13 March 2015

This NRA Tweet Is So Tasteless and Awful That It Makes Me Want to Vomit 5MAR15

THE nra shows again how low they are willing to go. This from +Mother Jones after the quote by old time, sane, logical nra president Karl Frederick......
| Thu Mar. 5, 2015 8:10 PM EST

Good afternoon.
How are you? How are you feeling? Are you feeling good? Are you, by chance, feeling too good? Are you flying too high on borrowed wings? Maybe you need a bit of a punch in the stomach to bring you back down to Earth and remind you that in life there are hills and valleys; that this vacation on Creation is, well, not all champagne and strawberries. I guess what I'm asking is, would you like to feel nauseous? You look to me like you might like to feel nauseous. C'mon! A little nausea never hurt anyone! It builds character!
Let's get nauseous!
This comes via the New York Daily News, which doesn't mince words:
Hitting a new low in its disgusting war against gun laws, the National Rifle Association on Thursday went after Gabby Giffords with a personal attack mocking her 2011 shooting dismissively.
Have a nice day.

Daily Kos Recommended 13MAR15

He actually stoned her, and the MLB continues to do nothing about domestic violence 12MAR15

WHAT a pathetic excuse for a man, and what a disgrace for the MLB to tolerate domestic abuse. To be blunt, if you don't sign this petition you must think domestic violence is OK. From UltraViolet

Professional baseball player Tanner Rahier was arrested on Saturday for assaulting his girlfriend by throwing rocks at her, knocking her unconscious.1 It's a horrific story of clear, uncontested abuse, but Major League Baseball (MLB) might look the other way and sign him to the big leagues if we don't speak out. In 25 years, Major League Baseball hasn't sanctioned a single player for domestic violence--making its record on abuse worse than the NFL's.2
The NBA and NHL have removed players who committed domestic violence, and the NFL has even rolled out a sweeping new policy to make sure that abusers don't play. With the news about this latest violent attack, the MLB is under a spotlight in the press. If enough of us speak out quickly, we can generate pressure to force the MLB to finally take a stand against domestic violence. Will you add your name?
 Tell the MLB: "Take domestic violence seriously. Enact a policy to prohibit teams from recruiting players with a record of abuse, and suspend players arrested for assault." 
Sign the petition
Despite the fact that dozens of players have been charged with domestic abuse, the MLB has repeatedly failed to act. From a player who assaulted his wife in front of witnesses and was the starting pitcher for his team the very next day, to a player who pled guilty to punching his pregnant wife and started for the Colorado Rockies on opening day that year, the MLB has looked the other way when it comes to domestic violence.3

The MLB severely punishes players for violations such as taking performance enhancing drugs--players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Alex Rodriguez have been suspended or banned from the sport all together.4 But players who've committed reprehensible acts of domestic violence like Julio Lugo, Pedro Astacio, Dante Bichette, Wilfredo Cordero or Andruw Jones keep playing without repercussions.5 Much like the NFL, which until last year took drug use more seriously than domestic violence, the MLB is far more concerned by what players put in their own bodies than the harm they do to others--and it's time for that to change.
Domestic violence is a major problem in this country--1 in 4 women in the US will be abused by a partner.6 Professional athletes are admired and help up as role models, and a position on a major league team is a lucrative, coveted job. Women can't afford to have a major cultural institution like the MLB celebrating and promoting abusers like Rahier.
--Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Gabriela, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Megan, Audine, and Ryan, the UltraViolet team

1. Reds minor leaguer accused of hitting girlfriend with rock, USA Today, March 10, 2015

2. MLB's record on domestic violence worse than NFL's, SB Nation, July 28, 2014
3. Ibid.
4. MLB players banned for drug violations, CBS News, retrieved March 11, 2015
5. It's time for MLB to follow the NFL's lead on new domestic violence punishments, Yahoo! Sports, September 10, 2014
6. 30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics that Remind Us It's An Epidemic, Huffington Post, October 23, 2014

Want to support our work? UltraViolet is funded by members like you, and our tiny staff ensures small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

TAKE ACTION: Stop a dangerous chemical law & WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN KILL YOU 12MAR15

BIG SURPRISE here, eh? prc china sending falsified poisoned products to the U.S. and the american chemistry council lobbying the US Congress to protect their members profit margins by legalizing the poisoning of the American public. If you don't think this problem is real, check out the links on this post from +Earthjustice and this recent broadcast from +60 Minutes , then click the link and and contact your Senators.......
Earthjustice - Take Action Today
TAKE ACTION! Stop a dangerous chemical law Take Action
A woman examines a product in a store. (Art Allianz / Shutterstock)
A new Senate bill would fail to protect us from toxic chemicals.

Tell your senators to oppose this dangerous bill now.
Earlier this week, the chemical industry got exactly what it wanted—again. A new Senate bill was introduced that would not only fail to protect us from dangerous chemicals but also restrain state governments from taking action.
Chemical companies have spent millions lobbying for a free pass to continue putting Americans at risk from chemicals like flame retardants, formaldehyde in flooring, asbestos in dozens of products, and thousands of other chemicals that contaminate our air, water, food, and everyday products.
Earthjustice has been fighting in court and on Capitol Hill for stronger protections from dangerous chemicals like these. But today, we need your help.
It’s been nearly 40 years since we passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the country’s main chemical safety law. Not only is it outdated, it’s extremely weak.
TSCA doesn’t even require that chemicals be tested for health effects prior to their release. Over time, many states have enacted their own chemical regulations to fill the void.
And now, the bill just proposed in the Senate—deceitfully guised as “reform”—would undercut state laws that have proven effective in protecting American families from toxic chemicals.
Thank you for your help,
Staff photo
Andrea Delgado
Legislative Representative
Take Action
©2015 Earthjustice | 50 California Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111 | 415-217-2000 |

Lumber Liquidators linked to health and safety violations

"Lumber Liquidators" update

Anderson Cooper gives an update to the March 1, 2015, 60 Minutes report "Lumber Liquidators"
Last week, 60 Minutes reported on high levels of formaldehyde found in tested samples of laminate flooring made in China and sold by Lumber Liquidators.
After the story aired, the Consumer Products Safety Commission requested the results of the tests 60 Minutes commissioned on that flooring, which we provided. We have also been flooded with mail from viewers concerned about their own laminate floors.
The California Air Resources Board has updated information for consumers. Please find that information by following this link:

The chemical industry's attack against a key cancer report is just one of its attempts to keep information out of the public eye.

What's clear, colorless and may cause cancer?

If it were up to the chemical industry, you might never know that the answer is styrene. It doesn't matter that it's found in thousands of consumer products like fiberglass and food containers, or that you
smell it every time you open a fresh can of paint. Or, that the international scientific community has long agreed that styrene causes cancer in mice and increases the risk of leukemia and lymphoma in workers.
For years, the chemical industry, led largely by the American Chemistry Council, has succeeded in keeping health and safety information about toxic chemicals like styrene out of the public eye. We know little about the health and environmental effects of approximately 78,000 chemicals on the market—thanks in large part to industry lobbying and a broken chemical law known as the Toxic Substances Control Act. Even if we do know that a chemical is toxic, we can't avoid it because companies often don't have to disclose their products' ingredients.
What little information the public does receive is usually provided by government or through significant legal or public pressure by organizations like Earthjustice that believe the public has a right to know what's lurking in their environments and in their bodies. On behalf of national and regional groups, Earthjustice has filed a range of petitions and lawsuits calling for better disclosure and regulation on chemicals found in oil dispersants, household cleaners and pesticides.

Styrene can be found in thousands of consumer products, including fiberglass, food containers, and paint.
Jon Hayes

Earthjustice's work on styrene began two summers ago after the Department of Health and Human Services listed styrene as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" for the first time in its biannual Report on Carcinogens (RoC).
On the heels of the announcement, the chemical industry pulled out its well-worn playbook on silencing chemical information: cherry-pick data to cast doubt on a scientific conclusion, file a lawsuit, call on your friends in Washington for backup, and repeat.
As the chemical industry knows all too well, if you throw enough mud at the wall, something is bound to stick. Even when there are hundreds of studies pointing to one conclusion, at least one study, no matter how inconclusive or biased, will point in the opposite direction. That one study is all the industry needs to argue for a delay in banning its product, even as evidence of harm stacks up.
As a result, regulators are paralyzed by never-ending review, while workers and consumers are stuck with a system that fails to regulate even chemicals as cancerous as dioxins and asbestos. Meanwhile, people exposed to the chemicals in question become real-life guinea pigs for the chemical industry.
"We don't want to wait until we have exposed enough people to a chemical in order to prove that it's carcinogenic," says Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and a member of the National Research Council Report Review Committee. "When we hit that point, we have hit a failure in the regulatory process."
In the case of styrene, a flammable liquid that's derived from fossil fuels, the chemical industry threw the first fistful of mud during the report's creation. It repeatedly argued that the styrene assessments were flawed—a claim that was rejected outright by external reviewers that voted for the carcinogen listing. Two of those reviewers even felt that styrene should be listed as a "known," rather than a "reasonably anticipated" human carcinogen.
Second, the styrene industry sued the government to keep it from listing styrene as potentially cancerous. Earthjustice, representing public health advocates and the United Steelworkers whose members include styrene-exposed workers, quickly came to the government's defense in court.
While the industry went to court, its lobbyists were busy working the Hill. According to federal lobbying data, the Styrene Information and Research Council doubled its lobbying expenditures to $570,000 in 2011. Also in 2011, the American Chemistry Council spent $10 million on lobbying against issues like chemical regulation reform.
The investment paid off.
In December of that same year, the chemical industry successfully convinced industry-friendly legislators to require a $1 million follow-up study on styrene, even though the RoC is already peer-reviewed and is drawn from peer-reviewed studies.
But it didn't stop there. Ultimately, the chemical industry wants to keep government from listing chemicals as carcinogens at all, so it successfully lobbied Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor and Health and Human Services. In July 2012, he proposed a rider in the 2013 funding bill that cuts the budget for the RoC entirely until the follow-up study is completed, which could take up to five years.
The FY13 rider was like a love letter to the American Chemistry Council, which sent a similar request to Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just two months prior. The letter was highly critical of the RoC, and it urged Sebelius to suspend development of the next report until the follow-up study was completed.
"We think that our members and everybody else deserves to be told the truth," says Michael Wright, Director of Health, Safety and Environment at United Steelworkers. "The truth, in the case of science, ought to be determined by scientists."
United Steelworkers, together with more than 70 physicians and occupational health experts, have spoken out against the chemical industry's actions because they rely heavily on consensus documents like the RoC to provide their patients and members with up-to-date information on chemical toxicity and workplace exposure. In the case of styrene, the goal is not to shut down the industry, says Wright, but to ensure that workers are aware of styrene's risks so that they can take the proper precautions.
"If styrene were taken off of the market, the workers who manufacture it could lose their jobs," says Wright. "Our basic philosophy is, if a material has a social value, the job is to use it safely."
Over the past few years, the idea that people have a right to know about hazardous chemicals has spread from hospitals and union meetings to water coolers and mommy blogs across the country. Thanks to increased media attention and research on toxic chemicals, people are becoming more aware of their chemical body burden every day. And, they're reacting to this increased awareness by seeking out safer alternatives to toxic chemicals—a phenomenon known as "product de-selection" that the chemical industry has long feared.
Today, many states and even some companies like Wal-Mart have responded to this consumer demand by phasing out toxic chemicals like bisphenol A, which has been linked to behavioral and physical changes in infants and children. In the summer of 2011, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee took a step further by voting in favor of the Safe Chemicals Act, a landmark bill that strengthens federal chemical regulation by requiring manufacturers to prove their chemicals are safe in order to put them on the shelf. The bill is backed by a growing list of consumers, health professionals, small business owners and even the Government Accountability Office—the investigative arm of Congress—that want reform.
Though a pivotal first step, the Safe Chemicals Act must go up against the chemical industry and its legislative allies before it can become law. Currently, the bill lacks any Republican co-sponsors.
"This fight is about safeguarding all Americans from toxic chemicals and ensuring that workers and vulnerable populations who face disproportionate exposure are protected," says Andrea Delgado, legislative representative at Earthjustice, who is working with a national coalition to reform chemical regulation called Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.
"The chemical industry wants to protect the market for their products, undermining science at the expense of public health. But we can't wait for the bodies to fall before we start taking dangerous chemicals off of the market."
"This case is about the public's right to have scientifically sound information about toxic chemicals...
If the government can't successfully list styrene, even with all of this evidence pointing to its cancer-causing properties, then we are really in a bad place in terms of keeping the public safe from toxic chemicals."
Marianne Engelman Lado
Earthjustice Attorney

12 March 2015


A [person] will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to [that person] to pull rather than push.

-Ludwig Wittgenstein

23 January 2015

Sarah Palin Poses With "Fuck You Michael Moore" Poster At Las Vegas Gun Show 23JAN15

SPEAKING of classy Christians and their testimony, consider this by sarah palin, darling of the American religious right.....

Sarah Palin Poses With "Fuck You Michael Moore" Poster At Las Vegas Gun Show

Remember when Palin got blasted for placing gun-sight symbols on a map of targeted Democrats during the 2010 midterms? Palin doesn't.

‘American Sniper’ or ‘Selma’ — How Christian Is Your Movie Choice? 21JAN15

I think the murder of Chris Kyle was a tragedy. It was so sad that he survived the horrors of war only to come home to his family and then be murdered by a fellow vet he was trying to help. But I do not see him as a martyr for his faith, and I reject the arguments in the Christian community that his military service is a testimony for Christianity. Christ said "Blessed are the peacemakers", he didn't say blessed are the warriors. What each vet had to do in battle ends up being between him or her and God. I believe if the person who has taken another persons life while serving in the military sincerely ask God to forgive him their sin ("Thou shall not kill" is one of the 10 Commandments) that sin is forgive and God wipes the slate clean. But Chris Kyle's attitude reminds me of the Islamic jihadist who feel they are doing their god's will in the wars raging in the Middle East and parts of Africa as well as the terrorism they commit in these areas as well as Europe and the rest of the world. Chris Kyle took it upon himself to judge and sentence each person he killed as a sniper as evil and deserving death by his hand. Christ instructs Christians to leave the ultimate sentence to God. That is why I do not view 'American Sniper' as a film celebrating Christianity or the story of Chris Kyle's military service to be used as an example of Christian service in the military. This from +Sojourners .....

‘American Sniper’ or ‘Selma’ — How Christian Is Your Movie Choice?

It’s no surprise when we talk about the influential power of the Christian pocketbook when it comes to politics, culture, or any other part of the social fabric in the United States. The conversation has been evolving for quite a while now, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its standout moments. One such moment was the unexpected box office power of The Passion of the Christ. Large numbers from various faith communities urged their members to buy tickets in an effort to send a message with their purchase. They wanted the box office numbers to speak for Christian influence in the notably secular realm that was, and is, Hollywood. They wanted their money to talk.
Images via 'American Sniper' and 'Selma Movie' on Facebook.
I don’t see it as much of a coincidence that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, American Sniper finished its four-day debut on Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — with a historic $107.3 million take. The previous best for a non-Hollywood-tentpole drama? The Passion of the Christ with $83.8 million.
Now, these two openings aren’t directly comparable. There are obviously different sets of circumstances surrounding the two films, including star-actor power, Hollywood support, and (for the purpose of our discussion) how much Christianized effort was involved. The buzz around American Sniper isn’t the same as when people purchased tickets to show support for The Passion of the Christ, even if they didn’t plan on seeing the film. Still, American Sniper brings us face to face with the issue Americans can’t escape in our modern society: the conflation of faith and patriotism.
A week ago, Sojourners ran an article from Religion News Service highlighting the role of Christian faith for Chris Kyle, the sniper and main character played by Bradley Cooper in the Clint Eastwood film. Several quotes from his book were used to call attention to the prominence of faith for Kyle in real life versus the lighter take on it shown in the movie. The article ends with one such quote:
“I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. … But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”
Even if such language is patriotic for those who defend a black-and-white, us-versus-them ideology when it comes to combat, it is disturbing at best in a Christian context. First, Kyle makes the mistake of judging the life-value of another, something Christ implores us to leave to God (Matthew 7:1-2). Second, such language highlights the issue I mentioned earlier: the conflation of faith and patriotism. It’s a difficult idea to pull apart and examine, especially if both subjects are important to your daily life and identity. Even so, we’re asked to be thoughtful about our relationship to God and our neighbor. We’re even asked to go beyond that by loving God and loving our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. Believing that ending the life of a neighbor, no matter what they’ve done, is outside the realm of sin or God’s judgment is a precarious Christian position to take.
Yet many are quick to defend the problematic Christianity of Kyle. They defend it with a vehemence, and they defend the beliefs present in the book — and now in the movie — in many cases because they personally hold similar beliefs. This is what makes all of this so troubling for me: Many Christians are eager to speak out in the wider culture using their money (something I’m not sure is a completely Christian or grace-inspired tactic to begin with, but that’s another discussion), yet the overwhelmingly dominant film is a war biopic chronicling violent individual accomplishments, not the one about one of the greatest teachers and leaders of our time, a preacher with a Christ-driven message of non-violence.
The latest box office numbers for Selma were also released today following the MLK holiday weekend. The film reportedly brought in $11.5 million through Monday, bringing its domestic total to $29.1 million. Selma debuted last month, and it has made roughly under one-third of American Sniper debut earnings.

There’s a disconnect here, right? Even while we don't have the data to show the connections between the Christian movie audience and the audience of American Sniper, we can still talk about how certain films are supported financially throughout the culture, some pick up support from perceived Christian audiences and some struggle to gain traction in Christian communities despite their alignment with Christian values. While viewers of both Selma and American Sniper certainly fall on a spectrum between religious and non-religious, we’re still talking about a lack of support in the U.S. market for a movie that places justice and Christ-centered values front and center.

You might say that the dominant film is the one speaking to the dominant culture. It's easier to imagine heroics in terms of violence and war rather than peaceful protest. It's easier to imagine that civil rights are an outside phenomena, one that doesn't have to worry or bother those on the inside of the mainstream dominant culture. It's easier to lend quick support to catchy militaristic phrases than love your enemy. It's definitely easier to defend America as "the promised land" rather than notice what work desperately needs to be done to make it a "promised land" for all.
We can safely say the box office numbers for Selma signal a lack of support from Christian communities because we have financial successes like The Passion of the Christ to point to when we talk about large groups of Christians using their money and resources to name their priorities. We can name it as a lack of support because many of us who follow Christian media and news are seeing the renewed groundswell behind the story of Chris Kyle as an example of American Christian service and morality, rather than someone like Martin Luther King Jr. And we can name it as a lack of support because works like Selma offer us chances to renew the conversation on freedom, justice, civil rights and the overarching Christian ethic, yet they struggle to make headway.
Obviously, we're not making the most of our opportunities to lift up the art and commentary currently speaking to Christian truth. Maybe the problem is that we’re getting confused about which version of Christianity we support.
Mark Lockard is an editor at Ministry Matters. He has a Master of Theological Studies degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, writes and draws for the religion and culture blog , and lives in Nashville. This article originally appeared at Ministry Matters .

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2014 was a challenging year for my family and I don't know how we would have got through it without God, family and friends. Actually, it started in December 2013, when Mom's eye surgery for her glaucoma went bad and she had to have a second surgery in January 2014 and then a third in May 2014. That surgery saved her from going completely blind, now she has one eye she is blind in and the other she can see shapes and variations of light. Going blind is a very difficult process psychologically, very frustrating for someone who has had sight and especially for someone who is very independent but we are working through it. Previous to Mom's May eye surgery Jennie and I went to PA and got our parents and brought them to stay at Jennie's (with her family, Ted and Katie), we decided it was no longer safe for them to live way out in Scandia, PA, isolated as the house is.  Then my father had a heart attack in July, the day before we were supposed to fly to Colorado for a family reunion. He has recovered and we thank God he didn't have his heart attack on the plane. Dad is 85, has emphysema and is also an Alzheimer patient. The Sunday before Thanksgiving my brother Kirk's 15 year old granddaughter, Shayde, died from complications from her heart transplant. Then my sister, Jennie, was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer the day before Thanksgiving. We still had a great Thanksgiving dinner because we are a family of faith and have a lot to be thankful for. Jennie had her surgery at UVMC in Charlottesville, VA the following Tuesday but they weren't able to get all the cancer so she starts her chemo on 28 JAN. Prayers for her healing and recovery will be greatly appreciated. I moved from Herndon, VA to Ashburn, VA the weekend before Thanksgiving, and Mom and Dad moved in with me on 19 December. Mom fell out at Jennie's Christmas Eve, hit her head and we spent hours at the hospital in Warrenton, VA while she was checked out, other than a huge lump on her head and being sore from the fall and from Dad falling on top of her (he was trying to stop her from falling) she was OK. Then my Dad had a TIA (mini-stroke) on 5 JAN and had to spend the night in Landsdown INOVA hospital. He is OK, this is an expected occurrence for someone who had as severe brain stem stroke as he did in 1992, the fact that he survived with no residual damage is nothing short of a miracle. Still this is the second TIA he has had in less than a year, he had one in March 2014. And now Mom has some sort of infection in her legs that has caused severe cellulitis, her doctor is treating her with very powerful antibiotics but is stumped as to the cause because all her lab work came back OK. She has until Monday to show some sign of improvement or she is going to the hospital, doctor's orders. 
So I have not had much time for e mails or blogs or politics or much of anything else. I am not complaining, just have more important things to deal with. My family will always have priority in my life, I thank God for the blessing they are and that I have them.

Unskilled Workers Report for New Jobs & Day-Old Congress Most Hated Ever 4&6JAN15

+Andy Borowitz makes fun of the new members, Democrats, gop & tea-baggers alike, of the 114th US Congress as they take office because the vast majority of them deserve it. He also points out this new congress is already one of the most hated in the history of the institution, both from +The New Yorker .....

Unskilled Workers Report for New Jobs


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Sixty-four unskilled workers will report to new jobs in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday as part of a federal jobs program that provides employment for people unable to find productive work elsewhere.
The new hires, who have no talents or abilities that would make them employable in most workplaces, will be earning a first-year salary of $174,000.
For that sum, the new employees will be expected to work a hundred and thirty-seven days a year, leaving them with two hundred and twenty-eight days of vacation.
Some critics have blasted the federal jobs program as too expensive, noting that the workers were chosen last November in a bloated and wasteful selection process that cost the nation nearly four billion dollars.
But Davis Logsdon, a University of Minnesota economics professor who specializes in labor issues, said that the program is necessary to provide work “for people who honestly cannot find employment anywhere else.”
“Expensive as this program is, it is much better to have these people in jobs than out on the street,” he said.

Day-Old Congress Most Hated Ever


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In a troubling sign for the 114th Congress, a new poll released on Tuesday indicates that the day-old legislative body is the most hated in the nation’s history.
According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, only eight per cent of those surveyed approved of the job Congress is doing, a scathing indictment of the legislators’ first day on the job.

The 114th Congress started the day on a slightly more positive note, garnering a ten-per-cent approval rating, but after the House of Representatives reëlected John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to a new term as Speaker, the number sank to eight.
On the Senate side, Joni Ernst (R.-Iowa), newly elected to the most despised Congress in American history, said that the low approval number was no cause for concern.
“If you ask somebody to pick a number between one and ten, eight is a pretty high number,” she said. “So it’s all good.”
After Senator Ernst made her comment, Congress’s approval rating plummeted to four per cent.

Andy Borowitz is a New York Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes the Borowitz Report for

Six Weeks’ Paid Leave Opposed By People With Thirty-Three Weeks’ Paid Leave & Oxfam: Richest one percent set to control more wealth than the bottom 99 percent & Richest One Per Cent Disappointed to Possess Only Half of World’s Wealth 22&20JAN15

LOOK at the faces of the repiglicans and tea-baggers during Pres Obama's State of the Union speech. The are amazed someone is actually comparing what they consider to be their right to the reality of the rest of the nation. Thanks a lot all you stupid, lazy and self-centered people who voted for this lot or who didn't bother to vote at all! We've got a least 2 years of their oligarchical, plutocratic bullshit to put up with! I just hope you are the ones who suffer the most from the 114th Congress' policies! From +Andy Borowitz, +Oxfam GB and +World Socialist Web Site .....

Six Weeks’ Paid Leave Opposed By People With Thirty-Three Weeks’ Paid Leave
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Obama’s proposal to give workers six weeks of paid leave is meeting strong opposition from a group of people who annually receive thirty-three weeks of paid leave.

Members of the group heard the President’s proposal on Tuesday night, one of the few nights of the year when they are required to report to their workplace.

The opponents of paid leave, who show up for work a hundred and thirty-seven days per year and receive paid leave for the other two hundred and twenty-eight, were baffled by other moments in the President’s speech.

For example, they were confused by Obama’s challenge to try to survive on a full-time job that pays fifteen thousand dollars, since they all currently hold a part-time job that pays a hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars.

Oxfam: Richest one percent set to control more wealth than the bottom 99 percent
By Andre Damon

The richest one percent of the world’s population will have more wealth next year than the other 99 percent combined, according to a report issued Monday by the Oxfam charity. The report shows that, far from moderating or reversing, the pace at which the global financial oligarchy is monopolizing society’s wealth is increasing.

The report observes that while the wealth of the world’s 80 richest people doubled between 2009 and 2014, the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population (3.5 billion people) was lower in 2014 than it was in 2009.

In 2010, it took 388 billionaires to match the wealth of the bottom half of the earth’s population; by 2013, the figure had fallen to just 92 billionaires. It fell to 80 in 2014.

Oxfam timed the release of its report to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Some 1,700 private jets are expected to descend on and around the resort town, bearing about 100 billionaires and over 2,000 corporate executives, celebrities, central bankers and heads of state. They will be joined by a small army of journalists.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will join French President François Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, along with another 35 world leaders.
Other participants will include Jack Ma, who made $25 billion in the initial public offering of Alibaba last year, and Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Google’s Eric Schmidt, with a net worth of some $8 billion, will co-chair the forum. Some 4,500 Swiss military personnel will be deployed to protect the 2,500 attendees.
The millionaires and billionaires assembled at Davos, to whom Oxfam is appealing, constitute the very social layer whose obscene enrichment is decried in the group’s report.
The growth of social inequality documented in the report is the consequence of policies enacted by the ruling class in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, which a significant share of this year’s Davos participants helped trigger. Governments responded to the collapse of asset values and the insolvency of major banks by pumping some $12 trillion dollars into the financial markets by means of bank bailouts, near-zero interest rates, and central bank money-printing (quantitative easing).
This virtually free cash was used to drive up the world’s stock markets and corporate profits to record highs. The same governments and central banks pursued brutal austerity policies against the working class, driving tens of millions into poverty.
The day the Oxfam report appeared, bankers and speculators around the world were rubbing their hands in anticipation of an expansion of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank at its policy-setting meeting this week.
The Oxfam report notes that “2010 marks an inflection point in the share of global wealth” going to the top one percent. This was also the year that the US Federal Reserve’s money-printing operation was expanded with the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing.
Oxfam also found, “In 2014, the richest 1 percent of people in the world owned 48 percent of global wealth, leaving just 52 percent to be shared between the other 99 percent of adults on the planet.” It added, “Almost all of that 52 percent is owned by those included in the richest 20 percent, leaving just 5.5 percent for the remaining 80 percent of people in the world”—some 5.6 billion people.
Oxfam, citing figures from Forbes, noted that there were 1,645 billionaires in the world, nearly thirty percent of whom (492 people) live in the United States. “Billionaires from the US make up approximately half of the total billionaires on the Forbes list with interests in the financial sector,” the charity wrote.
In a reflection of the parasitism that has become embedded in the world capitalist system, the financial and insurance sector minted more billionaires than any other industry. The report states: “Since March 2013, there have been 37 new billionaires from these sectors, and six have dropped off the list. The accumulated wealth of billionaires from these sectors has increased from $1.01tn to $1.16tn in a single year, a nominal increase of $150bn, or 15 percent.”
Oxfam Director Winnie Byanyima will be one of the co-chairs of the Davos event, along with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Google’s Schmidt. The charity declared, “Byanyima will use her position at Davos to call for urgent action to stem this rising tide of inequality, starting with a crackdown on tax dodging by corporations.”
The attempt to present the gathering at Davos as a forum for addressing social inequality takes on an absurd and grotesque character. In the press release announcing its report, Oxfam quotes Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the chair of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, as saying: “All those gathering at Davos who want a stable and prosperous world should make tackling inequality a top priority.”
Lady Rothschild is married to British financier Evelyn de Rothschild, whose net worth is estimated at $20 billion. She spoke at an Oxfam event Monday. The press release for the event declared, “Inequality is spiraling out of control, but consensus on taking action against this issue of our time is gathering pace. From…Barack Obama to Pope Francis, there is clear agreement that extreme inequality is damaging societies, governance and economic growth.”
These warnings about the growth of inequality are rooted in fears within the financial aristocracy that the ever more obvious and repulsive gap between the super-rich and everyone else will have revolutionary consequences.

Richest One Per Cent Disappointed to Possess Only Half of World’s Wealth
By Andy Borowitz

DAVOS (The Borowitz Report)—A new Oxfam report indicating that the wealthiest one per cent possesses about half of the world’s wealth has left the richest people in the world “reeling with disappointment,” a leading billionaire said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum, the hedge-fund owner Harland Dorrinson said, “I think I speak for a lot of my fellow billionaires when I say I thought we were doing a good deal better than that.”

Calling the Oxfam findings “sobering,” he said that he hoped they would serve “as a wake-up call to billionaires everywhere that it’s time to up our game.”

“Quite frankly, a lot of us thought that by buying politicians, rewriting tax laws, and hiding money overseas, we were getting it done,” said Dorrinson, who owns the hedge fund Garrote Capital. “If, at the end of the day, all we control is a measly half of the world’s wealth, clearly we need to do more—much more.”

In Davos, Dorrinson is huddling with other billionaires in the hopes of setting an ambitious goal for the top one per cent: to own the other half of the world’s wealth by 2025.

While he considers this target “doable,” Dorrinson said that he does not underestimate the challenge of wresting the other half from the “vise-like grip” of the approximately seven billion people who comprise the bottom ninety-nine per cent.

“Getting that other half is not going to be a walk in the park,” he said. “But ten years from now, when Oxfam says that the top one per cent owns everything in the world, it’ll all have been worth it.”