas papism is sort of the opposite of being an American.

  11. Ed,

    James Garfield, not Chester Arthur, was offed by a disgruntled office seeker.

    And it did “change everything.” It was the final impetus behind the federal civil service laws.

    1. Todd Lincoln was present for his father’s death, and then for both Garfield’s and McKinley’s assassinations. Later in life he declined a presidential invitation, citing a “certain fatality” about his presence in the company of presidents.

      1. Shouldn’t name your kid “Todd” if you don’t want him to be a vessel for the spirit of death.

  12. Peter Hitchens has a post up about the guy who claimed David Cameron stuck his dick in a pig’s mouth and it contains one of the greatest takedowns of a political figure that I’ve ever read.

    I have met Lord Ashcroft briefly a couple of times. He gives off an enjoyably sinister whiff of brimstone. He has a smile like the winter sun glinting on a coffin-plate. You wouldn’t be surprised to find he had steel teeth.

    He was known in his years of influence as ‘The Man Who Bought The Tory Party’, or alternatively as ‘Blofeld’, and I don’t imagine he minded. I was never sure what he wanted in return for all his money.

    Was it just a ministerial Red Box? Well, he didn’t get it and now he’s annoyed, and who can blame him? If they hadn’t planned to give him anything in return, the Tories shouldn’t have taken his cash. The same applies to those who bankrolled their 2015 victory.

    I wrongly thought the Tory Party was impossible to save, a task as hopeless and morally wrong as reviving the popularity of Capstan Full Strength cigarettes. I still think we’d all be better off if it collapsed and died.

    But money and lies eventually revived the ghastly old monster. Alas for Lord Ashcroft, it was somebody else’s money. He’d been five years too soon.

    Goddamn, tell us how you really feel.

    1. I’ve never doubted that Mr Cameron, like most of his generation, was disastrously soft on drug abusers, but that’s true of all the major parties, the media, the legal profession and the police, and he took this view openly.

      Far be it from me to instruct Mr. Hitchens on the affairs of his country, but with all due respect: fuck off.

      1. Hitchens is terrible on drugs, but he’s spot on with regards to foreign policy.

        He’s a mixed bag, but he’s smart and entertaining so I read him despite our disagreements.

        1. I just can’t imagine the delusion of someone who looks at the progress on the drugs front and thinks: yes. This works. More of this, please.

          1. Not just that, but looks at lawyers and police and thinks they’re being too soft on drug users.

            Not sellers, but “abusers.”

  13. Why wouldn’t CNN and MSNBC love commie pope? He share’s pretty much 100% of their viewpoints. It’s like having God agree with all of their progressive agenda.

    Let’s see what happens when the next pope is a gun loving right wingnut teabagger.

      1. Nazi pope would be much more tolerable since we wouldn’t have the American left slobbering all over him.

        1. Bullshit – they slobbered all over the original Nazi until WWII started.

          1. This isn’t 1939 you know. I’m speaking in the present tense.

          2. Well, they are still slobbering over the lineal descendants of the Nazis in the Middle East.

      1. He is echoing their climate change and wealth redistribution agenda, however, so I think that’s enough for some commie pope love from the left.

      2. “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right,” Francis said.

        I hope he’ll put that into practice when it comes to church law and the Vatican state.

      3. Yeah. He’s a scholar of American jurisprudence obviously.

  14. People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

    Unlike someone who calls for humility and poverty and then shuts down a city so rubes can gawk at him.

    1. I am personally very happy that western liberal democracies have people willing to invest in weapons industries so that the most powerful countries are those that are most free and progressive as opposed to various theocratic dictatorships in the Middle East.

      I’d hate to live in a world where Christians in the west stopped arming themselves and essentially ceded the field to Saudi Arabia. I don’t think the Pope has considered that.

      1. The God the pope worships never seem to shy away from using violence arbitrarily. I mean turning a chick to salt for looking the wrong way? That’s fucked up.

        1. Bitch shoulda listened.

          1. Respect My Authoritah!

        2. And this after offering her daughters up for gang rape so that God’s Angels wouldn’t get gang rape. It’s a great story, especially for Sunday school classes for the kiddos.

      2. Yep. He needs to schedule a visit to the House of Saud. I’m sure he’d be welcomed with open arms.

    2. So that makes the Swiss Guard what?

      And none of the folks who make those nice Sig weapons they carry are Christians?

      1. It’s okay for the Pope’s guards to have guns. The rest of us should be naked before the power of the state and other criminals.

  15. “Terrorists, anarchist, Islamist or otherwise, can only kill people and destroy property.”

    Are you seriously calling anarchists terrorists Ed? If so, go fuck yourself.

    1. He’s saying there have been anarchist terrorists, not that all anarchists are terrorists.

      Are you going to ask if he’s calling all Muslims terrorists too, or are you just this easily butthurt over your personal hobby horses?

      1. If you sit on a hobby horse the wrong way, it’s pretty easy for that to happen. To be fair.

      2. So why not just use the word terrorists instead of including things that don’t need to be there? Anarchists (and Muslims) get a bad enough rap as it is, and those same people ignore their very own violent gov’t that trumps anything else in the violence, killing people and destroying property department.

        And don’t bring my horse into this. You’re just mad because it doesn’t like you.

        1. He’s saying that terrorists, whatever their motivation (anarchist, Islamist or other), can only kill people and destroy property. And come on, his example of an anarchist terrorists is from before Murray Rothbard was even born. Calm down.

        2. The anarchists he’s referring to are the left-wing kind, not an-caps. They’re a longer established and larger group and have committed quite a few terrorist attacks over the years. I’m not aware of any committed by an-caps, though I suppose it’s possible there have been some by right-wing small-government types whose views would broadly fit that label.

          1. Capitalism itself is a terrorist act, so an-caps are the worst.

        3. Terrorists get the worst rap of all. How is that fair?

      3. All good muslims.

    2. I hate to break the bad news, but anarchist and terrorist have been synonymous with communist and republican these past hundred years in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Nearly every country is starting to produce online images of newspaper archives. That is what was in the news back when altruistic collectivism was a set of untested utopian pipe-dreams mouthed by prohibitionists and the illiterate. Now that we’ve seen how in practice it led to extermination camps in Germany, Russia and Cambodia, the idea has added popularity, but only among death-worshipers eager to infiltrate the LP and bring it down.

  16. Todd Lincoln was present for his father’s death, and then for both Garfield’s and McKinley’s assassinations. Later in life he declined a presidential invitation, citing a “certain fatality” about his presence in the company of presidents.



    Was that invitation offered by the sitting Vice President?

    1. I wonder whether a truther movement sprang up around Chester Arthur’s succession.

      1. Jet fuel doesn’t burn sideburns off that quickly. Science. Fact.

  17. “Terrorists, anarchist, Islamist or otherwise, can only kill people and destroy property. They can’t change social and political norms. Only reactions to terrorism can do that.”

    One of the problems is that no politician (not even Rand Paul or Ron Paul) will put the blame for that where it really belongs, and where the blame really belongs is with the American people.

    If and when the American people do overcome those new political norms, it’ll have to come from the politically incorrect, asinine, uneducated, and unfashionable sectors of our society, too.

    It’ll be like those who stand up for the Second Amendment in the face of school shootings. It’ll be like the “crazies”, who want actual cuts in government spending–despite what the New York Times says that will do to the economy.

    Another part of the problem is that we live in a Facebook society now, where being “liked” is more important than anything. And it’s hard to see how freedom can score more “likes” than fear so long as the media won’t let a crisis go to waste and the terrorists are constantly manipulating the coverage.

    Frank Zappa was wrong. Stupidity isn’t the most abundant element in the universe. The most abundant element is fear, and fear is the mind-killer.

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quo…..06017.html

    1. “If there is hope,’ wrote Ken, ‘it lies in the proles.'”

    2. One of the problems is that no politician (not even Rand Paul or Ron Paul) will put the blame for that where it really belongs, and where the blame really belongs is with the American people.

      The problem is that is a difficult platform to run on in America.

      1. Whereas the opposite platform has been enough to propel Trump to…somewhere.

        1. a new book deal and reality tv show that takes place in the whitehouse?

      2. No doubt. What candidate is going to look the American people in the eye and tell them that they’re to blame for their own problems and that the solutions won’t come from government no matter who they vote for?

        That’s the truth, but no candidate is going to tell us the truth. Certainly not that truth.

      3. We reap what we sow.

    3. The spice must flow.

    4. One of the problems is that no politician (not even Rand Paul or Ron Paul) will put the blame for that where it really belongs, and where the blame really belongs is with the American people.

      By and large, the American people are a lot more sensible than the politicians that get elected.

      If and when the American people do overcome those new political norms, it’ll have to come from the politically incorrect, asinine, uneducated, and unfashionable sectors of our society, too.

      Ah, the eternal cry of progressives: “we just need better government, somehow, and then all will be fine!” It’s not going to happen. It’s in the very nature of representative democracy that crooks end up in positions of power. The Athenians had it right when they considered elections undemocratic and used sortition as the basis for their democracy.

      The only way we are going to get more liberty is the only way we have ever gotten more liberty without bloodshed: through new technologies that the state couldn’t control very much despite trying (printing press, Bitcoin, Internet) and through leaving and starting over (sea steading, space).

      1. Read Endymion, where the Pope and immortal Swiss Guards with super cool weapons maintain a vise like grip on Galactic society by profaning the resurrection of Christ every single day.

        Dan Simmons must have been raped by Priests cause no other set of books (that I know of) betrays as much hate for Catholics than his two Endymion books.

        1. Didn’t the Hyperion books have an evil pope, too? Or am I thinking of something else?

      2. “Ah, the eternal cry of progressives: “we just need better government, somehow, and then all will be fine!” It’s not going to happen.”

        Just for the record, I’m not a progressive, and I didn’t say that change needs to come from government.

        I said the American people are to blame.

      3. Thing that blows my mind is the de?fication of the state that has been so broadly embraced just so recently. Few decades ago, there was not this attitude that any difficulty or sorrow in the world should and CAN (which is crasier, in many cases) be corrected by the state. The state is treated as omnipotent, ?ternal, transcendent, and as the ultimate redeemer of everything. And it’s not like it’s due to rotation of personnel. The same fucking people who treated the state as limitted, human creature a few decades ago now act as though it’s some kind of fucking moloch.

        This attitude is the number one objection to progressivism. It admits no limits to what the state can and should do to everyone. Nothing is outside its domain. And they admit no clear purpose to it, but rather a sort of generalised management of everything, guiding mankind into a new era of perfectness and preciousness.

    5. “If and when the American people do overcome those new political norms, it’ll have to come from the politically incorrect, asinine, uneducated, and unfashionable sectors of our society, too.”

      Remember, it was the ass saw the angel, not Balaam.

  18. “Pope Francis Helps Normalize Security & Police State in the U.S.”

    I’m sure it’s because that the Pope just doesn’t understand the police state.

    /sarc

  19. OT:

    Witness captures video of Virginia cop taking down a man with a stun gun who isn’t resisting

    Incident occurred in Fairfax County, Virginia
    Man has his back turned to the officer when he is tasered
    Police said on Sunday they had launched an internal investigation
    The suspect was charged with larceny

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..sting.html

    Heroes.

    1. Re boot?

  20. I know this will surprise no one, but I follow Elizabeth Stoker Breunig on twitter and she went full retard during the Pope’s DC visit. At one point she was babbling about how the Catholic church shouldn’t sell its art because the Catholic Church having that art makes the art available to poor people who might not otherwise get to see it.

    To which the obvious answers are a) the poor people actually paid for that art through giving money to the church when they pass the collection plate and b) you could sell the art and use the proceeds (which would be substantial) to feed and clothe the poor.

    But no, it’s way better for the church to keep art they purchased by conning the gullible so that poor Catholics in South America can look at pretty art while they go hungry.

    1. Maybe since the poor don’t have jobs anyway, seeing the art will inspire them to become artists in all of their free time.

      1. Well, at least they have that freedom now instead of being wage slaves just to keep their health insurance.

    2. And much of the Vatican was built with slave labor. I have no use for these people. Johm Paul 2 was good agaist the commiies and yet helped cover up the child abuse in his domain. The bible is a book of fables handed down through the ages.Many taken for other cultures And Islam aslo steals from them and much of the bible.

      1. If the pope really is the messenger of God, why doesn’t he just ask God for all of the technology it takes to create an entire universe from scratch. Surely that would enable us to feed all of the world’s hungry children, right? I guess the pope just doesn’t care about the hungry children.

        1. They don’t want to feed all the world’s hungry children or alleviate the causes of suffering; they want to “help” the suffering by bringing them into the Catholic church. The Catholic church and the various popes believe that you ought to suffer; it’s supposedly good for you. That’s why God makes it happen in the first place. There are various encyclicals and statements you can find if you care.

          1. I don’t care because for me the pope is just another blow hard who is addicted to power and adoration, just like most other politicians. No wonder he gets on so well with Obama, they understand each other.

          2. The Dark Ages redo.

        2. I assume this pope is against GMO’s and nuclear power and all fossil fuels (and all the goods made for oil and gas).Things that would help the poor . He’s also a beliver in top down solutions that have worked so well in South Ameria and Africa. Free trade is not in his wheel house either. The worship of this man sickens me. I doubt he’s read the Wealth of Nations and he’s said to be so well educated.

    3. I follow Elizabeth Stoker Breunig on twitter

      Blocked.

    4. Without the poor there would be no Catholic Church. Happy, prosperous, well-fed people are not inclined to spend much time on their knees.

    5. Where is this art? Does it travel? Or is that the Church should keep the art so that poor people can see it on their vacations to Rome (or wherever a particular piece of art is held)?

    6. Also, an organization that restricts access to their archives for seventy-five years (not to mention specifically restricts access to all documentation from 1939 to 1945) is clearly a trustworthy group just focused on giving the poor access to art.

      Several hundred years ago Breunig would be throwing a hissy fit over those bastard Germans who dared to realize that their poverty was funding Italian Catholic glamour.

    7. you could sell the art and use the proceeds (which would be substantial) to feed and clothe the poor.

      Good point! I hope you’ll be urging the U.S. Government to sell all those Old Masters that evuhl 1-percenter Andrew Mellen donated to the National Gallery of Art, so that it can feed the poor, or fund universal national health care, or whatever, with the proceeds.

    8. It’s eye candy.

  21. WWJD

    10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

    11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

    12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

  22. The pope invades our Glorious Commonwealth, and now all the cryptopapists are crawling out of the woodwork. Well I’ve got 95 theses and a hammer! There’s no handrail in the reformation! #VoteNoNothingParty2016

    Seriously though, all this authority cock-sucking is getting on my nerves.

    1. I got 95 problems, but a thesis ain’t one.

  23. Speaking of friends of the little man

    Violence. Voting. And what about economic injustice? Research shows that the legal changes in the civil rights era created new employment and housing opportunities. In the 1960s and the 1970s, African-American men and women began to close the wage gap with white workers, giving millions of black families hope that they might build real wealth. But then, Republicans’ trickle-down economic theory arrived. Just as this country was taking the first steps toward economic justice, the Republicans pushed a theory that meant helping the richest people and the most powerful corporations get richer and more powerful. I’ll just do one statistic on this: From 1980 to 2012, GDP continued to rise, but how much of the income growth went to the 90 percent of America ? everyone outside the top 10 percent ? black, white, Latino? None. Zero. Nothing. 100 percent of all the new income produced in this country over the past 30 years has gone to the top 10 percent.

    “Say, Pappy, mebbe we should git ourselves a midget with a broom.”

    1. “Maybe we should git ourselves some of that ree-form.”
      “We can’t be the ree-form candidate, you idjit! We’re the incumbent!”

      1. Is you or is you ain’t my constituency?

    2. From Wiki:

      “Warren’s net worth as of the end of 2011 was as high as $14.5 million.[3] – See more at: Warren Wealth

      I think it’s safe to say that White Squaw is a member of the 1% and that she doesn’t live in the ghetto.

      1. She made a lot of money flipping foreclosed houses during the recession, too.

        1. Well, I’m sure that at least none of those foreclosed homes belonged to poor black families, otherwise Warren would have just paid off their mortgage for them, being a champion of the poor and all.

    3. Research shows that the legal changes in the civil rights era created new employment and housing opportunities. In the 1960s and the 1970s, African-American men and women began to close the wage gap with white workers, giving millions of black families hope that they might build real wealth. But then, Republicans’ trickle-down economic theory arrived.

      The major Civil Rights Acts were passed in 1964 and 1968. The race gap was indeed closing before that. It started increasing again in 1970, a decade before Reagan, and just as the CRA was getting implemented. Therefore, the Civil Rights Era cannot possibly have caused the decrease in the wage gap, but it is a pretty good guess that it caused the subsequent increase in the wage gap.

      I’ll just do one statistic on this: From 1980 to 2012, GDP continued to rise, but how much of the income growth went to the 90 percent of America ? everyone outside the top 10 percent ? black, white, Latino? None. Zero. Nothing. 100 percent of all the new income produced in this country over the past 30 years has gone to the top 10 percent.

      Actually, a lot of that GDP went into the Federal budget and new mandatory benefits, and hence went to the 90%. It was a complete waste of money, but it’s what the majority of American voters chose to do with their portion of the earnings.

      1. I told you, Win Bear wins bears damnit!!!

        1. Get your bear on!!

    4. About what I expected from Fauxahontas.

  24. Did anyone see what this asshat congressman did? I grew up in Philly, and knew him and his wife years ago. I had posted this story on Facebook- I believe I called him a jackass in that post- and one of our mutual “friends” reported it to his wife, who sent me a message asking me to take it down, invoking the memory of my late father. That family is just class all the way.

    http://www.phillymag.com/news/…..bob-brady/

    1. I should have mentioned that he did it during Pope-a-mania in Washington DC.

    2. Also, what the fuck is he thinking? It’s not like the pope was drinking holy water. And the pope’s not a saint. There’s no sacramental valor in the water or the glass. He’s acting like some barbarian with a magic hand or some other kind of fetish. Not only that, but he claims to be Catholic, so what he’s doing is not only unethical, but it’s a sin, both for the theft and, worser, for the idolatry.

  25. Warren spouts that crap without ever once acknowledging the role of the Federal Reserve and government policy in the ever-accelerating funneling of money into the pockets of the richest of the rich.
    It kinda annoys me.

  26. to chuck an apple or a battery

    Heh, well done, Ed.

  27. When the VIPs want to make a speech they should just do a video and publish it online and save the taxpayers a lot of expense and inconvenience.

  28. Yet, that 5-yr old girl was able to run up to the Pope-mobile unimpeded.

  29. This is the Holiness whose outfit sees to it that every military Junta and People’s State in South America sends men with guns out to force doctors to refrain from letting women have reproductive choice. The result of his hand-wringing concern for ecological national socialism is that people flee en masse from the slums where the Vatican writes the laws, and flock to Roe v. Wade America–which is alluva sudden freaked out about immigrants! A look at the “Population Clock” show these numbers in real time.

  30. The following strikes me as a reasonable question, though I suspect that some/many will disagree. Why do We The People put up with this security routine anyhow? I use “security routine” in an attempt to stay within the bounds of polite conversation.

    1. Even crasier is that no one is ashamed at the blatant cowardice of the acclaimed “leaders”.

  31. Excellent question. And one I’ve asked every time a see a pol going around in public with a security detail. It just burns my ass that ex-presidents retain secret service coverage.

    But expressing that opinion isn’t PC and tends to set some people off. They accuse me of being a complete idiot. Don’t I realize that someone might harm or kidnap these betters if we didn’t pay for security?

    And that’s my point. These folks are willing to pay whatever it takes to assure the physical security of their betters. Complete slaves.

    The on solace I take from it though is, that these protected pols and dignitaries obviously fear me more than I fear them. That is so much better than the other way around.

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