Monthly Archives: September 2015

LIONEL PODCAST: Catholic Haters Are Seething In Jealousy

You know it’s true. Pope Francis Bergoglio is beyond a rock star and these folks have absolutely nothing to say other than heaving hate and contempt at him. And they know good and well that they’d never dare such against any other leader. Oh, no! That would take guts. But it’s open season on Catholics. But it’s not having much effect. Benvenuto Santità!


LIONEL PODCAST: Benvenuto Santità!

The rightwing bumper sticker crowd calls him a lefty. This week brings us the momentous visit of Pope Francis I Bergoglio to the United States. It marks the first papal visit since Benedict XVI in 2008 and only the fourth in the nation’s history. And the usual suspects, the politically demented and dyslexic, can only phrase it according to their pathetic worldview.

Read this anon! I commend to you a wonderful review from our friends at TWSP/UFAA for your review. Here’s a salient portion.

Opposition to Francis is not limited to the political field. Over the last 18 months, a growing contingent of right-wing leaders in the global Catholic Church, among them bishops and cardinals, have attacked Francis, mostly over social issues such as divorce, climate change, and same-sex marriage. These scurrilous reactionary polemics have convinced many American Catholics that Pope Francis is not sufficiently in touch with what they imagine to be the traditional doctrine of the Church in these matters. Polls have indicated a significant drop in his approval ratings from 76% to 59%. In reality, Francis is a fine exponent of the social doctrine of the Church, and belongs in the same big leagues with powerful figures like Leo XIII Pecci and Pius XI Ratti. [TWSP/UFAA]

And one more point. Again, from our friends at TWSP/UFAA.

The Roman curia always tends to reflect and include all the sin that exists in the world. Dante Alighieri and Petrarch pointed out seven centuries ago that the College of Cardinals and the Roman curia are often places where Christ’s grace is “bought and sold” every day. Modern Vaticanology includes the “crows” (corvi) who filch documents to use them later for Watergating or blackmailing purposes. The crows ruled the roost under the infamous Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State (or head of government) who ran the show day to day while Benedict XVI Ratzinger spun his obscure webs of theology, surrounded by American priests.

LIONEL PODCAST: The Peripatetic Pope, Trump and the Vaxxers and Delusions of Bernie

Hold the new currency. Think fiat meets Keynesian Bancor. Your intellectual manat or dinar. Think, baby. Penny for your thoughts. Cryptocurrency gets more cryptic. What the hell is he talking about? And better yet, who the hell is he talking to? Somebody get the phone. Who ordered the veal cutlet? The voices! Stop the voices! (Kidding, Sparky.)

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair, born on this day in 1878. The feller had a way with words. 

Now, are you ready for this podcast? It’s a beaut. Enjoy.

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LIONEL PODCAST: America Votes Like Spoiled Children

Refreshing. At least Bernie’s paying lip service to that of what the progressive/liberal Democratic was. He’s a purgative. An enema. Unclogging that which was bound up in our psyche politically. He’s reminding us of the values that the Democrats used to pay lip service to.

I Was in New York City on 9/11

This is my story. As I remember.

I Was in New York City on 9/11



I was there. Front and center in Manhattan on that horrid Tuesday morning, 14 years ago this September 11. How my city responded is still a source of pride. This is my firsthand account.

8:46 AM. I was watching local morning news and learned that a plane had apparently flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Immediately I started filling in the blanks. It must have been a small plane, nothing to be concerned about. These things happen. 9:03 AM. Then another plane hit, this time the South Tower. Coincidence. Nothing to be concerned about. Now, to this day, I marvel at how no suspicions were aroused. In me. Friends and colleagues will say how they knew right away it was a terrorist attack. I didn’t. Until the Pentagon. 9:37 AM. Now it was war. America was under attack.

I live in Hell’s Kitchen, which is near Times Square, and that I figured would certainly be the hub of activity. After all, it was the site of the zipper where headlines flashed throughout history. I grabbed a camera and as I walked down Broadway the mood was controlled confusion. You notice little things that take a while to process. I saw people who normally wouldn’t share an obvious camaraderie talking to each other. Young African-American kids speaking with construction workers, hipsters with the elderly, Mexican deliverymen talking. With anyone. Just reacting. And the phrase that I heard repeatedly, and I apologize for its coarseness, was “What the f___?” WTF indeed, but in its most brutal and abject of confusion. What’s happening? This can’t be. And the word that I have used since that describes it best is “surreal.”

Sirens. I never heard more sirens in my life. New Yorkers have an incredible sense of withstanding noise and the background music of the country’s largest city. But imagine every siren on every car, truck and vehicle from every borough, city and state. All running simultaneously. But when you’re paralyzed and walking zombified, you hardly notice. And that walk. People walked on cruise control, autopilot. You floated. Because, as I repeat, this was surreal. This was not supposed to happen.

The local news media were spectacular. I am usually wont to laugh at and ridicule, as I call them, the Ted Baxters of news but during this horror, every news reporter, anchor, correspondent, name it, was at he top of their game. And the requests they made were most unique. One anchor, I’ll never forget, announced that if you want to help, emergency workers needed bottled water, mobile telephone batteries and baby booties. Baby booties?! Did I hear that right? Yes, for the emergency rescue and cadaver dogs whose paws were being shredded by the broken glass and sharp shards of metal they had to walk over. New Yorkers headed downtown and wanted to help. Restaurants and delis, bodegas and shops, all opened their doors and their hearts. I saw one bodega owner take his cash tray out of the register and hand out coins to people who didn’t have a cellphone and were trying to find a working payphone – in many areas, cellphone availability all but disappeared.

That night at a corner park in my neighborhood, a group of people assembled. They all had candles that had been situated over paper plates to catch the dripping wax. Someone handed me one and we all just stood there. No singing or statements or prayer. Nothing. Just simultaneous and coordinated silence that said it all.

And then the most spectacular scene. As I moved to 57th Street that traverses the island of Manhattan, in every storefront, in every doorway, in front of every business as far as the eye could see, there were New Yorkers holding candles. Miles of candles. Everywhere. It just happened spontaneously, automatically, reflexively.

Days later, the smell. I thought at first that there was a short in my building’s elevator. That acrid, metallic electrical smell. But it wasn’t. It was Ground Zero. It had wafted uptown and it hung in the atmosphere. For days, weeks. In our neighborhood Irish pub, anyone who ventured in with a lavaliere security ID tag, anyone in uniform, any cop or firefighter or construction worker, anyone whom we suspected of helping to sort through the horror that was Downtown could pay for nothing. They were heroes. Everyone you sat next to was greeted with, “Did you lose anyone?”

And then, a most remarkable thing. If that’s even possible. There was no honking. Let me explain. To the uninitiated, honking is the language of the city. The horn accompanies all vehicle locomotion. Accelerator, brake, horn. It’s been said that the definition of a New York second is the time it takes for the light to turn green and the car behind you to honk. But there was none of that. Polite silence. Courtesy. Calm, understanding. Even in the subways, the usually jammed and crowded cars hat shuttled the short-fused straphanger were like a church. Quiet, polite. Respectful. I had always believed that whenever American society is met with tragedy or loss, we lose our minds. We loot or riot; we just react and explode. But not here and not now. I was never so proud of my city.

And finally, the saddest thing I saw, and that’s saying a lot. For weeks after that horrible day, there were handmade signs with pictures of missing loved ones posted and plastered all over the city with the phrase “Have You Seen ___?” They included a recent photo, their name, date of birth, a “last seen” location and even a nickname. It was as though they were just lost. Perhaps confused and walking around dazed, as if you might encounter them and recognize them from their poster and direct them home. They weren’t dead or killed. They were just lost. Just think of that. Of course, they were dead and gone. They vanished. But that reality couldn’t be appreciated or processed. To think that was to give up hope. There was no rational thinking during this irrational and unnatural horror.

New York City was always magnificent in my mind.

I stand corrected. New Yorkers are.





LIONEL PODCAST: The Cretins Are Winning

Behold the Lord’s warrior! Pointing to the marriage equality protesters gathered on one side of the courthouse lawn, the serially married Kim Davis’s current husband told the AP: “They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways. But they won’t accept our beliefs and our ways.” Their “ways,” however, include divorce, a practice prohibited by Christian teachings. Court records show Kim Davis has been married to Joe twice, with a divorce and another husband in between. Read more about her marriages and divorces here. 

And here’s the million dollar question. If she had refused to issue concealed weapons permits or gun licenses due to religious beliefs, the prototypical right would have had nothing to do with her. They would’ve demanded her head and would’ve been right. There are no constitutional bases that would allow a clerk to avoid ministerial responsibilities based upon her religious or conscientious belief. There is a very simple solution to this problem – quit.

Bread and Circuses and the Contemptuous Clerk Kim. There’s more contained herein – Trump, the increasing claim of shooting hoaxes and crisis actors plus a host of intellectual amuse–bouches for your intellectual digestion. Oh, and Ms. Davis makes the rounds.

LIONEL PODCAST: You Know Absolutely Nothing

How do you know what you know? What are the bases that you claim to know that which you know? I was speaking with a friend about JFK’s unequivocally and he made it very clear that he believed in no conspiracies. I asked why, he didn’t know. He stated unequivocally that the Warren Commission was correct. I asked why, he didn’t know. No clue, no idea. None. But he absolutely believes in what he believes. I asked why . . . and he didn’t know. Thus spake America. Think about it. In this podcast, I discuss the process of how we opine.

And remember that 9/11 thing? Did you hear the latest? Are you sitting down?