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Francis is Back and There's Gonna Be Trouble.......

Hey, ya, hey ya! the Pope is back! And Merry Christmas!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 24, 2014.

No question, it is both charmless and rather offensive on Christmas Eve to talk about the Dow Jones and Standard and Poor Index. Mammon and Christ are distinct, and even atheists like myself have high regard for what is the myth and lessons of Christ's story, which is enjoyable and inspiring and believed by many to be true. I don't, but great tales need no excuse to be told and inflame or soothe the heart.

But yesterday the Dow Jones Industrials, a cluster of 30 major stocks felt to represent the stock market as a whole, closed at over 18,000, and the Standard and Poor 500 index nears 2100, both records and hypothetically indicative of a insanely strong market and economy. Way back in that mysterious and foggy period of 2008, we were told by various authorities that the Dow would never see 9000 again, ever, and that the S&P 500 would be only recalled vaguely as a magic time for greed and profit. Glenn Beck, a certifiable idiot, tried to sell gold to his idiot audience by the boilerplate scare tactics gold hoarders have always tried in their market predations. 'Gold is always safe, sell everything else and buy gold!' which Beck only reluctantly mentioned in his posturings as a coldly objective authority, would profit himself.

Jim Cramer, a popular stock analyst and reporter on CNBC with a strange, baseless reputation for seeing the future, never noticed the market collapse was coming and encouraged investments and purchase up to the last moment before catastrophe. Somehow, this guy is both employed and doing the same nonsense on his show Mad Money. Still at it, both Beck and Cramer's audiences are the same as FoxNews, primarily male, white, and old, average age of 68.

It's Christmas, when even predatory con men can be forgiven. True, they do prey upon educated and vain Seniors who should know better but in reality are always trying to get something for near nothing, feign victimhood when they lose everything, and expect to be bailed out for participating in an obvious con. Sound familiar?

Amidst all the cackling of new wealth, there is genuine hope this Christmas that a few actual Christians have arisen and, in power, might install some of Christ's musings on wealth and social responsibility and being a good person and backing it up with substance. One, in particular, has arisen of late from a source viewed as most improbable: a hugely wealthy international entity that has acted as a criminal organization entirely through the last century and into this one. I speak of the Catholic Church, which is currently terrified and under attack by someone they elected. Pope Francis.

Francis, inspired by the season and required to give Christmas greetings to the Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy, cinched in his undoubtedly off the rack rope belt and gave them an ass whupping Monday, the likes of which are not recalled. He did it in person to their face. He did it live on radio and television, and apparently enjoyed this particular righteous act because he knew, as we all know, the Curia is a despotic den of vainglorious thieves, hypocritical gays, corrupt officials. Unlike any Pope in our lifetime, Francis has little regard for the Curia, fears nothing, and deals directly with his flock, bypassing unnecessary intermediaries.

There is a wonderful photo of Francis, standing broad shouldered at the mike, looking healthy and fit and twenty years younger and a foot taller than he is, with seated Curia reps behind him. One and all, they look incontinent, horrified, guilty, and scared. Good. To everything there is a season.

Francis accused his employees of suffering from "spiritual Alzheimer's" and of lusting for power at all costs. "Sometimes," Francis warmly intoned, the Curia "...feel themselves lords of the manor — superior to everyone and everything..." He then gave them a Christmas gift of fifteen specific complaints, including careerism, gossip, bureaucratic power intrigues, all symptoms of corruption. Always thoughtful, the Pope provided footnotes and Biblical references. This was the very definition of a public bitch slapping, and received only tepid applause. This was the Pope at the Curia Christmas party. Imagine how his employee evaluations might go.

Francis of Assisi, the most popular and regarded saint, the man who elevated the celebration of Christmas to what it is now, feared nothing on earth either. If I were spiritual, I'd certainly be comforted that Francis is back, in charge, taking names. Literally, this time. Heh. Think the Curia is scared? Imagine Wall St. if Elizabeth Warren gets elected.

Merry Christmas.