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Mailleo and Orion Have Their Monthly Talk on Catholicism, Star Wars and Marco Rubio

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far!!



I wish I had this put together earlier in the month but I guess we were late again. Not a whole lot of questions this time but some pretty substantive ones.

Questions for Maiello by Orion

Am I wrong in thinking the last few Republican debates were exceptionally nutty? Agree with them or not I remember when the GOP was generally unified. They didn't agree on anything and their main candidates are bizarre.



I think the GOP has been nutty for longer than people remember. Pat Buchanan was nutty.  The party has also always been more fractured than people typically remember.  The Forbes family feuds with the Bush family, for example, and were big supporters of Ron Paul for that very reason.  The word "squish" for a Republican who is not really conservative is old.  The Neoconservatives, 60s radicals who went right wing in the 80s, were always as extreme as the Tea Partiers.



I am finishing Amitav Ghosh's Ibis book trilogy right now. I really liked it. What is the last book you really enjoyed?



I don't know Amitav Ghosh Ibis.  I'm reading Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins now.  Very funny.  Also reading Gravity's Engines by Caleb Scharf which is about how black holes affect the make-up of the universe and have implications for creating the conditions that make human life possible.  I'm not reading enough.  



Conservatives got rejected hard in Canada. Any thoughts?



I don't know a ton about Canadian politics and by that I mean, I don't know about Canadian politics at all.  I've been to the Northwest Territories, all the way up to Yellow Knife and that is as frontier as I've ever seen in the world.  Montreal is entirely cosmopolitan.  That sounds very much like the U.S.  But, Canada's economy is more resource dependent.  Cheap oil and cheap commodities are not helping. Canada may be facing an economic downturn.  When the U.S. faces downturns, there's a tendency for reactionary conservatism to take hold.  Government services are slashed when people need them the most.  If Canada's voters react to a downturn by voting for liberal economic policies and it works (it would) then it could be a lesson for us.
Questions for Orion by Maiello


Marco Rubio?  Is it Marco Rubio? Is that a person or a game you play in the pool? Marco!... Rubio!... Marco!... Seriously, are he and Kasich the dream ticket that make Republicans seem not crazy (with Rubio on top)?


Both Rubio and Kasich are two very different people and different candidates. Rubio is a normal person – he doesn't seem strange and bizarre as Ben Carson does and he isn't an over the top right wing reality show character like Donald Trump. Nevertheless, Rubio opposed normalizing relations to Cuba vehemently and even had a public fight with Rand Paul over it. He has toxic views on socialism and economics that, like Ted Cruz, he inherited from being the product of Cuban exiles.


Kasich is governor of the original swing state, Ohio, which is also a state that experienced economic problems long before the rest of the country did. One article I read called him the “GOP's Pope Francis candidate.” He not only approved expansion of Medicaid but confronted conservatives about it, using very religious language and saying that conservatives meet St. Peter, he won't ask what they did to make government smaller but what they did for the poor. Kasich standing up against the insanity in his own party was admirable. I've looked in to him alot and he seems genuine - there's been some left wing attacks on him as just another part of the pack but he seems to genuinely be on the right side of many issues. I think, or at least hope, his momentum will continue because of it. 

Something weird could happen – it's possible that voters, the GOP establishment or both could reject the insane candidates we've heard most from and go for one or both of these two. You saw that happen in 2012, when Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann and Hermain Cain got passed up for Mitt Romney. You also saw that dynamic in the 1950s, when Dwight Eisenhower was a moderate, even progressive, president but the Republican Party stayed extreme with McCarthyism and the John Birch Society, etc.

Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton is stronger than any candidate ever has been on gun control, much stronger than Bernie Sanders. She also showed what a tough woman looks like at those stupid Benghazi hearings. Conservatives will never have their own female leaders because they don't let any women take center stage unless they make their whole platform about Planned Parenthood. I am with her.

Catholics!  Can you tell me what the Pope is doing, with regards to annulments and what it either means (or doesn't mean) for society at large?  Charles Douthat seems to think it's some sort of radical thing, but the Pope and his people say it isn't.
Francis has been doing a number of very radical things - from allowing couples married in the Catholic church to divorce to forgiving women who have abortions. Conservatives didn't cease to exist in the Catholic church when he was elected and they have been putting landmines in his way all the time - from setting up a meeting with Kim Davis (which you did take the bait for) while visiting the U.S. to leaking Vatican documents.

The reality is that there is nothing they can do to stop Francis. An archbishop alot like him, Oscar Romero, was killed in El Salvador in the eighties for talking very similarly. Romero was beatified this year and millions came out to celebrate. Francis was elected because demographics are on his side - Catholicism belongs in Latin America and the Phillipines, where people are still very traditional but are reminded of how capitalism has failed every day. If Francis fell to bad health or, God forbid, was harmed by someone, it would not stop anything. Francis is the most radical Catholic leader to take that sort of leadership absent an actual revolution and he has resonated across the world in a way no conservative ever could. The Catholic church would die away and be replaced by independent churches in the developing world if they went back to someone like Ratzinger.

Inquisitors!  Now there are a bunch of Inquisitors in Star Wars: Rebels.  I always imagined that Vader hunted down and killed all the Jedi himself.  It turns out, he's had dark force accomplices.  How do they change the mythology?  Do they make The Knights of Ren possible?

  You know, from watching Rebels, I have really wondered if they aren't building towards some sort of synergy with The Force Awakens. These inquisitor characters look alot like Kylo Ren. Alas that is all speculation. They're filling in the gaps - and bringing in Ahsoka is great for all that. What I am most excited about is how she faces the revelation that Anakin became Vader - that revelation will be more intense than it was for Luke Skywalker, who never actually knew his father. Interesting stuff - and people said Star Wars would never be relevant again!

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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

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Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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