Friday, August 30, 2013


Johann Wagener 8-30-13

American capitalism is about making money and the medical profession is not immune. Their credo was "do no harm" and is now "make a profit."

So, it should come as no surprise that money is the motivating factor when it comes to performing C-sections rather than letting mothers go full term.

Money May Be Motivating Doctors To Do More C-Sections : NPR

Obstetricians perform more cesarean sections when there are financial incentives to do so, according to a new study that explores links between economic incentives and medical decision-making during childbirth.

About 1 in 3 babies born today is delivered via C-section, compared to 1 in 5 babies delivered via the surgical procedure in 1996. During the same time period, the annual medical costs of childbirth in the U.S. have grown by $3 billion annually. There are significant variations in the rate of cesarean deliveries in different parts of the country — in Louisiana, for example, the C-section rate is nearly twice as high as in Alaska.


Johann Wagener 8-30-13

Only in America would a tax dodger brag about ripping off their country and calling it just good old Capitalism.

Google avoided $2bn tax by funnelling profits through Bermunda - Telegraph

The American internet giant, whose company motto is “Don’t be Evil”, swept $9.8bn of revenues from international subsidiaries into Bermuda last year. The figure, which is equates to around 80pc of its total pre-tax profits, is nearly twice as big as it was three years ago, according to Bloomberg.

If a good old average American taxpayer were to take what's owed in taxes and ship it off to Bermuda they would find themselves being shipped off to jail and branded a tax dodger not praised as a patriotic capitalist. 

So, please, tell me how this works. How come it's different for the Scmidts (Google) of this world than it is for the rest of us poor working slobs? Oh! I think I know! I just remembered who wrote the tax code.

What responsible capitalism is all about

A choice between an "irresponsible capitalism" which sees huge gaps between the richest and the poorest, power concentrated in a few hands, and people are just in it for the fast buck whatever the consequences.
And a "responsible capitalism", and this is an agenda being led by business, where companies pursues profit but we also have a equal society, power is in the hands of the many and where we recognise our responsibilities to each other.


Johann Wagener 8-30-13

We like to think we have come a long way from those days when we lived in caves, wore animal skins, carried clubs and sticks, killing and eating whatever we could and roaming this terra forma we call earth looking for ways to survive. We were know as cavemen back then and now seen as primitive creatures with very little to brag about.

So how far have we come? And how much have we evolved? 

A little reflection will reveal that we have actually have regressed and become more primitive than our ancestors. Not on the outside; well at least not all of us. We have turned in the animal skins for droopy jeans and baggy shirts. We've shaved, waxed, or quaffed the body hairs and sprayed away most of the smell, but underneath it all we are much darker and brutal at heart than our primitive ancestors. 

Rather than killing to survive we kill to entertain ourselves. We devote countless hours and billion of dollars to creating and participating in savage-like rituals that satiate our lust for blood and brutally maim or kill others of our kind in the process.

The recent NFL pay-off of almost a $1 Billion (which is chump change in a $10 Billion industry) to avoid having to disclose all the dirty little secrets about how these sharp/slick "business people" effectively dupe young and not so bright kids into playing "gladiator" and hiding the truth about the price they will pay; with both their health and sometimes lives.

How can we say that a society that condones and endorses this barbaric behavior has progressed from those days when we lived in caves? That's something to think about before sitting down with your friends, family, and especially the kids, to stare at a 50" HDTV spectacle where full grown men chase each other up and down a field mutilating and battering each other over a piece of pig skin. Really? Is there anything better you could do with your time?

You can bet that those people that rake in all that cash hope you don't wise up any time soon.

Explaining the N.F.L. Settlement

The size and scope of the proposed $765 million settlement between the N.F.L. and the more than 4,500 retired players who sued the league, claiming it had hid information about the dangers of head trauma, are likely to be debated. But, as in other such deals, each side had ample reason to compromise.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Johann Wagener 8-28-13

Imagine that! Fast food employees are asking for a raise! No! Not the CEO; his pay tripled without even having to ask:

NEW YORK — McDonald's Corp. more than tripled the pay packages last year for its new CEO Don Thompson and the man he replaced, Jim Skinner.
The pay increases came at a challenging time for the world's biggest hamburger chain. McDonald's is facing intensifying competition, a trend toward healthier eating and weak economic conditions in many countries where it operates.
McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., gave Thompson a package worth $13.8 million, up from the $4.1 million he received in 2011, according to a regulatory filing made Friday.
Skinner's pay meanwhile rose to $27.7 million from $8.8 million the year before, reflecting a $10.2 million payment as part of his retirement under his contract agreement.
We are talking about the people who actually do the work that makes Mac Donald's what is. Without the "working" people  Mac Donald's would be nothing more than a set of Golden Arches with a clown under them. Yet the CEO claims that giving the heart of the company a raise would cut into profits; and it's profits before people, of course. So, here's a novel idea. 
How about the CEO (and all those other VIPS who they claim are too big to lose, take a pay cut? Instead of giving one man a $19 million pay raise how about dividing it up among (guess who)?

McDonald's Server Would Have To Work 550 Years To Earn CEO's Pay

In a stirring Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, Leslie Patton tells the story of one McDonald's employee. His name is Tyree Johnson. The 44-year-old has worked at the fast food chain for two decades, yet still makes just $8.25 an hour, and doesn't get 40 hours a week of work. So Johnson has jobs at two Chicago McDonald's, scrubbing himself down in the bathroom between shifts, because he may be denied a raise if he smells bad. Twice a month he goes to church food pantries to stock up on cereal, soup and powdered milk.

Johnson would have to work for 1.1 million hours to earn the $8.8 million that McDonald's CEO James Skinner was paid last year. If he worked for 40 hours a week, every week of the year, that would take five centuries. 

And the same goes for the rest of these slick cons who skim off most of the profits for themselves rather than sharing them with the folks that made it for them;

Retail And Fast Food: Fast-Growing Industries 
Opportunity is bright, profits are soaring, and the jobs are horribly paid. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail sales employed 4.5 million Americans in 2010, and fast food restaurants employed 2.1 million. The annual salaries for these jobs are $20,990 and $18,070, respectively. And these are no longer part-time jobs for teenagers; the vast majority of workers are in their 20s and older, and many of them are raising families.

Employers Are Organized To Keep Wages Low
The service industry, unlike manufacturing, has very little history of its workers organizing to demand better pay or hours. Restaurant chains, on the other hand, are very organized at keeping pay down. As Patton points out, restaurant chains and their franchisees spent at least $960,000 to fight minimum-wage increases in six states in 2006.

Income Inequality Widens
Between 1978 and 2011, worker compensation grew by 5.7 percent, according to an analysisby the the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank that advocates for lower-wage workers. In the same period, CEO compensation ballooned by 725 percent.

Below is a list of 11 of the biggest fast food and retail chains, along with how long an average low-level employee would need to work to make the amount his or her CEO took home last year. It seems the annual worth of one CEO is now equal to many other human beings' lifetimes.

CEO compensation data are from the companies' most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Average employee salaries are from The number of years it would take an employee to earn the CEO's compensation is based on working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. 

CEO Nigel Travis' total compensation: $2.0 million
Crew member: $7.83 an hour
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 250,000 hours or 120 years

CEO John Schnatter's total compensation: $2.7 million.
Average delivery driver salary: $7.19 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 382,000 hours or 184 years.

CEO Richard Dreiling's total compensation: $3,832,000.
Average sales associate salary: $7.62 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 503,000 hours or 242 years.

CEO Brian Dunn's total compensation: $7.1 million.
Average sales associate salary: $9.73 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 730,000 hours or 350 years.

CEO Francis Blake's total compensation: $10.8 million.
Average sales associate salary: $11.47.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 941,000 hours or 452 years.
CEO James Skinner's total compensation: $8.8 million.
Average crew member salary: $7.65 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 1.1 million hours or 550 years.
CEO Larry Merlo's: $11.4.
Average cashier salary: $8.86 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 1.3 million hours or 619 years.

CEO Michael Duke's total compensation: $18.1 million.
Average sales associate salary: $8.84 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.1 million hours or 986 years.
CEO Roland Smith's total compensation: $16.5 million.
Average crew member salary: $7.66 an hour.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.2 million hours or 1038 years.
CEO Gregg Steinhafel's total compensation: $19.7 million..
Sales floor team member: $8.29.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.4 million hours or 1,143 years.
CEO David Novak's total compensation: $20.4 million.
Average KFC / Pizza Hut / Taco Bell crew member: $7.50.
How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.7 million hours or 1,308 years.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


#2: Less income for the middle class

Partly as a result of lower pay, the middle class’s share of the nation’s total income has been falling. In 1980, the middle 60 percent of households accounted for 51.7 of the country’s income. By 2011, they were less than half. Meanwhile, the top fifth of households saw their slice of the national income grow 16 percent, to 51.1 percent from 44.1 percent.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Some Filthy Facts About the Rich

One Nation Underfoot.

Those with this wealth create policy and that policy benefits the elite at whatever cost to the rest of us.

The media with which we are inundated, the institutions upon which we rely and even the very food we eat are part of a system that exists solely to profit the few. Dissidents are not tolerated by the machine, whether they take the form of “radical” voices which are easily drowned out or rogue whistleblowers whom must be crushed.

Some Filthy Facts About the Rich

Men, Sex, and Aging

Johann Wagener 8-26-13

Face facts fellows. You're not a teenager anymore. A time when erections could almost be thought of as a 3rd leg. Always there, at the ready. Then you became a "man" and many of you learned how to reign in the 3rd member and use some discretion about when an where to unleash it. In those days it seemed like you could go on forever with very little effort on your part; until the day comes when it becomes an effort. You find yourself not waking up to the "tent" in the morning. You sadly discover that it takes more energy (and imagination) to get the blood (and the passion) flowing and that's when you come face to face with what some call "the winter of discontent" aging!

That's right fella's! You're aging and with that comes a long list of changes that you will need to confront and either learn to accept and live a happy and fulfilling life, or spend the remaining days of your existence frantically looking for ways to avoid or reverse what Mother Nature endowed you with. Unfortunately many of you will end up doing the latter, thanks to Big Pharma and the marketing and sales team made up of an army of "medical experts" who work tirelessly at convincing you that, something perfectly normal and part of the aging process is some sort of horrific "dysfunction" that you must avoid at all costs (which will be plenty) both financial and emotional in order to do what? Have intercourse? Masturbate to an old issue of Playboy or Penthouse? Satisfy your partner (I doubt it)?

If you don't know it, there's a perfectly natural and logical reason why the flames of passion begin to flicker and you begin to soften as you age. I'm not going to go into it here, but if you want you can read about it here; it's called REPRODUCTION. I don't want to be a party pooper but after you glean out all the Madison Avenue/Big Pharma hype, that's basically what sex boils down to. If you can think back when you were in your prime I'm sure you would agree that back in those days you thought men in their 60' and 70's where just a bunch of horny old lechers trying to cut in on your action. Well, guess what? The shoes are now on your feet and there's nothing that Viagra or Testim is going to do to change that harsh reality. Not even those young trophy wives that those that can afford them like to parade around with.

So, my suggestion is this; grow up fella's. There's a lot more to life than 4 hour erections that no one wants to see or contend with. And, when those "medical experts" come at you with advice like in the following article that begins with usual Big Pharma sponsored big lie;

Guys, it’s a fact of life that as you get older, certain physical changes can impact your performance in the bedroom. You may find yourself thinking about sex less often, your erections may not be as robust, and you may not get turned on as easily as you did when you were younger.

The good news is that there are solutions to your sexual health worries. Here’s a look at common concerns and ways to restore your sex life 
Men, Sex, and Aging

Quote the following;

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Johann Wagener 8-25-13

The "Donald's" secret to getting rich is not a secret anymore. All you need to learn is how to screw people.

(Reuters) - New York state's attorney general said on Sunday he has filed a $40 million lawsuit against Donald Trump and his for-profit investment school, accusing them of engaging in illegal business practices.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleged that the real estate mogul, a former executive and the Trump Entrepreneur Institute - called Trump University until 2010 - made false claims about classes at the school, including that Trump handpicked instructors.

"No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard-working New Yorkers," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Donald Trump investment school sued by NY attorney general


Johann Wagener 8-25-13

The Oprah's of this world should "stop and think" about how to put their wealth to good use. $75,000 wrist watches or $38,000 purses don't accomplish much when it comes to making our world a better place. One $50 million dollar wacko-mansion with so many bathrooms you could easily forget which one you used last could be better spent building an orphanage or recovery center for people that would be very happy with just one bathroom.

Replace wristwatches and purses with classrooms and desks and, who knows, you might discover that  helping the human race (of which you are a member)  is a much better way to spend your money.

Start here: How Many Children Do Not Have Access to a Classroom?


Johann Wagener 8-25-13

Sounds nice! Just like justice for all, or pursuit of happiness but rings hollow in a society that is built on a pyramid scheme. Where the few on the top live off the many on the bottom.

Those at the top think nothing about buying a $75,000 wrist watch while someone on the bottom needs to feed, clothe, and house a family of 4 for a year on half that much. There's something terribly wrong in a society where 1% of the population devours and hoards 45% of what that society as a whole produces.

Only a fool or someone living in a dream world would consider that to be a definition of "equality."

We'd All Be Much Wealthier If We Acted Like a Society—Instead We Prop Up the Private Wealth of a Small Number of Elites

Saturday, August 24, 2013


#1: Wages are down

Middle class incomes have shrunk 8.5 percent since 2000, after enjoying mostly steady growth during the previous decade. In 2011, the average income for the middle 60 percent of households stood at $53,042, down from $58,009 at the start of the millennium.


Johann Wagener 8-24-13

Rush is nothing more than a Blubbery-Pillpopping-Blowhard who's bankrolled by the the Cock (spelling intentional) Bro's cartel to act as a "sh-t magnet" in attracting the dimwits (of which there is an abundance of in these United States) to keep them dumb, ill-informed,  and in line in fear that if they wised up the game would be over.

Limbaugh is astute at waving a flag in one hand while at the same time holds a gun in the other and spews on about taking down the country the flag represents. How dumb is that? Yet it sells well and is effective in keeping the heat off the 1% crowd who continue to pull of the greatest Ponzi scheme in history.

The following op-ed was a compassionate piece about a slightly disillusioned old man who was able to open himself up to what really matters in our short time on the planet. He, in a sense, was saved and enlightened before the end came, and I commend him for that.

Read it here: Dad, Rush Limbaugh and me

Then came the blow-back in today's Op-ed section of the LA Times which surprisingly brought some thinkers in addition to the "walking dead" Rushies.

Read it here: BLOW BACK 

What this tells me is that there is hope. That, in the end (or near there) we can redeem ourselves by realizing that yes indeed, there is a God (and those we hold close to our hearts) and He loves us enough to forgive us for following folks like Limbaugh down the path of doom and gloom. That even goes for Rush, if he's smart enough to get it.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Johann Wagener 8-22-13

Waking up from a really pleasant dream is a real downer which is exactly what happened when the "American Dream" bubble popped and we woke up to the "Great Recession."

Not that everything was ever peachy-keen mind you. Your home was never actually worth what you borrowed against it by using it as an ATM machine to buy up piles of made-in-china junk that you really had no need for (just wanted it) and would break or wear out long before you ever got used to it. Americans became nothing more than recycling junkies; trapped in a never ending cycle of "shop till you drop."

As the now infamous GWB boldly proclaimed after the 9/11 horror, "forget the past; take a break; go out and shop."

Updated September 14, 2010

One of the most persistent claims about George W. Bush's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is that he urged Americans to simply "go shopping" as the nation headed into war.

"Bush did nothing to mobilize public opinion to accept the sacrifices that war implies - the first thing a leader would do," Ronald Spiers, a retired American diplomat, alleged in a 2003 op-ed in The New York Times.

"Tax cuts could go ahead as planned, and energy saving was dismissed out of hand. 'Go shopping' was the administration's message."

Now, 4 years after the great recession supposedly ended, the dream has turned into a nightmare. The American family is drowning in debt....has little or no savings in the bank........retirement is something one can only dream of.....and the best most can do is tred water. But, by golly, we still shop! Neiman Marcus has been replaced with Walmart. Abercrombie & Fitch? No, J.C. Penny.

Not to worry however. The "dreamweavers"  that make up the 1% who created the last disaster are busily whipping up another one of their famous BS salads, counting on our short memory spans and our desperation to escape reality. So, go back to sleep folks. Next year will be better. That $52,098 yearly income (which would by you a low end Rolex) might get back to what you were bringing in 2007 when the Great Recession began.

Household income has dropped 4.4% since recession ended

American households are earning 4.4% less, when adjusted for inflation, than they were when the economic recovery began four years ago, according to a recent report by Sentier Research.

In June, the median income clocked in at $52,098, down from the $54,478 earned in June 2009. That drop is even more drastic when compared against the average income of $55,480 that households earned in December 2007, when the recession began.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why get off welfare?

Johann Wagener 8-22-13

In the following op-ed piece a guy named Tanner points out that poor people are not stupid and then goes about selling them on a stupid notion that welfare recipients make too much money which is why they are not motivated to work at "slave labor" wages like those doled out by the Walmarts of this world. The Waltons, by the way, are one of the richest families in the US and they go there on the backs of those that work for those "slave labor" wages they pay.

Rather than increasing wages Mr Tanner wants to cut welfare; a complete reversal of what would be the common sense and moral thing to do. What Tanner and those who think like him should do is take a month or two and go on welfare and then work at a Walmart, or MacDonalds for a few months, and then come back to their cushy jobs and take another jab at the problem. Maybe that would wise them up a little.

Why get off welfare?

By Michael D. Tanner
August 22, 2013
Contrary to stereotypes, there is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy. Indeed, surveys of welfare recipients consistently show their desire for a job. But there is also evidence that many are reluctant to accept available employment opportunities. Despite work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reform, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says less than 42% of adult welfare recipients participate in work activities nationwide. Why the contradiction?

Perhaps it's because, while poor people are not lazy, they are not stupid either. If you pay people more not to work than they can earn at a job, many won't work.

As a result, if Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions and narrowing the definition of work. Moreover, states should shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.

Michael D. Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of "The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is the American dream dead?

Johann Wagener 8-21-13

Dreams don't die; really. Since they only exist somewhere in that blob of grey matter between your ears, they just disappear when you wake up. What is happening now is that many more Americans are waking up and staring right into the stark and painful reality that many of us so desperately work at avoiding; using drugs, booze, sex or anything else those that operate the "dream-weaving" machine dole out.  Sort of like leaving Disneyland, walking through an ocean of cars, jumping into yours and getting freeway ramp; a place where being wide awake and alert is a must and tuning out to reality needs to be put on hold at least until you get home where you can safely distract yourself once more and join ranks with the "walking dead".

Two American Families – FRONTLINE

It’s a central premise of the American dream: If you’re willing to work hard, you’ll be able to make a living and build a better life for your children.

But what if working hard isn’t enough to ensure success—or even the basics of daily life?

FRONTLINE and Bill Moyers explore that question tonight in Two American Families, a special 90-minute documentary that was more than two decades in the making—and that The New Yorker says "will take its place among the central documents of our time."

In Two American Families, Moyers revisits the Neumanns and Stanleys, whom we first met in his 1992 PBS documentary Minimum Wages: The New Economy. Back then, the breadwinners in both families had just been laid off from well-paying factory jobs after corporate downsizing.

With poignant and revealing intimacy, Two American Families chronicles the Neumanns' and Stanleys' struggles from 1992 up through the present as they try to hold onto their homes, their jobs and a future for their children.

Where are they now? Have their efforts paid off? And what does their story say about the fate of the middle class in the new American economy?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Johann Wagener 8-20-13

Getting the news; I mean real news, is not easy. The closest one can come to getting it is on PBS or NPR both publicly funded entities and not beholden to advertisers and those shadow-people called "investors."

Then there's the BBC who is the British version of our PBS that does an admirable job in sticking to what's going on in the world.

Then comes the "media circus" we call news media  who parade an unending army of "pundits'  around the circuit to hype whatever cause that particular network panders to. The left and the right use the same game card so neither is considered an actual "news" outlet and fall far behind even faux news shows like Colbert and Stewart when it comes to delivering rational, sensible information. They are consistent in filling the 24/7 cable void with an onslaught of one hour circus acts that only serve to dilute the news into a giant steaming pile of BS.
It's a rage fest of uninformed but sadly opinionated clowns ranting about nothing newsworthy desperately trying to fill the 24/7 void to keep their jobs. Journalism? No. Cronism? Yes.

Now comes "AL-J" as I call it and I'm wondering who's camp are they going to join? That's left to be seen of course, but my guess is that they will be a far cry from the cable circus crowd but not exactly a clone of the "public" outlets.

The unknown is who will view and support a Qatar funded  news organization. You can bet your granny's panties that the "flag wavers" will launch their attack and there's no way the "Fox-Zombies" would ever tune in to anything that threatens their fantasy world. So that leaves about 50% of the American viewing audience to decide if they are intelligent and concerned enough to look at the world through clearer glasses. And, AL-J to deliver as promised.

Al Jazeera America launches, but will Americans watch?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A $38,000.00 Purse?

Queen Oprah
Johann Wagener 8-10-13

Why would anyone in their right mind want to pay $38,000 for a purse? It seems that the richer people get, the crazier they behave.

How does their mind work? Let's see, I've got $38,000 here. What should I do with it? Help some kids who don't have enough to eat? Donate it to a cancer research fund? Help some old folks pay for their medical expenses? Hey! I got a better idea!  I'm going to buy a purse!

Oprah handbag worth $38 000


Johann Wagener 8-10-13

An article in the LA Times quotes the founder of a sex addiction clinic where Filner is alleged to have been treated, as “helping people regain their integrity”.

If that’s true, then they have failed miserably in helping Filner. For one to have integrity, requires one to also have humility, empathy, respect, and dignity; none of which Filner expresses if he continues to hold on to power.

The sexual assaults are just one of the many ways a “power junkie” feeds a “supersized” bloated Ego. The addiction isn't in sex, but power and, in his case, an adolescent way of wielding it. If he truly wants to heal he first needs to “surrender”  (as they teach in the Recovery movement) and humbly ask for help rather than control his disease and play at getting better. Then, and only then, can recovery begin.

Going away for a few weeks to a place he chose is nothing more than another arrogant act of defiance and contradicts it's intent. One would have to be an idiot (or a practicing addict themselves) to buy into this guys manipulations. He's been at it for years and no one has a "2 week" cure for what he suffers from. 

Hanging on to his power based position as mayor of San Diego is like an alcoholic hanging on to a bottle of his favorite booze, or a coke-head hanging his spoon around their neck in a gesture of defiance against the laws of recovery.

Sorry mayor, it doesn't work that way. 

Mayor Filner to complete 'voluntary' therapy earlier than anticipated