Johann Wagener 11-29-13


That question might be left to the historians to answer.


What is certain is that Francis is not intimidated by the Ayn Rand fans, nor is he gullible or naive enought to buy into the Reaganomics “trickle down con.”


This Pope is “in your face” and calling out the 1% on the hypocrisy and greed they are contaminated with.


His recent comments on capitalism suggest that he is a man who understands something about economics — specifically the link between unbridled capitalism and inequality. In an 84-page document released Tuesday, Pope Francis launched a tirade against a brutally unjust economic system — a tirade that Marx himself would have cheered:

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills….As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”

Is the Pope Getting the Catholics Ready for an Economic Revolution? (Maybe He Read Marx)






Johann Wagener 11-29-13


We should have seen this coming years ago. “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?”


Retailers have successfully transformed Thanksgiving into “Grey Thursday” followed by “Black Friday.”


The 24/7 media has fallen into line and devote almost every hour reporting on “sales” and more “sales” and the millions of shoppers spending millions of dollars, none of which is even remotely related to the holiday we used to celebrate. 




“This year, no turkey, no dinner,” one shopper said.

“I’m working on Black Friday so I decided to come early and get the shopping over and done with,” said shopper Michelle Sylvester.




Johann Wagener 11-29-13



Spending your holidays being mauled in malls is not what the retailers want anyone to see.


The ads and marketing omit disclaimers warning shoppers “you may be in danger when shopping during grey and black Thur-Fri. For your own protection we recommend Kevlar vests and tasers.”


The shopping frenzy surrounding Black Friday has already led to a number of violent incidents across the country.

Starting as early as Thursday night, shootings and stabbings have been reported at retailers in several states. Among the most violent episodes happened yesterday at a Kohl’s in Romeovile, Ill., when an alleged shoplifter dragged a police officer from his car before being shot in the arm by other law enforcement officers present at the scene, The Chicago Tribune reports.

A shooting was also reported Thursday night in Las Vegas. Two assailants reportedly attempted to steal a TV from a man who had recently purchased it. After arguing, theman was shot in the leg before the attacker sped off in his car, leaving the TV behind, CBS News 8 reports. In an email sent to The Huffington Post, Kohl’s said it was “cooperating with the authorities leading the investigation” into the incident.

A police officer in Rialto, Calif., was also injured Thursday night when a fight broke out at a local Walmart.

In Virginia, a man was allegedly slashed with a knife during an altercation with another shopper over a parking space at a Walmart.

A stabbing was reported early Friday morning in Carlsbad, Calif. The victim in that case was stabbed in the stomach at the entrance of a mall, according to NBC San Diego.

Multiple instances of milder forms of violence, such as pushing and shoving over merchandise, have also been reported. Videos showing the frenzy over the deals have been shared on social media and various websites:




Johann Wagener 11-29-13



Did you know that one in five of the nation’s children is living below the poverty line? One in 45 is homeless. 

What are their lives really like? Our 2012 film Poor Kids gave some of these children a voice and a chance to speak for themselves.


If I understood you correctly when you said “I am doing God’s work” Still ‘God’s work’? Blankfein defends Goldman when making comments like this:

Blankfein defended the payment of bonuses to employees at Goldman Sachs by arguing that it was necessary to “keep the firm together.”

(Read more: Goldman CEO on risk: Worst ‘absolutely will happen’

“If we hadn’t paid our people we wouldn’t have had a stable population at the firm,” he said. “I work at the company. I don’t own it. I’m not entitled to blow it up” by not paying bonuses.

“I would say to Occupy Wall Street, that business has helped lift more people out of poverty than philanthropy,” Blankfein said in a Wednesday afternoon panel at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

Philanthropy can “fill the gaps” where profit motives don’t suffice to improve the lives of the poor. But it’s role is “supplementary.” The “bulk of it”—raising people out of poverty—is done by business, he said.

“We should educate the public more about how business and its core activities have lifted people out of poverty,” Blankfein said.

In another remark likely to generate controversy, Blankfein praised the U.S. for having “accepted a higher unemployment rate” over the past few years, even as it bailed out the banks. Labor market flexibility—reflected in the ability of U.S. companies to fire workers—is one of the reasons the U.S. is doing so well despite many headwinds in the economy, he said.

“The United States is in a position where the banks are recapitalized and companies are more efficient, not because they kept people on but because they let them go. It was a social decision we made,” Blankfein said.

Blankfein said that although his focus is on Republicans “right now,” some blame must be placed on the Obama administration for its early behavior.

He argued that the Obama administration acted as if it were in a parliamentary system early in its first term, when it controlled both the House and Senate. It didn’t reach out to Republicans enough when passing health care reform, he argued. That set the tone for the GOP’s defiant stance..

If the health care reform known as Obamacare had been passed with “more Republican support and concessions to earn it,” the tone in Washington would be different now, he said.

Since you are the “poster child for the 1%” I can understand why you take the position you do on social issues and follow the Romney lead in discounting 47% or more of the population but, the following comments were particularly disturbing to me; because of the hypocrisy and arrogance they infer.

“I would say to Occupy Wall Street, that business has helped lift more people out of poverty than philanthropy,” Blankfein said in a Wednesday afternoon panel at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

Philanthropy can “fill the gaps” where profit motives don’t suffice to improve the lives of the poor. But it’s role is “supplementary.” The “bulk of it”—raising people out of poverty—is done by business, he said.

“We should educate the public more about how business and its core activities have lifted people out of poverty,” Blankfein said.




So Lloyd, here’s a great opportunity for you to “educate the public.” Why not take a day off, jump into your limo and take a drive around “hometown” America and see how much work you are missing out on.


Frontline has even provided you with a map just in case you get lost in Greenwich or the Hamptons 


In all, 41 states saw a rise in homelessness among school-aged children last year. Fifteen states reported a gain of at least 10 percent while another 10 states reported spikes of 20 percent or more. The map below breaks down the changes:






I believe that you and I would agree that this indeed would be doing “God’s work, or are you referring to a different god that I am?




Johann Wagener 11-28-13


I was not going to post today. It’s a “holiday” and I wanted to take the day off. 


That is, until I scrolled on what I call a “David and Goliath” story about a young man who singly took on a giant and lost, and then won, and then?


I don’t like comparing this hero to “Joe the Plumber” but the media attention he’s getting is similar. That’s were similarity ends for me. 


What impressed me about this person is that he is willing to “walk the talk” act on his convictions and morals, even if it means losing his job.  Firing someone for refusing to open a business on Thanksgiving is a crime against humanity even if there are no laws on the books in this morally decaying nation. 


I am hoping that many more Tony Rohr’s will take his lead and take a stand against those who would exploit and oppress people who hold themselves to a higher standard than just making a profit. 


Maybe the time has come for American’s (excluding the 1%) rethink their priorities when it comes to values, family, tradition rather than just blindly follow those who have little to no interest in America and whose priorities are nothing more than a bottom line. 


Pizza Hut Manager Fired For Refusing To Open On Thanksgiving?





A Pizza Hut manager has been fired after refusing to open the restaurant on Thanksgiving Day. According toWSTB, Tony Rohr worked at the pizza chain for 10 years — starting out as a cook before working his way up to being the manager of the Elkhart, Ind., location — before being fired.

As WSTB reports, Rohr says he was told at a meeting with his bosses that opening on Thanksgiving was mandatory this year. “I said, ‘Why can’t we be the company that stands up and says we care about our employees, and they can have the day off?'” Rohr told WSTB. “Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days that they’re closed in the whole year, and they’re the only two days that those people are guaranteed to have off and spend it with their families.”

According to WSTB, Rohr’s bosses at Pizza Hut said he could sign a letter of resignation for his refusal to open the restaurant on Thanksgiving. 

“I do not resign,” Rohr wrote in a letter to his boss. “However, I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company.” He added, “I hope you realize that it is the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible.”










Johann Wagener 11-27-13


In a civil society, at least in my town, trash collectors are given  the day off on Thanksgiving and most of other nationally recognized holidays. For most of America’s workforce receiving a paid holiday off, has become a thing of the past; something their parents and grandparents talk about. 


I know I’ll be getting flak from the “politically correct” crowd, for referring to “sanitation technicians” as trash collectors. But, let’s be real here. I think the people that do the job and those they serve all know that what they do is pick up American’s trash. Just as the “N” word doesn’t excuse racism, neither does “sanitation” sanitize collecting trash.


In my opinion they are “first responders” though I’ve never heard anyone refer to them as such.  These people are out in our streets every day hauling away disease ridden, toxic, and dangerous waste; putting themselves at risk, to keep America clean. How does that compare with firefighters, policeman, and others in the ranks of first responders?


Yet the only recognition they get might be a Christmas card from some conscientious person in a neighborhood they clean up. Their employers express their appreciation by giving them holidays, like Thanksgiving off. The only impact that has on me or my neighbors is that we will put out the trash on Friday. 




America’s largest city generates garbage in torrents—11,000 tons from households each day on average. But New Yorkers don’t give it much attention. They leave their trash on the curb or drop it in a litter basket, and promptly forget about it. And why not? On a schedule so regular you could almost set your watch by it, someone always comes to take it away.

But who, exactly, is that someone? And why is he—or she—so unknown?




Johann Wagener 11-27-13


Looks like it’s going to take an “act of God” for Americans to get the message that Holidays are;


1.a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.
“December 25 and November 28th are official public holidays”



The massive Winter Storm Boreas, blamed for at least 14 deaths in the Plains and West, is parked over the East Coast and South Wednesday, halting Thanksgiving traffic with snow, ice, heavy rains, and even a tornado. In general its wreaking havoc on travel plans in the air and on the roads on the busiest travel day of the year.

“The timing of the storm couldn’t be worse,” said Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. “We are seeing numerous threats as the storm is beginning to develop and intensify.”

The definition of a “holiday” could not be any simpler, so why is it so difficult for retailers and shoppers to understand?


My guess is that American shoppers have once again been duped by the major retailers who “promise” great bargains that turn out to be a hook to lure them in; knowing that they won’t go home empty handed; bargain or no bargain.



Big sale. Thirty percent off. Half price. Are they real holiday bargains, or retail trickery?

Many deeply discounted items advertised for Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season are merely illusions. The Wall Street Journal reportsthat retailers often purchase items with the intent of offering big discounts from what they say is the regular retail price.




Even on sale, those items yield the profit that had targeted. Basically, the discount has been built in. One survey found that profit margins during the holidays are virtually the same as they are the rest of the year, despite the big bargains being advertised.



So, to all you shoppers out there, Mother Nature is saying; “Go ahead, make my day”