Monday, March 31, 2014


Why do Americans spend so much on pharmaceuticals? | PBS NewsHour

Are you wondering if you are one of the many Americans that are struggling to live in the real world?

Here's a short "reality checklist" that might help.

Answer "yes' or "no"

* Do you carry a loaded gun to church on Sunday?

* Do you believe the US government is a threat to your freedom?

* Do you consider loud music a threat to your life?

* Is the word Muslim just another word for terrorist?

* Would you kill someone who threatened you with popcorn?

* Do you believe cable news is real news?

* Do you believe reality TV is real?

* Do you believe good people need a gun to defend themselves against bad people?

* Can you tell the difference between good and bad people?

* Do you believe dark skinned people in hoodies are dangerous?

* Do you believe in evolution?

* Do you believe Iraq had WMD?

* Do you believe Obama is a muslim?

* Do you believe school teachers should be armed?

* Do you believe shopping centers are dangerous?

* Do you use medication to fall asleep?

* Do you use medication for anxiety?

* Do you believe every American should own a gun?

* Do you need more than 2 guns for self-defense?

It might be helpful to know that a large number of Americans suffer from at least 3 (if not more) mental illnesses;

1) Neurosis (Anxiety Disorder) 
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.People with the disorder, which is also referred to as GAD, experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues.

2) Psychosis

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes:
False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions)
Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations)

3) Dillusional/paranoia

Paranoid personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Persons with paranoid personality disorder are very suspicious of other people. As a result, they severely limit their social lives. They often feel that they are in danger and look for evidence to support their suspicions. They have trouble seeing that their distrustfulness is out of proportion to their environment.

This is born out by looking at the number of Americans who are prescribed anti psychotic medications,

Anxiety and anxiety related conditions negatively impact individuals, and our society:
40 million people in the U.S. will experience an impairment because of an anxiety condition this year.
Only 4 million will receive treatment, and of those, only 400,000 will receive proper treatment.
Those who experience anxiety and stress have a very high propensity for drug abuse and addictions.

Further statistics show:
65% of North Americans take prescription medications daily, 43% take mood altering prescriptions regularly.
There were over 3.3 Billion prescriptions filled in America in 2002 (12 times the U.S’s population - that’s 12 prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. that year).
Paxil and Zoloft (two of the more popular anti-anxiety medications) ranked 7th and 8th in the top ten prescribed medications in the US (these two medications totaled almost $5 Billion in sales in 2002).
1 in 5 Americans on psyhtropic medication
The use of psychotropic drugs by adult Americans increased 22 percent from 2001 to 2010, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychotropic medication, according to industry data. In 2010, Americans spent more than $16 billion on antipsychotics, $11 billion on antidepressants and $7 billion for drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The rapid growth of all three classes of drugs has alarmed some mental health professionals, who are concerned about the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs by elderly nursing home residents and the prescription of stimulants to children who may have been misdiagnosed with ADHD.
Americans live in a sedated state of mind

Americans now spend over $750 million annually on over-the-counter sleep aids, and over $2 billion annually on prescription sleeping pills. This is a 23 percent increase since 2006 and a 60 percent increase since 2000. Medical experts and sociologists wonder if widespread insomnia has become a "cultural benchmark," the most obvious symptom of an exhausted, anxious society.

Illicit Drug Use
Illicit drug use in America has been increasing. In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older—or 9.2 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication (such as a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer) in the past month. This is up from 8.3 percent in 2002.

If we are to believe that the USA is #1 Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious society the world has ever known how can we reconcile that with the reality that we live in constant state of anxiety and fear and spend billions of dollars trying to cope with an imaginary world we believe to be real?

What's of even greater concern is that we are passing these "crazy-making" beliefs on to the next generation who stand to inherit the worse of what we have to offer as a society. For example, children as young as 3 years old are being trained on the use of assault weapons by their parents. Even Hitler waited a few years longer to brainwash the youth and history shows how that ended.

Unfortunately we live in a culture that values money and profits above almost all else. And, as cultures of old we admire and some would say even worship the people who have become rich, powerful, and to some heroic playing on our fears and weaknesses. The gun industry, the defense industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the cable media industry; all focused on keeping you neurotic, psychotic, and paranoid.

Time to wake up folks!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Adelson Wooed by Republican Presidential Prospects at Vegas Meet

The order in the air is unmistakable. Even all the way out here on the coast.  It's not at all surprising given the large number of BS artists who have congregated in LasVegas; aka-Sin City.  Hookers, pimps, and John's, also known as Republicans, doing what they do best. Laying out the plans on how to screw the American people.

The list of possibles is not impressive at least in appealing to an educated voter. New Jersey Dough Boy Chris Christy; though a few pounds lighter is definitely still the biggest pile of BS in the frey. Imagine the Interstate system being shut down in Blue states after a Christy win. Or, worse yet challenging a guy like Putin to a nuke duel. That's the kind of loose canon we're looking at if, God have mercy on us, one of the full-blown wackos manages to buy their way into the White House.

If we're lucky, "What goes on in Vegas, will stay in Vegas."

#Suey Park et al/get a life

These tweeters are twits.

They are surrounded with racism. In the south it's so bad it seeps out of almost every politician and right-wing wackos that reminds me of a bad case of diarrhea.

Suey and the army of twits that have taken on this issue should be ashamed of themselves. Colbert is not the enemy as lily white as he is. In fact he and Stewart do more in their half-hour skits to shine the light on racism than almost any other so-called civil rights organization in the country.

If the twitters want to take on racism there's plenty of fat targets out there like most Republicans so how about hashtag "cancel Republicans" and "cancel Koch Bros". Need more?

I'm reminded of that U-tube character who came to Britney Spears defense when I say;\ #leave Colbert alone! U bastards!

Stephen Colbert vs. the Hashtag Activists

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pope to the 1%; You reap what you sow

Pope Francis removes ‘bling bishop’ | Al Jazeera America

Looks like Francis is not backing down on using Jesus's playbook in leading Catholics down the path of salvation. I just wonder how many of the 1% will come along willingly or even out of guilt?

The "money gobblers" are not an easy crowd to play to; even for the Pope. If they get the least bit uncomfortable with this "give till it hurts" approach to living the right life they start to unravel. First come the nuances about  making generous donations for self-serving projects like remodeling a cathedral along with a nice tax write off and how that might all go somewhere else. Churches are scrambling to scoop up fallen rich Catholics; especially the "prosperity gospel crowd."

As a Catholic it is indeed refreshing to finally see a Pope walking the talk. Let's hope some of his genuineness rubs off on politicians like Obama who, for the most part, got the talk down pat but a lousy at doing the walk.

As for the "special" people who think they are above it all and have been blessed, my guess is they will continue doing whats best for them and to hell with the Pope and everyone else. Buying the 1st class ticket to heaven is the only hope they have and my guess is 1st class has been converted to coach.

There is still hope, however, since both Jesus and the Pope are know to be compassionate and forgiving.

All the 1% need to do to get back in God's good graces is following the guidelines Pope Francis laid out in;

Friday, March 28, 2014

Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and is unrepairable

This clown pushes arrogance to new highs.

Takes taxpayer dollars to hire his own attorneys who then exonerate him. OMG! FTF! BSC!

How these people are ever elected to office still remains a mystery to me. Is it that no sane person wants the job? Or is it the power brokers need unstable people because they are easier to manipulate?

Or is it that Americans are so dumbed down (just plain stupid) that they mistake reality with fiction?

Christy is an overstuffed sociopath that makes for great news cycles and great fodder for night show comedians. Putting him in a position that requires trust and common sense? Please!

What we see is what we get. A giant pain in the ass that needs to go away before he does any more damage to a political system that has fast become a breeding ground for full blown wackos.

Chris Christie Says Port Authority Chairman Has Resigned

Thursday, March 27, 2014

PACKEM IF YOU GOTEM! The Wild-Wild South

Georgia Bill Would Lead To Guns In Airports, Bars, Churches, Elementary Schools, And Libraries

In some ironic way this is encouraging news. First off this is probably the most effective way of test the theory that more guns results in less crime.

Secondly, Georgia, and other states that follow, will become shit-magnets for gun-nuts, thus not only relocating a lot of unbalanced people but also thinning out the population they comprise in one felt swoop.

As for the more stable Georgians, unless they are inclined to go to Sunday services or anywhere else donned in Kevlar for the family, then it might be time to consider making a move to saner pastures.

Oh, please leave your guns and your NRA t-shirts behind.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Does the army hand out medals for rape?

He sexually assaulted a subordinate and threatened to kill her and her family and the government "dismissed" the charges; the most serious of many charges, in a plea deal.

This comes after a teary eyed (hard to believe) horny old man begged for leniency from another grey haired (probably horny) old man  after copping to a slew of other offenses against subordinate females in his ranks during his reign of terror.

The idea that an over the hill old man with control issues would  terrorize women for sex is not unusual. Hell that's what the Cialis/Viagra "boner" pill market thrives on. It's even covered under Medicare!

But what happened to "red lines?"  Assault and threats to kill aren't exactly  sexually arousing except maybe for sadists and into whips and chains..

So, once again we are given an example of how the "good old boy" club works in the military.

Sinclair, 51, one of only a few generals to face court-martial in the last 60 years, pleaded guilty Monday to

* twice misusing his government charge card to pursue the affair, 
* disobeying an order not to contact his mistress, and 
* making derogatory and sexist comments about other female officers.

A week earlier, Sinclair pleaded guilty to 

* impeding an investigation by deleting sexually explicit emails and photos from a civilian woman, 
* possessing pornography in a war zone, 
* conducting inappropriate relationships with two other female officers and 
* asking the lieutenant for a date.

Serious charges, right? I'm kidding, of course. Pornography in a war zone? WTF?

Only a full blown idiot would impose such a ban on a bunch of testosterone cranked corn fed kids with raging hormones. A sure fire way to create an atmosphere where suicides and rapes are rampant. Idiotic!

So, our recalcitrant general drenched in tears of remorse, throws himself at the mercy of the court, begging for leniency; which on it's face is absurd, but what's even crazier is this;

Under a plea agreement, the Army dismissed charges that Sinclair sexually assaulted the captain and threatened to kill her and her family if she exposed the affair. Also dropped were charges that the general had engaged in “open and notorious” sex in a parked car in Germany and on a hotel balcony in Arizona. If convicted on the most serious charges, Sinclair would have faced life in prison and registration as a sex offender. 

That is comparable to awarding medals for rape and sends a clear message to women in the military; nothings changed.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Brother, Can you spare a dime?

More Evidence that Half of America is In or Near Poverty

In the Great Depression, it was common for people down on their luck to panhandle and or beg for money from the more fortunate. Most of these people were the labourers who built railroads, skyscrapers, roads and the like. Now that those were done, they didn’t have jobs, and to make matters worse, the Stock Market crashed and those same people lost what other paper reserves they had. A protest song was written and became a hit at the time when my grandparents were young and raising their families. So “Brother can you spare a dime” became a slogan for lashing out at governments for not fostering economic growth and wealth of a country. 

Fast forward today;

The bottom half of America own just 1.1 percent of the country's wealth, or about $793 billion, which is the same amount owned by the 30 richest Americans. ZERO wealth is owned by approximately the bottom 47 percent.

This nonexistent net worth is due in great part to the overwhelming burden of debt for Americans, which now includes college graduates entering the work force. The average student loan balance has risen 91 percent in the past ten years.

 This is based on the Census Department's Relative Poverty Measure (Table 4), which is "most commonly used in developed countries to measure poverty." The Economic Policy Institute uses the term "economically vulnerable." With this standard, 18 percent of Americans are below the poverty threshold and 32 percent are below twice the threshold, putting them in the low-income category.

The official poverty rate increased by 25 percent between 2000 and 2011. Seniors and children feel the greatest impact, with 55 percent of the elderly and almost 60 percent of children classified as poor or low-income under the relative poverty measure. Wider Opportunities for Women reports that "60 percent of women age 65 and older who live alone or live with a spouse have incomes insufficient to cover basic, daily expenses."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Russian troops may be massing to invade Ukraine, says White House

Any "spin" doctor worth their salt can convince anyone about anything.  Most of it is about as far from the truth as one can get without crossing over into insanity.

Take Iraq, for example. The spin was;

United States Invades Iraq!  Prevents Saddam from using WMD's on US. "The Iraqis will see as as liberators" for liberating them from an evil despot who is worse than Hitler. Peace and freedom will prevail. Mission Accomplished! UH!?

One quick fact check on the situation in Iraq will quickly bring you back to reality; I should note this is almost a daily occurrence and unheard of when the evil Hitler-like despot was in charge.

Just yesterday;

In Baghdad, a radio station executive is fatally shot near the president’s compound.

BAGHDAD — A series of attacks across Iraq killed 16 civilians and members of the security forces Saturday, officials said.

Separately, a Kurdish officer in the Iraqi president’s guard is accused of killing the head of a radio station during a quarrel near the leader’s east Baghdad residence , police said.

Mohammed Bedwei was shot at a checkpoint by a lieutenant in the mostly Kurdish security detail for Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, police said.The suspect was handed over to Iraqi security forces, police and state television said.

Meanwhile a series of blasts struck across the country. Police said the wave began with a roadside bomb in the northern city of Tikrit. Minutes later, a car bomb struck policemen arriving at the scene.

Five policemen and two civilians were killed and 18 people were wounded in the bombings.

Hours later, police said, a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a security checkpoint near the town of Adeim, north of Baghdad. Three civilians and three police were killed.

Also, a roadside bomb hit a military checkpoint near the northern city of Mosul, killing two soldiers and wounding three, police said.

In the southern city of Basra, gunmen killed police Col. Madhi Ashour, the head of the crime investigation department in the city, as he was walking near his house, police said.

Please tell me that after more than a decade of occupation and an investment of trillions of dollars that this is a model of a free and democratic society?  Am I missing something?
If you bought into that spin we now fast forward to today and you probably are buying into this one too;

Russian troops may be massing to invade Ukraine, says White House

Here again, nothing is further from the truth. Russia has not fired one shot or killed anyone which is unusual way to invade a country. No "shock and awe" here folks. Still, the western news media fills the air with hysterical claims based on talking points churned out by spin doctors.

I continue to wonder how it is that Americans remain indifferent or supportive of this kind behavior from a country that boast being the biggest and the best in the world. Champion of everything good and protector against everything bad.

What I've concluded so far is that anyone who buys into this kind of nonsense is either;

a) Heavily invested in the defense industry; it makes sense if your shares are going up.

b) Is employed in the defense industry; a sure fired way to create job security.

c) Is unable to discern real from fiction as a result of a mental disability or abuse of narcotics or alcohol; of         which there is a lot of both in this country.

In the first two instances I'd just say; be up front about it rather that talk crazy nonsense. In the third instance I'd say; get some help. Now that Affordable Healthcare is available to anyone it should not be a problem.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

If you run into a Buddha on the road; best to ignore him.

Chances are it's another snake oil salesperson in disguise trying to sell something in order to make a few bucks and will tell you anything you want to hear in order to do it. People in the health community are probably the best at it because they can really play on your biggest fear; mortality.

Then there's the  "security" industry who are expert at conjuring up the worst of worse case scenarios to lather you in paranoia to have you convinced that there is "something" out there that's coming for you. What it is depends on what they are trying to sell you; whatever works. Fear is a great motivator.

Then there's the marketeers and psychologists (there's a lot of them in the industry) who; for a few bucks, a seminar or retreat or two, can give you the key to whatever it is your looking for. Success, wealth, beauty, muscles; anything on your bucket list will do.

It's all about getting you to behave in a certain way in order for them to achieve certain results which usually translates into profits.

Do this takes a lot of talent because it can be tricky at times.

For example, Koreans eat dogs. Here we love them like our children. Who's behaving the best of the two? Behavior is a matter of conditioning which cause me concern when I look around today and wonder if this is not just a trailer for Idiocracy.

Point is the "norm" is not necessarily healthy and being outside the box (a social reject) might just be the better path.  A tried and true concept of mental health has yet to be formed. The best psychology has been able to do is define the unhealthy conditions after the fact and intervene. That's not prevention, and much like our present medical model, serves another agenda; dare I say, making money. A cure for cancer? Not going to happen. Why? No money in it. Same goes with mental health.  Psychologists would wither and die in a healthy society. For example, if people would come to the realization that concepts like love, happiness, sadness, etc. are just made up by people who need a way to market something. The realization that there is no such thing as love, happiness, blah, blah, blah would put a whole lot of people out of work.  Still. as Fritz P once said, "there's no anxiety in the present" and it seems that the present is nothing more than an ongoing stream of experiences that; if interrupted, cause anxiety and transforms a bunch of folks into neurotics trying to figure out something that doesn't need figuring out. 12 step folks refer to it as "letting go and letting god" rather than trying to harness and can a specific experience, putting a label on it, and selling it as something one lacks or is deficient in.

Someone on this thread mentioned Gnostic's and got me to thinking about why they were banned from the Christian community. All they preached was a simple solution to all your ills; want to find God? Look within!

Why was that a dangerous message then and now? Simply put it cut out the "middle man", the broker, the banker, the priest, who without would leave you poor, lonely and destitute. Without the guy with the "keys" you were doomed. In religious terms it was the keys to heaven while in psychology (which is a religion of sorts; lot's of guru's) it was the keys to happiness, love, and a slew of other emotional elixirs that could not be had without a prescription.

If you want to find out how to be in the world look no further than the animal kingdom. Watching a mother with her cubs or the father defending the turf, or building a nest and gathering nuts for the winter. It's a lean, mean, and highly efficient way to live in balance with the plane. No elaborate Ron L Hubbard schematics or a library packed with how-to books. No lectures, seminars or weekend retreats. And most important it's free and available to all.

Amazing how animals not only figured it out but have been following the same playbook since the beginning and pass it on  by example from generation to generation. They stay in the present and it doesn't get complicated which is something humans have managed to completely corrupt and distort; all in the name of progress. One look around and it's easy to see how far that got us. The human garbage is piled so high it's literally killing the planet and, of course, everything on it. The solution for those that can afford it, is to start the search for another inhabitable planet to begin the process all over again and to hell with everyone else. I call it survival of the dumbest.

To get back to keys; I'd just say, quit getting all uptight, anxious, stressed out about not being happy. While you're doing that you just missed out on being happy in that moment.
Happiness, sadness, pain, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, pleasure is all there inside of each of us along side God (if you want to go there) and is in a continuous state of flux. There's no grabbing on to one lest you end up in the same trap a cocaine addict falls into in chasing the ever elusive perpetual high.

The only thing that stops most of us from living a "present" life is fear. Fear of the unknown and in following ourselves in believing that if we do this, or that, or this and that, we can take control. It's no wonder that almost, if not, everyone on the planet is neurotic given that the reality is that nothing is "known" in any finite sense. Not even death. Ask a Buddhist.

On that frightening note I'll remove myself from the soapbox and go about the business of living my life as best I can with what I have. Good luck to the rest of you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A short quiz on invasions and occupations

Before entering into a dialog about good guys and bad guys, and all those evil empires we're surrounded by it might help to first clarify who they are.

This short quiz on invasions and occupations might help.

1) What country recently launched a full scale illegal (by international law) invasion and occupation of another country?

a) Japan

b) Russia

c) USA

d) EU

e) China

f) N. Korea

See the correct answer here: Hawk admits invasion was illegal

2) What countries in recent history have been invaded and occupied (legally or illegally) by another country?

a) Vietnam

b) Korea

c) Ukraine

d) Iraq

e) Libya

f) Pakistan

g) Afghanistan

See the correct answer here;

3) Who holds the world record (in modern times) for the greatest number of invasions and occupations?

a) USA

b) China

c) Russia

d) Germany

e) Japan

Find the correct answer here;  A CENTURY OF MILITARY INTERVENTIONS

Now compare these facts to the US/EU hype about the Ukraine and the Crimea and it's easy to see that it is nothing more than a whole lot of "tail wagging the dog" Bush/Cheney style.


It seems that President Obama has caved in to the neo-cons who love nothing more than to stir the pot when it comes to looking for a war to start; which is by the way a cash cow to these clowns who are heavily invested in the Military Industrial Complex.

The timing is not coincidental but perfectly synced with talk of cutting defense spending and trimming the fat from a morbidly obese military that has become almost obsolete in today's conflicts.

A military larger than all other countries combined. (Obsolete)

A navy larger than all of the world powers combined. (Obsolete)

Unless....of course........if you can conjure up the "cold war boogeyman" and salt the population with paranoia; both of which has worked well in this already gun crazed paranoid country where people are even afraid of their own government.

So, before going gung-ho on flag waving and chest thumping and stomping off to WWIII Americans might want to take a look at the Ukraine/Crimea conflict and the role Russia is playing in it;

Russia’s 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea

Ukraine’s statement at the UN that ‘16,000 Russian soldiers had been deployed’ across Crimea sparked a MSM feeding frenzy that steadfastly ignored any hard facts that got in their way.

Especially unwelcome is the fact that the so-called ‘invasion force’ has been there for 15 years already.

The media many trust described in hysterical tones how the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was under a full-scale Russian invasion with headlines like: “Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea”, “Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea,” as well as “What can Obama do about Russia's invasion of Crimea?”.

Facts, and ardent statements by top Russian diplomats were totally ignored by the western ‘war press’.

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pointed to the longstanding 25,000 troop allowance while FM Sergey Lavrov stressed the Russian military “strictly executes the agreements which stipulate the Russian fleet’s presence in Ukraine, and follows the stance and claims coming from the legitimate authority in Ukraine and in this case the legitimate authority of the Autonomous Republic Crimea as well.”

Monday, March 17, 2014

U.S. And EU On The Wrong Side Of Democracy

If 95% of the voters in Crimea want to separate from Ukraine who's democratically elected government was overthrown by force why would any country in the so-called "free" world oppose it?

Then the question that begs to be answered by people of sound mind is, why is Russia being punished for actions taken by Crimea? Crimean's are entitled to determine their own fate and if 95% of them want to annex themselves to Russia it's their democratic right to do so.

The hypocrisy in the EU's and US position is nauseating; judgments coming from those who have colonized and annexed (or just plain occupied) other countries throughout their history.

The Ukraine and Crimea crisis began with the violent overthrow of the elected government by forces that are now recognized as legitimate by the EU and US. What followed is the Russian response to what it believes to be a threat to it's territorial and geopolitical integrity.

As in Egypt, the US has decided to support military coups and violent insurrections at the expense of  the democratic process while at the same time progressing to champion freedom and democracy.

As for Crimea? The people have spoken.

Ukraine 'will never accept' Crimea annexation (read more here) 

Western powers slapped sanctions on more than two dozen Russian officials and their allies in Ukraine's Crimea region Monday, while Ukrainian officials vowed they would never accept the territory's annexation by Russia.

In a televised address Monday night, interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said his government would do "everything possible" to solve the crisis diplomatically, and he praised his citizens for refusing to respond to Russian provocations with violence.

"The Kremlin is afraid of the democratic future which we are building, and this is the reason for their aggression," Turchynov said. "But this will not be an obstacle to the building of a democratic country."

But he announced a partial mobilization of his country's armed forces and said Ukrainians "have to unite in one big family, which is ready to protect its home." And Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told CNN that there was "a strong possibility" of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"I still believe that there is only one solution of this crisis, a peaceful one," Yatsenyuk said. "But we offer peace, and Russia offers war."

The Russian-backed breakaway government in Crimea applied to join with Moscow on Monday after a weekend referendum that Ukraine, the United States and the European Union called illegal. U.S. and EU officials announced sanctions on more than two dozen Russian officials and their allies in the region, which Russian-backed forces seized three weeks ago.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that recognizes the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Crimea, says a statement on Russia's Kremlin website. The Russian parliament is expected to vote on whether to annex the breakaway territory in the coming days.

Obama Says U.S. And EU Will 'Stand Firm' With Ukraine

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Here's another blatant example of organized criminal activity and yet no one dares to invoke RICO.

Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a "comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade." In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.

The antitrust laws proscribe unlawful mergers and business practices in general terms, leaving courts to decide which ones are illegal based on the facts of each case. Courts have applied the antitrust laws to changing markets, from a time of horse and buggies to the present digital age. Yet for over 100 years, the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.

Here is an overview of the three core federal antitrust laws.

The Sherman Act outlaws "every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade," and any "monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize." Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws. On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are "per se" violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed.

The penalties for violating the Sherman Act can be severe. Although most enforcement actions are civil, theSherman Act is also a criminal law, and individuals and businesses that violate it may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids. The Sherman Act imposes criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.

FDIC Sues 16 Big Banks, Accusing Them Of Fixing Interest Rates

Regulators around the world have been probing whether firms colluded to manipulate interest-rate benchmarks including Libor, which affects more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide. Financial institutions have paid about $6 billion so far to resolve criminal and civil claims in the U.S. and Europe that they manipulated benchmark interest rates.

The cost for global investment banks could climb to $46 billion, analysts at KBW, a unit of Stifel Financial Corp., said in a report last year. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings may face a European Union complaint as soon as next month from the bloc's antitrust chief.

Investigators claim the banks altered submissions used to set the benchmark to profit from bets on interest-rate derivatives or to make the lenders' finances appear healthier.

In the suit filed Friday, the FDIC claimed the fixed rates caused the failed banks to pay higher prices for Libor-based financial products and to get lower interest payments from the defendants and others.

The FDIC alleges the banks committed fraud and violated U.S. antitrust laws in fixing the U.S. dollar Libor benchmark. It seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the failed banks, including punitive damages and triple damages for price-fixing.

Spokesmen for the banks declined to comment.


Suppose a man is given some money to start a business. This will help him to earn more tomorrow and maybe one day provide employment to some more men. This is more like the saying, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime'.
House Republicans are ideologically incapable of imagining a world where people can't find a job because there aren't enough of them. In other words, they won't let themselves understand the world we live in. They think food stamp use is at record-highs, because people are drug addicts or just shiftless -- not because the recovery has been so weak. This insistence that our problems are all supply, and no demand, is why Republicans have opposed any and all attempts to stimulatethe economy, either monetary or fiscal. It's bad economics, and worse morality.
This is more like the saying, 'Give a man money to buy a fish and you feed him for a day and also benefit all of those who participated in the process of getting him the food. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime' and do little to nothing more in helping the economy other than making a few bucks for the people who participated in making the reel"


History shows us that if you bite off more than you can chew you end up choking on it.

That, in essence is what the 1% of our society have succeeded in doing over the last half century by sucking the life blood out of a once prosperous hardworking and consuming middle class in these United States of America.

What was once a "repub-cracy" has been transformed into  a "plutocracy" which ironically was the very thing that the founding Americans fought long and hard against.

There was a time when the creation of wealth was understood to be the result of a collective effort  by not only those at the top, but also the untold numbers of others who all pitched in and did their part in growing our economy.

One of the titans of American industry; and a very wealthy one at that, put it simply;

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible."
Henry Ford

In today's America the Golden Rule in American business has been twisted into something like this;
There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the worse quality of goods possible at the highest cost possible, paying the lowest wages possible.
The end result is what we have today;
A handful of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals who are self-proclaimed elitist that flaunt their power by buying the political system, ignoring our laws, and hoarding as much wealth as possible with little or no regard for their fellow human beings or the planet. 
And the list grows each year
The Forbes World's Billionaires list is the definitive list of the world's wealthiest people, profiling and ranking billionaires from 69 countries by their estimated net worth.

The ranks of the world’s billionaires continue to scale new heights–and stretch to new corners of the world. Our global wealth team found 1,645 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year ago. We unearthed a record 268 new ten-figure fortunes, including 42 new women billionaires, another record. In total, there are 172 women on the list, more than ever before and up from 138 last year.

Like Henry Ford, some of these people adhere to the belief that their fortunes were not created in a vacuum and that it was the end result of a collective effort of untold numbers of people; workers and consumers alike, that built these fortunes.

Some have even gone as far as "pledging" to share half or more of these fortunes back to society realizing that without a collective effort none of this would be possible and/or last. 

The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. (See the list here)

Unfortunately the list is much smaller than one would like to believe and there are a much larger number of the wealthy who are committed to just the opposite. Here's how they operate;

They evade paying taxes; both as individuals and the businesses they own; 

The largest American multinational companies parked an additional $206 billion of profits in offshore accounts last year, according to Bloomberg, bringing the total amount of profits stashed where U.S. tax officials can’t touch them up to about two trillion dollars.

The 307 companies that Bloomberg examined now hold a combined $1.95 trillion offshore, allowing them to avoid paying U.S. taxes on those earnings. The majority of the total is concentrated in just a few corporate hands. The largest 22 of those companies hold more offshore than the other 285 combined.

If you're one of the 1% of Americans who control over 40% of the country's wealth, life is full of choices. Among them - how best to keep all that money away from the government? The U.S. economic system offers no shortage of loopholes allowing the ultra-rich to shortchange Uncle Sam. The following infographic explains how exactly do the super rich hide that much money from the government every year?

The end result is alarming, and for lack of a better word, disgusting;

Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.

The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.

The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.

In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

How do they get away with it, you might ask. Aren't there laws that protect us against monopolies, organized criminal behavior, and the like? Is this not a democracy governed by the rule of law?

The answer is simple. No. Because this once Democracy has been transformed into a plutocracy. 

In a plutocracy the ruling class exempts themselves from the laws which apply to everyone else. In a plutocracy the ruling class can invoke the "affluenza" defense if brought up on criminal charges. In a plutocracy the ruling class is considered "too big" to fail or jail.

Out of 300 million Americans, a few thousand wield disproportionate economic and political influence because of their positions at the pinnacle of America's corporate and media establishments or their roles as political allies (or puppets) of the corporate ruling class. C. Wright Mills described this group in his 1956 book, The Power Elite, G. William Domhoff has updated this analysis in his book, Who Rules America? (now in its 7th edition), and Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have described how the power elite wields its influence in Winner-Take-All Politics.

Many of them have overlapping memberships on the boards of the largest corporations, business lobby groups, universities and think tanks, foundations, and media conglomerates. They are not part of conspiracy. They do not meet secretly to plot America's future. And they disagree with each other on some issues, particularly same-sex marriage, abortion and gun control. Some are corporate conservatives and moderates; some are right-wing reactionaries and racists; others are lunatic libertarians.

But they agree on the essential concerns about the economy. The top Wall Street and Wal-Mart CEOs, the media monopolists and their talk-show agitators, the billionaire benefactors, and the business lobbyists share an antipathy toward unions, progressive taxes, and government regulations that protect consumers, workers, and the environment. They fund think tanks and hire college professors to promote their views and to cry wolf about government rules -- denying the reality of global warming, warning that raising the minimum wage or strengthening regulations on banks will "kill jobs," and attacking Obamacare (and Obama) as "socialist." They work closely with right-wing, conservative, and moderate politicians to carry out their agenda. They act on behalf of big business and the super-rich, but to translate their ideas into public policy they have to persuade voters that their agenda benefits middle class Americans -- a task that is getting harder and harder to do. Read more here.

Having decimated the middle class leaves little for those at the top to exploit and so we begin to see the first signs of the fall of the ruling class. 

The rhetoric in Congress foretells the direction in which this is going;

Two weeks ago, the normally mild-mannered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) caused a stir when he used some harsh words to describe the Koch brothers and the big-dollar ad campaign their organization, Americans for Prosperity, is mounting against politicians who voted for Obamacare. ”It’s too bad that they’re trying to buy America,” he said on the Senate floor. “And it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone I can imagine.”

The statement wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark, and Reid isn’t alone in calling out the Kochs. Today, Greg Sargent of The Washington Post’s Plum Line explained that there’s more than meets the eye in the Democrats’ rhetoric.  Read more here.

The banks are also now under the spotlight; especially when it comes to the role the play in aiding and abetting the 1% engage in massive multi-billion dollar enterprises designed to evade taxes, and a myriad of other schemes to protect their wealth.  Many of these crimes can easily fall into "organized crime" and it's surprising that the RICO statutes are not being invoked. 

But at least some progress is being made in shutting down these operations;

Five years on, that line of thinking may be due for an update. It remains the case that no high-ranking Wall Street executives have been criminally prosecuted or seen the inside of a courtroom since 2008. But with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) on the cusp of multiple multibillion-dollar settlements with regulators for selling bad mortgage securities, and Bank of America’s (BAC) Oct. 23 mortgage fraud trial loss likely to yield another headline sum, government efforts to bring banks to account are yielding serious money.

Since the end of 2010, the six major Wall Street banks—JPMorgan, BofA, Citigroup(C), Wells Fargo (WFC), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Morgan Stanley (MS)—have agreed to pay $67 billion in settlements and penalties related to the financial crisis, according to research firm SNL Financial. Three more deals expected soon—including JPMorgan’s proposed $13 billion omnibus settlement, a pact between the bank and investors seeking $5.75 billion, and a BofA payout of as much as $8 billion to a housing regulator—would swell the total to $93 billion to be paid to the government, homeowners, and investors. More civil cases, criminal investigations, and lawsuits are on the way.

Even though many more crimes are coming to light prosecutions of the individuals responsible continues to be conspicuously rare. The best authorities seem to be able to do is slap a few wrists and take back a token of the money made in these criminal undertakings. Justice remains blind in the majority of these case though it's becoming more obvious as to why. 

Regulators around the world have been probing whether firms colluded to manipulate interest-rate benchmarks including Libor, which affects more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide. Financial institutions have paid about $6 billion so far to resolve criminal and civil claims in the U.S. and Europe that they manipulated benchmark interest rates.

The cost for global investment banks could climb to $46 billion, analysts at KBW, a unit of Stifel Financial Corp., said in a report last year. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings may face a European Union complaint as soon as next month from the bloc's antitrust chief.

Investigators claim the banks altered submissions used to set the benchmark to profit from bets on interest-rate derivatives or to make the lenders' finances appear healthier.

In the suit filed Friday, the FDIC claimed the fixed rates caused the failed banks to pay higher prices for Libor-based financial products and to get lower interest payments from the defendants and others.

The FDIC alleges the banks committed fraud and violated U.S. antitrust laws in fixing the U.S. dollar Libor benchmark. It seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the failed banks, including punitive damages and triple damages for price-fixing.

Spokesmen for the banks declined to comment. 
Read more here:
What also remains a not so mysterious mystery is why those committing these crimes (the 1%) and their middle men (the banks) are not being rounded up at a faster pace.

Corruption is endemic to the capitalist system and has not been successfully regulated away. Perhaps a system change is warranted?

Nearly daily, mass media report political corruption across the world. Government bureaucrats, from local to national to international, are exposed for having abused their offices for personal gain. That gain is usually financial, but can involve career advancement. Much of that corruption is driven and financed by capitalist enterprises. In that kind of corruption, officials enable tax avoidance, provide subsidies, make purchases and sometimes sales, and decide many other "public" matters (e.g. locating roads, zoning cities, constructing state facilities, repressing strikes, investigating corruption, negotiating international agreements, etc.).

Official decisions are corrupt when they aim (in exchange for personal gain) exclusively or chiefly to benefit individual firms or groups of enterprises rather than any broad social or public purpose. Corruption can be illegal (when prohibitive laws apply) or legal if such laws were repealed or never passed. Political corruption, when not hidden or secret, occurs under a protective cover (or disguise) as if done for public purposes or benefits. Read more here:

All of these events point to one thing. The era of the ruling class in America is coming to an end. 

What is going to determine how long it takes depends entirely on the American people and the decisions they make in the coming elections.  The middle class has been severely wounded but it is not dead and all it takes for it to recover is a willingness to fight; not with guns and Molotov cocktails, but with their vote which is what distinguishes a democracy from a plutocracy.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Which comes first? Our children's health and safety or entertaining ourselves by throwing them into games that are proven to be dangerous and causing severe injuries? The jury is in folks. Parents are endangering their children by allowing them to play in sports known to cause serious long term injuries; specifically head trauma.

We might get away with excusing adults for their crazy-making behavior because they are free to throw themselves in harms way. But, when it comes to children both parents and the government have both a moral and legal obligation to protect them.

When parents are incapable (or too stupid)  to care for their children, there are laws that require the government to step in on a child's behalf. Allowing parents to subject their children to dangerous sports known to cause sever head injuries and long term damage is nothing more than sanctioning child abuse.

Grown adults sitting in bleachers cheering their children on; encouraging them to beat each other senseless reflects a society in free fall self destruction. It's time for parents to wake up.

At House Hearing On Youth Concussions, NFL Touts Unproven ‘Heads Up’ Tackling Program

The hearing, led by subcommittee Chairman Lee Terry (R-Neb.), examined the risks of head injuries in a handful of sports to both youth and professional athletes. The subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade heard from representatives from the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), youth football and hockey leagues, a high school athlete and medical professionals.

Lawmakers asked questions about how coaches can be trained to spot head injuries such as concussions, and what technology advances can be expected from sports equipment to prevent these head injuries.

During the hearing, a particular focus was given to the risks of head injuries in sports like soccer and lacrosse that often get ignored because they are not considered as violent as football or hockey.

“There are other sports that have just as big of a problem with concussions,” Terry said. “We need to raise awareness.”

Terry said he has two children who play lacrosse that is he concerned about. He wants to make sure that parents of children in all sports feel comfortable enough in the level of safety to let their children play.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), ranking member of the subcommittee, expressed similar concerns for the safety of soccer players during the hearing, noting that her 16-year-old granddaughter plays the sport.

Schakowsky said soccer hasn't “grasped the importance.”

“It seems like soccer has more to do than other sports,” she said.

Schakowsky pointed out that soccer players, in contrast to football and hockey players, do not wear helmets or wear much padding, which potentially puts the players at a greater risk for injuries.

Both Schakowsky and Terry rallied around Scurry, who testified about the personal struggles she has dealt with in her life ever since she suffered her head injury. She said she has been treated for symptoms such as a lack of concentration, balance issues, memory loss, anxiety and depression because of the head injury.

Scurry said she hopes soccer leagues will take more precautions to protect their players, particularly youth soccer leagues.

“My main focus is what is done after a hit occurs to keep children and players on the bench after a hit occurs,” Scurry testified.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


USDOJ: Swiss Banker Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with U.S. Tax Evaders, Other Swiss Bankers and Bank Management

Around 2001, Credit Suisse signed an agreement with the IRS in which it agreed to withhold taxes from accounts held by Americans and prohibit them from holding U.S. investments. Afterward, the bank's compliance department told bankers, including Mr. Bachmann and his bosses, not to talk about U.S. securities with U.S. customers, according to the statement.

But the bankers ignored it, according to the statement. After the session, Mr. Bachmann complained about the restrictions. An executive told him something to the effect of: "You know what we expect of you-don't get caught," the statement said.

A Credit Suisse spokesman declined to comment on the material disclosed in the statement.

U.S. authorities so far have only been able to identify a relatively small number of the American clients believed to have used the bank to hide undeclared money, due to Switzerland's strict bank-secrecy laws, according to Senate investigators.

This is what looks to be the first shot at the 1% starting the "war against tax-evaders."

Bachmann was charged in a one-count superseding indictment on July 21, 2011, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 8, 2014.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Bachmann admitted that between 1994 and 2006, while working as a relationship manager in Switzerland for a subsidiary of an international bank, he engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to aid and assist U.S. customers in evading their income taxes by concealing assets and income in secret Swiss bank accounts.

As part of that conspiracy, Bachmann traveled to the United States twice each year to provide banking services and investment advice to his U.S. customers. As a matter of practice, prior to traveling to the United States, Bachmann notified his executive management, including the head of the subsidiary’s private bank in Zurich and the chief executive officer of the subsidiary, of the planned trip and its objectives.

If you were to compare this to the drug war, this is comparable to nabbing one of the mules; an underling working for higher ups in a cartels of influential and powerful well placed people in the finance industry who launder money for people addicted to money (though you couldn't convince them that).

Unlike mules in the drug trade these people wear 3-piece suits, travel first class, stay in 5 star hotels and carry briefcases full money for super rich, money crazed people who will go to any lengths to hoard their stash. Some even go so far as to renounce their citizenship before ever giving up a dime of tax revenue (now that's a sure fire symptom of addiction)

2013 Expatriations Increase by 221%

Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the fourth quarter of 2013.

The number of published expatriates for the quarter was 630, bringing the total number of published expatriates in 2013 to 2,999. The total for the year shatters the previous record high of 1,781 set in 2011 and is a 221% increase over the 2012 total of 932.

For those that decide to remain and hedge their bets that they will not be prosecuted the odds are in their favor.

So, here's a little of what the banks that aid and abet  provide these tax-evaders.

NOTE:  Some of this behavior is reminiscent of drug deals and other gangster-type money laundering operations but without any repercussions to those involved.

 Mr. Bachmann effectively operated as a personal ATM for some of those clients, using one client's deposits to fulfill another's withdrawal.

It was all part of a routine that enabled Mr. Bachmann to help clients avoid U.S. taxes., according to a statement presented in a Virginia court and agreed to by Mr. Bachmann.

According to the documents released by the Senate last month, one former customer told Senate investigators that a Credit Suisse banker handed over bank statements concealed in a copy of Sports Illustrated and ushered the client to a meeting in Switzerland in a remote-controlled elevator.

Mr. Bachmann oversaw between 25 and 30 clients of the Credit Suisse subsidiary, many of whom held accounts that he knew were undeclared to the Internal Revenue Service, according to his statement.

He admitted to helping those customers avoid U.S. taxes and told them how to structure transactions so they wouldn't get reported to U.S. regulators, the statement said. On twice-yearly visits to his American customers, Mr. Bachmann showed them copies of their account statements but warned them about the risk of keeping them, since they could be seized by U.S. authorities.

The statement also describes Mr. Bachmann's travels around the U.S. with large amounts of cash for customers who wanted to withdraw money. He wouldn't leave or enter the country with hard currency, but he would sometimes take cash from a customer who wanted to make a deposit and deliver it to another who wanted to make a withdrawal.

It's absolutely amazing to me that in a country supposedly governed by the "rule of law"  that a group of elite and wealthy individuals are given free reign to flaunt laws and have little or no concern of ever being caught and/or punished for these crimes.  They; we are told are just too powerful and the government is unable to muster the resources to take them down. That folks is something we should all be concerned about.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Looks like so-called Christians are in a dilemma. The choice(s) they have to make is, do they drop the long held facade of claiming to be Christians; followers of Jesus, while at the same time ignoring His teachings.

Or, as Francis has eloquently demonstrated  by his own behavior become "true" Christians and walk the talk.

The Secret Pope Francis Haters

John Vennari, noted Catholic observer and editor of “The Catholic Family News,” has been pounding a steady drumbeat on the danger of Francis’s widespread populist appeal since his election a year ago. “He seems to have a good heart and some good Catholic instincts, but theologically he is a train wreck—remarkably sloppy,” 

Vennari wrote in a recent blog post. “Though this might shock some readers, I must say that I would never allow Pope Francis to teach religion to my children.”

In an NBC news piece titled “Not Everyone Loves Francis,” Boston College theology professor Thomas Groome pondered whether or not true Catholic conservatives would be able to keep supporting the Pope’s new approach towards acceptance and mercy and still keep their faith. “I think it will be a real test for conservative Catholics,” he told NBC. “They have always pointed the finger, quoting the Pope for the last 35 years. Suddenly, will they stop quoting the Pope? It’ll be a good test of whether or not they’re really Catholics.”


Bush/Cheney Water-boarding is not torture; CIA hacking Congress is not unconstitutional

WASHINGTON - A top senator Tuesday leveled explosive allegations that the CIA spied on her committee's investigation of alleged CIA torture under President George W. Bush.

Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) charged that the CIA searched a "walled-off" computer the agency provided to her staff at a secure, remote site to examine documents, and also quietly withdrew relevant files it had provided the committee.

"I have grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution," Feinstein said during lengthy remarks on the Senate floor, revealing that CIA Director John Brennan reported the search to her earlier this year

Read more:

Monday, March 10, 2014


Wealthy Christians might have cause to be concerned when you look as how the way the behave compares to the Bible's teachings. 
On the one hand, the country's biggest donors are giving more money to charities as the economy stabilizes. Last year, the biggest 50 donors gave a massive $7.7 billion in charitable gifts.

The bad news? That represents an increase of just 4 percent from 2012, at a time when the mega-rich are witnessing huge gains in their net worths. Total wealth for Forbes' 2013 billionaires' list jumped 17 percent from the previous year, reaching $5.4 trillion.

How the super-rich are skimping on charitable gifts

Mt 25: 31-46

Daily Scripture
March 10, 2014

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 
‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 

Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Warren Buffett and several others in the top 1% appear to be taking the Bible's message seriously and have actually put it into practice with the creation of the "Giving Pledge."


The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.


The Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving.

The idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of people who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.

Initially, the focus was on the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States. Since there have been enthusiastic responses to the Giving Pledge around the world, the pledge now includes people from a mix of countries around the world.


We hope that a group coming forward to be explicit about their intentions for giving the majority of their wealth away will help:

Inspire conversations, discussions, and action, not just about how much but also for what purposes / to what end and

Bring together those committed to this kind of giving to exchange knowledge on how to do this in the best possible way.

We live in an exciting time for philanthropy where innovative approaches and advances in technology have redefined what’s possible. Grassroots movements are proving every day how a single individual, regardless of wealth, can make a lasting impact on the lives of others.


The goal is to talk about giving in an open way and create an atmosphere that can draw more people into philanthropy.


Each family or individual who chooses to pledge will make this statement publicly, along with a statement explaining their decision to pledge.

At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.

Throughout the year, there are opportunities for conversations that go deeper on the specific topics of interest to the group.


The pledge does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. The pledge asks only that the individual give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations either during their lifetime or in their will.

The pledge does not solicit support for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or any other specific cause or organization. The pledge encourages signatories to find their own unique ways to give that inspire them personally and benefit society.


Not directly. Each person who pledges makes an individual decision about which particular causes or organizations they wish to support.


Each family will decide that for themselves. The pledge asks for a commitment of a majority of their wealth. Many have and will continue to exceed it.


The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract.


The idea of the Giving Pledge came from the ideas and input generated in many great conversations that Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett had with other philanthropists in the U.S. and abroad.


Our hope is that the effort will continue for generations to come.

Sadly the number of those who pledge is much lower than those who hoard, evade taxes, and simply flaunt their excesses with little concern or regard for others; very much as those described on the left of their maker.

What puzzles me is why. What is it these people think they are accomplishing by hoarding their wealth rather than putting it to good use for the "greater" good?

People like Gates, Buffett, Zuckerburg, and a few others seem to be getting along just fine living up to this pledge.

I'd really like to hear from those who think this is a bad idea, along with the reasons why. The man upstairs might also be interested in hearing from them.

Friday, March 7, 2014

(BLANK) invades (BLANK) to protect it citizens.

Here's a classic demonstration of the old saying; " The pot calling the kettle black."

The hysterical vitriolic rhetoric has been flooding the 24/7 news cycle for weeks now.

One question. Who are they talking about? The following 4 historical events have one thing in common; protection of it's "nationals", and "restoring order." Somehow only 1 of the 4 has been singled out as being


Can you guess which one?

A) Oct 25, 1983:  United States invades Grenada

President Ronald Reagan, citing the threat posed to American nationals on the Caribbean nation of Grenada by that nation's Marxist regime, orders the Marines to invade and secure their safety. There were nearly 1,000 Americans in Grenada at the time, many of them students at the island's medical school. In little more than a week, Grenada's government was overthrown.

B) Apr 28, 1965: U.S. troops land in the Dominican Republic
In an effort to forestall what he claims will be a "communist dictatorship" in the Dominican Republic, President Lyndon B. Johnson sends more than 22,000 U.S.troops to restore order on the island nation. Johnson's action provoked loud protests in Latin America and skepticism among many in the United States.

C) Dec 20, 1989: The U.S. invades Panama

The United States invades Panama in an attempt to overthrow military dictator Manuel Noriega, who had been indicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges and was accused of suppressing democracy in Panama and endangering U.S. nationals. Noriega's Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) were promptly crushed, forcing the dictator to seek asylum with the Vatican anuncio in Panama City, where he surrendered on January 3, 1990.

D) Russia Approves Use of Military as Ukraine Slams Invasion

Russia’s parliament approved the use of its military in Ukraine after Russian troops seized facilities in that country’s Crimea region, prompting the government in Kiev to say it was being invaded.

Heeding a request by President Vladimir Putin to protect ethnic Russians, lawmakers in Moscow voted unanimously to send troops to its neighbor, according to a vote today broadcast by Rossiya 24. The upper chamber was also preparing a request for Putin to recall Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said. In Kiev, governing politician Vitali Klitschko called for Ukraine to mobilize its army and consider ousting Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from its Crimean base.

“Parliament should order the commander-in-chief to call for general mobilization because of the aggression against Ukraine,” Klitschko, a former world heavyweight-boxing champion who is preparing to run for president, said in a statement on his website today. “Parliament should also consider scrapping the agreement on the Black Sea Fleet lease.”

Putin is trying to assert his power over parts of Ukraine with large ethnic Russian populations after last week’s overthrow of former President Viktor Yanukovych. The military movements risk destabilizing the country as its new government looks to the U.S. and Europe for a bailout to avoid default. U.S. President Barack Obama said yesterday he’s “deeply concerned” by reports of Russian troops in Crimea.


How silly to even have the question asked. Especially in today's military made up primarily of people with little or no options in today's America and who are bored out of their skulls after being raised on  junk food, home alone glued to joysticks wiping up anything that moves in their lonely virtual worlds of "Call to Duty" or "Grand Theft Auto' where raping and killing is constantly recycled into an on-going flood of blood soaked carnage.

It's all harmless fun, they say. Especially those who produce, market, and sell this "virtual" version of Dante's Inferno.

No one wants to look at or talk about the potential damage to the psyche this causes, much like making believe head trauma in football is not real. Just imaginary.

Today's military is desperate and hard pressed to find recruits that they can convince to enlist for any other reason than to have a shot at playing out those computer games for real. It's difficult to convince them they are doing this to defend their country from the enemy when the only place they seem to find them are in caves in some far off land who's name they can't even pronounce.

Patriotism? Or spreading democracy around the world? Both hard sells given the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. 10 years and counting and still no "Mission Accomplished" banner to wave and no signs of freedom and democracy; American style popping up anywhere.

What that leaves the military with is a bunch of very bored youngsters with a lot of pent up anxiety, anger, and paranoia with no where to dump it. Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto are not standard issue gear.

Neo-cons, those who make lot's of money from war have little concern for the state of the military. They solved that problem long ago by creating the "private contracting industry" that for a whole lot more of tax payer dolllars are given all the cushy jobs once offered to the military rank and file.

Top this off with the latest revelation that there's a large number of our guys and gals in uniform who enlisted that were carrying large loads of mental garbage and not too stable to begin with and the results are not surprising.

About one in five US soldiers have been found to have a common mental illness such as depression or panic disorder upon enlisting in the Army, according to a new study.

A second study showed that over eight percent of soldiers had contemplated suicide and 1.1 percent had attempted suicide, researchers found via confidential surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers at Army bases across the US.

The studies’ results were published on Monday in JAMA Psychiatry. Experts say the findings show a weakness in recruiting processes. Army applicants are asked about their psychiatric pasts in evaluations, while those with certain disorders or a history of suicide attempts are often kept from entering the service.

In 2011, a representative sample of soldiers was assessed for eight common psychiatric disorders.
Researchers found that soldiers interviewed had joined the Army with higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than the general population.

"The question becomes, 'How did these guys get in the Army?'" Ronald Kessler, a Harvard University sociologist and leader of one of the studies, said to the Los Angeles Times.

The studies found that over eight percent of soldiers came into the Army with intermittent explosive disorder, marked by unrestrained anger attacks. It was the most common disorder found, as pre-enlistment levels were six times the civilian rate.

Pre-enlistment rates of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse were found to be close to civilian rates. Suicidal ideation, planning, and attempt rates fell under the general population rate, though still significant.

Though during military service, the surveyed soldiers’ rates of psychiatric disorders climbed well beyond civilian levels and far beyond the normal rate for some disorders.

A quarter of soldiers were found to be suffering from a mental illness: around five percent with depression, around six percent with anxiety disorder, and almost nine percent with PTSD.

The amount of soldiers who had attempted suicide went up from 1.1 percent to 2.4 percent, though the study did not explain a possible cause.

So, now comes the question; why are we so shocked and surprised that sexual assault (violence) is running rampant in the military?

I'm tempted to just writing it off to being just plain dumb or uninformed but I believe there's something much more sinister at play here.  Let's just simply start with the lack of bodies willing to join the military. Not enough males? Then, let's go for females. Putting females in combat positions was almost unheard of even in the time of Hannibal and the Barbarians who had more respect for the sexes than anything we see today in our so-called civilized world. Other than a handful of suicide bombers females have usually served in jobs that are now held by those "private contractors" the neo-cons hired on.  

So let's take a bunch of not-too-stable males and throw them into tents with a bunch of not too bright females and what you see is what you get folks. 

The report from the Center for American Progress — titled “Twice Betrayed: Bringing Justice to the U.S. Military’s Sexual Assault Problem” — was first commissioned in the aftermath ofseveral high-profile cases involving rape and assault in the military earlier this year. In the most damaging to the armed forces’ image, the then-head of the Air Force’s sexual assault response program was charged with sexual battery in Arlington, VA.

After laying out the history of the problem, the report pushes back on myths about sexual assault that occurs within the military, including statistics on the prevalence of sexual assault against men as well as women. In 2012, of the 26,000 military personnel estimated to have experienced sexual assault, 14,000 were men and 12,000 were women,” the report notes. The opening of new positions to women within the armed services is also dismissed as a reason for an increase in estimated sexual assaults.

Rather than seeing a trend towards improved reporting, CAP’s analysts worry that instead of being over-exaggerated, as some have claimed, that the numbers may in fact still be too low. “A significant percentage of cases, for example, are counted each year as a single ‘incident’ but involve multiple perpetrators and/or multiple victims,” the report explains, also noting that it doesn’t include information from the service academies.

Among the recommendations the report lays out, the most controversial is likely to be the support thrown behind a proposal to remove military sexual assault cases from the chain of command, stripping commanding officers of their ability to try cases in their units. The idea is a cornerstone of Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand’s (D-NY) legislation, titled the Military Justice Improvement Act, which has gained bipartisan support since it was first introduced.

In conducting research to critique the proposal, Larry Korb — a CAP Senior Fellow and one of the co-authors of the report — told reporters that other countries who have carried out such reforms and the results. 
Kirsten Gillibrand’s sexual assault bill derailed

When it comes to taking care of it's people the United States continues to lag behind the rest of the civilized "developed" countries; Gun Control, Health Care, and now protecting women in the Military all focused on "social" issues that concern the welfare of Americans.

When the United Kingdom, France, and Israel removed sexual assault cases from the chain of command, Korb said, there was actually no impact on military readiness. Should such a step not prove successful in reducing the amount of sexual assault in the military, Korb went on, the cases should then be moved to civilian courts as seen in France and Germany.

Americans need to be asking; why is that? Are the lives and well being of Americans not the first order of business in a country that likes to wear their flag on their sleeves and boast about equality, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness? America Strong?