Open Thread

There have been reports floating about that Saudi Arabia and the Vatican have agreed to build churches for Christians in Saudi Arabia. These reports are currently being denied by the Vatican:

The Vatican has denied making a deal with Saudi Arabia to build churches for Christian worshippers in the Arab country.

Reports in Middle Eastern media claimed a historic agreement had been made between Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Mohammed bin Abdel Karim Al-Issa of the Muslim World League.

But a spokesperson for the Vatican said the report was ‘false’…

But the fact that even rumors of such a thing exist indicate the sea-change which is currently taking place in Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. We can’t say for sure where all this is going, but it seems pretty clear to me that bin Salman wants to reform his Kingdom. Don’t expect pluralist democracy and casinos in Riyadh any time soon, folks. The Saudi people, themselves, are very conservative in outlook. But I think we will see ever more relaxation of the extremist Islamist activity which has ruled to social and political roost in Saudi Arabia for some decades now. It appears that once upon a time the Saudi monarchy cut a deal with the Islamists (ie, don’t try to overthrow the monarchy, we’ll let you be as Islamist as you like)…now, it seems that this deal is being undone.

There are quite a large number of Christians in Saudi Arabia. I once knew a priest who had actually said Mass for them. All very, very quiet – the Christians keep their heads down and as long as nothing is out in the open, the authorities look the other way. Most Christians there are foreign or children of foreigners…Saudi Arabia having quite a lot of immigrants who do the more difficult and dirty work of living. But, I also understand that even some Saudi natives have converted – which is something almost unheard of in history. Any attempt to actually open a Church in Saudi Arabia will be done with great care on both sides, to prevent an overt reaction. I’ve long said that the cure of Islamism is to have a Church in Saudi Arabia (a Synagogue, too…but let’s take it one step at a time). Once that happens, then there can be real peace between Islam and the West. I hope this all works. I think it will work; but, we’ll just have to see.

Rosie O’Donnell is alleged to have done the same sort of campaign finance violations that got Dinesh D’Souza arrested. We’ll see if there’s equal justice under law.

You know me and polls – but some recent polling indicates that Trump and the GOP are starting to rise against the Democrats. My view remains that the number of GOPers now exceeds the number of Democrats in the United States for the first time since the 1920’s. If I’m right, then the pundit class will be shocked in November. If I’m wrong…so, what? I don’t make my living by punditry.

You might have missed Judge Ellis ripping Mueller’s team a new one:

A federal judge on Friday sharply criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case in Virginia against President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and openly questioned whether Mueller exceeded his prosecutorial powers by bringing it.

“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

There’s nothing to investigate so, yes, Mueller is exceeding his authority – which was to investigate the paranoid delusion of Trump-Russia. So, anything he’s done is going to be outside the scope of that. Nice to see some judicial push back against Mueller’s flailing investigation.

Baghdad isn’t doing so badly these days. We did have a hand in this…and it shows what the Middle East still might become.

UPDATE: NY’s Attorney General has resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you’re really missing out…we’ve got Tweets from Trump from years ago slamming the guy, we’ve got the AG’s Tweets about how he fights for women’s rights…and everyone is having a ball with it. More importantly, this is one of the guys who was supposed to get Trump. Seems to me that everyone who goes after Trump ends up losing.

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