by A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
FRATELLI TUTTI: Pope Francis has just released his newest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (On Fraternity and Social Friendship). We will provide AoA readers with more analysis soon, but we invite you to read the full text before reaching any conclusions.
BECCHIU UPDATE: Ex-cardinal Becchiu, the corrupt chief rival of Cardinal Pell, is alleged to have sent $700k to an account in Australia. Could the money have been used as part of an attack on Pell, who was wrongfully convicted of abuse? More from Taylor Marshall. Another report alleges he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars to a female intelligence expert who spent the money on handbags and shoes. We certainly expect more to come from this story.
SCANDAL IN NEW ORLEANS: It was revealed that two priests have been arrested after involvement in heinous sex scandals. One priest, Travis Clark, was caught committing BDSM sex acts with two women on the altar of his parish church. He had just recently been appointed the new chaplain at a local Catholic high school after the former chaplain, Pat Wattigny, was arrested for preying on a young male student at the school. The investigation on Wattigny has been going on for months, and the information about Clark was only ascertained through court records. Rod Dreher rightly condemns Archbishop Gregory Aymond for his silence and for treating the situation like a bureaucrat rather than an episcopal-father. He hits the nail on the head. Bishops today act much more like CEOs looking out for the corporation rather than protective shepherds looking out for the flock.
II. PRESIDENT TRUMP AND AMERICA
VP DEBATE: In this week's Vice Presidential debate, Mike Pence masterfully defeated Kamala Harris and earned his place on the Trump-Pence ticket. More commentary from Taylor Marshall. Pence was particularly effective in hammering the Biden-Harris ticket on court-packing, taxes, and fracking. Harris did herself few favors with her eye-rolls, demeanor, and penchant for lying. It's hard to tell how much it will impact the race, but Pence's calm-yet-strong message should help people on the fence vote for the president next month.
TRUMP'S POLLS: At first glance the polls should frighten many a Trump supporter. Even the conservative-leaning Rasmussen has Trump down by 12 points nationally among likely voters. Yet a closer look at the swing states - the states that will decide the election - reveals that Trump is polling better now than he did at this time in 2016. And the most accurate poll from 2016 has Trump and Biden separated by only 2.6 percentage points. Gallup, another very accurate poll from 2016, revealed its findings when asking voters if they are better off now than four years ago. 45% said yes under Obama and 47% said yes under G. W. Bush in 2004. Both went on to win re-election. Gallup announced that Trump has set the record with 56% saying they are better off now than four years ago. Gallup also revealed that 56% (compared to 46% for Biden) believed Trump is a "strong and decisive" leader. So while some polls spell doom and gloom, other very accurate and important polls give the president a good dose of hope in the home stretch.
25TH AMENDMENT... FOR BIDEN? Although Pelosi seeks to pass a law under the 25th Amendment that would allow Democrats another way to remove Trump from office, the president believes it's really aimed at later removing Biden should he win next month.
BIDEN'S INFOMERCIAL: NBC recently gave Joe Biden what amounted to be a nationally televised one hour infomercial. The town hall meeting in the battleground state of Florida featured "undecided" voters who sounded an awful lot like Biden supporters. In fact it was revealed that sister network MSNBC previously featured some of the "undecided" voters as self-identified Biden supporters.
2ND DEBATE CANCELLED: The story of Pence's decisive victory over Harris in the VP debate was overshadowed by the Debate Commission's unilateral decision to make the second debate virtual. One might think the time was intentional. In any case, the debate has since been cancelled due to the president's rejection of sudden change. It might have been a good move as the "neutral" moderator was a former Biden intern. Yesterday Bob Dole responded to the problems with the supposedly non-partisan Debate Commission, comprised of both Democrats and Republicans, by saying he knows all the Republicans on the commission... and none of them support President Trump. It's time for an entirely new way to run future debates.
TOOMEY RETIRING IN 2022: Pennsylvania senator, Pat Toomey, has announced he will not seek re-election in 2022. We're not surprised. Toomey is a fiscal hawk - which according to trends in the GOP under Trump - is a voter bloc less and less a part of the new GOP voter core. While 2022 is a long way away, the 2022 Senate election map looks to another tough year for Republican.
III. THE NATIONS
CARAVAN CANCELLED: Another wave of Latin Americans headed north to the US has been stopped... in Guatemala. As the president continues to build the wall, his arrangement with Mexico and the nations of Latin America is an effective wall to itself.
SYRIA DECEPTION: Leaked documents reveal how UK-US intelligence helped push a deception regarding the war in Syria, particularly in painting a rosy picture of the Salafi/Wahhabi terrorists as freedom fighters against Assad. We are not surprised. We've already covered the Assad chemical attack as false flag operation meant to push Trump into war against Syria. Readers should also recall that the infamous Mr. Steele of the Steele Dossier was a part of UK intelligence. Neither British intelligence or Salafi extremists (Saudi Arabia included) ought to be trusted.
ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN WAR: Over three hundred have died in the latest battle over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within the Shia-Muslim nation of Azerbaijan. A tentative ceasefire was just reached. Learn more about the two nations in this AoA Map on Monday post.
IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
YELP YELP'S "RACISM!": The crowd-sourced, business review site, Yelp, is making a stunning move that could have a chilling effect on American businesses. Now anyone who accused a business of being racist - perhaps it failed to post a BLM sign - will now be labeled online as accused of racist behavior. What could possibly go wrong with such a policy?
NETFLIX INDICTED: The streaming service Netflix has been indicted by a Texas grand jury due to its sexualized depiction of underage girls in the lewd movie Cuties. Netflix was forecast to gain 500,000 new subscribers in the third quarter, but due to the movie fall out, Netflix looks to lose 2 million subscribers - and that was before the indictment.
RIOTERS FREED: The Far Left extremist DA in Portland is dropping charges on hundreds of rioters. This is precisely what has kept the riots going. While one would hope the current mayor is voted out office, sadly the woman who is beating him at the polls is the Antifa candidate. So much for Antifa being just an idea.
MICHIGAN PLOT DERAILED: A plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, was stopped by law enforcement. Although the media wants to portray the group as far Right, pro-Trump extremists, at least one co-conspirator, Brandon Caserta, is an anarchist who has called Trump a tyrant. It remains to be seen how this will impact the coming election, but Whitmer was just rebuked by the Michigan Supreme Court over her emergency powers abuse. With an agitated populace under the governor's thumb it would be no surprise to see Trump win big in Michigan next month.