Thursday, October 31, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-31-13

Issue passports to all those who whine about life in this socialist country run by a Muslim and send them packing in 4WD Hummers; guns and all, to their land of promises that will never be kept. Not if Ayn Rand  rules the day.

According to PRRI, a room full of libertarians would be overwhemingly young, male and white. “Nearly all libertarians are non-Hispanic whites (94 percent), more than two-thirds (68 percent) are men, and more than six in 10 (62 percent) are under the age of 50,” they report. Libertarians tend to be WASPs—white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (27 percent)—or religious agnostics (27 percent), but a few are Catholic (11 percent) and amazingly “no libertarians identify as black Protestant,” PRRI said, without offering an explanation.

It would one thing to dismiss libertarians as a fringe movement, as “only 12 percent of self-identified Republicans are libertarians, compared to 20 percent of Republicans who identify with the Tea Party, [or] 33 percent who identify with the religious right.” But with benefactors such as the Koch brothers channeling more than $250 million into the 2012 election for campaigns targeting Democrats and unions—and continuing today by leading attacks on Obamacare and trying todiscredit climate change—it is important to know what they believe and how they differ from others on the Right.


Johann Wagener 10-31-13

Since I was a teenager with an eye for girls I've always been cautious about going out with the "made up" ladies for fear of waking up the next morning in bed with someone you don't recognize and wish you hadn't met.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


“Money has to serve, not to rule.”
Johann Wagener 10-29-13

Two leaders of approximately 3 billion people are troubled about the moral decline and obsession with money around the globe.

The Roman Catholic Church hasn’t found usually much common ground in its icy relationship with China and its Communist Party rulers, but are the two secretive institutions moving, albeit unwittingly, closer together? Recent comments by Pope Francis and officials close to Chinese president Xi Jinping that decry the abandonment of moral traditions for the unbridled pursuit of wealth sound eerily similar.
Xi “is troubled by what he sees as the country’s moral decline and obsession with money,” three sources with ties to China’s leadership told Reuters on Sunday, and he hopes the “traditional cultures” of China’s three largest faiths—Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism—”will help fill a void that has allowed corruption to flourish.”
Similarly, Pope Francis made headlines last week by lashing out at “an economic system which has at its center an idol called money,” and called for “financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone.” He concluded: “Money has to serve, not to rule.”


Affordable CARE!
Johann Wagener 10-29-13

This is absurd! Why should our younger generation be forced to contribute to their own care and, God forbid, the care of the previous generation? This is outright unconstitutional and against God's laws!

That's the position Republicans would like Americans to take when it comes to everyone chipping in to provide healthcare to everyone; especially the old (which would include their parents if they weren't hatched) the ill, and the poor. Even the most primitive societies (including the Cavemen) cared for their own.

Yet, in the greatest society ever known to man, we find it difficult or unacceptable to simply be "caring" for those who are either unable to care for themselves  or are passing on the mantle of responsibility to this new generation; and which, by the way they are getting their health "care" from until age 26 under the Affordable Health "CARE" law.

Republicans react to "caring" like vampires to daylight. They literally implode when somebody suggests services like healthcare, social security, medicare, food stamps, as if they were spawned from the depths of Hell.

Let's hope for our sake, and those of our grandparents, parents, and children, that we don't get "bitten."

So here’s the question: Are enough of those relatively affluent young invincibles going to pay $150 or more a month for insurance rather than pay their ordinary expenses out of pocket andhope they don’t have a medical bill that drives them into bankruptcy? They aren’t doing so now, and Obamacare is probably a slightly worse deal for them financially than the insurance they’re not buying. Young invincibles seem to think that insurance should cost less than their mobile-phone contract and substantially less than their car payment.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-28-13

Definition of 'Affluenza' A social condition arising from the desire to be more wealthy, successful or to "keep up with the Joneses". Affluenza is symptomatic of a culture that holds up financial success as one of the highest achievements. People said to be affected by affluenza typically find that the very economic success they have been so vigorously chasing ends up leaving them feeling unfulfilled, and wishing for yet more wealth.

The idea of the world's wealthy 1% is still a powerful one – and graphics like the pyramid below demonstrate that stark contrast between the few and the many.

32m individuals (just 0.7% of the world's population) together hold US$98.7tn (or £62,000,0000,000,000, which represents 41% of global wealth).

At the other extreme, there are 3.2bn individuals at the bottom of the pyramid. Together they have 3% of global riches, despite representing 68.7% of the world population.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-27-13

Looks like the King James version of the Bible is beginning to create problems for Wall Street, so, guess what, they are releasing a new version that will better suit their purpose. Here's what the Wall Street Prophet has to say;

Most people know Sean Hyman from his regular appearances on Fox Business, CNBC, and Bloomberg Television, but what they don’t know is that Sean is a former pastor, and that his secret to investing is woven within the Bible.

Sean was a Christian (anyone who spends more than 1 minute with him will pick that up!). However, people usually keep their faith separate from things like . . . investing.

But not Sean.

For Sean, the Bible is his FOUNDATION for investing.

He explains how there is actually a “Biblical Money Code” woven into Scripture.

Sean says it is this Biblical Money Code that took him from making a mere $15,000 a year to now giving away up to $50,000 a year. Sean also credits this code with helping him turn his father’s $40,000 retirement account into $396,000.

Certain investment titans, Sean says, such as Warren Buffett and John Templeton, have already used this code to amass billions.

 Here's how Wall Streets Bible compares to the Catholic or King James versions;

 Pope Francis made headlines last week by lashing out at “an economic system which has at its center an idol called money,” and called for “financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone.” He concluded: “Money has to serve, not to rule.”

These comments are not the Pope's opinion. They echo in as blunt of terms as possible the teachings of those who call themselves Christians claim to follow so this is going to be an interesting dilemma for the 1% crowd; the teachings of Jesus or Sean?

Accounts of Jesus driving the money changers from the Temple are found in Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46; and John 2:13-17.

Entering the Temple, Jesus saw the money changers, along with merchants who were selling animals for sacrifice. Pilgrims carried coins from their home towns, most bearing the images of Roman emperors or Greek gods, which Temple authorities considered idolatrous.

The high priest ordered that only Tyrian shekels would be accepted for the annual half-shekel Temple tax because they contained a higher percentage of silver, so the money changers exchanged unacceptable coins for these shekels. Of course, they extracted a profit, sometimes much more than the law allowed.

Jesus was so filled with anger at the desecration of the holy place that he took some cords and wove them into a small whip. He ran about, knocking over the tables of the money changers, spilling coins on the ground. He drove the exchangers out of the area, along with the men selling pigeons and cattle. He also prevented people from using the court as a shortcut.

As he cleansed the Temple of greed and profit, Jesus quoted from Isaiah 56:7: "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers." (Matthew 21:13, ESV)
Luke 16:13-15 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-26-13

The Kochs' Brazen Buyout of Our Democracy Is Right Up There with the Worst Oligarchs in American History

Charles and David Koch, worth a combined estimated $68 billion in net worth, are among the driving forces behind the corruption of our democracy.

Between 1998 and 2008, Koch brother-controlled foundations gave more than $196 million to organizations that favor polices that would further pad the wallets of the two brothers.

In that same time period, Koch Industries, owned by the two brothers, spent $50 million on lobbying and handed out $8 million in PAC contributions.

The Kochs are also behind groups like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which both gave and continue to give major financial support for the Tea Party movement.

And FreedomPartners, a Koch-affiliated organization, has doled out grants worth over $230 million to a variety of conservative organizations, Tea Party groups, and front-groups that oppose Obamacare.


Johann Wagener 10-26-13

Big Government takes on Big Pharma.

Popping a pain killer every time you feel some pain is self defeating. Your body, which sends signals to your brain when you slam your hand in a car door, or trip and fall "depends" on your brain sending the proper signals in order to respond, "ouch, that hurt" or something like that. At the same time your body and your brain begin the process of managing and repairing the damage which is usually extremely effective and efficient if not interfered with.

That's when those wonderful "pain killers" come in  and mess the whole thing up. It's like cutting the phone line while your in the middle of a conversation with the 911 operator. Pain pills disconnect your brain from your body (or garble up the signals between them) which only serves to hinder the healing process and leads to needing intervention from doctors, massage therapists, training coaches, homeopaths, and the list goes on.

Just like physical exercise. The less you do the more you can't do. A couch potato would tell you that a walk around the block felt like running a marathon. The same with pain. The less you use your bodies own mechanisms to manage pain, the more intervention you're going to need; including more pain killers which then makes you less able to tolerate pain and requires more pain killers to even deal with a pinched toe as if it were a broken leg.

Why? Because the more you disconnect your brain from your body the "flabbier" your brain gets and the less effective you become in dealing with and managing your pain. Pain killers literally shut down or greatly diminish your bodies ability to work in tandem with your brain to manage the healing process.

This is not meant to imply that there are not times when the marvels of science don't serve their purpose. I can recall an incident when, after being in an accident, I was so very happy to get a super sized dose of Demerol! I felt wonderful even though I just had been run over by a bus that left me lying on the pavement with a fractured back. Unfortunately my brain decided to turn off the lights (passed out) rather that subject me to the pain. Still, after about 3 months I can say my body/mind picked up where they left off and 40 years later I still get a few messages (pain) that tell me to slow down, not push so hard if I want to stick around a little longer.

The message for me was simple. Life at times is painful and I am built to cope with it except in cases where I run into a bus. I also remind my self that without pain I would be much more vulnerable to whatever comes my way. I also know that pain is the flip-side of pleasure and, without it, it's hard to experience the other; even though there are pills for that too. Pain and pleasure go hand-in-hand just like darkness and light. Without darkness there would be no light.

So, the next time your body sends a signal to your brain that there's pain, take a deep breath rather than reach for the pills. Maintain a healthy pain "threshold" will work in your favor when the tough times come. And, for most of us, that's a given, like it or not.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-24-13

There are families in the US with incomes over $60,000 a year that are just above the poverty line because every dollar they have goes to meeting their "basic needs."

The nay sayers will retort and rant about how the statistics lie and were mad up by a bunch of losers looking for a handout. To them I say; before jumping on the soap box and throwing out those "boot strap" and "freeloaders" one liners why don't they hit the bricks and go out and talk to families (in this case) who live in the "big apple" (NYC) and can just get by on $66,000.00 a year.

The response I get is; why don't they just move someplace else?  Well, that's probably not a bad idea. But where? Maybe Mexico? Or China?

Across the country, families typically need an income of at least twice the official poverty level ($42,400 for a family of four) to meet basic needs. In high-cost cities such as New York, it may take an income of over three times the poverty level to make ends meet, whereas in some rural areas, the figure may be under double the poverty level.


Johann Wagener 10-24-13

There are families in the US with incomes over $60,000 a year that are just above the poverty line because every dollar they have goes to meeting their "basic needs."

The nay sayers will retort and rant about how the statistics lie and were mad up by a bunch of losers looking for a handout. To them I say; before jumping on the soap box and throwing out those "boot strap" and "freeloaders" one liners why don't they hit the bricks and go out and talk to families (in this case) who live in the "big apple" (NYC) and can just get by on $66,000.00 a year.

The response I get is; why don't they just move someplace else?  Well, that's probably not a bad idea. But where? Maybe Mexico? Or China?

Across the country, families typically need an income of at least twice the official poverty level ($42,400 for a family of four) to meet basic needs. In high-cost cities such as New York, it may take an income of over three times the poverty level to make ends meet, whereas in some rural areas, the figure may be under double the poverty level.


Johann Wagener 10-24-13

There are families in the US with incomes over $60,000 a year that are just above the poverty line because every dollar they have goes to meeting their "basic needs."

The nay sayers will retort and rant about how the statistics lie and were mad up by a bunch of losers looking for a handout. To them I say; before jumping on the soap box and throwing out those "boot strap" and "freeloaders" one liners why don't they hit the bricks and go out and talk to families (in this case) who live in the "big apple" (NYC) and can just get by on $66,000.00 a year.

The response I get is; why don't they just move someplace else?  Well, that's probably not a bad idea. But where? Maybe Mexico? Or China?

Across the country, families typically need an income of at least twice the official poverty level ($42,400 for a family of four) to meet basic needs. In high-cost cities such as New York, it may take an income of over three times the poverty level to make ends meet, whereas in some rural areas, the figure may be under double the poverty level.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jesus would agree with Francis

Johann Wagener 10-23-13

Pope Francis is quickly becoming the spokesperson for those who advocate getting back to the basics Jesus taught. He lived a simple life. He threw the money changers out of the Temple. He divided the fish and bread among the masses. One of his parting comments were; "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do."
And, it's obvious, they still don't given the state of the world's 1/99 % economies.

How true that rings in today's world where the "mega churches" fill up with not to bright followers who dump millions of cash into plates that "prosperity gospel hawkers" (I just can't bring myself to calling them preachers) claim will bring them prosperity in the "next" life. In this life the only one's prospering from the pain these lost souls are trying to free themselves of are the so-called preachers.

Jesus would be ashamed as was Pope Francis when he learned of one of the Princes of the Church blatantly having a fling on the backs of the poor and needy of this world.  Sound familiar? Looks like some in the Church have also been infected with the 1% trickle down virus.

A German Roman Catholic prelate, known as the “luxury bishop”, has been told to leave his residence, theVatican has said.

Pope Francis made the order after it emerged Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg spent €31 million on a luxurious home.

The move, just short of a resignation, was taken just days after the bishop had met the pope in Rome to discuss the scandal.

The expenditure sparked anger among German Catholics and protests outside his cathedral, at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.

The media in Germany has dubbed Tebartz-van Elst “the luxury bishop” or “bishop bling” after an initial audit of his spending, ordered after a Vatican monitor visited Limburg last month, revealed the project cost at least six times more than planned.

Tebartz-van Elst has apologised for any “carelessness or misjudgement on my part” but denies wrongdoing.

The pope has tried to set an example of austerity by renouncing the spacious papal apartments for a small residence in a Vatican guest house. He has also told bishops not to live “like princes”.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-22-13

Some call it Capitalism, others, The Free Market, and then there's Trickle Down Economics. But, a closer look smells of Ponzi. It's simple really. A few slick people con a few other people into buying into a "get rich quick" scheme. They then take their money and find more people to take more money from and in the process giving back a little of what they take to make it look like every one is getting rich, and that brings in more people and more money and, you know the rest. All along the way the few guys at the top are taking a little from everyone paying into the scheme which adds up to a lot of money but goes un-noticed because, hey! everyone's getting rich!. This can go on ad infinitum as long as more people keep coming in with more money unless, one day, everyone decides to take their money out at one time. It's commonly referred to as a "bubble" popping, which happened most recent in 2008.

How this differs from an actual Ponzi scheme is that the guys at the top usually don't get punished, or, as in 2008, actually get bailed out by the same people they ripped of. The government simply prints more money and gives it to them at zero interest for a promise that they won't do it again, which is what they say each time the bubble pops. They then take that money, pay themselves a handsome salary and some hefty bonuses and use what's left to start the process all over again.

What we end up with is what has been coined as the 1% and then, there's everybody else. Maybe it's time for a change?

Unequal wealth distribution is hardly a new or uniquely American problem. In fact, it’s been prevalent throughout society since humans first built civilizations: A small minority of aristocrats has always wielded the most power throughout history. In modern times, America lags behind nearly every other first-world nation in closing the gap between the classes. In fact, we’re making it worse.

Before you can talk about the 1 percent, it’s important to put the figures into perspective by understanding exactly what that figure means. The average annual income of the top 1 percent of the population is $717,000, compared to the average income of the rest of the population, which is around $51,000. The real disparity between the classes isn’t in income, however, but in net value: The 1 percent are worth about $8.4 million, or 70 times the worth of the lower classes.
The 1 percent are executives, doctors, lawyers and politicians, among other things. Within this group of people is an even smaller and wealthier subset of people, 1 percent of the top, or .01 percent of the entire nation. Those people have incomes of over $27 million, or roughly 540 times the national average income. Altogether, the top 1 percent control 43 percent of the wealth in the nation; the next 4 percent control an additional 29 percent.
It’s historically common for a powerful minority to control a majority of finances, but Americans haven’t seen a disparity this wide since before the Great Depression — and it keeps growing.

The Billionaires Curse

Bloomberg's Rotten Apple
Johann Wagener 10-22-13

Here's what happens when you put a billionaire in charge. People tend to forget that the way you become a billionaire is $1.00 at a time. And guess who's dollars they are?

For baseball games, Yankee Stadium seats 50,287. If all the homeless people who now live in New York City used the stadium for a gathering, several thousand of them would have to stand. More people in the city lack homes than at any time since . . . It’s hard to say exactly. The Coalition for the Homeless, a leading advocate for homeless people in the city and the state, says that these numbers have not been seen in New York since the Great Depression.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-21-13

Climate change is a myth. The world is 6,000 years old. Cigarettes don't cause cancer. Coal is a clean fossil fuel (tell that one to the people chocking in Peijing) The rich are job creators. I could go on but my head would explode given the sheer amount of BS Americans are being fed and many just swallow.

My guess is that had this child not added himself to the list of gun victims he would have used the "stand your ground" defense. Maybe this kid received a failing grade from the math teacher he killed because he "perceived" him as a threat to his graduating?  That's just plain crazy you say! Yet many will say that the "stand your ground" law is sane? Some will also say that the semi-automatic this kid used to kill others and himself  is not the problem. After this kid could have come in and killed these people some other way; maybe a pencil? Sounds sane to me?

I just can't wait for LaPierre and his army of gun nuts to come out ans spew this crazy-making rhetoric and showing up at town hall meetings "packin" just to get their message across. Sad! Crazy! Both?

The headline in Nevada speaks volumes on how Americans cope with this crazy violence; instead of a headline stating what and who committed this act we jump right into the "hero worship." Next come the flowers, the memorials, the 5 minutes of fame for some folks from Sparks and a not talked about factor; an uptick in business for the restaurants and hotels/motels housing the armies of news people  in vans loaded with satellite dishes roaming their streets looking for someone to talk to.

Police say a Nevada middle school boy used a semi-automatic handgun to wound two students and kill a math teacher before turning the weapon on himself. The shooting occurred about 15 minutes before the opening bell at Sparks Middle School on Monday. The student’s name wasn’t released, and his motive for the shooting wasn’t known.

Teacher Michael Landsberry was being hailed as a hero for trying to protect children from their gun-wielding classmate outside the school. Twenty to 30 horrified students witnessed the shooting as they returned to classes from a weeklong fall break.

The following pictures were found by Googling "kids with guns." Scary!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-20-13

The white hoods and robes are in the closet but racist are not.  They just changed their MO to what we call "gerrymandering"  a clever and cynical strategy to manipulate votes and stack the cards in one's favor.

A close look at these  "gerrymandered extremists" in Congress says it all. What you see is a handful of loud mouth, flag waving, self-proclaimed patriots pulling one-liners out of the Constitution to rationalize what any rational person can surmise fairly quickly. Racism at it's worst.

The then presidential candidate, and now President; Obama had it right when he said;

 “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Not surprising, California has taken up the issue and came up with a fairly simple plan to pull the plug on this new generation of purists. For post-shutdown reform ideas, many look to California

NOTE; For those of you who don't know the meaning gerrymandering ;
A gerrymander sounds like a strange political beast, which it is, considered from a historical perspective. This beast was named by combining the word salamander, "a small lizardlike amphibian," with the last name of Elbridge Gerry, a former governor of Massachusettsa state noted for its varied, often colorful political fauna. Gerry (whose name, incidentally, was pronounced with a hard g, though gerrymander is now commonly pronounced with a soft g) was immortalized in this word because an election district created by members of his party in 1812 looked like a salamander. According to one version of gerrymander's coining, the shape of the district attracted the eye of the painter Gilbert Stuart, who noticed it on a map in a newspaper editor's office. Stuart decorated the outline of the district with a head, wings, and claws and then said to the editor, "That will do for a salamander!" "Gerrymander!"came the reply. The word is first recorded in April 1812 in reference to the creature or its caricature, but it soon came to mean not only "the action of shaping a district to gain political advantage" but also "any representative elected from such a district by that method."

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-19-13

There are people who claim that Americans are better off than their parents were. I suppose this might be true for those in the economic penthouse but not for those below them who have had to either move down to the basement who co-habitate in cramped quarters just to get by.

Fewer people are living in middle class neighborhoods in America as people increasingly dwell in areas segregated by income extremes.
American families are moving to areas that are focused more exclusively on either the wealthy or the poor, a trend that could exacerbate the growing income divide, according to a study by professors at Cornell University and Stanford University.
The study called this trend "income segregation."


Johann Wagener 10-19-13

At least that's the way it works for the gifted and talented (one of them even claimed he was doing God's work) titans of Wall Street. Boards of Directors (who belong to the same club) reward these clowns with huge bonuses and obscene salaries for stealing and cheating their way to the top.

When the time comes to bring them down, they run like cockroaches when you turn on the lights. Nowhere to be found. They are invisible and untouchable; or so it seems. The corporation pays the fines with the money they stole so there's really nothing lost, and plenty gained for the perpetrators. Their salaries and bonuses keep on coming and the praises continue to be showered on them as if they had nothing to do with the disasters they wrought. And when it comes to jailing them; well, there just "too big to jail." Jail is for those who sell crank on street corners or steal a 6 pack from a 7/11. Those are the heinous crimes that can't go unpunished while stealing billions results in little more than a fine and "don't do it again."

JPMorgan is urgently attempting to wrap up a barrage of investigations into its conduct in recent years, leading the bank to agree to pay billions to settle various cases in recent months. 

Dimon, once considered the sage of Wall Street, has taken a conciliatory tone with regulators and has called the legal fallout “painful” for him and the company.

 Officials at JPMorgan and the Justice Department declined to comment.

Selling mortgage securities was a brisk business for Wall Street for many years. Banks, after issuing loans to home buyers, would pool hundreds of mortgages and market the bundles as investments that could be traded like stocks. When the housing market crashed, the securities were worthless and left investors saddled with massive losses.


Johann Wagener 10-19-13

A part of the "American Dream" is owning your own home. People like to think that, because they live in a home and send a check to the bank/mortgage company every month and not a land lord owned/apartment that they "own" their homes and most surveys will be answered that way.

This hoax has been played on Americans ever since they left England; which, by the way is much more upfront about it as the following set of numbers point out;

An estimated 160,000 families own 70% of the land in England, according to 2012 estimates
. This ownership rate is equivalent to less than 1% of the total population. The history of such a limited portion of the English population being landowners is thought to date to 1067, when William the Conqueror claimed all land as monarch property and then distributed it to his allies. Land in England is generally kept among the aristocratic families and handed down each generation, rather than being sold.

More about land ownership:

The British government's Forestry Commission is the largest landowner in England, with more 2.5 million acres (1.1 million hectares), which is about 4% of the country.

The Earth is estimated to have about 36.8 billion acres (14.9 billion hectares) of land. As of 2011, 21% of the world's land was owned by just 15 individuals.

Queen Elizabeth II of England technically owned the largest amount of land in 2011 — 6.6 billion acres (2.7 hectares) — because she rules the British Commonwealth, including Australia and Canada.

It may work differently in the US, but the results are very much the same. For those who like to think that we are better off than our parents and their parents, these numbers will be disappointing and eye-opening. 

One of the oddest pieces hitting my e-mail box in the last few days is regarding an analysis of homeownership and the number of Americans that supposedly own their homes free and clear. The slant is odd because Americans are massively in debt with mortgages and more have gone into deep debt withFHA insured loans that require only 3.5 percent down. These loans went from a tiny portion of the market to a dominant force over the last five years. The research starts out by pointing out that nearly 30 percent of Americans own their homes free and clear. Okay. But that isn’t something new. In fact, in 2000 the rate was 30 percent and in 1990 and 1980 it was at 35 percent, in 1970 it was 39 percent, and in 1960 it was up to 42 percent. Of course none of this is listed in the analysis because hey, everyone owns their home free and clear right? In fact, the official figure is 29.3 percent so it actually is at the lowest on record when looking at data going back to 1960. The numbers are what they are but it is interesting how people viewed this as some kind of dynamic shift. Let us dig into the actual figures.

First, let us examine the actual figures from Census data. How many people really own their homes free and clear?

Friday, October 18, 2013

A FAMILY THAT...........WTF?

Johann Wagener 10-18-13

You have to wonder if this is not the result of foolhardy laws like "stand your ground" that encourage the kind of reckless behavior seen here. How can children learn to respect life when there's such a total disregard for it? Sanctioning killing someone if you "perceive" them to be a threat is absurd in a supposedly civil society.

People react in shock and awe when these crazy-making incidents occur as if there are no clues as to what breeds and feeds it.  It might be worthwhile to take a second look at how the adults behave rather than looking at the kids.

In a news conference Friday, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd showed a video he said was of Vosburg beating two male children in her home. He said the video showed the 14-year-old suspect and another girl laughing while Vosburg beat the kids.



Johann Wagener 10-18-13

Amazing! A rock formation that has stood firm for 200 million years is toppled in 5 minutes by, of all people (I use the term loosely) Boy Scout Leaders!

I'm guessing they expect Merit Badges for this heroic deed because they say, "somebody could have been killed by it." What is the criteria for becoming a Boy Scout Leader? Being both dumb and a little crazy?

Three Utah men could face felony charges for toppling a 200-million-year-old rock formation in a state park last week — after they posted an online video of themselves cheering as they defaced the ancient rock.

The Emery County attorney is considering charging the bumbling trio — David Hall, Glenn Taylor and his son — after authorities on Wednesday saw a YouTube video of the men destroying the rock at Goblin Valley State Park.


Johann Wagener 10-18-13

They create the deficit and then scream and moan about cutting it. They grow the military while shrinking our safety net. They shut down the government and send the $25 Billion tab to taxpayers.

They wail and groan about the cost of affordable health care after blowing almost $1Trillion on senseless war(s).

As their last commander and chief aptly stated, "Mission Accomplished" if a disaster is what you wanted.

The Iraq war cost twice as much as the war in Afghanistan, and more than 16 times as much as the Bush administration predicted. But what did we pay for?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-16-13

They blabber about bringing down the deficit. About fiscal responsibility. They then blow more than $20 Billion of taxpayer dollars in the process; not to mention trying to extort the government they claim to represent if healthcare to their constituents is provided.

Was there anything else that could have been done with that $20 Billion plus? Let me think. Oh! How about food stamps for the people in need? Or a small cost-of-living raise to Social Security recipients? And, let's not forget the VETS they like to throw a lot of empty praise at but not the money they need for their care.

The Republicans, and especially their zealous extreme right wing have once again shown where their loyalties lie. They have again taken advantage of a system of government that is adapt at tolerating corruption to a fault, and they have again stomped on what few values this country is holding on to.

WASHINGTON -- The government shutdown has taken at least $24 billion out of the United States economy, the financial ratings agency Standard & Poor's said Wednesday.

The firm said the shutdown caused it to cut its forecast of gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter by at least 0.6 percentage point. The agency lowered its estimate for GDP growth to close to 2 percent from 3 percent.

The estimate represents a staggering cost to the economy of a completely self-inflicted political catastrophe. Unlike the 2008 economic crisis and other past recessions, the government shutdown had nothing to do with larger economic trends. The numbers show Washington's brinksmanship caused real damage beyond furloughed government workers and the Washington, D.C., region.


Johann Wagener 10-16-13

The "stand your ground" state takes the lead again. This time it involves teenagers; our next generation of wackos.

Even though some are claiming that its because of bad parenting I tend to believe that the parents are doing what they believe to be "good" parenting by preparing these easily molded kids for life in Florida where total disregard for life seems common place. Where killing people and getting away with it is as easy as saying, if you "perceive" a person to be a threat, "stand your ground" and let the bullets fly. Crazy? These people (at least those that weren't the targets) believe it's the American way.

Police on Monday arrested two girls, ages 14 and 12, in connection with the death of Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped from the top of an abandoned concrete plant last month.

Authorities said the 14-year-old girl was Rebecca's chief tormenter, and the girl posted a taunting message Saturday on the Internetabout what had happened.

"Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF," the Facebook post read. 

Grady Judd, sheriff of Polk County, Florida, said the online vernacular meant "I don't give a (expletive)."


Johann Wagener 10-16-13

Anyone dumb enough to admit that they would try to destroy our government in order to prevent people from getting healthcare has to have their HUYA!

It might be hard to believe that anyone would admit to such a thing, but Wednesday morning on Fox News, that's exactly what Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham did. He started out by explaining that Republicans had shut down the government because they don't want to "allow" Obamacare to "go forward" because they believe it must be stopped "before January 1":

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-15-13

Why can a cabal of hard-right legislators tell their party’s leadership what to do? Why doesn’t the rest of the Republican caucus stop them? The answer is that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision a well-funded network of conservative groups has arisen that has the ability to make the lives of Republicans who seek compromise very, very difficult.



Johann Wagener 10-15-13

He needs to be committed to the nearest psych ward for an extensive evaluation. Best case scenario; PTSD. Worse case; full blown psychotic. In either case putting him in charge of a law enforcement agency is way off the charts. This borough is like something out of the Twilight Zone and I empathize with it's residents if they are spending their tax dollars on this wacko.


There are more Republicans in Congress than attended this protest. If they had attended this protest, their numbers would've swelled to 433 which, while not quite a million, would at least have gotten them a little bit closer.


Johann Wagener 10-15-13

In India cows are sacred. Here they are great on the BBQ grill. In Korea dogs are a great serve for dinner. Here we spend more money pampering the little critters than most people in the world spend on themselves.

I remembered that as a kid growing up in a post WWII world my folks (who were old fashioned that way) kept a fully stocked vegetable garden and  a barn full of chickens and rabbits. That was just in case another war started up.

I also have fragments of memories about my experiences during those years; especially when it came to the rabbits; some of which I gave names to and called my pets. I recall spending time in the cages when the new born bunnies arrived and being delighted in watching them romp and stomp; all with different personalities of sorts. They were a lot of fun. I clearly remember that.

Then those bunnies grew up and the memories went dark. I have flashes of my dad grabbing on to one of my friends by their long fluffy ears, quickly cracking their skulls with a hammer, slicing them open from stem to stern and hanging them up to bleed out while at the same time gutting them. He would then come back a little later and literally strip them of their skin. Then it  was my mothers turn. Off into the kitchen she went, and the last time I saw my friend(s) would be on our dinning room table with my father commenting on how great the wine sauce was and my mother taking the complimentary bows and encouraging me and my sister to "dig in."

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a vegan. I'm not. Meat is on my list of things I like to eat; except rabbits,of course. But after reading articles like the one posted here I always have moments of apprehension about what some might call a barbaric practice; especially if I conjure up images of these creatures pre-slaughter. Like the one's that were my friends.

That leads me to again question why I continue to participate in this practice? The internal debate sort of goes like this; why eat meat? well, it's good for you. you need the protein, blah, blah,blah. Then, what if I lived in Korea? How would I handle the "pooch steaks" thing? Still, my doctor says meat is good for me. But then, in the 50's doctors (or guys dressed liked them) used to say cigarettes were good for you; fresh like Spring air. Uhm?

And so my internal  debate continues even though at times it seems to be resolving itself. As I get older I find myself becoming less and less craving a steak or those juicy racks of beef I used to devour any time I could find an excuse to do it. So maybe, just maybe, as I grow older, Mother Nature will make the decision for me. Just maybe.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as animal lovers. But is this claim true? One way to answer this question is to follow the money. According to government, industry and interest group stats, we spend about $50 billion on our pets annually and donate another $6 billion to animal-related and environmental charities. This sounds like a lot until you compare it to the amount we collectively devote to killing members of other species: $72 billion on hunting and fishing, $60 billion on animal research and $240 billion on meat, poultry and seafood. In short, Americans fork out nearly seven times more toward harming animals than toward protecting them.

Our cultural schizophrenia over the treatment of other species is also reflected in our behavior. In 2010, PETA named Bill Clinton Man of the Year because he had forsworn the consumption of animal products and become a vegan — no meat, no dairy, no honey. Yet on CNN last year, while extolling the benefits of his new vegetable-only lifestyle, the former president casually added, "Now I try to eat salmon once a week."

Monday, October 14, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-14-13

There's a new sheriff in town and he's out for blood. It also looks like the KKK has been replaced by the HAAH and instead of white hoods, robes and burning crosses, these scary clowns are all decked out in fatigues and "packin" assault weapons.

They wave the flag and hollar about being patriots representing the "American people" while at the same time behaving like anarchists hell bent on bringing down a freely elected government. Having a black "commander in chief" brings out the crazy in these uninformed, misguided, and slightly crazy individuals. With friends like this who needs enemies?

Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler's supporters came to his hearing toting guns to make a point. Then one dropped a pistol.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-13-13

Rest assured these job cuts will not affect those at the top;

The average CEO salary broke records in 2011 at $9.6 million — and now, that record high has been topped by 2012 salaries, which averaged out to $9.7 million. Health care and media CEOs enjoyed the highest pay, while utility CEOs had the lowest at $7.5 million. Sixty percent of CEOs got a raise last year.

Though CEO pay dropped slightly after the financial crisis, it quickly rebounded to reach new heights in 2010, 2011, and now 2012. Simultaneously, the pay gap between CEOs and workers has also broken records, as the average CEO in 2012 earned 354 times more than the average worker.
Planned job cuts in the third quarter rose 25% from a year ago. With September jobs cuts up 19% from last year, it represented the fourth month in a row in which job cuts were higher than the same month last year. Despite the current trend, employers are on pace to cut roughly the same number of jobs that were cut last year.

According to data compiled by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 10 companies alone have announced close to 75,000 job cuts this year, combined. This represents nearly 20% of all the announced cuts in 2013.

Click here to see which companies have cut the most jobs

1. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
> Job cuts: 19,000
> Number of employees: 254,063
> YTD share price change: +15.7%

JPMorgan Chase is one of the nation’s largest banks. More than half of U.S. households are customers of the bank, according to the company. However, as customers increasingly use self-service technologies, the firm announced plans to trim back its consumer banking staff by 4,000. The company also announced its intentions to lay off 15,000 mortgage workers, many of whom were brought in to process defaulted mortgages during the housing crisis. JPMorgan continues to be one of the most profitable companies in the U.S.


Johann Wagener 10-13-13

These states, which are all controlled by Republican governors or legislatures, are “taker” states that receive more money from the federal government than they contribute in tax dollars. “They are already burdens on the system … I believe they’re referred to by those Republicans as moocher states. … If statehood was health care, Mississippi and Missouri would be rejected as having that as a pre-existing condition,”
Must-see morning clip: Jon Stewart slams “spite” and hypocrisy of Republican “moocher” states


Johann Wagener 10-13-13

Hara-kiri, (also known as seppuku), is an ancient Japanese form of ritualistic suicide by disembowelment that defeated samurai, or those whose shame was ‘too unbearable’, would use to restore their honor in death. It’s usually stabbing yourself in the stomach (Hara) and cutting (Kiri).

Since the recent financial crisis and housing collapse, some of Wall Street’s biggest banks have faced fines from regulators reaching into billion-dollar territory. In the latest news, JPMorgan Chase is looking at $11 billion in fines for pushing crap mortgage securities on unwary investors.

That sounds like a hefty amount of cash—it’s about the gross domestic product of Kenya, and tops that of Iceland and Bahrain. As journalist Pat Garafalo has noted, $11 billion is equal to what all the major banks paid together in 2012. The sum would be the largest single financial fine in history, if in fact it ever is paid (JPMorgan Chase is reported to be in negotiations that might reduce it).
It's only a suggestion, but I think any banker worth his salt should at least consider it.