2018 Presidential Election

No Pope has ever taken the name Peter and never will for very good reasons
agree papal name taboo.

Now the papal name will depend on who is elected. What do they want. They could go for the name of a saint we know or a lesser saint we don’t. The papal name will imply what they may want in their papacy.








Pope Clement XV greets the crowd outside of St. Peter's Basilica (photo by Pepe Serna)
Portuguese Cardinal Eduardo Ramos has been elected to the papacy three days and nine ballots of voting in the conclave to chose a successor for Pope Victor IV. He has chosen to be known as Clement XV,

Ramos, age 70, has served as the Patriarch of Lisbon since 2011. He is the first Portuguese pope since John XXI, who was pope from 1276 to 1277.

The traditional Latin formulation for announcing a new pope, "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam!", which translated means "I announce great news! We have a pope!", was given by Cardinal Antonio Cacciatore immediately preceded the new pontiff's entrance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. The assembled crowd, many of whom had been in attendance since the conclave began, greeted the first new pope of the 21st century with an outpouring of cheers.

In his address to the crowd in St. Peter's Square, the new Bishop of Rome called himself a "simple and humble worker in God’s vineyard," and said that he entrusted his faith and service to God "in the prayers of all men and women of faith and goodwill." Joking in Italian about the timing of his selection on Ash Wednesday, he remarked that "my brothers [in the College of Cardinals] had misplaced the liturgical calendar, but luckily we had plenty of ashes to join the faithful across the world in marking the beginning of Lent."

Vatican spokesmen confirmed that one of Clement's first acts after his election was to place a phone call to Pope Emeritus Victor IV, now residing in a Roman monastery. It is likely that the new pope will visit his predecessor at some point within the next few weeks, according to Vatican insiders.

The selection of the name "Clement", last held by Clement XIV (who was pope from 1769 to 1774) has been taken by many to signal a more conservative direction for the Roman Catholic Church. "The last Pope Clement [XIV] was noted for his suppression of the Jesuits, a group that is considered very liberal within the church." Monsignor Roberto Maggiore told NBS. "It could be a signal to more conservative believers who did not appreciate Victor IV's deviations from previous dogma on certain issues that this new pope will not bend on dogmatic issues."

Others have pointed out another previous "Clement", Clement VII (pope from 1523 to 1534) as an inspiration for the new pope. "Clement VII's papacy was rocky—the Protestant Reformation was in full force, Rome was sacked and the pope briefly imprisoned, and his refusal to annul King Henry VIII of England's marriage led to the creation of the Anglican Church," Maggiore explains. "His papacy was the culmination of his predecessor’s actions or inaction—and that could be something that the new pope is feels his papacy will be like on several fronts."

Born in 1948 in the city of Torres Vedras near the capital of Lisbon, Ramos was ordained a priest in 1979, just a few years after his country transitioned to democracy from the Estado Novo dictatorship that had ruled the country for forty years. He slowly rose through the ranks of the church in Portugal, although his rise was reportedly slowed by his own decision to pursue a doctorate in both theology and in religious history in the early 1990s rather than be put forward for advancement by his longtime mentor, Cardinal Antonio Ribeiro.

Ramos became auxiliary bishop of Lisbon in 1996, then bishop of Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, in 2004 before becoming Patriarch of Lisbon and a cardinal in 2011. He quickly established himself as a leader of theological conservatives within the church, frequently contrasting with Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith Ambroos Visser, the public, confrontational face of theological opposition to Victor IV's more moderate stances on doctrinal and social issues.

"Everyone in the Vatican respects Cardinal Ramos because it is clear he comes to his opposition [of some of Victor IV's changes to parts of Catholic doctrine] through his background as a historian and has restricted his criticisms of church policy to private disagreements and talks with His Holiness," one Vatican insider said in a story published in Portugal in 2015, contrasting it to Visser's public criticism of the then-pope's positions on several issues such as allowing for the use of birth control in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. In Portugal, Ramos is known for his strong support for Catholic doctrine on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and women's ordination as well as his keen interest in both encouraging governments to increase investment in education and aid for the poor, calling those "moral necessities for a society with those who can afford to live in comfort, to those who cannot."

Clement XV's inauguration and installation mass will take place on March 10, according to Vatican press reports. It is expected that many nations will send delegations or their heads of state to attend.

Maddox warns House Democrats about siding with Republicans

Washington, D.C.
Speaker Daniel Maddox (D-IL) had harsh words for his caucus at a closed-door meeting yesterday night to discuss the party's embarrassing losses to Republicans on procedural motions. "This is not a day at the beach," Maddox reportedly told the 220 other House Democrats. "You are in the United States Congress. You have to make some tough votes." The talking-to came after several Democrats voted with Republicans on procedural motions, embarrassing the Democratic leadership and drawing the ire of the White House.

The speaker took a tough line, saying that while he understood that many members were facing tough reelection battles in 2020, they would have nothing to gain by hobbling the party's agenda. "The leadership is united on this issue," Maddox told the members. "Those who are in tough [reelection] fights and have the courage to stand with the president and for Democratic values will be on a higher priority than those whose knees buck at the thought of a Republican ad blitz."

While the meeting's main target was clearly members of the conservative "Blue Dog" caucus, largely hailing from rural and suburban districts that voted for Henry Shallick last November, several progressive legislators were also clearly in mind, as several have made public their opposition to the president's proposals that they deem insufficiently liberal. Congresswoman Claudia Greenwood (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pledged that the caucus would inform the leadership of any member who was going to break ranks on procedural issues. "Making a stand by voting against the party [on procedural motions] puts the progressive agenda at risk, and allows the Republicans to divide and conquer us," Greenwood reportedly said. "There is no place in the caucus for those who sell out progressive legislation by grandstanding."

The Democrats have a slim 11 seat majority in the House of Representatives, meaning that only one or two defections in some committees (where most procedural votes take place) are needed to stymie the party's legislative agenda.


Israeli PM's solicitation of far-right, anti-Arab party sparks outrage

Israeli Prime Minister Gilad Doron's push to include members of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Hebrew for "Jewish Power") party in an alliance of right-wing parties for next month's Knesset elections has sparked outrage in both Israel and the Middle East. Doron, who took over from longtime prime minister Efraim Zahavy after Zahavy was rendered comatose by a stroke, has called on other small, religious conservative parties to include the party, which advocates ending the Ankara Agreement, expelling Arab Israelis who are "not loyal to Israel" and expanding Israeli control to include both Palestine and the Free City of Jerusalem, in order to avoid right-wing votes being wasted on parties that fall below the 3.25% threshold for entrance into the Knesset. Otzma Yehudit is widely seen as the ideological descendant of the Kach party, which was outlawed in 1994 owing to its promotion of anti-Arab racism and who are considered a terrorist organization by several countries, including Israel and the United Kingdom.

Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Fiona Wallace said that the government was "troubled" by this move, which former American president D. Wire Newman called "dangerous and disgusting." Jerusalem President Ben Sawahili said that he was "greatly concerned" that it could signal a backslide in Israeli-Palestinian relations if the Israeli government was reliant on the votes of what he called "racists who believe in the expulsion of non-Jews from the Holy Land."

Doron's Likud party is facing serious challenges from a bloc of centrist parties that have emerged following the post-Ankara dominance of Likud under Zahavy. Current polling has all the parties in the current government garnering 58 seats, with 61 needed to form a majority of the Knesset.

Friday March 8th 2019

Hale to start committee hearings for Secretary of Health & Human Services next week

Stan Hale, the former Governor of West Virginia will start his confirmation hearings this coming week. He has been under going the standard FBI background checks and financial disclosure statements.

Hale, who is 70, is the replacement choice after the failure of Abby Bartlet's nomination two weeks ago. Hale who is also a qualified Doctor and as a psychiatrist served two terms as Governor of West Virginia from 2009 to 2017. He is a regarded as a "blue dog" democrat.