Food For Thought

Egad, the pope is at it again. Preaching mush. Is the Pope a fair target for criticism? Indeed he is. He’s a public figure. One who likes to butt his nose into the affairs of other nations, of individuals and of companies. And who spouts off about every conceivable subject. So what’s the problem today? In a story by yet another AP writer – Alessandra Rizzo – we are told that the Pope is out and about after his unfortunate push down at St. Peter’s just the other day. Good to know old Benedict is up and at ’em. So much to do! It is “his first appearance outside the Vatican… “ since Christmas. Well, yes, that was just three days ago, and the guy had a busy Christmas preaching to his billion sheep. And he’s got quite an enterprise he running there. Is it really news that he left his office-home-garden-museum-gold-pile after a few days? He’s got a pretty big place. Maybe he got lost on the way out, looking for a door to the streets of Rome. Well, just above this article is a bigger article about one Takuo Toda who flies paper airplanes in competitions, which is also by an AP writer. One would have thought the Pope deserved a bit more coverage given his importance in the scheme of things.

The Pope goes to a soup kitchen just miles from the Vatican. A soup kitchen! In the wondrous socialist paradise of Italy! Why on earth is there a soup kitchen there? In Europe, on whom we should model outselves! And we’re lambasted by the Europeans for our poor? Ha! But we have our own soup kitchens, don’t we? Do the Europeans run better ones? Sure they do – the Pope visits. We only get the First Lady. Though they both have this in common: A predilection for fancy shoes. The Pope wears Prada red mocassins of some sort, and the First Lady just loves those $500 sneakers she bought in the French boutique in New York. Imelda Marcos liked shoes a lot, too. What is it with the superpowerfulrich that they love shoes so much?

Why the visit? Ah, for the poor of course. It is said “he told the poor he is close to them.” Well, he certainly is – he lives right down the road a-piece. In a 1500 room house in his own 235 acre garden spot of a country. Did the Pope think to bring along a few clumps of gold? You know, he lives in a really big house – has another one too – both filled to the gun’ales with gold, silver, precious jewels, art, and all sorts of stuff that he could have sold to really help the poor. Why, surely he could find a spare few pounds of gold hanging around – and it literally hangs around that hill of marble – and give it to the poor so they might be, um, less poor.

I do not know how many soup kitchens there are in Rome. But let’s say it’s a 100. Imagine if each served 100 people. That’s 10,000 people. Surely he’s got a million bucks or so in extra valuables lying around that he could sell off to really help those poor. Maybe he might even tell those poor that they should no longer bother donating to the church and just keep their money themselves. Though all that marble does need upkeep. And the Pope does have to keep those white gowns clean. Washing gold braided clothes is no simple matter of the Kenmore wash machine in the laundry room of his palace.

Now, the Pope is known to talk about the horrors of globalization. Many people do complain about this. Globalization and its horrors are well catalogued in the media by any number of pontificators (which is a word that comes from the Pope’s other title: Pontiff. What a job – two titles.) The anti-global crowd are particularly fond of flying all over the globe to complain, even riot, against globalization. They were up there in Copenhagen just last week, throwing bricks with wild abandon at French boutiques in their protests against globalizing which they organized using their Finnish Nokia phones in their Japanese Priuses made with Chinese and South African and Russian metals and Israeli computer boards and Indian tires that were all shipped around on Greek captained but Brazilian crewed Liberian registered Korean made super container ships all run by American technology and software and protected by the US Navy courtesy of We the People. But, you know, saith the Pope: globalization – not good.

Anyway, these poor are said to be eating mashed potatoes! Now, mashed potatoes (MP) is a very American thing. I was asked about this love of ours for MP in France, Germany, Czech Republic and Mexico – and that’s a lot of foreign territory to be wondering about mashed potatoes. Further – the potatoes – they were guaranteed not to be grown in Italy. They were imported from somewhere. The US is of course the world’s largest producer of potatoes, so perhaps they were American potatoes American style. Which I would suppose is globalization at is worse – a double wammy of Americanness

Not to mention that most dastardly of all globalizing meanies – Christopher Columbus – who was the Italian working for Spain who found that there were, indeed, such things as Potatoes in the first place. Until 1493 the newspapers of Italy did answer “yes” to the question of young Guido: “Is there really a Potato, Klaus?” Klaus was of course the young German who was voting with his feet to get away from his own rapacious royal in Germany and see if the rapacious royals of Italy were any better. They were not, but the weather was nicer, and the palm trees do so gently sway in the breezes of Rome.

Who are these poor of today, whom the Pope lives so near to? One was a “34 year old homeless Afghan refugee.” Well, yes, refugees are homeless, it sort of goes with the, um, lack of territory. Once one leaves the home in the homeland and becomes a refugee one is immediately, clearly, homeless. Of course the Pope is not happy with our efforts to create some semblance of order in Afghanistan. Perhaps he should urge the Afghan to go home and become homeful again. Perhaps he should pay for the trip, and even a sprucing up of the home the refugee might return to. I’m sure a few US soldiers would oblige to protect the home renovation project from the Taliban who are very partial to caves and think few should live in homes at all. In fact, I’m not so sure that the Taliban think people should live at all, which makes them the darlings of many an anti-people globalizing environmentalist.

Another was a “35 year old Nigerian.” This genderless person got to Italy “four years ago after grueling travel across the Libyan desert.” Yes, well, why is this man still at a soup kitchen? Shouldn’t he have had a job? Is he not entitled to work in Italy? And remember, Europeans like to talk about whether you are “entitled” to work there just as much as Americans are about work entitlement here. Though of course, you can never have a right to a job, or to work. No – you have an Obligation to work so that you don’t wind up in soup kitchens. Your mission in life – always – is to support your own tuckus. Four years should have been enough time to learn passable Italian and get a job scrubbing toilets or mowing lawns. Though Italy, which we should model ourselves on because it is Europe, does have a decades long problem with about 9% unemployment, so jobs are scarce for anyone new in the country. Still the soup is better than it is in Nigeria, as anyone knows.

Not to mention that there is far more between Nigeria and Lybia that goes unmentioned. Like Maurutania or something, and of course the Mediterranean. And how horrible it must be in Nigeria for this person to travel so arduously, and almost certainly enter Italy illegally. Now, if the Pope, who’s been around the Vatican for decades, was a rational guy, he would have stopped the cardinals in Nigeria from building the world’s largest cathedral there and put that money to good use to making business opportunities right there at home before the arduous homeless travel to a soup kitchen in Rome. Sheesh, but what a long way to go for dinner. Well, it was mashed potatoes, and they don’t have a lot of that in Nigeria either. Most of our food aid to that Oil Rich Kleptocracy, that the British hobbled together from a bunch of people who don’t speak the same languages and hate each other as much as the French and Germans did just so recently, is in wheat, rice, corn and millet. These are cheaper and easier to transport and are so much easier to cook than mashed potatoes.

And there was “a Somali woman, 63, who came to Italy to give her disabled son better care.” Well, no, she is not “giving” her son better care – she is “obtaining.” The taxpayers and doctors of Italy are “giving” the kid better care. She merely brought the kid to “obtain” it, though that is commendable. Why is the kid disabled? Rizzo doesn’t say, but knowing Somalia it would not be surprising to be a result of the murderous wars going on at that fair beachfront. The warlords of Somalia are killing and maiming anyone on the other side of their self-perceived lines of otherness. At least those who don’t set to sea to take on large vessels for ransom so that they might buy more guns from Europe. In fact, France, which borders Italy, sells huge amounts of weapons to Somalia’s, um, “government-like” entities with cash obtained from ransoms. So France is making a profit from creating the conditions which lead young Somalis to become disabled and then make arduous journeys to Italian Soup Kitchens for American mashed potatoes. My, how global can you get? No word if Italy is asking France for cash for the spuds it is spilling out. The Pope did not mention this inconvenient fact either, or at least Rizzo did not mention if he did.

Italy of course, is somewhat responsible for Somalia because they ran a good part of it as a colony for decades. There they hobbled together peoples who always hated each other into a nation-like entity complete with a seat at the Climate Conference in Denmark demanding billions of US tax dollars. This melange of mayhem was set free to be a nation at war with itself shortly after Italy’s Fascist dictator was hung like a sausage at the meat market in some town in Northern Italy – ah, no, actually, not to the 1960s. Still, one part, called Somaliland, has tried to split off, and is a lot more peaceful, according to the CIA and UN, whom should know, than the rest of Somalia. But the US and the UN, and Italy itself, will not recognize this small chunk of the never-could-be country as a separate nation so that they might keep their people at home. Italy has not apologized yet to the pieces of that corner of Africa for Italy’s dastardly deed of putting them all in one ungovernable groveling sand splotch on the Indian Ocean.

These three, are of course, emblematic of globalization – for they came from far across the globe to get some American style American mashed potatoes in Rome. Very multicultural indeed. They are also emblematic of Ronald Reagan’s Voting With Your Feet. These folks took a vote, and got the dickens out of dodge. I have yet, though, to hear the Pope ever say an untoward word about the leaders, warlords, political monkeys and other mucky mucks of Afghanistan, Nigeria or Somalia. The Pope, like the rest of the world, blames first the United States, and second, Europe. Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so similar to the US they hate to admit, of course, get free rides. They are never guilty of much. Yet, if the Pope’s trip to a soup kitchen just miles from his gold-palace is news, surely a little heartfelt condemnation of the crazed lunatics with French and Chinese weapons running around the beaches would have made the press, no? No, the Pope usually works it into his words that it is vaguely somehow the US’s fault.

The US is guilty, by the Pope’s reasoning, for being big and rich and powerful and capitalist. Though Somalis come to America in great numbers for the sheer love of the place, and with the able assistance of the United States Government, its taxpayers, and its private citizens who donate millions for the effort. Israel also takes in a good number of Somali Jews. Europe is less guilty in the Pope’s eyes, for they are Europeans and he is one too, but still, he’s been reporting as complaining about the lack of integration of these refugees into Italy. Though, if one can get to the Soup Kitchen one would assume that you are fairly well integrated into the place the Soup Kitchen is. They don’t exactly advertise in your local paper, you know. And if they did, it surely wasn’t in any of the languages of Somalia, Afghanistan or Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the last of our beset with hunger people is this poor lady: “A 90 year old Italian who recieves food supplies from the community.” My my, this poor lady has to trudge down to the local soup kitchen for sustenance? Surely at the age of 90, and having been born in Italy itself, she must be fully integrated into society. Why would this lady have to go to a soup kitchen? Don’t they have Wheels on Meals or something? Did this lady not have any family who might assist? Are not the pension systems and social security systems of Italy able to provide the wherewithal for survival? Does not the Italian state keep care of its elderly? Is that the sort of safety net we want to model our own on? So that 90 year olds have to trod the cobble stones to gobble up mashed potatoes?

Well, the Pope – and Rizzo – end the visit with the comforting words that he “loved them.” I bet he does. For the article said that many in the place errupted into cheers of Long Live the Pope. I bet he just loved that. Who wouldn’t? Why, even our own Obama loves such adoration. Still, it’s as good to be the Pope as it is to be the King. Even better, for Popes got to mess with Kings far more than Kings could mess with Popes. Why, one ancient king, Henry of Germany, crawled on his knees to the Pope of the day’s door and then stayed three days outside in the snow awaiting a little soup from the pope’s kitchen and a word about how that pope did indeed love this poor king. Once blessed, the king went home to Germany and proceded to be the same old rapacious royal he always was. Though this Henry died on the way to Jerusalem to rescue that fair city from the Muslims, so he was a good king in the end. That this ancient king was at the same door then as the current Pope has today is a bit of historical reality. Nice to keep a house for 800 years. I bet the mortgage is paid off.

Which brings me to one last thing – especially given that a Nigerian or two has come across the Lybian desert of late and made their way to trying to blow up American jets in Detroit because they hate us and our globalizing spread of mashed potatoes – isn’t it odd that the Muslims wanted to take Jerusalem from the Christians, and the Christians the same city from the Muslims, during the Crusades? And neither of these two bothered to ask the Jews about the matter – as they don’t today – and yet the Jews were running soup kitchens in that city far longer by a few thousand years than either Christians or Muslims? It’s odd for sure.

Meanwhile, in the best news of the day – Iranians are enraged and in the streets, and now directly taking on the security forces of the regime. The revolution there is amazing, and let’s hope successful. Oddly though, the article about this states that reports of the demonstrations could not be “independently confirmed” by the AP. Apparently the videos streaming out of Iran showing tens of thousands of enraged Iranians shouting Death to the President, Death to the Dictator, Death to the Government, their beating of police officers, their burning of police stations, and their in general peaceful demonstrations for liberty of their own kind (which is mostly to get in on the globalization long denied them by the big religious Pope-like guy in similar robes) until the government shoots at them – well, yes, it must be “independently confirmed” by the AP which has been denied permission to even look out the windows of their inn – well, so I guess it’s not happening. Niether Pope nor Obama has uttered a word of support for the beleaugard people, but have urged dialogue with the oppressers. No word on whether John Kerry, Socialist of Massachusetts will join protestors in the streets or meet with the oppressors of the people, when he gets to Iran, if the let him in. Thanks, though, to Benedict and Barack for this show of morality in the Season of Peace and Harmony.

To see the not independently confirmed videos see here:


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