Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

crossing borders project: Poverty, Homelessness, Food Stamps and the Middle Class

crossing borders project: Poverty, Homelessness, Food Stamps and the Middle Class

The house just passed a cut of $38 billion in the food stamp program.  Read some facts about the program and poverty.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Letter to Chuck Todd

In response to Chuck Todd's statement that "It is not his job to point out Republican Lies" regarding Obama Care and the Republican stance. 

 I say really? Is not journalisms responsibility to report the facts and the truth as we investigate them, check them, double fact check and then report those truths to the public and allow THEM to make their own decisions?

 Here is what happened: MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don't expect members of the media to correct the record.

During a segment on "Morning Joe," former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans "have successfully messaged against it" but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that's President Barack Obama's job. "But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it," Todd told Rendell. "They don't repeat the other stuff because they haven't even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, 'Well, it's you folks' fault in the media.' No, it's the President of the United States' fault for not selling it." Chuck Todd is the chief White House Correspondent for NBC News who is viewed by millions of Americans. Yes, Chuck you do have a responsibility for the American public along with your six figure income.

Here is my letter to Chuck:
Dear Mr. Todd,

I have been a reporter for over ten years all over the world.  I am a member of the NPPA and I adhere to sound ethical reporting, proudly.  It is my responsibility to tell the story, the facts from all sides and to allow the readers to make decisions and judgements on their own.  Without those facts, the public is being misled and that is not good journalism.  It denies the public to take a stand on where they feel it is needed, it denies the public true democracy and it misrepresents realities that could very well affect the very lives of many people or a population.

Shame on you negating the ethics of journalism to the American public and all other journalist who work hard to investigate and report top and compelling news to the world.  Shame on you for downgrading journalists responsibility for accountability to thousands of journalism students who look up to people like and and want to be in your shoes one day.  Your statement that it is not your job to point out Republican lies about Obama Care is like saying that there are weapons of mass destruction without ever fact checking before you help to start a war.

Yes, it is your responsibility.  You offer a service and your service is to the American public to report the facts and to point out untruths.  Are you telling journalism students that it is okay to be lazy and unethical in your job?  Are you teaching the future journalist that it is okay to take a majority stance on issues that may even cause millions of people to suffer and to bend under corporate pressure?

That is not true journalism and I am ashamed.  You are not helping your colleagues to gain "trust" to gather stories and in the readership.  These type of comments does not make my job any easier and I say thank you.

You have a greater responsibility than I do, to have integrity in your reporting because so many eyes are on you and on what you say and report.  Society depends on reliable journalism to gather information regarding important issues.  Even the facts on Obama Care where millions of people have the need to be informed.  It is not a case of Republican or Democrat, it is a place of journalism...plain and simple.

Did you loose sight of this?  I wonder and I am mad.
I am not in your position to tell the world what is and what is not although I would like to be and earn your six figure income.  

Did you forget ethical journalism because you got caught up in the power?
I am ashamed and you are making journalism shameful.

Susan Brannon

Write you own letter to Chuck voicing your concern for lazy journalism here is his email:

his twitter: @chucktodd


Monday, September 16, 2013

Stop Monsanto Protection Act..Again; Call Congress ACTION

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives decided to introduce the same language for the Continuing Resolution spending bill (H.J.RES.59) that contained the Monsanto Protection Act that Congress passed last spring.

This past March, Monsanto succeeded in sneaking the controversial rider into a must pass spending bill, which is set to expire onSeptember 30th. But now, with the new continuing resolution, the Monsanto Protection Act would be extended for 3 additional months!
The Monsanto Protection Act undermines the basic concept of judicial review and forces the USDA to allow the planting of untested GMO crops even if a federal court ruled that the USDA had not properly considered the environmental or economic risks these new crops pose to family farmers.

If allowed to pass again, this new provision would undermine agency oversight and this dangerous provision could eventually become permanent, allowing Monsanto to succeed in stripping judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested GMO crops.

Is Congress Trying to Kill GMO Labeling?

Even worse, right now Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) is working behind the scenes to introduce a bill that would kill state GMO labeling efforts by preempting it with a bill that would place GMO labeling under federal authority, circumventing successful citizen led efforts in Maine and Connecticut and trying to invalidate the ballot initiative in Washington state before it even passes.

We need your voice today more than ever to stop Monsanto’s shenanigans in Congress!

Click here to make a call to Congress to tell them to vote no on the continuing resolution if it contains any protections for Monsanto or undermines state’s rights to label genetically engineered foods!

Even now as we are close to winning, Monsanto, DuPont and the biotech seed and chemical giants are working desperately behind the scenes to thwart our efforts.

While the previous Continuing Resolution that was passed this March is set to expire onSeptember 30th, Roll Call reported this week that House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, (R-KY) has introduced the short-term Continuing Resolution, with the exact same language as last time, which could be voted on as early as next week.

While members of the House are desperate to pitch this new continuing resolution as a “responsible” effort to pass a temporary budget to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, Monsanto and the biotech industry are using it as another opportunity to corrupt our basic democrat rights and protect their bottom line.

Last spring Food Democracy Now! members exposed the initial Monsanto Protection Act to the world when more than 300,000 of us stood up and demanded an end to the special interests handouts to Monsanto and the biotech seed and chemical giants.

Right now, we are once again calling on you and your friends and family to stand with us again to help expose this corruption of our basic democratic process once again!

Monsanto’s days are numbered and they know it! This year, you helped passed GMO labeling bills in Connecticut and Maine and right now we’re working hard with our allies to help win a citizen led ballot initiative in Washington state that would mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Unfortunately, Monsanto, DuPont and the largest junk food companies in the world are determined to try to steal our basic democratic rights to protect their corrupt corporate profits. Just this week Monsanto dumped $4.5 million to defeat our efforts to win Yes on 522 and GMO labeling in Washington state while DuPont dropped $3.4 million. 

Right now is the critical window where we need to stand together to stop Monsanto and these corrupt corporations from trying to betray our basic democratic rights once again.

Please stand with us to help stop Monsanto, DuPont and the biotech seed and chemical companies from corrupting our laws and democratic process.
Remember, democracy is like a muscle, either you use it or you lose it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Letter to the Senators: Against Attacking Syria

Click on the link after the letter to send your own through The Nation Magazine.  They made it simple, you can change it into your own words...their words were different than mine!

I agree that it is not acceptable to ignore such action by any political leader on their own people and such an action is plainly against international human rights justice.

I too have seen horrible injustice in times of conflict and war, being a war photojournalist in the Middle East for almost ten years.  The evil than man is capable of is unbearable.  I have walked in regions of utter poverty, hunger, and social inequalities where those is power are full of both greed and pride allowing others to suffer in extremes without blinking an eye.

However, it is my deepest hopes that the United States of America waits just a bit to gather global and national approval through the UN before we fly one plane, drone or take one step upon Syria's soil.  After living and working in war torn area's and analyzing conflict worldwide, I am highly concerned that this action will greatly harm hundreds if not thousands of innocent people.  It will put our country and American's on foreign soil at high risk for their own safety.  If we do not wait the few weeks that it takes to gain allies at this time, we will not only increase our security concerns but gain many new enemies who were once allies.

Not only is our security at risk, but also our national debt.  This may sound cruel, but in the name humanity should we not first spend the billions for our own people who are downtrodden and sleeping in cars, behind bushes and under bridges or those who work full time at an unsustainable living wage, or those who cannot get medical care when they are diagnosed with cancer?  Are we not then like the other countries who spend their nations wealth making themselves and others more wealthy while their citizens die of hunger?

Are we not then becoming the global police who ignores international law and does as we please?  It is time to show the world that we are not like that, we are patient to wait for the pieces to be put into place to have the ability to have the support of the rest of the world and the courts use just cause for the crimes that Assad has committed.  We are just to adhere to international protocol before jumping into action.  It is our chance to undo the damage that was done during and before the incursion in Iraq.  It is our chance as a nation to shine and become the example that we presented during the Vietnam war and WWII.

CLICK HERE FOR easy letter writing to your Senators

Quick History of U.S. Wars: Plain and Simple

Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-1961
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Iran 1987
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
Kuwait 1991
Somalia 1993
Bosnia 1994, 1995
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999
Yemen 2002
Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
Afghanistan 2001 to present
Pakistan 2007 to present
Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
Libya 2011
Syria 2013?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Putin: Russia doesn't defend Assad, we defend international law

In mediation; we must listen to the other that is the first step.  Consider their voice (thus the crossing borders project) throw down our personal and national pride and be patient to agree for a positive and peaceful result is a virtue.  Guys this is serious.  Do you want your tax money to increase the hatred of the rest of the world?  Do you want to use our tax money to shed more blood upon our nation?

Think about it.

'Attack on Syria to change balance in whole region, not just one regime'

Like I said in my previous post, The U.S. attacking Syria is against International Humanitarian law if the other countries do not agree and at this time, they do not.  France is "waiting" for the results on who committed the chemical warfare crime.  We cannot move on our emotions for such a serious move.

What Went Wrong in the Middle East: It's the Maps

A realistic comedy of what went wrong in the Middle East.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Dalai Lama - Conquer your "self"

If our global leaders would conquer their selves, then I believe that wars would end and compassion would begin.  The answers are right there, so simple.

Dalai Lama Finding Purpose in Life

Dali Lama on success

A great and logical explanation on success and purpose.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran - By Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid | Foreign Policy

It's about time that this information is published other than in my small little blogs that not many people read.  I find it interesting that when I tried to publish this information years ago, I could not find any takers.

These are things that we should know.

Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran - By Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid | Foreign Policy

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Jobs? 97 percent are Part Time

This is how it goes.  New jobs are created and the public remains happy and live in a delusion.  The thing that no one really thinks about is what "type" of jobs are created.  Are they the union high paying manufacturing jobs?  No.  Are they lawyer jobs or accounting jobs or nursing and teaching jobs?  The answer is plain no, no, (shaking the head) NO!

They are the run of the mill retail, restaurants, staffing agencies, and home health care type of jobs.  Yep!  Going to college does not pay off any longer.  In my area, the HR departments are telling me that for every job they post there are around 450 applicants applying.  The problem with the wonderful "new jobs" is that they are the low paying wage jobs and the part time jobs.  You know, the ones that no one can really live on.  The ones where the workers will need food stamps, medical assistance, housing subsidies, and other welfare services.

Of course the major companies would rather hire 40 part time workers than 20 full time workers and need to pay benefits when the government will pick up the bill instead!  That makes the CEO's really happy.  Please search for my previous articles and research on the great WalMart and their corporate model.

A recent study reveals that 97 percent of these "new jobs" in the past 6 months are part time, low wage jobs.  That is not good news and that is not growth.  It only makes our country poorer than it already is.  (Please read a recent post on "Drastic Growth In Extreme Poverty in the U.S.")  Currently there are 8.2 million workers who are part time.  Not because they want to work part time, but because they cannot find full time work. US employers added 162,000 nonfarm jobs in July according to the government's Establishment Data Survey.   "Over the last six months, of the net job creation, 97 percent of that is part-time work," said Keith Hall, a senior researcher at George Mason University's Mercatus Center quoted by McClatchy Washington Bureau.  Hall was head of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2012.

61% of the jobs created this year are from the low paying industries. For those who cannot find full time sustainable work and are basically forced into part time work suffer higher depression, increased health problems due to the depression and lack of a balanced and healthy diet.  Many of the workers must dip into their retirement plans, sell their homes or their cars just to survive.

These folks are out there and nothing has changed or gotten any better.

The only difference is that our wonderful media does not make a sound about the realities of the state of our country.  Maybe it is because of the fear from all the arrests made on "whistleblowers" who dare to tell the truth.  Maybe they will get fired from their journalism jobs is they inform the public like they should.

Drastic Growth in "Extreme Poverty" in the U.S.

Posted from
written by: Debra Watson

Blog note:  This is a great article with vital research on poverty in America.  Please pass this around to extend our knowledge base and stand up for our rights.  For example, instead of writing a check for their employees, McDonald's now issues pay cards with $1.50 charge for each withdrawal and penalties for non use.  When employees ask for a check, they are refused.  In the good ole' days, it used to be that those who worked at McDonald's were high school students saving up to buy a car.  However, these days nearly 70 percent of their workers are over 20 and a quarter of them are workers with children.  It is not surprising that the report referenced in the article below reflects a substantial increase in poverty levels in America.  

If a worker at McDonald's was paid a living wage of $15.00 per hour, the cost of the burger would go up by .05 cents.  Wouldn't you pay the extra $.05 for a burger knowing that the people behind the counter can survive and not need welfare benefits? The excuses the corporations give for NOT increasing wages does not prove factual.  McDonald's is not the only corporation that pays their workers way under living wages, folks like WalMart, Target and other box stores do the same.  WalMart Superstores costs the American taxpayers 1.7 billion a year in subsidized food stamps, medicare/medicaid, and other welfare programs totaling $5,185 per year per worker.  

I think that it is time to organize a nationwide boycott campaign with all the workers going on strike for a few days.  Don't you?

A report this summer from the National Poverty Center (NPC) reveals that the number of people in the US living on less than $2 a day per person, termed “extreme poverty,” increased by 160 percent from 1996 to mid-2011, rising from 636,000 households to some 1.65 million households. The findings throw light on the terrible plight of children in America. Concentrating on non-elderly households with children, the report found that 4.3 percent of these households were in extreme poverty, with 3.55 million children living in them.

The number of households in extreme poverty in the US began to climb irreversibly after the Clinton administration ended cash welfare for vulnerable families in 1996. Over a dozen years, between 1996 and late 2008, the number and extent of extreme poverty roughly doubled, rising by more than 600,000 households. The increase continued after the recession of 2008, but the pace was now accelerated. Over roughly three years following the financial meltdown, 450,000 more families joined the ranks of the utterly destitute, with a sharp increase in numbers in the first six months of 2011.

The report, published in Social Service Review, was authored by H. Luke Shaefer, University of Michigan, School of Social Work, and Kathryn Edin, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government. Measuring extreme poverty uncovers a further income stratification among those below the official poverty level. The sharply rising income inequality in the US has created in its wake a new phenomenon: massive numbers of US families that live in daily conditions once relegated the poorest of the poor in the economically underdeveloped world.

It throws light on particular aspects of the growth in inequality in the US that have not been examined in reports from the Census Bureau and other sources that compare income for different quintiles of the population. Some recent research has developed a category called “deep poverty” or a yearly income below half the official poverty line. Both these methods of research have revealed drastically rising inequality and the growth of deep poverty in recent years.

The researchers used the figure of $2 a day per person, the United Nations measure of poverty in developing countries. The official poverty line for a family of three would equate to roughly $17 per person per day averaged over a year. Deep poverty, below half the poverty line, would equate to an average of approximately $8.50 per person per day.

At $2 per person per day, the extreme poverty category examined in this report finds a family with virtually nothing to live on, or roughly 13 percent of what is considered official poverty. Social science researchers have estimated that it requires an income twice the Census Bureau’s official poverty level to actually support a family.

Counting food stamp benefits, now called SNAP, as cash only reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by half. The current food assistance benefit for a family of three tops out at $526. Since it only is available to families with income below 130 percent of the official poverty level, receiving the benefit does not bring any family to a livable income. If counted as the equivalent of cash income, the assistance actually would barely move a family in extreme poverty to deep poverty.

In addition, the SNAP benefit itself is facing serious cuts and even outright elimination for many poor families. In November, a family of three will lose $29 a month when the SNAP per person benefit allotment is cut as the federal government eliminates stimulus measures instituted in the immediate aftermath of recession. Five million people will be entirely cut off from SNAP benefits if limits in eligibility are imposed under plans to cut the program that emerged during discussion of the new Farm Bill this summer.

The number of SNAP households has nearly doubled since 1996, according to the report, indicating the huge rise in need. In 1996, there were an average of 25.5 million recipients per month, and by the end of 2012, this had gone up to 47.5 million. Earlier this year, a new Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) counted a record 49 million people considered poor in America. Still, 1.7 million children are left behind in extreme poverty because they do not get these benefits.

While SNAP-assisted households were doubling, cash welfare was plummeting. The researchers note: “Subsequently, cash assistance caseloads have fallen from 12.3 million recipients per month in 1996 to 4.5 million in December 2011, and only 1.1 million of these beneficiaries are adults. Even during the current period of continued high unemployment, the cash assistance rolls have increased only slightly. ‘Welfare,’ in the form of cash assistance, is a shell of its former self.”

In Clinton’s infamous acceptance speech for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1992, he laid out the plan to end the New Deal-era Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which for the previous five-plus decades provided monetary assistance to families with little or no income.
Under the continuing economic crisis, states are accelerating the pace at which families in need are being driven off the welfare rolls. For example, in March 2013, there were 47,460 households in Michigan that received welfare payments, according to the latest Economic Security Bulletin from the Michigan League for Public Policy. They note: “This is the first time since the Family Independence Program was implemented in 1996 that the caseload dropped below 50,000.”

By June 2013, the caseload in Michigan dropped to 43,400 welfare cases, nearly half the number counted in late 2011 when new state measures eliminated exceptions to strict federal and state time limits for welfare. A 60 months’ lifetime limit for welfare was imposed under the Clinton administration in 1996 and was cut to 48 months in Michigan by Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm in 2007.
In fall 2011, the Republican Michigan state legislature eliminated exceptions, such as those that kept people living in high unemployment areas in the state from losing their benefits. There are still more than 400,000 unemployed in Michigan today.

The report also explores long-term unemployment and the increase in extreme poverty. There were 4.8 million workers in the US in 2012 unemployed for more than six months. That year, half the unemployed in Michigan were in this category.

The report’s authors note: “While the Great Recession era has ushered in a prolonged period of high unemployment, its real legacy may prove to be the unprecedented duration of unemployment spells: the average spell was 38.1 weeks as of December 2012.” This has increased the number of people in the US in extreme poverty, struggling to survive on practically nothing.

The researchers also point to the trend to shift already drastically inadequate government-funded income support from the unemployed to those working low-wage, part-time and temporary jobs—most of the new jobs being created in the US. The minimum wage is a poverty wage, still $7.40 an hour, about half what has been computed as a living wage.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


time3 by Davidhg
time3, a photo by Davidhg on Flickr.

and...of course another


time4 by Davidhg
time4, a photo by Davidhg on Flickr.

and another...


time1 by Davidhg
time1, a photo by Davidhg on Flickr.

and another...


time2 by Davidhg
time2, a photo by Davidhg on Flickr.

Here is another one....

time magazine in the U.S. Vs the world

time by Davidhg
time, a photo by Davidhg on Flickr.

This is just a small sample of how the covers of Time magazine differs in the U.S. and the rest of the world. They chose to talk about anxiety instead of perhaps the most important story of the week. Time gives the Americans to indulge in self absorption rather than allow us to contemplate important world events.

Does anyone still wonder why my images do not sell in American media?

Photojournalism critiques

bestbuy7 by Davidhg
bestbuy7, a photo by Davidhg on Flickr.

I wonder if the policeman is spraying shoppers having a sleep over, or if he is spraying the homeless. Notice how casual the policeman is about his spraying, like he does this everyday.

Monday, July 01, 2013

GMO Crop Bill in Oregon: Save Organic Farming

SAVE OUR FOOD!  Allow the community to own the seeds.  When consumers started consuming GMO there has been an increase in health problem.  Of couse biotech companies say that the consumers should not be concerned.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The World According to Monsanto: GMO's and their History

I post these as a reminder to YOU for your health and our Nation and our world.
This is a great video about Monsanto and their History and what they are doing and did to the people of this world.  These issues have cost them billions in lawsuits and has caused hundreds of deaths.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Friday, June 07, 2013

Explaining GMO and Roundup: Video

This is a detailed hour long video explaining GMO and Roundup and their effects on your health. By Doctor Stephanie Seneff A senior research scientist at MIT The video covers more specifically Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate, as devastating—possibly "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies. "That's right. The herbicide sprayed on most of the world's genetically engineered crops—and which gets soaked into the food portion—is now linked to "autism ... gastrointestinal issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis and Crohn's disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, cachexia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and ALS, among others."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Solar Geoengineering? Fancy title for Destruction

7 June 2013

There is a lot of talk lately about chemtrails, geoengineering, climate control, aluminum in our air, breathing toxics, atmospheric science experiments, hurricanes, sun damage, agricultural damage, and more buzz words regarding our atmosphere and the negative effects on our planet.  To become familiar with the realities of what is being said, please view the video posted below and pass it around to as many people as you can.  As long as we sit around and do nothing about the surge of corruption occurring around us by our governments, corporations and appointed leaders they will continue to move forward doing what they will leading the citizens like horses to the empty river.

As in the past of our civilization, greed has taken control and is revered higher than the lives of human beings, our ecosystem, nature and animals.  This time, they are taking their research into our atmosphere and this time the "trickle down theory" really does work.  Chemicals are placed into the air and the chemicals trickle down onto our planet, covering the leaves of the trees, dropping into our clean rivers and finding their way into the lungs of our children and grandparents.

The mainstream media says absolutely nothing about this and  other realities that effects the very lives and health of global citizens.  Do these scientists and political leaders know of a safe place to reside without ingesting the poisons of the air and food?  Surely, they must not want their own children and grandchildren to become victims of these poisons.

This video has clips of scientists talking of their research on camera at conventions and the unknown or possible results.  As most of us, we do not have lots of time to fight, research and find where the money is coming from and who benefits from these programs.  But what we can do is pass the information around in spite of the mainstream media, build petitions, and boycott where ever we can.

Blogger's stats for this blog tells me that I have over 28,000 views each month.  I am asking you to press forward in the area's that hit your button and pass the information around to multiply the action.  If you have comments, post them, share on Facebook, Twitter, your groups in LinkedIn.  Find the petitions and post them here so we can sign.  One cannot take these fights alone it takes a tribe.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

WalMart - Keeping Families in Poverty

3 June 2013

WalMart hires more people in the United States than any other company.  They recruit three times the number of people than the U.S. military does each year.  Yet, the majority of their employees are families with children who live below the poverty line.  WalMart promotes to buy American but most of their goods are manufactured outside of the United States in sweatshops.

Walmart has 1.4 million employees in the U.S. and a total of 2.1 million worldwide. Females make up 70% of Walmart's work force, many of whom are head of households.  The average full time sales associate take home pay is under $15,576 per year. However, most of Walmart's employees are part time with an average take home pay of $250.00 per week or 8.81 per hour.  Walmart's associates earn 28 percent less, on average, than employees at other large retail stores.   In contrast, the average pay for store managers is $50,000 to $170,000 per year.  CEO Mike Duke received $18.7 million in total compensation or he makes more money in one hour than most of his employees make in one year. The Walton family controls over 48% of the stock and together they are worth an excess of $102 billion.

Distribution of Working Poor by Industry
Retail is Green (30%) and Services is purple (39%)
In retail trade, 12% of all workers were poor and 22% lived below 150% of poverty.Walmart's 1.4 million employees help create these numbers.
Department of Labor and Statistics (*more numbers)

 This pay scale places employees with families under the poverty line that qualifies the children for free lunches.  One-third of the employees work under 28 hours and do not qualify for benefits.  The lower paid working families are called the "working poor" and the federal government subsides many of these families and children.

Let's put this in perspective:
Wal-Mart hires 550,000 people each year
They are the largest employeer outside of the Federal Government;  around 2 million employees
America has been declining in wealth and the disparity is getting wider (The wealthiest 20% own 72%; the Poorest 20% only 3%) Apr 2013
More and more people in America are on food stamps than ever before 47.8 million (mar 2013)
More and more American's are making non-sustainable/livable wages
WalMart makes $34, 880 dollars in profit every minute
Low wages cost the taxpayers $900,000 each year for Walmart's low wages at one WalMart Super Center in Wisconson. ( Huffington Post May 2013)
California paid $86 million a year on WalMart employees in benefit programs (health and public assistance to 44,000 employees)
One Store of 200 employees may result in a cost of $420,750 per year - $2,103 per employee for free and reduced lunch programs, Section 8 housing, federal tax credits, Title 1 expenses, federal health care costs, children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP), low income energy assistance. (Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and Workforce)

Walmart has a high turnover rate; about 70% of the employees leave within the first year.  The reasons they leave is for lack of job recognition and inadequate pay.  Studies show that Walmart promoted fewer women than men and women dominate the lowest paying jobs at Walmart and that men earned $5,200 more for the same jobs as the women. Although, women make up 70% of the workforce, they only occupy less than one third of its store management.

Our government is broke and they try to squeeze as much taxes from the citizens as they can for just about everything.  Yet, the corporations can get away with hiding money offshore, using loopholes that saves them millions if not billions in taxes to the U.S. Closes down the factories with tax incentives to open new production overseas and widening the gap for job creation in the U.S.  The last thing we need is to drain our economy with social programs for people who work and are willing to work full time.

Most of the employees at Walmart are willing to work more hours, but to save money, Walmart's average weekly hours is 28.  But that is not all folks!

Walmart's new Health Plan January 2013
A memo was leaked to the NY Times stating that Walmart workers are "sicker than the national population" and tended to overuse emergency rooms.  The memo made recommendations to reduce health care spending by discouraging unhealthy people from working at Walmart requiring all jobs to involve some physical activity.  To hire more part time workers, to reduce 401K contributions and to put health clinics in Walmart stores.  With these recommendations Walmart could save over $1 billion in health care costs by 2011.  With 1.5 million employees working in the U.S. at Walmart part time not receiving health benefits, then who picks up the tab?

The Benies:
The average wait for full time workers to qualify for benefits is six months, compared to the retail average of 2.6 months.  Walmart recently cut their contributions to the medical savings plan by 50%.  The deductible for their plan is $1,750 before any assistance kicks in.  The monthly premium went up from $2 to $11 dollars per pay check at a $60.00 minimum per month.

A new policy took place in January 2013 as a way to cut costs and shift the cost onto the federal government taking advantage of Obamacare.
Walmart has the right to eliminate health care coverage for workers if their average workweek dips below 30 hours, which happens with regularity and at the direction of the company managers.   The response? "Walmart made a business decision" replied company spokesman David Tovar.  This new policy is a step back in time from the expansion in their health care coverage seven years ago.  The problem is that Walmart is known to not have anyone work over 30 hours a week and they have been doing that for years.

Walmart's network family plan is $322.60 bi-weekly with a $800 annual deductible, $500 health care credit and $4,000 out of pocket medical expenses could cast over $12,000 a year.  The average full time Walmart employee makes $20,000 a year and cannot afford the health benefit.

In the last quarter of 2012 it is reported they made $67,35 billion with a $17.2 billion profit.   This is enough profit to settle the Walmart's infamous employment practices and stop them from robbing America by using our social system and taxes to help keep their employees alive.

*Of those who do not work full-time, about half state that they are working part time because they cannot find full-time work. Thus the working poor face the problem of involuntarily working part time to a greater extent than other workers. Approximately 20% of the working poor are employed involuntarily part-time.  

Although some people believe that the problem of working poverty would be solved by providing full-time year-round work, this does not appear to be true. Most (52%) of the working poor would not b e able to work their way out of poverty even if they held full-time year-round employment because their wages are too low. In addition, of the working poor who would be able to lift themselves out of poverty by working such hours, many are unable to do so because of health problems.

Single female headed families are especially over-represented among the working poor. Among the working poor, 49% live in families headed by a single woman. Of those who live in families headed by a single female, 28% work but live below 150% of the poverty level.

The working poor are less likely to be covered by health insurance by their employers. Only 18% of the working poor are covered by health insurance available through their employer or their union, compared to 55% of all workers. Most likely, the jobs these workers hold are less likely to offer health insurance.

The working poor need higher wages and jobs that offer full-year employment, wage supplements such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and access to services such as health care and child care. 

Department of Labor

In light of the facts listed by the Department of Labor, it does not take a genisus to understand that a company that employees 70% women, pays poverty wages, does not offer viable health options, keeps their employees at a part time level while earning billions in profit each year clearly contributes to America's working poor numbers.  I firmly believe that if Walmart were to increase both wages and hours and offer affordable medical plans, these numbers from the Dept. of Labor would drastically change. 

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Walmart and Sherwood, Oregon have teamed up!

1 June 2013

I just found out that Walmart is coming to my neighborhood and may one day be coming to a neighborhood near you!  Can't you wait?  Low wages, more traffic, your neighborhood mom and pop shop will close down within a year and less choices of products to chose from.  Forget about buying things make in the U.S.

But wait!  There is more!  Not only do you bring more poverty into your own neighborhood, but you get to bring more slavery into China, more environmental toxic wastes will get dumped into both China and your own neighborhood!

Who can beat such a bargin!  Stop by and shop at Walmart today.

A bit about Sherwood, Oregon...from my perspective as a non-lifelong citizen.  Sherwood is all about the small town feeling, we have plenty of trees, parks and walkways.  We have one Highschool and Middle School, one nice and clean small library and cute and nifty downtown with old traditional buildings.  This is a family town, clean cut, mainly Christian and low in crime.  Everyone seems to know just about everyone and most of the folks grew up together.  We have your involved citizens, with the girl scouts, schools and development and we have your new families with stay at home moms running after their children or driving them around.

This great picture of a peaceful community is about to change and it is all because of corruption and greed.  Yes, this is what I said.  Rumors are:  One of the commissioners actually owned the land and sold it to Walmart for development.  But just before that, the zoning changed to allow this development.  It is also said that it is required for the local city government to announce the planning and request to build a new development.  It is supposed to be advertised, posted with signs on the property, in newspapers and hold an open local meeting for community discussion.

Well, none of that happened.  The Sherwood citizens found out about the Walmart after the fact.  For me this is corruption.  (uhh ohh, am I now blacklisted from this wonderful community for calling the cards as they are?)

You can imagine, if you have been following my blog over the years, that I am an anti-Walmart fan, I am person for justice and human rights. Once I discovered that in my very own community a Walmart of all things was in the future,  I was speechless for about two hours. I had to keep my head together because I was working.  Actually, I was under the impression that Sherwood was promoting the growth of small businesses and encouraging them to remain.  I actually thought that the city commission was against big businesses such as Walmart so I never imagined that one would be in my own backyard.  I was wrong and therefore shocked.

Please stay tuned to the postings about the progress and actions of our community against this Walmart.  I cannot but help writing and taking action to try to make this stop.  Please read some of the previous articles on this blog about Walmart linked below.  Don't worry, there is more to come on this topic!

Related Links:

Walmart stirs concern over wages
Walmart receives subsidies from the U.S. Government
Walmart Blip List
Walmart Biggest Seller of Firearms in the U.S.  (Do you want easy access to guns in your neighborhood?)
Walmart Keeping the World in Poverty
Walmart costs taxpayers $900,000 per year (Huffington Post)

Friday, May 24, 2013

London Woolwich attack terrorism?

23 May 2013

Ninety-five percent of the news report headlines accused the brutal attack on the London streets as a terror attack or "act of terrorism".  Although the incident was a brutal one, I tend to disagree, what does terrorism mean and how is it defined?  Yes, the attackers yelled, "Allahu Akbar" and cited Islam during the attack, but they were also avenging the continuous UK violence against Muslims.

Terrorism is an act of violence that deliberately targets civilians as in the embassy bombings, subway bombings, the bombing of airplanes.  This term is used in the effect to distinguish the difference between how the western world "targets" civilians and how terrorists target civilians.  We use F-16's, helicopters and drones.  They blow up their bodies to take as many people with them as possible.

The London attackers are quoted as saying, "A British soldier, and eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth."  This means that the attackers focused the attack on a British soldier, not civilians.  The difference between us and "them" is in the terms.  We attack combatants are the targets not civilians on their soil and land.  Western nations continuously kill Muslim civilians, yet it is not called an act of terrorism.  The U.S. has prisoners in Guantanamo merely because of act of violence not terrorism.  Yet, we have been known to commit horrible acts of violence against the same prisoners.

Okay, the solder was not in uniform or on duty.  Yet, the western nations kill people in their sleep, in their homes, while shopping or eating at a cafe and this is not terrorism?  The U.S. has redefined the word "militant" as any military aged male in a strike zone.  It is all about the lingo.

The identification terms have been widely broadened to make killing just about anyone okay.  We don't even have to wake them up from their sleep before they are shot.  How can killing a soldier from a nation who is at war an act of terrorism?

Was not the US shock attack on Baghdad an act of terrorism?  One of the attackers said, "The only reason we killed this man is because they are killing Muslims daily."  It was an act of vengeance and retaliation.  It was an act to gain attention to the western nations about their cause to try to get people to wake up and stop their violence.

During the Reagan administration the United States funded and supported Central American milita's that murdered civilians.  Our drones terrorize the local populations so they stop to harbor those that the western nations deem to be terrorists.  There are government sanctions on trade and food to practically starve out populations in the attempt to force them to change their governments and policies.

The problem with the news and others freely using this term is that the word is packed with political, cultural and emotional punches that put the conversation to a halt and can justify just about any action that is deemed desirable.  I have looked in depth on this word when I first started covering the conflict between the Israeli's and Palestinians and still ask the same questions.

I boil it down to this, "An act of violence by any Muslim in retaliation against any violence acted against Muslims."  The news reports could have said, "Muslim hacks  UK soldier in London streets in retaliation against the killing of elderly Muslim earlier this month."

The headlines read last month something like this:  Elderly Muslim stabbed in apparent anti-Muslim hate crime."  Was there any hint of terrorism in that headline or the following paragraphs?  The answer is no there was not.  My question is this:  what makes one act a terrorist act and the other simply an Anti-Muslim hate crime?

Something to think about.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

crossing borders project: Kickstarter: Portland's Homeless Shepherd's Door Fourth Roll

crossing borders project: Kickstarter: Portland's Homeless Shepherd's Door Fourth Roll

These are the last of the selected images for the workshops and we are moving forward!  Now, we gather the images into a short film to create the represented stories.  Keep in tune.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I am about to scream

We might as well be putting skeletons on our foods as a warning to those who dare to cook and eat it.

It’s unbelievable, but Monsanto and Co. are at it again. These profit-hungry biotech companies have found a way to exclusively ‘own’ something that freely belongs to us all -- our food! They’re trying to patent away our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, forcing growers to pay them and risk being sued if they don’t.

But we can stop them from buying up Mother Earth. Companies like Monsanto have found loopholes in European law to get away with this, so we just need to close them shut before they set a dangerous global precedent. And to do that, we need key countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands -- where opposition is already growing -- to call for a vote to stop Monsanto’s plans. The Avaaz community has shifted governments before, and we can do it again.

Many farmers and politicians are already against this -- we just need to bring in people power to pressure these countries to keep Monsanto’s hands off our food. Sign now and share with everyone to help build the biggest food defense call ever.

Excuse me, for knocking on the Monsanto thing so much but I feel that we are in "code orange" (forget the pun).  The EU is one of the last safe food regions in the world.  America is about over and has anyone tasted some of these melons?  I swear, I ate a melon that was grown in Mexico that tasted like chemicals.  

This company is literally starving the people in this world and causing cancer, fertility problems, and more.  Why can't we stand up and fight anymore?  Is our government that corrupt?

Please sign this petition and any that you see on this issue...NEVER STOP UNTIL WE CAN STOP IT.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

crossing borders project: Homeless and Income Inequality in America

This is an awakening to America's economic reality.  Please read the article and view the video I posted on my other blog.  It relates to the Crossing Borders Project; Portland's Homeless Project.  Pass it around and share.  We really need to wake up and make changes before we get to the point of no return.  If we are not there already.

crossing borders project: Homeless and Income Inequality in America

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bank of America Continuing their Fraud Tactics

Don't forget the problem we have had from activities from 2005 until everything went haywire in 2008 with one of the largest mortgage companies in America, The Bank of America.  They were instrumental to the failing of our economy, people loosing their homes due to non response to their customers, tagging huge fines on homeowners and literally taking homes back from even those who were current on their payments.

Although the BofA paid our government millions of dollars in paybacks, many of those who were affected did not receive any benefits from that money.  After the BofA paid this money it seems that the subject and attention was taken away from the BofA.  However, the bank continues to fail in customer communications by failing to return calls, trailing the caller from one person to another, ignore written communication and fails to answer inquiries from lawyers.  They have not changed in their mode of service nor have sharpened their loan policies.

I hear and read story after story of people who felt that they were given proper information before a new mortgage loan (I ask why would anyone go to BofA?) trusted the loan officer and had huge difficulties from the signing of their new mortgage loan.

I ask that you out there in America land, continue to ban this bank, remove your accounts and take them elsewhere, do not even attempt to get a mortgage loan or any other loan from this company.

Here are some samples of continual Fraud:

"Going into the loan application process we were VERY clear about what we could comfortably afford and said repeatedly that if those parameters would not work, to let us know and we would back out. We wanted to make certain we didn't take on something we could not afford and end up in foreclosure. We were told over and over by the loan officer that we were fine. Even when we received summaries that showed figures MUCH higher than our max agreed amount, we were assured many times that our loan officer was still "working the numbers". So taking her at her word we released our contingencies and moved forward. Then our escrow process went 30 days over, resulting in our living in a hotel as we had already given up our rental home based upon our contracted escrow closing date. I am told this can happen and was assured by the manager of our loan officer that we would be reimbursed for our expenses for having to stay at a hotel. So we made the best of a bad situation (2 young homeschooled kids, 2 large dogs, and 2 cats in a hotel room for any amount of time is NOT pleasant) and waited it out. The day before escrow finally closed we again contacted our loan officer to get our final numbers and were told she didnt have them in front of her but not to worry, they were what we wanted. So we went to sign our escrow docs. That was when we found out that our total monthly payment was $800 higher per month than our max agreed amount. "  Jan 2013

"B of A was supposed to do a forebearance or loan modification, at the same time a different office was handling the foreclosure. They sent foreclosure papers to court, without even finishing the loan modification. We were smart enough to figure out how to file a response to their foreclosure and stop it dead in its tracks, "in pro per". Next thing we know, we get a paper from B of A stating that they are no longer handling our case.. and they tacked the attorney and court fees on the loan for this next company that is taking it over. Their names are NationStar Mortgage." Dec 15, 2012

After one year of continual fighting and attempts of communication with BofA "So I finally called BofA and laid it all out on the line, that I was now aware that this process was a proven pattern of fraud, that I would fight them tooth and nail until the last possible moment and that I would rather see the house burn than allow their fraudulent actions lead to it's repossession. I said I would not accept anything less than an immediate modification as agreed and that I reserved the right to seek legal action in the future to recoup my other substantial related losses. Once I made my position clear it is almost as if the time to continue to defraud us was no longer worth it because we were magically approved for a modification 3 days later, after never submitting new paperwork. While it has not yet been finalized, we have expressly complied with the terms thus far and I am hopeful it is a step in the right direction. While we may never recoup all that we have lost, I am sharing this with the hope that someone else might read it and not become their next victim"

These are only a few of what I have been hearing.
Don't forget the crimes of B of A.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fracking our Farms

(Photo Credit: “American Gasland,” artwork by River Side (marcellusprotest/Flickr))

Working the land is a difficult living. Rising costs and the encroachment of suburbs has led many farmers to seek out non-traditional sources of income. Leasing land to gas companies for hydro-fracking has become a potential lifeline for some.
Farmers who are in favor of fracking are facing opposition from environmental groups and sometimes even neighboring farms that might want to see the practiced banned. Some organic farmers are concerned with potential contamination from fracking activities that could threaten their livelihood by tainting their land.  
as much as 60 percentof land in one New York country has already been leased out. The Marcellus and Utica shale formations that are located upstate are thought to hold vast reserves of natural gas, and natural gas development is expanding.

A few farmers have become millionaires in best-case scenarios; others signed up quickly and receive only a small share of the overall royalties. Cornell researchers did, however, note that many leases are being obtained on the cheap.

Cornell professor Robert Oswald's study compared sickened wildlife to 'canaries in a coal mine.' (image credit:

The effects on fracking includes, possible tainted water in Wyoming, Ohio fracking caused earthquakes and may have caused some in the U.K., Hydro-frackers told the EPA that they use diesel - (what?), we may have less gas than we think, hydrofracking sickening animals and people

Below Reposted: Organic Consumer Association

A Tale
of Five Farming Families

Their names are Carol, Steve & Jackie, Susan, Marilyn & Robert, and Christine. They share a bond. Two bonds, actually: They all own, or owned, farms. And those farms, along with their own health and the health of their farm animals, have all been ruined by fracking.
More than 600,000 fracking wells and waste injection sites have popped up all over the country, according to ProPublica. The oil and gas industry, along with federal regulators, would have you believe that injecting trillions of gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth is harmless. Tell that to Jacki Schilke of North Dakota, who lost two dogs, five cows, chickens – and her health – after 32 oil and gas wells sprouted up within three miles of her ranch. Or Christine Moore, a horse rescuer in Ohio who sold her farm after a well went up five miles from her farm, creating an oily film on her water and making her too sick to care for her horses.
You’ve heard it before. No farms, no food. As one farmer said, “If they frack all the farms, there isn’t going to be any organic.”

With hundreds of thousands of fracking wells and waste injection sites in the U.S., it’s likely that our food supply already contains water, plants and animals (meat) contaminated with fracking chemicals. While we hear a lot about drinking water contamination, including people’s water catching on fire straight out of the faucet, that shouldn’t be our only concern. Contaminated crops and farm animals raised for food are also possible avenues for exposing humans to fracking chemicals.  

Of course, not all farm animals are destined for the food chain. Those unfortunate enough to live near fracking wells can tell us a lot about the potential danger from fracking chemicals to our own health. Farm animals have the same susceptibility to disease that we have, but because they are exposed continually to air, soil and groundwater, and have more frequent reproductive cycles, they exhibit diseases more quickly, presaging human health problems. A study involving interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations revealed frequent deaths. Animals that survived exhibited health problems including infertility, birth defects and worsening reproductive health in successive breeding seasons. Some animals developed unusual neurological conditions, anorexia, and liver or kidney disease.

What causes those health problems? Among the hundreds of toxic chemicals used in fracking are arsenicbenzene,ethylene glycol (antifreeze), formaldehydeleadtolueneUranium-238. and Radium-226. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ list of common health problems from exposure to fracking chemicals includes autism, asthma, cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, infertility, birth defects, allergies, endocrine diseases and immune system disorders. 

Farmers fighting back
Thankfully, many farmers are fighting back.  Here are the tales of five farmers on the front lines of the fracking fight who are heroically sharing their tragic stories with the world in an attempt to expose the lie that natural gas is “cleaner power.” 

Carol French, dairy farmer and cofounder of Pennsylvania Landowners Group for Awareness and Solutions (PLGAS). Carol’s Bradford County farm is surrounded by nine gas wells. Earlier this month, Carol posted to the Fracking Hell Facebook group that she had just lost three calves in nine days. “I have heard from other farmers with ‘changed’ water having similar problems,” she wrote. At the September 2012, Shale Gas Outrage protest in Philadelphia, Carol told the crowd how, two weeks after their water changed, her daughter developed a fever and diarrhea that turned to blood. She lost ten pounds in seven days. Watch Carol’s speech. 

Steve and Jacki Schilke North Dakota ranchers. There are 32 oil and gas wells within three miles of Steve and Jacki’s 160-acre ranch. Jacki blames the wells for the loss of two dogs, five cows and a number of chickens, as well as the decline of her own health. Her symptoms began a few days after the wells were fracked, when a burning feeling in her lungs sent her to the emergency room. After that, whenever she went outside she became lightheaded, dizzy and had trouble breathing. At times, the otherwise fit 53-year-old, can’t walk without a cane, drive or breathe easily. She warns landowners against making deals with frackers: “They're here to rape this land, make as much money as they can and get the hell out of here. They could give a crap less what they are doing here. They will come on your property look you straight in the eye and lie to you.” Watch Jacki talk about her experience. 

Susan Wallace-Babb, Colorado rancher. One day in 2005, Susan Wallace-Babb went out into a neighbor's field near her ranch in Western Colorado to close an irrigation ditch. She stepped out of her truck, took a deep breath and collapsed, unconscious. Later, after Susan came to and sought answers, a sheriff's deputy told her that a tank full of natural gas condensate less than a half mile away had overflowed into another tank. The fumes must have drifted toward the field where she was working, the deputy said. The next morning Susan was so sick she could barely move. She vomited uncontrollably and suffered explosive diarrhea. A searing pain shot up her thigh. Within days she developed burning rashes that covered her exposed skin, then lesions. Anytime she went outdoors her symptoms worsened. In 2006, she moved to Winnsboro, Texas, a small town two hours east of Dallas. In 2007, Susan testified in Congressional hearings on the health impacts of fracking. For three years her symptoms gradually improved, until she could work in her garden and go about her normal daily routine. Then, in early 2010, Exxon launched a project in an old oil field 14 miles away and began fracking wells to get them to produce more oil. Within months, Susan’s symptoms returned. Watch Susan’s testimony at the Congressional hearings.

Marilyn and Robert Hunt, West Virginia organic farmers. The Hunts own a 70-acre organic farm in Wetzel County, where they raise goats, chickens and cattle. When the landman from Chesapeake Energy approached the Hunts to lease their mineral rights, Marilyn did some research then turned down the offer. But that didn’t stop Chesapeake from, as she told, “stealing gas from both sides of our property.” In 2010, Chesapeake received a permit for land disposal near her property and dumped waste on her land. “The water got little white flecks in it, and we started to get sick,” Marilyn said.  “We lost a whole lot of baby goats that got gastrointestinal disorders from drinking the water.” Some of the baby chicks her daughter was raising died of nervous system failure, and the ones that survived were deformed. Interestingly, though, the cattle that drink from the spring water on the highest point of her property were spared any adverse impact, leading Marilyn to believe it was the water contaminated by the fracking waste that caused the illnesses.

Christine Moore, Ohio horse rescuer. Christine Moore and her family lived a dream life rescuing horses deep inside Ohio’s Amish country. When a well was fracked five miles from her house in January 2012, Christine went door to door, begging her neighbors not to lease their land for fracking. But most of the town, many Amish and Mennonite, didn’t listen. Two months after the well near her home was fracked, the water went bad. An oily film formed across the surface of the water in her horses’ bowls. The water inside her home, pumped from her well and filtered through a softener, began giving her severe stomachaches. She sent her horses to a no-kill shelter in upstate Ohio and, in July, sold the property to her neighbor who, according to Tuscarawas County records, has oil and gas exploration leases on multiple properties. WatchChristine describe how fracking destroyed her horse farm. 

Related Article:
Questionable Economics of Shale and Gas