Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pope Francis Mentioned Him 125+ Times More Than Did Rush Limbaugh

And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:23, English Standard Version)

In a rant Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh criticized Pope Francis for not pledging allegiance to limitless consumerism, unlimited capitalism, and outsourcing jobs.  Really:

They have been unable to meet the demand, for whatever reason.  They have just recently caught up, and would you like to know how they did it?  They have put one million people on different assembly lines, 600 employees per assembly line at the factory in China at the one factory, where they are making 500,000 iPhones a day, and they still haven't caught up to demand. 

That's a lot of people who are thrilled with something new to buy. A lot of people in China make a lot of money on these places.  I mean, they're not paid what they're paid in America, but they're paid much higher than anybody else in China at these factories.  There's a lot of income being earned.  There's a lot of product being made.  There are a lot of taxes being paid.  There's all kinds of economic activity taking place.  It is stunning.  One hundred production lines, 600 people per line.

A total of more than 300,000 workers dedicated solely to building one product, the iPhone 5S, in one factory.  And this company has many different factories. They make 500,000 phones a day, and they still haven't caught up.  Now, there's a new phone from Motorola, the Moto X.  It has sold 500,000 in one quarter, and the iPhone 5S is selling 500,000 a day, and that's even short of demand.

That's a lot of people thrilled at something new to buy. 

Contrast that with the remarks in the "Apostolic Exhortation" in which Pope Francis observed

Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

The Pope courageously and incisively added some thoughts even Bernie Sanders probably wouldn't (couldn't) dare utter, at one point maintaining "one cause" of "lack of opportunity"

is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

He tackled inequality by arguing

just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

Limbaugh was not amused, and weaved criticism of the pontiff into condemnation of the Democratic Party (quelle surprise!) and even suggested the pope is a knave or dupe: "what this is, somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him.  This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope."  He was particularly exorcised by Pope Francis' recognition

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.

Pope Francis hardly could have been more explicit if he had mentioned the perpetual conservative saint himself, Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6).  Nor could Limbaugh have been more explicit in his faith that if the rich be fed, the poor will be.  He claimed

So reading what the pope's written about this is really befuddling because he's totally wrong -- I mean, dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong.  Here's another excerpt.  "Pope Francis said that trickle-down policy..." We hear about trickle-down policies?  "Pope Francis said that trickle-down policies have not proven to work."

Oh, but they have.  It's exactly what Obama is trying to create, in fact, although he wouldn't dare call it that. When you hear Obama talking about job creation and people going to work and roads and bridges being -- what the hell is it but trickle-down?  The left has defined trickle-down as the rich are compassionate and give people things.  And when that doesn't happen, they say that trickle-down doesn't work.  The left has bastardized terms and definitions to the point that trickle-down's become a dirty word. 

Trickle-down is human nature!  Trickle-down is exactly what happens when you engage in economic activity.  You spend money and it trickles down to everybody you spend it with, and then it trickles down to everybody they end up interacting with economically.  Trickle-down is precisely what happens.  But the left has defined trickle-down as the rich are supposed to give the money that they don't need away to people. 

A lot of people might find the trickle-down gospel, alien to Jesus Christ, a little hard to believe.  PBS Newshour reports

American food banks that saw demand for emergency meals take off during the recession are working to meet yet another increase for 2014, following cuts to food stamps that took effect Nov. 1, 2013.

The $5 billion cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will affect 47.7 million people, one out of every seven Americans. A family of four will lose $36 a month in food assistance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, dropping from $668 to $632 a month.

In New York City, with 63 percent of pantries and kitchens reporting shortages, the cuts will add stress to an already strained system, says Triada Stampas, a spokesperson for Food Bank for New York City. That food bank, the nation's largest, delivered 72 million meals last year. The organization calculates that across the five boroughs, SNAP cuts will mean that New Yorkers who get assistance will eat a total of 76 million fewer meals acquired with food stamps in the next year.

"We've been talking to private donors for months about these cuts," said Stampas. "But I want to dispel the notion that private charity can make up for the cuts, that's simply not possible. "

Bob Aiken, the CEO of Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks nationwide, said their branches are going to see more visitors as SNAP cuts shrink monthly food budgets.

Feeding America expects to deliver 3.3 billion meals in 2014, an increase from the 3.2 billion meals delivered in 2013 and the 2.2 billion meals delivered in 2009.

With a 46 percent increase in the number of people seeking meals after the recession hit -- from 25 million in 2006 to 37 million 2010 -- Feeding America has been struggling to keep up with demand.

"We are very concerned about the impact this cut will have on struggling low-income people and our network food banks," Aiken wrote in a statement in response to the SNAP cuts. "Unfortunately, our food banks across the nation continue to be stretched thin in their efforts to meet sustained high need in the wake of the recession."

Rush remarked  "The United States of America and its genuine exceptionalism has allowed people to reach the pinnacle of their ability combined with their ambition and desire." Apparently not.  But then it isn't surprising to hear this mindless boosterism from someone who can go on an extended rant (in transcript form, 51 paragraphs) about capitalism, poverty, the Roman Catholic Church, and poor people without mentioning this man:



HAPPY THANKSGIVING.... especially to those who won't eat anything like this for another year.

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