Friday, May 31, 2013

Do Americans Win or Lose When Someone Becomes a Billionaire? | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS

1% Gain = 99% LossJohann Wagener 5-31-13

Is wealth accumulation a zero-sum game? Must 333 million Americans each cough up $3 in order to create a billionaire? Are billionaires created at our expense? Is their gain our loss?

Do Americans Win or Lose When Someone Becomes a Billionaire? | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Johann Wagener 5-30-13

Sending the message that Jesus doesn't do gauche (lacking social grace, sensitivity, or acuteness; awkward; crude; tactless)  which under all that gold and glitter is what the 1% symbolizes. Francis is defining "normal" for those who have lost their humanity and don't know what normal is. 

The Pope, 76, who on first seeing the papal apartments reportedly exclaimed "But there is room here for 300 people!" hinted that the arrangement may be permanent.

Pope Francis shunned official papal apartments to live 'normal life' - Telegraph

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Arizona's Joe Arpaio Found Guilty of Racial Profiling in Immigration Sweeps, Enforcement

A federal judge ruled on Friday that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in racial profiling of Latinos, violating their constitutional rights in his crackdown on illegal immigration. Civil rights advocates expect the ruling to send a chilling message to other law enforcement agencies that are planning to engage in immigration enforcement.
Arizona's Joe Arpaio Found Guilty of Racial Profiling in Immigration Sweeps, Enforcement

The wicked wacko is gone!

Actually, it might be a stretch to call this a retirement.  Rep. Michele Bachmann announced last night that she would not seek a fifth term in the House from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district in this nearly nine-minute valediction.  As The Week notes, however, Bachmann doesn’t say she’s retiring from politics or even electoral politics, which means she may have something else in mind already (via Andrew Malcolm):

Video: Michele Bachmann retires

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Half of America is in or Near Poverty -- and It’s Getting Worse

Inequality is at its ugliest for the hungriest people. While food support was being targeted for cuts, just 20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire 2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people.
And as Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the foodhousing, and education budgets combined.

Half of America is in or Near Poverty -- and It’s Getting Worse

Monday, May 27, 2013


CULT; (n) Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
Johann Wagener 5-27-13

Francis’ Humility and Emphasis on the Poor Strike a New Tone at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY — He has criticized the “cult of money” and greed he sees driving the world financial system, reflecting his affinity for liberation theology.

Pope Francis Changes Tone at the Vatican

Friday, May 24, 2013


United States Still a No-Vacation Nation

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2013

Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Washington, D.C.- The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation time, according to a new review of international labor laws by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). As a result, almost 1-in-4 Americans do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays, trailing far behind most of the rest of the world's rich nations.

The report, No-Vacation Nation Revisited, is a comprehensive review of the latest available data on international standards for paid vacation and paid holidays.

Workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days per year, with 25 and even 30 or more days in some countries. Canada and Japan guarantee at least 10 days of paid vacation per year. U.S. workers have no statutory right to paid vacations.

“The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,” said John Schmitt, senior economist and co-author of the report. “Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn’t worked.”

The gap between paid time off in the United States and the rest of the world is even larger when legal holidays are included. U.S. law does not guarantee any paid holidays, but most rich countries provide between 5 and 13 per year, in addition to paid vacation days.

The sum of the average paid vacation and paid holidays provided to U.S. workers in the private sector ― 16 in total ― would not meet even the minimum required by law in 19 other rich countries.

The lack of paid vacation and paid holidays in the United States is particularly acute for low-wage workers, part-time workers, and for employees of small businesses. Employees of small businesses in the United States are less likely to have any paid vacation (69 percent) than those in medium and large establishments (86 percent). Only 49 percent of low-wage workers (the bottom fourth of workers) have paid vacation, compared to 90 percent of high-wage workers. Part-time workers in the United States are far less likely to have paid vacations (35 percent) than are full-time workers (91 percent).

The new report revisits an analysis originally performed by CEPR researchers six years ago. Since the 2007 CEPR study, the United States has made up none of the gap with the rest of the major economies that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“It is striking that six years after we first looked at this topic absolutely nothing has changed. U.S. law and U.S. employer behavior still lags far behind the rest of the rich countries in the world,” said Schmitt.

New legislation introduced by Representative Alan Grayson (FL) would bring the United States closer to the paid leave standards of other advanced economies. Congressman Grayson’s bill would require employers to provide workers with at least one week of paid leave vacation annually. The bill (H.R. 2096) would be the first piece of federal legislation to provide vacation time under federal law. The legislation would also cover part-time workers who have been employed for one year and work at least 25 hours per week.

The authors of the report also found that several foreign countries offer additional time off for younger and older workers, shift workers, and those engaged in community service such as jury duty or for union duties, getting married, or moving.

The report reviewed the most recently available data from a range of national and international sources on statutory requirements for paid vacations and paid holidays in 21 rich countries (16 European countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States).


No-Vacation Nation Revisited | Reports

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rich People 'Rent' the Disabled to Skip Disney World Lines

They are 1 percenters who are 100 percent despicable.
Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World — by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front, The Post has learned.
Rich moms shamelessly hire disabled tour guides so their kids can cut long lines.
The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.

Rich People 'Rent' the Disabled to Skip Disney World Lines

Pope: Christians cannot kill in God’s name

To say that one can kill in God's name is blasphemy."

Johann Wagener 5-23-13

It's time for the neo-cons and bible thumpers to rewrite their playbook and heed the Pope's advice;

The idea that others cannot really be good and do good in the world creates "a wall that leads to war and to something that historically some people have thought: that we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that one can kill in God's name is blasphemy."

"The Lord has redeemed us all with the blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone," he said. Some may ask, "'Father, even the atheists?' Them, too. Everyone."

Pope: Christians can work with atheists, cannot kill in God’s name | National Catholic Reporter


Johann Wagener 5-23-13

If you can remember back to when you were a kid then you know how the game is played. We all close our eyes, count to 100 (during which time you find a place to hide) and then we come after you.

Well..........guess what? The EU is saying to the 1%, "peek-a-boo, we see you!"

MEPs urge EU to tackle tax havens and avoidance

The European parliament has urged EU member states to halve the €1 trillion taxation gap within the next eight years by tackling tax havens and improving tax collection.

MEPs this afternoon voted for a draft resolution, ahead of tomorrow’s EU summit in Brussels, calling on member states to allocate resources to prosecute tax evaders and recover lost assets.

The resolution also calls on members to suspend or revoke the banking licences of institutions and advisors who assist their customers in tax fraud.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU has built up a “toolbox” for tackling tax avoidance and fraud and “now we have to use it.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Median CEO pay rises to $9.7 million in 2012

Leech,or Bloodsucker?
Johann Wagener 5-22-13

Many CEO's are reminiscent of these bloodsucking annelid worms. Most leeches live in the sea. Some live in freshwater and others on land. These creatures have successfully  fooled people into believing that they are "special", endowed with mystical talents and require to be fed millions of dollars in order to perform functions that pale when compared to those that actually work for a living. .
Median CEO pay rises to $9.7 million in 2012

The head of a typical large public company made $9.7 million in 2012, a 6.5 percent increase from a year earlier that was aided by a rising stock market, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm.

Companies say they need to pay CEOs well so they can attract the best talent, and that this is ultimately in the interest of shareholders. But shareholder activists and some corporate governance experts say many CEOs are being paid far above what is reasonable or what their performance merits.

Pay for all U.S. workers rose 1.1 percent in 2010, 1.2 percent in 2011 and 1.6 percent last year - not enough to keep up with inflation. 

The median wage in the U.S. was about $39,900 in 2012, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Johann Wagener 5-21-13


Apple Inc. has used an elaborate web of offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes on $44 billion in foreign income over the past four years, a U.S. Senate investigation has found.
[A previous email alert sent by the Los Angeles Times incorrectly said Apple had avoided $44 billion in taxes.]
Many of the tactics, such as cost-sharing arrangements, are common among large multinational corporations seeking to shift profits to countries with lower tax rates. The investigation did not find that Apple violated any laws.
But Apple apparently has added its own innovation to skirting taxes – three of its subsidiaries in Ireland claim to have no responsibility to pay income taxes to any country, according to a 40-page, bipartisan report released today by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Read more; Apple to Congress: We do not use 'tax gimmicks' | ZDNet

Tell the World | 2013 Democracy Convention

Tell the World | 2013 Democracy Convention

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Johann Wagener 5-19-13

Here is another example of  how stupid our politicians think American voters are. You are being asked to believe that 501(c) 4 organizations are not "political" but educational charities. UH?

Just like Citizens United took the word "people" to new levels so does this take the word "charity" into the crazy zone.

6 Key Takeaways From the Stupidity and Reality of IRS 'Scandal'



Johann Wagener 5-19-13

Here's a course that the 1% ought to take because, as it turns out, those $50,000 Rolex clocks, $150,000
gas engines on 4 wheels, 7 bathrooms (one for each day of the week) and an elevator for that car doesn't guarantee everlasting happiness or a first class ticket to Heaven.

Changing how you spend as little as $5 can lead to measurable increases in your happiness.

(The following is an oped piece out of today's LA TIMES)

Buying happiness
Want contentment? Try taking a good hard look at how you spend your money.

By Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

 IMAGINE THAT YOU woke up tomorrow morning to discover $1 million under your mattress. Leaving aside the obvious lumpiness issue, take a moment to think: What would you do with that cash?
If you’re like many people, contemplating your newfound wealth would probably make you think about one thing above all else: yourself. A growing body of research shows that the mere whiff of money draws out our selfish sides, focusing us on what that money can do for us, and us alone. Perhaps you imagined buying a raft of new possessions: a faster car, a high-end gas grill with rear rotisserie or even a new house, with a fancy rain shower in your commodious bathroom.

It’s hard to imagine anything nicer than shampooing in your private tropical rain forest. But studies by a generation of behavioral scientists show that material goods often fail to deliver lasting happiness. Fortunately, our ongoing research offers a host of ways to wring more happiness out of every dollar you spend. And what’s more, you don’t need to be a millionaire to reap the benefits of happy money. Changing how you spend as little as $5 can lead to measurable increases in your happiness.
But making these changes requires challenging some of our fundamental assumptions about spending. It’s hard not to view buying a house — which most Americans continue to see as a central part of the American dream — as a sensible investment. But new research shows that purchasing a home buys very little happiness.

A study of women in the United States found that homeowners were no happier than renters, on average. And even if you’re currently living in a cramped basement suite, you may find that moving to a nicer home has surprisingly little impact on your overall happiness. Researchers followed thousands of people in Germany who moved to a new home because there was something they didn’t like about their old home. In the five years after relocating, the residents reported a significant increase in satisfaction with their housing, but their overall satisfaction with their lives didn’t budge.

So, diligently saving up for a down payment might not be such a good idea if it means skipping after-work beers withfriends or your annual Valentine’s Day celebration at a favorite restaurant.

And dozens of studies show that people get more happiness from buying experiences than from buying material things. Experiential purchases — such as trips, concerts and special meals — are more deeply connected to our sense of self, making us who we are. And while it’s anyone’s guess where the American housing market is headed, the value of experiences tends to grow over time, becoming rosier in the rearview mirror of memory.

And experiences come with one more benefit: They tend to bring us closer to other people, whereas material things are more often enjoyed alone. (We tend to watch our new television alone on the couch, but we rarely head to a wonderful restaurant or jet off to Thailand solo.) Decades of research point to the importance of social contact for improving mental and physical health.
So, doing things with other people makes a difference for happiness, and our research suggests that doing things for other people can provide an additional boost. In experiments we’ve conducted around the world, including in Canada, the United States, Uganda and South Africa, we find that people are happier if they spend money on others. And we’ve found that spending even just a few dollars on someone else provides more happiness than using the cash to treat yourself.

If experiences increase happiness and giving increases happiness, can we combine them to create the perfect happiness intervention? We tried this in a recent experiment, in which we handed out Starbucks gift cards on a university campus.

We told some people to head to Starbucks and buy something for themselves. We told others to pass their gift card along to someone else. And we told a third group of people to use the gift card to buy something for someone else — with the additional requirement that they actually hang out with that person at Starbucks.
Who was happiest? Those who treated someone else and shared in that experience with them. So the cost of increasing your happiness may be as cheap as two cups of coffee.

Taken together, the new science of spending points to a surprising conclusion: How we use our money may matter as much or more than how much of it we’ve got. Which means that rather than waiting to see whether you find $1million under your mattress tomorrow, you can make yourself happier today. Switching your spending to buying experiences — for both yourself and others — can lead to more happiness than even the most amazingly Amazonian rain shower.

ELIZABETH DUNN and MICHAEL NORTON are the authors of “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.”

Monday, May 13, 2013


9/11 vs BENGAZI
Johann Wagener 5-12-13

Politicians are either the dumbest people on the planet or they believe that the American people are.

Obama haters are huffing and puffing about an incident that is one of many that have occurred throughout the world in which Americans were attacked and lost their lives. A good number of these attacks were unforeseen and, though things might have been done differently, chances are the results would have been the same.

For politicians or other critics of the Obama administration to draw comparisons to any of these incidents to 9/11 (short of Pearl Harbor)  is idiotic at best and crazy at worst.

The first thing these uninformed crazies should do is "read" a little history and do a little "math" both of which one would assume they are capable of doing;

9/11 attack on US soil left 2,960 (mostly Americans) dead.LARGEST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE PEARL HARBOR

When did we know?  2 months or more before the attack BUSH IGNORES WARNING MEMO

Who knew? Every security agency all the way up to Bush himself. A DISASTER IN THE MAKING

Benghazi attack on foreign soil (Libya) 4 Americans killed. NO COMPARISON TO 9/11

When did we know? The day it happened! NOTHING IS BEING HIDDEN

Who knew? The Secretary of State at 10PM on the day of the attack. BENGHAZI ATTACK TIMELINE

This reads like Don Quixote with Republicans chasing windmills rather than doing the business of the people which is what they get paid to do. Unfortunately these are also the same people who were on watch on 9/11.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Johann Wagener 5-10-13

Rather than jail the criminals we sue the company for money that should go to investors and services.

The suit alleges that Chase engaged in widespread, illegal robo-signing, among other unlawful practices, to commit debt-collection abuses against approximately 100,000 California credit card borrowers over at least a three-year period.

“Chase abused the judicial process and engaged in serious misconduct against California credit card borrowers,” Attorney General Harris said. “This enforcement action seeks to hold Chase accountable for systematically using illegal tactics to flood California’s courts with specious lawsuits against consumers. My office will demand a permanent halt to these practices and redress for borrowers who have been harmed.”

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Suit Against JPMorgan Chase for Fraudulent and Unlawful Debt-Collection Practices | State of California - Department of Justice - Kamala D. Harris Attorney General

Friday, May 10, 2013



Johann Wagener 5-10-13

This pope is a rebel with a cause: to alleviate the suffering of the other 1%, those at the lowest rung of society. It's a mission somehow radical and conservative at the same time. Giving the poor a better lot in life, a foundational principle of Christian faiths, has been drowned out by the din of the culture wars. It brings to mind that quote attributed to Gandhi:

"I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

With a reformist pope, things are changing and already, the humbuggery about "family values" has given way to a real issue. Francis is focusing on poverty, which, like death and taxes, is a scourge that will always be with us. By being complacent, we're being complicit, and Pope Francis knows this.

Consider a recent kerfuffle over a statue of a homeless Jesus, which was rejected by the dioceses of New York and Toronto. The sculpture is of a hooded figure asleep on a park bench, his identity only revealed by the stigmata on his bare feet. Maybe the cardinals considered it too uncomfortable a reminder of their own languishing homeless – which I imagine was exactly the point. Francis should put that thing in St Peter's Square.

He even sent a message to "THE UNBELIEVERS" giving a kind word for atheists, calling them allies to "defend the dignity of man", fellow seekers of truth, goodness and beauty.

Pope Francis: a leader for believers and atheists alike


The Fall of the 1%
Johann Wagener 5-10-13

They can run but there's fewer places to hide. What good is having all the money in the world and no place to spend it without being scorned?

You are not going to read about this or hear it on cable news in the USA because the people who own the media are the same people who are being called out; along with all those who pander to them.

The U.S., British and Australian authorities are working with a gigantic cache of leaked data that may be the beginnings of one of the largest tax investigations in history.
The secret records are believed to include those obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that lay bare the individuals behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, Singapore and other offshore hideaways.
The hoard of documents obtained by ICIJ represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever gathered by a media organization.
But the British tax authority claims it has even more data.
The total size of the ICIJ files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010.
A statement from the British tax office puts the size of the data obtained by the three tax authorities at 400 gigabytes, compared to the 260 gigabytes gathered by the ICIJ.
“The 400 gigabytes of data is still being analyzed but early results show the use of companies and trusts in a number of territories around the world including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands,” the British tax office statement said.
“The data also exposes information that may be shared with other tax administrations as part of the global fight against tax evasion.”

Tax Authorities Move on Leaked Offshore Documents

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Guardian Angels Do Exist
Johann Wagener 5-7-13

CATHEDRAL CITY - Monday night a service dog is presumed stolen as he would never leave his owner's side. Missing Service Dog lost in Cathedral City -

Dominic Cumo is a nine year old boy diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. His companion, Kipper, and medical dog of three years went missing at 7:30 p.m. on Avenida Juarez in Cathedral City. Kipper has saved Dominic's life three times.

A police report was filed and police went door to door in the neighborhood looking for Kipper. Kipper is blind in one eye and is a white Shih-tzu with clipped short hair.

Here is a link to Dominic's facebook page with more photos of Kipper.


Sunday, May 5, 2013


Johann Wagener 5-5-13

What is child endangerment?

Child endangerment is the act of causing any harm to the child’s well being mentally and/or physically. Examples of child endangerment include the use of drugs where a child lives, handguns not locked-up and left within the reach of children, being exposed to unsafe environments can all be considered child endangerment.

Adults that give children under 18 liquor or cigarettes are guilty of a criminal act of abuse.

Children under 15 can not drive an automobile

Children under 18 are not allowed to see R-rated movies and children under 13 can not see PG-13 rated movies.

Pornography showing children under 18 is illegal.

And yet manufacturing, marketing, and selling guns and ammunition that are made for children as young as 4 years old is legal and parents or other adults are legally allowed to give these weapons to children.

A single bullet to the chest killed the 2-year-old Kentucky girl shot by her 5-year-old brother clutching a “My First Rifle” — a tragic accident that could lead to charges.

Kristian Sparks shot his sister, Caroline, with a .22-caliber rifle around 1 p.m. Tuesday inside the family’s mobile home in rural Burkesville, Cumberland County. Their mother, Stephanie Sparks, was outside on the porch pouring grease out of a frying pan when she heard the gun go off, Kentucky State Police said.

Cumberland County resident Jeff Booher, 53, said learning how to use a gun is a rite of passage for many children who live in this area of southern Kentucky near the Tennessee border.

Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said the family had not realized a shell was left inside the gun, which was kept in a corner of the house.

The pair's mom was at home when the shot was fired, he added.

Revealing the shooting would be ruled accidental, White added: "It's just one of those crazy accidents."

Read more: Kentucky girl, 2, fatally shot in chest by 5-year-old brother: police

Video; Crickett rifles from the “My First Rifle" collection for kids on the website of Keystone Sporting Arms

Video; It's just one of those crazy accidents."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Meet the A in NRA

It should come as no surprise than an organization hell bent on killing would select such an "A-hole" to lead them. 

It also should come as no surprise that these lunatics would convene a gathering in the hell hole we call Texas where people are so naive they actually believe the BS that gets spewed by a bunch of wing nuts that sound like they have just escaped from an asylum.

Maybe secession is not such a bad idea after all. 

Here's what the media should know about Porter, a conspiracy theorist who calls the Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression" and represents more of the same for the organization:

Five Things to Know About the NRA's New President

Friday, May 3, 2013

‘just one of those crazy accidents.’

  THE ASYLUM: For the care of people, especially those with physical or mental impairments, who require organized supervision or assistance. 

Kentucky girl, 2, shot dead by brother, 5, who was playing with gun he'd been given as a gift 
Johann Wagener 5-3-13

                                                                    ACCIDENT? NO!

Any society that condones the manufacturing and sale of guns specifically made for children is sorely lacking in both common sense and morals. Clearly the issue of parental responsibility is at the center of this tragedy. But against the backdrop of the Newtown massacre and ongoing national debate over regulating firearms, it also points back to the big business of guns—including how the industry profits from products aimed at children.
The Pennsylvania-based maker of Crickett rifles, Keystone Sporting Arms, markets its guns with the slogan "My First Rifle." They are available with different barrel and stock designs, including some made in hot pink to appeal to young girls.


Any parent in their right state of mind would not give 5 yr. old a rifle; especially a loaded one, to play with. 
Kentucky girl, 2, shot dead by brother, 5, who was playing with gun he'd been given as a gift 
Any coroner in their right state of mind would not rule that the killing of a 2 year old child at the hand of this 5yr old was just a “crazy accident” when it was without a doubt a terrible case of child abuse and endangerment.


Caroline Sparks, 2, was killed after being shot by her 5-year-old sibling with his own .22 caliber rifle. The county coroner has ruled the death ‘just one of those crazy accidents.’


Sarah Palin and the NRA would like you to believe that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of 5 year old children to own guns.  For those that agree you should consider a padded cell next to Sarah’s.


Read more; Here's How the Rifle That Just Killed a 2-Year-Old Girl Is Marketed for Kids