Thursday, November 26, 2015


A half-century ago, 40 bishops from around the world gathered in an ancient Roman church and signed a pledge to forsake worldly goods and live like the neediest among their flock.

They were in Rome for the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the deliberations that opened the Catholic Church to the modern world.

The bishops' all but forgotten pledge, known as the Pact of the Catacombs, has gained new resonance with Pope Francis' vision of a church for the poor.

Under the vaulted ceiling of the basilica, a mass is being celebrated to commemorate the pact signed here in 1965. We are just above the Catacombs of Domitilla — many miles of tunnels lined with the tombs of early Christians.
                        Pope Francis' Emphasis On Poverty Revives The 'Pact of The Catacombs'

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Acknowledging the city’s growing homeless population, the Los Angeles City Council voted 14 to 0 Tuesday to declare a shelter crisis, paving the way for providing temporary housing to homeless men and women in public buildings.

The move would also create the legal framework for allowing Angelenos who live in cars and recreational vehicles to park overnight in lots owned by the city and nonprofit organizations. In a separate vote, council members agreed to revise a controversial ordinance that regulated the seizure of property belonging to homeless men and women.

“While we’re building the infrastructure, we’re finding ways to address homelessness. We have a long way to go,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, co-chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. “It’s going to be a long road ahead of us.”

A fuller discussion on the issue of homelessness is expected to take place in January when the City Council is presented with the Homelessness Strategic Plan.

Monday, November 16, 2015


The United States is a warrior nation. There's hardly a time when the US is not either waging war(s) or promoting them somewhere on the planet.

Some would say it's all about self defense. If so, who exactly are we defending ourselves against that requires the use of the largest - most expensive military on the planet? The only folks we've been fighting are rag-tag insurgents in far off countries who are armed with a fleet of Toyota pick up trucks and suicide vests and who we take on using a few squadrons of fighter jets and a small fleet of drones.

Some say it's to champion democracy; free the masses from oppressive dictators and tyrants. If so, exactly which country have we liberated and more so, democratized? One look at the history books would tell you that the last war the United States won was WWII and that was with the help of most of the free world (as we called). Since then it's been nothing but a long bloody trail of stalemates or retreats unless you count Reagan's Grenada Campaign.

Worse still, the United States allies itself with some of the most notorious despots, dictators, and tyrants as long as the "price" is right.

Which brings me to my point. The United States makes war to make money.  It's no longer about winning or losing but about lingering as long as possible so that every dollar possible can be squeezed

out of these senseless conflicts and with little or no regard for the so-called collateral damage; e.g. the flag draped body bags of US soldiers the Bush Administration would not allow to be photographed.

And by simply instilling fear in the American people (taxpayers) a handful of neo-cons who manage the Military Industrial Complex continue to make lots of money at everyone else's expense.

The answer can be found here;

Global military spending totaled $1.78 trillion in 2014, down slightly from the year before. Military expenditures in North America, Western and European countries continued to slowly decline, while spending rose in Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The United States still accounted for more than one-third of military spending worldwide.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) measures annual military spending for most of the world’s armed countries. According to SIPRI, the United States spent $610 billion on its military last year, several times the $216.4 billion budget of second place China. Based on nominal military expenditure figures, these are the countries with the largest military budgets.

Click here to see the countries spending the most on war.

According to Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the SIPRI military expenditure project, the top 10 countries for military spending are either very large, very rich, or both. “Apart from that, there is really very little they have in common,” Perlo-Freeman said. Four of the 10 countries are among the most populous nations in the world. The economies of these countries were among the world’s largest. GDP per capita in six of the 10 countries were among the 25 largest in the world.

The United States stands out — far and away — as the world’s most dominant global superpower. While U.S. military spending has declined from its 2010 peak, spending remains at historically high levels. The expenditure is still far higher than it was during the Cold War, according to Perlo-Freeman, and still higher than in 2001 — just before 9/11.
 Perlo-Freeman suggested that the exceptionally high spending in the U.S. reflects a perception that there are “potentially military threats everywhere.” Other top countries for military expenditure have immediate conflicts on their borders. South Korea, Japan, India, and Saudi Arabia are all involved in relatively isolated regional disputes. Russia’s foray into Ukraine and subsequent annexation of Crimea had larger, international ramifications. These conflicts largely account for the high military spending in these countries.

To identify the countries spending the most on their military, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed total military expenditures in 2014 in more than 170 countries from SIPRI. We looked at expenditure data from each year since 2005. For the purpose of comparison, historical data are in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars. We reviewed SIPRI data on military exports, imports, and military expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product, as well as a percentage of government spending. We also looked at GDP and GDP growth figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, we reviewed 2013 military personnel figures from the World Bank.

1. United States
> Military expenditure: $609.9 billion
> Pct. change military expenditure, 2005-2014: -0.4%
> Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 3.5%
> Military expenditure per capita: $1,891
While U.S.’ military expenditure in 2014 was relatively flat from 2005, it is still by far the largest military spending in the world and several times greater than second-place China. U.S. military spending has fluctuated over the years, but the country has outspent every other nation in the world since at least 2005. Last year, military spending equalled 3.5% of U.S. GDP, the 22nd highest share among countries reviewed. Dr. Perlo-Freeman suggested that the nation’s exceptionally high spending reflects its role as the dominant global superpower and the perception that there are “potentially military threats everywhere.” The U.S. has an estimated 7,100 nuclear warheads, trailing only Russia. The country is also home to several top arms companies, including United Technologies, Raytheon, and Boeing. Still, largely as a result of fiscal austerity and the scaling back of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, U.S. military spending as a percent of total government spending fell from 10.4% in 2013 to 9.5% in 2014.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


It's amazing that 2 individuals who represent both the extreme left and right wing factions of the political spectrum actually agree on something;

Political comedian Bill Maher thinks Americans are too stupid to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist,even though he is the best candidate.

“Of all the candidates in the race, Sanders makes the most sense,” Maher said in a radio interview. “Of course that’s why the American public won’t vote for him. Bernie wants to scale back the Military Industrial Complex, end mass incarceration and introduce universal health care. But who wants that?”

Maher added Americans were terrified of the word socialism, even though we have many aspects of socialism, such as Medicare, the VA, social security and free K-12 education.

“Americans love all those things, because they don’t consider them to be socialism, even though they are,” Maher said.

Maher has frequently ranted about the lack of intelligence of the average American on his HBO show “Real Time.”

“You want an example of how stupid Americans are?” he said. “If you talk to the people who support Donald Trump, they’ll say, ‘Because he’s one of us.’ Oh yeah, Trump’s a billionaire, who flies around in a private jet and is married to a European model, but he understands working people.”

‘‘How stupid are the people of Iowa?’’ declared Trump during a rally at Iowa Central Community College. ‘‘How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?’’ For more than an hour and a half Thursday night, the billionaire real estate mogul harshly criticized not only Carson, but many of his other competitors in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Are Americans stupid when it comes to voting? The answer is YES! Only in America does the minnow swallow the whale While most Americans preoccupy themselves with texting and selfies or any-nite football a handful of very smart Americans are skilfully taking control of what was once a democracy; now being morphed into a plutocracy. 

1. 1% Elections

2. The Privatization of the State (or the U.S. as a Prospective Third-World Nation)

3. The De-legitimization of Congress and the Presidency

4. The Rise of the National Security State as the Fourth Branch of Government

5. The Demobilization of the American People

An investigation by The New York Times found that a mere 158 families, (and the companies they own/control), contributed a whopping $176 million in the first phase of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision five years ago.

(Thank you for that, Supreme Court.)

Take a wild guess who these people are and who they represent.

They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male… and in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.

People like the Koch brothers, for example, are spending $889 MILLION dollars during this one election.

Meanwhile, the big six megabanks and Wall Street are putting all their money behind Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Only three percent of Bush's donations actually come from small donors. Goldman Sachs is Hillary's largest financial supporter by employer. Hillary's top contributors also include Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers among others.

A lot of these people have put money down on both sides of the aisle because they know that, when it comes to Jeb vs. Hillary (the only real choice America will really have), the outcome will be the same either way in the White House: more bankster bailouts, more wars, more corruption and tyranny.

Again, even if the average American's vote remotely counted (and studies like the one represented in the video below clearly show it doesn't for multiple reasons, the least of which is voter fraud or vote machine tampering), the average citizen's contributions are far and away overshadowed by billionaires and corporations.

Monday, November 9, 2015


I like Bill Maher. He's cute, witty, knows how to throw zingers with precision and, for the most part entertains people.

When it comes to religion, however, Bill has a serious problem and is obsessive (almost manic) about disavowing anything that even smells of religion as nothing more than "magical" thinking that intoxicates people and results in nothing but bad outcomes. Much like a modern day version of the Marxist adage; religion is the opium of the masses.

I'm guessing that Bill's problem with religion stems from his childhood experiences with Catholicism (that I can easily relate to) that traumatized him so bad he suffers from some form of PTSD spiced with a tinge of denial.

What Bill doesn't seem to get is that he is no different than the "masses" when it comes to magical thinking but rather than getting there thru God he found salvation in "delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol"

In plain English Bill is a full blown "pot head."  Bill doesn't realize (or won't admit) that Weed - Pot - Bud - Herb - Grass - Refer - Ganja - Green - Mary Jane - Cheeba is an;


Hallucinogens are natural and synthetic (synthesized) substances that, when ingested (taken into the body), significantly alter one's state of consciousness. Hallucinogenic compounds often cause people to see (or think they see) random colors, patterns, events, and objects that do not exist. People sometimes have a a different perception of time and space, hold imaginary conversations, believe they hear music and experience smells, tastes, and other sensations that are not real.

As such every toke transforms (alters) his consciousness and sends him off into a "magical" realm of his own psychic world where he can freely hallucinate about whatever is fired off by those "altered" neurons in his head.

Marijuana and hashish, two substances derived from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), are  considered natural hallucinogens, although their potency (power) is very low when compared to others. Marijuana (also called grass, pot, tea, weed, or reefer), a green herb from the flower of the hemp plant, is considered a mild hallucinogen. Hashish is marijuana in a more potent, concentrated form. Both drugs are usually smoked. Their effects include a feeling of relaxation, faster heart rate, the sensation that time is passing more slowly, and a greater sense of hearing, taste, touch, and smell. 

Given Bill's religious conditioning, like it or not, he is religious. The connections to mystical - magical beings or events is "implanted" in Bill and nothing short of a brain transplant will change that. So, I'm guessing Bill spends a lot of his pot induced states in some sort of religious (spiritual) fantasy world where many before him have visited under the guise of some form of religion;

Some users of hallucinogens have reported feeling mystical and insightful, while others are fearful, paranoid (excessively suspicious or mistrustful of others), and hysterical (exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excitability). Medicine men, shamans, and other spiritual leaders have used natural hallucinogens found in plants and mushrooms since ancient times, believing in their power to help contact the spiritual world or mystical beings for guidance in serving their people.

Pollen from flowers and other plants-—most with medicinal properties-—was found in the grave of a Neanderthal man in Shanidar, Iraq. Scientists believe that since these prehistoric people very likely knew how to use plants for medicine, they probably used hallucinogenic plants in rituals. Archaeological evidence also shows that psychoactive drugs (drugs that affect the mind or behavior) were used in ancient Egypt, Greece, Europe, and many other cultures.

Bill is nothing less than a religious zealot when it comes to preaching the legalization of pot. The Cannabist. 

Much like John the Baptist, Bill devotes an inordinate amount of time praising pot and advocating it's legalization to "free" the pot heads of America from the chains of legal oppression. Not much different that those who flip and flop on the church floor or wrap snakes around their necks spreading the word.

My advice to Bill is, hey dude! Lighten up! There's plenty of room on the planet for religious nuts and pot heads. Chill man! You do your thing and let others do theirs. Whatever get's you where yo want to go bro!

After all, it's ALL just about magic.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Being a fairly well educated left of the left who takes being called a socialist liberal as a compliment I surprised my self when I had to admit to my "self" that I liked Trump! Why, I asked my self?

Simply put. What you see is what you get (well, except maybe for the hair).

Trump epitomizes what America is really all about;

Violent (bullish)
Self aggrandizing
and, most of all

What's admirable about Trump is that he doesn't hide any of those traits and that's why so many Americans like him! He tells them what they want to hear and really means it!

And, for those very same reasons, it's no surprise that a loony tune (Ben) is running a close second.

That's also why there's no real competition out there to match Trump. All the other clowns on the train are wanna-be Trumps that are completely out of their element. Scripted talking points is their on weapon(s) and very poorly drafted at that.

The debates are non-starters when compared to SNL. And Trump wins that one hands down.

“SNL’s” inexplicable Trump fiasco: Why the Donald’s unprecedented hosting gig deserves all the criticism

Trump is the first top-flight presidential candidate to host “SNL” during the middle of an active campaign. Political cameos on the show are a time-honored staple—hello, Val!—and politicians have hosted before, but they’ve all been in between races, with the exception of barely-a-candidate Al Sharpton in early 2003. This time, “SNL” is giving Trump an extended platform it’s not giving to any of the other candidates in either the Republican or Democratic race. This isn’t illegal—the equal time rules for candidates are byzantine and stacked in favor of not actually giving people equal time—but it’s a notable and rather strange intervention by “SNL” nonetheless. Trump may be, in many ways, a joke, but his presidential campaign long since crossed the line from entertainment into serious reality. The haste with which NBC yanked a promo in which Trump called Ben Carson a “total loser” shows the risky waters the network is wading in.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


  Taxpayer-financed salutes to U.S. troops at
sporting events would be banned under legislation setting U.S. defense
policy for the next 12 months.

The National Defense Authorization Act, as agreed to by congressional negotiators, would ban such activities as the "hometown heroes" promotion at New York Jets' home games featuring members of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

Overall, the Defense Department paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million from 2011 to 2014 for such promotions, dubbed as "pay for patriotism."

The bill also seeks a study of all existing sports sponsorships and advertising deals.

EARLIER: Jets' salutes honor N.J. National Guard but cost taxpayers

Thanking our troops ought to be something more than a marketing
gimmick, so I'm glad that Congress has agreed to put an end to these
taxpayer-funded salutes," said U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who first called attention to the practice by citing the Jets.

The report accompanying the legislation also urges the National
Football League, other professional sports leagues and any organizations
that received taxpayer money for these salutes to consider donating "an
equivalent amount of funding" to a charity that supports active-duty
troops, veterans and their families.

"In the thick of football season, I applaud my colleagues for
recognizing and agreeing that demonstrating appreciation and standing in
patriotic solidarity with our military should not come with a
price-tag," said U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd Dist.), a member of the
House Armed Services Committee. "It is my absolute belief that those
sports teams and organizations who accepted taxpayer dollars for
'paid-for patriotism' now donate an equal sum to charitable groups that
truly support our men and women in uniform."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the provision "paints a completely
distorted picture of the relationship" between the U.S. Armed Forces and
professional football.

"The NFL has had a long and charitable relationship with our military
that we are excited to continue with this year's Salute to Service
campaign this fall," McCarthy said. "We agree that no one should be paid
to honor our troops, and the league and its 32 clubs are fully
committed to that. Military spending on recruiting efforts should not be
confused with community programs."

The Senate had approved such a ban in
its version of the defense policy bill, and the provision remained in
the final version, which now goes to the House and Senate for approval.