July 24th, 2012


Rendering Unto Caesar: The Impotence of Rome‏

Events in Rome have stirred up a considerable amount of dander elsewhere on our shrinking planet. After cracking down on religious Catholic women to the extent of banning a book, Cardinal Lavada has moved to greener pastures. His replacement as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is a conservative German theologian by the name of Gerhard Müller. Some on the Right have questioned his credentials because he had collaborated on a work with Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian advocate of Liberation Theology. The installation of a new chief inquisitor prompted me to read what the man has to say.

Having grown up beyond the pale of the Jesus cult, but having grown up in the midst of cult members, the turmoil within their camp fascinates me. Müller opposes Sacramental Matrimony for anyone but a man and a woman. This should suit the gay community just fine becuse that community does not seek Sacramental Matrimony. What homosexuals desire is something far more meaningful. Where the conflict arises is in the misperception on the part of Catholic voters that a higher form of marriage inclusive of people of the same gender should not be permitted simply because Rome advocates the lesser institution of Sacramental Matrimony.

Müller also opposes the ordination of women to the Roman Order. He points to a number of reasons for his position including the fact that Jesus was a guy. The reason that most fascinates me is that Rome lacks the authority to ordain women to its "Holy Order." This implies that Lutherans and Anglicans have powers that Rome lacks. I'll toast to that!

In his treatise on why Rome also lacks the authority to ordain women to the diaconate, Müller makes the astute observation that today's deacons are not the same as the deacons mentioned in the literature of the Early Church. That literature mentions the existence of female deacons. Müller makes some allusion to differences in offices of priests and bishops, but does not pursue those differences to their obvious conclusion. Müller's treatise confirms the fact that Jesus did not institute the Church that professes to represent him. The Apostles were responsible for establishing followings of their own that eventually morphed into the Roman Church after generations of power struggles and internecine strife.

As for the "Jesus was a guy" argument, Gerd Lüdemann's thesis that Paul founded the Church would lead to a "Paul was a guy" rationale. Constantine made his mark upon the Medieval Church by presiding over the Nicene Council. One could also make a "Constantine was a guy" contention for the impotence of Rome to ordain women. Since Thomas Aquinas introduced the magic of transubstantiation, one could also say that "Aquinas was a guy" is yet another reason for Roman impotence.

Women have been ordained by members of the Roman hierarchy, so not all Romans lack the power to ordain women. Conservative Catholics might turn their noses up at a communion service conducted by a woman, but they are a dying breed. Younger Catholics lack the bigotry required to foster such disgust.

Some may argue that Roman policy is a purely private matter for Romans. Were it not for tendencies such as Catholic support for defrauding homosexuals and women of rights and dignity in the public sphere, I would agree. Do you see a silver lining in the dark cloud of Gerhard Müller's theology?

Links: Gerhard Müller's treatise on gender issues. Praise for the appointment from a blogger. Another blogger's concern over Müller's support for Liberation Theology. Gerd Lüdemann's work on Paul's role in the establishment of the Church. Gustavo Gutiérrez's work on Liberation Theology.

(no subject)


There was a very interesting Planet Money episode last week where they came up with six economic suggestions that they were able to get a panel of economists to agree on (from conservative to liberal, republican to democrat, libertarian, etc.) The full description is above, but in short:

1. Eliminate the mortgage income deduction
2. Eliminate the employer health-care deduction
3. Put corporate income tax at 0 (i.e. don't tax the money that corporations reinvest in their company, only tax it when it pays out to shareholders/etc.)
4. Eliminate the income tax and payroll taxes entirely and replace it with some sort of progressive consumption tax
5. Tax carbon emissions
6. Legalize marijuana (as a start?)

#5 got some disagreement from the libertarian leaning economist although it seemed to be because he wasn't sure it could be priced fairly -- he seemed to agree with the basic concept of the federal government trying to take a proactive stance against pollution.

Of course none of these are politically viable but they're interesting to think about. Apparently on a future episode they're going to talk to some political strategists about these ideas and see if there would even be any theoretical way any of them could be politically viable.

Overturn Obamacare what what cost?


Well, it seems that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John "Hanging John" Roberts is a bona fide financial genius, as well as all around enigma defying labels of L n C. It seems the good judge has a mighty fine set of Crystal Balls. Because by upholding Obamacare, he saved the country billions in Health Care Cost.

CBO and JCT have updated their estimates of the budgetary effects of the health insurance coverage provisions of the ACA to take into account the Supreme Court decision. This report describes those new estimates, how they were derived, and how they differ from the previous ones issued in March.

CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of $1,168 billion over the 2012–2022 period—compared with $1,252 billion projected in March 2012 for that 11-year period—for a net reduction of $84 billion. (Those figures do not include the budgetary impact of other provisions of the ACA, which in the aggregate reduce budget deficits.) [emphasis mine]

Obamacare. You know, that thing that has the GOP in a froth to overturn with HR 6079. Because it has the word OBAMA in it. They can't let him take credit for this legislation!  Why not?

Because the CBO says that repealing it will add $109B to the DEFICIT.

Assuming that H.R. 6079 is enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2013, CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting that legislation would cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period. Specifically, we estimate that H.R. 6079 would reduce direct spending by $890 billion and reduce revenues by $1 trillion between 2013 and 2022, thus adding $109 billion to federal budget deficits over that period.

Awk-ward. Curse those number crunchers and their pesky facts!

So what should the GOP do with this news? Better yet, what WILL they do with this info? What will you do with it? The CBO is about as non-partisan as one can get. Still think Obamacare is the shits?

To me, what they should do is find another attack position like his skin color or his wife and kids because the defense of the AHA is so chock full of nuclear bullet points the GOP could go down as mere Jokers, not a serious brain in the lot of them. We will all be singing Soviet Style Anthems to our Dark Leader. pft.

What they will do is drink the Kool-Aid. They have no choice because they have nothing else besides "NO-BAMA".

Sad Billionaire is Sad