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December 4, 2013

Debunking the Right-Wing ... Yet Again!

Patrick W. Allen

The Vatican Embassy Is Closing! You may have seen something on this in the past few days. If what you saw came from the right, you are not getting the whole story, as usual. Of course, as is their want, the right-wingers are being selective about their information. So, once again it’s time to play…Debunk the Right-Wing.


The latest trumped-up scandal is that President Barack Obama is closing the Vatican embassy. As usual, it is manufactured, faux outrage by right-wing lunatics and their surrogates. After being blessed by an African Witch-Doctor, Sarah Palin will waste no time in getting behind this. You have to remember that Sarah & Co. live in a parallel universe to the rest of us.


Spoiler Alert: There is no U.S. Embassy in Vatican City.


There are no embassies in Vatican City at all, actually. There is just no room for them. The whole of Vatican City is only 0.2 square miles. All embassies to the Vatican lie in the surrounding City of Rome…ergo, no “Vatican embassy.”


What is happening is that the U.S. Embassy is being moved. That necessarily requires the closing of the old location. The new location will combine the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican with the one to Italy.


Oh, my! A two-fer that saves American taxpayer money!


It’s also closer to the Holy See. The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes) is the Episcopal jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome.


But the closing of the former site is all the information that the myth-laden screeds from the right are giving. So naturally, this truncated version of the facts is drawing the ire of the right.


It started with Jeb Bush, tweeting, "Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare."


Just when you thought Jeb Bush might be the last rational right-winger standing, he publicly dials down his IQ to room temperature!


Retribution? Way to project, Jebbie. However, this president is not a “retribution” kind of guy. If he were, we’d have known by now. Besides, President Obama has dealt with the complaints of the Catholics when it came to the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Forcing employees to follow the religious beliefs of an employer is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court should uphold the rights of employees: we hope.


Several former diplomats have joined their voices with Jeb and the loony right. These are men who should know that there is no “Vatican Embassy.” Primary among them is James Nicholson, who took the opportunity to bash the Obama Administration:


“It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican — and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”


How on earth does moving the embassy “diminish the stature of this post?” Nothing else is changing. Not the staff, not the ambassador, not the U.S. presence. There will be no reduction in staff or presence — got that, Mr. Nicholson? Oh, and Jeb? Your brother is the one who initiated this move — his administration purchased the buildings.


But the seed of falsehood and anti-Obama rhetoric has taken hold. The venerable cesspool of right-wing nonsense, The Washington Times writes, with Breitbart chiming in…


“The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.”


Here's The Lowdown: Why is the “Vatican Embassy” moving? The main reason is to save money. The old location cost us $1.4 million every year to lease and operate. The other reason is security. The new location is easier and cheaper to protect. You’d think with the current right-wing obsession with embassy safety — fake as it is — might make them stop and listen … never mind.


Other myths surrounding this move include that the ambassador’s residence is moving and that the U.S. is the only country that will have a combined location. The ambassador is not moving and we are not the only country with combined facilities. The United Kingdom, Netherlands and Israel all have co-located embassies to Italy and Vatican City.


Yet again, we see the right-wing taking a small piece of information from a much larger story and using it to bad-mouth President Obama. A phone interview with a state department official dispels all of the “Vatican Embassy” bull.


The Vatican itself has said that they are aware of the move and the reasons for it.


But those who want to blame any and everything on President Obama don’t want the facts. They would much rather pile on the faux outrage.


Reference: – T. Steelman


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