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Wolves in Sheep Skin-The “Charities”

Wolves in Sheep Skin-The “Charities”

Water Aid, a charitable organization in America, incorporated in Delaware with corporate offices in NY. David Winder, President and CEO (current) *April 1, 2008 – March 31, 2009 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances. Compensation information for Mr. Winder is not available at this time. Past CEO Patricia Dandonoli received $281,866 in compensation for the year ended March 31, 2009. Duh…expected.
The salary information below was calculated by adding the IRS Form 990 categories of “Compensation,” “Contributions to employee benefit plans,” and “Expense accounts and other allowances.” Not included are any benefits received but not reported in the charity’s IRS Form 990.When information is given only on the national headquarters and the charity does not include its affiliates in its financial statements, “National Office” or “N.O.” appears after the group’s name.

This table was published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report.

NOTE: CharityWatch grades are not based on the salary ranges reported in the IRS Form 990. DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY SALARIES MIGHT BE ALLOCATED, HIGH SALARIES DO NOT NECESSARILY INDICATE INEFFICIENCIES JUST AS LOW SALARIES ARE NOT ALWAYS A PLUS.

Name & Title Organization
Top Salary*
Peter T. Scardino, M.D., Chairman Attending Surgery, Department of Surgery Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
$2,207,147
Michael Friedman, M.D., CEO City of Hope
$1,434,148
Edward J. Benz, Jr., M.D., President/CEO
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Jimmy Fund
$1,406,429
Kenneth Guidera, Chief Medical Officer
Shriners Hospitals for Children
$1,374,996
Includes $939,936 retirement and other deferred compensation.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President/CEO International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
$1,203,690
Includes $602,397 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan.
Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Past President Heritage Foundation
$1,172,321
Steven E. Sanderson, Past President/CEO Wildlife Conservation Society
$1,163,666
Jonathan W. Simons, M.D., President/CEO Prostate Cancer Foundation
$1,123,097
Robert J. Beall, President/CEO Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
$1,073,725
Brian Gallagher, President/CEO United Way Worldwide
$1,035,347
Harry Johns, President/CEO Alzheimer’s Association – N.O.
$996,824
Includes $393,218 retirement and other deferred compensation.
Robert J. Mazzuca, Past Chief Scout Executive Boy Scouts of America – N.O.
$987,412
Wayne LaPierre, CEO & Executive VP/Ex-Officio National Rifle Association & Foundation, respectively
$972,000
Scott A. Blackmun, CEO United States Olympic Committee
$965,359
William R. Brody, M.D., President Salk Institute for Biological Studies
$946,823
William E. Evans, Director/CEO St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/ALSAC
$939,979
Christopher DeMuth, Past Senior Fellow American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
$925,950
Includes $500,000 severance and $606,075 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan, and excludes $550,572 earned in prior years.
M. Kathryn Cloninger, Past CEO Girl Scouts of the USA – N.O.
$887,209
Nancy A. Brown, CEO American Heart Association
$843,779
David Harris, Executive Director American Jewish Committee
$842,419
John R. Seffrin, CEO American Cancer Society
$832,355
Larry Jones, Past CEO Feed the Children/Americans Feeding Americans
$800,000
$800,000 severance to fired founder.
James E. Williams, Jr., President/CEO Easter Seals
$796,501
Rabbi Marvin Hier, President/CEO Simon Wiesenthal Center
$790,954
Michael L. Lomax, President/CEO UNCF/The College Fund
$773,693

http://www.charitywatch.org/hottopics/Top25.html

In this feature you’ll find the personalities behind the major charity scandals that inspire our work and illustrate the importance of a tough charity watchdog that is unafraid to challenge wrongdoing. The most important lesson to be learned from the following colorful stories of charity scoundrels is that regardless of how distinguished, well-connected and honored a charity leader is, he is only human and may be tempted to use the power and influence of his position to abuse the public’s trust and thusly become the next member of the CharityWatch Hall of Shame.

Father Bruce Ritter

The late Father Bruce Ritter founded Covenant House (CH) in 1972 to create a safe shelter for homeless teenagers. The organization had its humble beginnings in Ritter’s shabby New York apartment where he first began providing housing for homeless youth. CH quickly grew into one of the most well-regarded charities in the nation. Ritter was called an “unsung hero” by President Reagan and was applauded by the first President Bush and Mother Teresa, alike. But underneath all of this public acclaim, rumors had circulated for years of sexual relations between Ritter and residents of CH, according to a report commissioned by the charity.

Four men stepped forward between 1989 and 1990, according to Time magazine, accusing Ritter of having sexual relationships with them while they were under his care. Ritter allegedly diverted up to $25,000 in CH money to finance one of these affairs, according to Time. Although Ritter denied these allegations, he stepped down amidst the scandal. CH then launched its own investigation into the priest. The resulting report cited 15 cases of reported sexual contacts between Ritter and people sheltered or working at CH. The report concluded that evidence “that Father Ritter engaged in sexual activities with certain residents and made sexual advances towards certain members of the Faith Community is extensive.”

The investigators also found what they described as minor financial irregularities at CH. According to the report, Ritter diverted CH funds to the Franciscan Charitable Trust, an organization he founded, and loaned charity money to two senior staff members who later resigned. The report also noted that CH had been structured so that Ritter had complete legal and operational control over its affairs, giving the board little authority or oversight powers.

William Aramony

William Aramony served for 22 years as president and CEO of United Way of America(UWA), the umbrella group for thousands of local United Way organizations that fund social and human service projects nationwide. In 1992, Aramony resigned amidst allegations that he siphoned money from UWA through spin-off companies he helped to create. Before the scandal broke, Aramony was widely respected as one of the most influential nonprofit leaders of his time. He even had a hand in creating many of the rules under which charities operate today. In 1995, Aramony and two conspirators, Thomas Merlo and Stephen Paulachak, were convicted of defrauding UWA. Aramony was convicted on 25 felony counts and sentenced to seven years in prison for fraudulently diverting $1.2 million of the charity’s money to benefit himself and his friends.

This scandal is especially memorable given how Aramony chose to use some of the charity’s funds. For instance, he used UWA cash to woo a girl, Lori Villasor, who was only 17 years old when they began dating; Aramony was 59. He met Villasor while dating her slightly older sister. Both young women were added to UWA’s payroll. For his notoriously young girlfriend, Aramony spent $450,000 of the charity’s money to purchase and lavishly furnish a New York condo; $78,000 to chauffeur her around New York City; and $4,800 to renovate her home in Florida. The couple vacationed in Egypt, London, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City. The New York Times reported on the testimony of Aramony’s former aide, Rina Duncan, with whom he also had an affair. Duncan testified to falsifying Aramony’s expense records for seven years so that he could charge the charity for things like champagne, flowers and plane tickets for Villasor.

Aramony was also known for treating female employees inappropriately. He offered some women financial benefits if they had sex with him and would transfer those who declined, according to the indictment. Aramony’s lawyer claimed there were medical reasons for his client’s behavior, arguing Aramony’s ability to control impulses was impaired by brain atrophy.

When Aramony resigned amidst scandal in 1992, the organization’s growth in contributions stalled for a few years. CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, remarked in USA Todayin 1995 as to how the scandal influenced public perception of charities, saying, “It created a climate where donors are more questioning. They want to know more about how an organization is governed and the ethics of its leaders.”

John Bennett, Jr.

In 1989, philanthropist and entrepreneur John Bennett, Jr. founded the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy (New Era), an organization which boldly promised to double the investments of nonprofits. In reality, New Era was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that, at the time of its collapse, was considered the biggest financial scandal in the history of American charities. Victims lost $135 million to New Era over its five and a half years of operation.

New Era’s premise was simple: a nonprofit would deposit money with New Era for a period of time. At the end of the holding period, the deposit would be matched by an anonymous donor and the now doubled funds would be sent back to the nonprofit. In reality, New Era was paying its original investors with money from new investors. It covered any shortfalls with loans that eventually totaled $50 million. In 1995, New Era’s loans were called in. Unable to repay them Bennett was forced to place New Era into bankruptcy and admit that his anonymous donors never existed.

In 1996, Bennett was charged in an 82 count indictment. Evidence showed that Bennett siphoned approximately $7 million from New Era for personal expenditures, including transferring charity funds to his own for-profit businesses. In 1995 he also used New Era funds to buy a Lexus and to pay himself an average of $26,785 per week in consulting fees. In 1998, Bennett was sentenced to twelve years in prison for his crimes.

Bennett was able to cover his tracks for so long by giving false information to both regulators and investors. For example, in correspondences with the IRS, Bennett misrepresented New Era’s assets, listed fictitious board members, and submitted fabricated board meeting minutes. He also used his reputation as a leading Christian figure to disarm donor suspicions. Bennett was able to secure donations from prominent donors such as Laurance Rockefeller, the brother of David Rockefeller, and former Treasury Secretary William Simon; and investments from major nonprofits like American Red CrossWorld Vision, and Nature Conservancy. The caliber of those associated with New Era helped attract others. As quoted by the Associated Press, CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff commented that nonprofits “evidently saw New Era making money for a competitor and just played follow the leader, gambling away their individual donor contributions for snake oil.”

Lorraine Hale

Hale House (HH) was co-founded in 1969 by Clara Hale, a Depression era widow known for taking needy children into her home, earning her the affectionate title “Mother Hale.” For decades, HH provided help for children touched by poverty, drug abuse, and AIDS. Sadly, Clara Hale’s daughter and HH co-founder, Lorraine Hale, tarnished the legacy of her mother and the image of the venerable charity when she took over after her mother’s death in 1992.

Extravagant spending by Lorraine Hale and her husband, Jesse DeVore, who was employed as HH’s public relations director, was widely reported in the media. The New York Daily News exposed that Hale House Foundation (HHF), a separate fundraising arm of the charity, spent $444,953 on a bronze statue of Mother Hale in 1995. HHF also amassed an art collection valued at $440,133, according to the paper, most of which Lorraine Hale used to adorn her private office. The New York Times reported that HH employees overheard DeVore refer to the shelter’s children as “cash cows.”

In 2002, Hale and DeVore were criminally indicted by then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for stealing over $700,000 from their charity. AG Spitzer also filed a civil suit against the two, seeking the recovery of over $1 million in charity funds that Hale used to pay her property taxes, install a jacuzzi in her home, pay her brother’s legal expenses, and give $500,000 to her husband’s failed theatrical production. That same year, Hale and DeVore pled guilty to stealing Hale House funds and falsifying business records.

Roger Chapin

Roger Chapin, a self-described “non-profit entrepreneur,” founded more than thirty charities and advocacy projects over more than forty years. His causes ranged from curing Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, to assisting veterans. Unfortunately, Chapin’s track record often showed that he used his charities to enrich himself and his friends while spending too little on funding the causes he touted. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed Chapin in 2007 when he refused to voluntarily testify at its hearing on rampant financial inefficiency at many of the nation’s veterans charities. Chapin was later compelled to testify at a second hearing in early 2008.

Congress’ investigation confirmed CharityWatch’s previous findings that only about 25% of the $168 million raised between 2004 and 2006 by Chapin’s veterans charities, Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (CSAH), went to veterans. During the same period Chapin and his wife received $1.5 million in compensation, plus $340,000 to cover restaurant, hotel and other expenses. $446,000 of charity funds were used to purchase a condo for use by Chapin and his wife, according to the investigation. Chapin hired his long-time friend and direct mail expert, Richard Viguerie, to conduct fundraising campaigns for HHV, paying Viguerie’s company $14 million between 2000 and 2005.

Chapin was highly skilled at painting his charities in a favorable light for potential donors, often using celebrities to promote his nonprofit endeavors, or employing accounting tricks to inflate his charities’ financial efficiencies. For example, CSAH paid $100,000 to General Tommy Franks in exchange for his endorsement, the congressional investigation revealed. CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, who was invited to provide advice and expert testimony at the hearing, alerted the Committee about unusual or inefficient financial transactions at Chapin’s charities. In 2006 HHV and CSAH each counted the same donated “phone cards,” valued by the charities at $18.7 million, as a contribution and program expense in their financial statements. These cards could not be used by soldiers overseas to call home, but rather to listen to sports scores and hear advertisements. Combined with $2 million in donated public service airtime, the cards accounted for 85% of CSAH’s reported program expenses in 2006. This financial reporting made Chapin’s charities appear to be highly efficient even though most of the charities’ cash was not going to veterans.

When Chapin retired from HHV in 2009 he rewarded himself, with approval from his charity’s board of directors, with a generous $1.9 million payout which HHV claimed was for “retirement.” This payment was in addition to the years of annual, multiple six-figure salary and benefits he received while serving as president of the organization. Click here to read more about Roger Chapin’s extraordinary retirement payout from HHV. After retiring from HHV, Chapin continued as president of CSAH and a newer nonprofit he founded, Help Wounded Heroes.

Roger Chapin passed away in August of 2013 just as he and other directors of HHV had reached a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office requiring them to resign from the charity and to pay a collective $2.5 million in restitution. Read about the details of the settlement in Leadership Booted at Dishonored Veterans Charity.

Larry Jones

CharityWatch members are certain to be familiar with Larry Jones, whose antics as president of F rated Feed the Children (FC) earned the group the moniker “Most Outrageous Charity in America” from CharityWatch. Jones is also famous for appearing in FC’s television infomercials that featured malnourished children in impoverished areas around the world. During Jones’ nearly three decades as president of the charity, FC was plagued by financial impropriety and mismanagement. For example, in 1999 an investigation by television station WTVF revealed that local FC executive staff in Nashville regularly took boxes of donated goods for themselves from the FC warehouse. That same year The Daily Oklahoman reported that FC allegedly attempted to pressure the newspaper into not reporting on Jones’ son, Allen, who had filed for personal bankruptcy and revealed that he owed his father’s charity $950,000. The paper’s editor reported that Jones said he would give the newspaper a story “twice as good” if it did not publish its story. CharityWatch sounded the alarm bell when it came out that FC’s former chief financial director confessed to forging the signature of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen on FC’s 1997, 1998, and 1999 financial statements. Jones also had a history of making major decisions without board approval, including awarding a $40 million annual, no-bid television buying agreement to Affiliated Media Group, a company that employed Jones’ son, Allen.

Despite the numerous scandals that took place under Jones’ leadership, he remained at the charity for nearly three decades before FC’s board finally took action. The final straw was Jones’ 2009 admission that he had authorized the wiretapping of FC’s offices in order to secretly record his conversations with his employees. FC’s board decided to put an end to his “freewheeling dominance” over the charity, demanding that Jones take a sabbatical for an indefinite period of time. Jones did not go away quietly. He attempted to install a new board who would be loyal to him. When that failed and he was fired, Jones responded with a wrongful termination suit.

The charity responded with a countersuit alleging that Jones took kickbacks from vendors, lied to FC’s board about giving himself and his wife unauthorized raises, misused charity funds, and had a large stash of pornography hidden in his private area at this Christian charity. In January 2011, Jones and FC announced a resolution of the legal dispute. Jones is no longer associated with the charity he founded, which continues to receive an F rating from CharityWatch.

In the CharityWatch archive, you can find more articles on the antics involving Feed the Children and Larry Jones.

John Donald Cody aka “Bobby Thompson”

'Bobby Thompson' pictured in 2006 and 2008A man who assumed the stolen identity of “Bobby Thompson” disappeared in June 2010. He’s now on the lam with a nationwide warrant for his arrest for crimes including corruption, theft, and money laundering associated with his sham charity, The United States Navy Veterans Association (USNVA). Thompson gained credibility for his organization, and donors’ trust, by claiming that he and other charity officers were ex-military men, and that USNVA had been in operation since 1927 with dozens of local chapters throughout the U.S. The charity’s website boasted of 66,000 “members,” cited substantial contributions from nonexistent foundations, and featured thank-you notes from soldiers USNVA purported to have helped. An in-depth investigation conducted by the St. Petersburg Times exposed USNVA to be virtually a one-man operation run out of a Florida duplex by an unidentifiable man with no record of military service. By the time Thompson’s deception was uncovered he had already succeeded in bilking donors out of nearly $100 million over a seven year period.

Thompson’s con extended beyond charity fraud to influencing legislation. He hired a lobbyist to persuade Senator Patsy Ticer to sponsor a Virginia state law exempting certain veterans groups like USNVA from registration that discloses financial activities and other information for public scrutiny. Senator Ticer agreed to sponsor the bill, and by the time she became aware of the serious problems at USNVA it was too late to prevent it from becoming law. Thompson also contributed $67,500 to Virginia politicians. After the USNVA scandal broke all of them eventually agreed to donate those monies to other veterans charities.

Thompson disappeared just as several states began investigating USNVA, with Ohio’s attorney general (AG) taking the lead. In October 2010, an Ohio grand jury indicted Thompson and Blanca Contreras-a former citrus processing plant employee who had signed USNVA registration papers in several states claiming to hold executive positions at the group. Contreras was arrested and pled guilty to charges including corruption, theft, and money laundering. She is currently serving a five-year sentence in Ohio. According to a press release from the Ohio AG, the state “won a default judgment for $3.7 million plus attorney fees” from USNVA, having “proved the organization had falsely claimed to raise money for US veterans’ causes; in reality, very little money ever went to help veterans.”

For more on the USNVA scandal, read Phantom Charity Takes Flight: Leaves Veterans Stranded.

2013 UPDATE: Bobby Thompson was captured by U.S. Marshals in Portland, Oregon after being on the run for close to two years. After his arrest authorities found numerous fraudulent ID’s in his possession, as well as a suitcase with $980,000 worth of cash. Thompson later admitted that his real name is John Donald Cody. Mr. Cody has been described as a Harvard-educated lawyer and a former Army intelligence officer. In November 2013 an Ohio court convicted him on 23 counts including stealing, identity theft, money laundering and record tampering. He received a 28-year prison sentence and a $6 million fine. In an interview with Reuters, CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff said “No one has ever made a bigger mockery of veterans, politicians and charity as Bobby Thompson did with his U.S. Navy Veterans Association.”

Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson photo courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsGreg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute(CAI) and author of New York Times best selling booksThree Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, was the darling of philanthropic and literary communities until CharityWatch began investigating his charity in 2009. CharityWatch uncovered a serious lack of segregation between CAI’s finances and Greg Mortenson’s personal business interests. 2009 financials showed that the charity funded Mortenson’s book promotion and speaking events, yet it received no revenue from book sales or advertising and little to none of the $25,000 to $30,000 per-event speaking fees Mortenson charged at speaking engagements.

After seeing CharityWatch’s articles on the charity, 60 Minutes contacted us for insight into CAI’s finances. CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, was later interviewed by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft for a story that revealed the problems at CAI went well beyond financial mismanagement. 60 Minutes surveyed about thirty schools that CAI claimed to have built, finding that roughly half of them were empty, built by someone else, or not receiving funding from CAI. 60 Minutes also interviewed author and former donor to CAI, Jon Krakauer, who argued that many claims made in Mortenson’s inaugural book were fictitious. Mortenson later admitted that events in his books were compressed, but insisted any literary license taken did not amount to lying.

CAI’s board confirmed to 60 Minutes that CAI spent only 41% of its expenses on building or supporting schools in 2009, but argued that the funds it spent on speaking events at which Mortenson promoted his books should also be counted as a charitable program. That year CAI spent $1.7 million on book-related costs that included “Advertising, events, film and professional fees, publications (books & freight), and some travel,” according to its audit. One attorney who examined CAI’s financial activities advised Mortenson and the charity’s board that “CAI’s outlays for book advertising and travel expenses for Mortenson’s speaking engagements appear to be in violation” of IRS rules, and that Mortenson could owe $7.2 million or more for “excessive benefits received during 2007, 2008, and 2009.”

The charity’s 2010 tax form revealed it continued to spend more on “awareness,” including Mortenson’s books, than funding schools that year. CharityWatch called for Mortenson’s resignation earlier this year, arguing that CAI will be unable to recover from its tarnished reputation with him at the helm. The charity is also under inquiry by the Montana attorney general.

UPDATE: Montana Attorney General announced a settlement agreement requiring Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, to pay more than $1 million in restitution for financial wrongdoing at the charity he founded, Central Asia Institute.

For more about Greg Mortenson and CAI, read these CharityWatch articles and check out the 60 Minutes coverage.

The Wingo Family

Joe Wingo, his wife Linda Wingo, and their son Andy were the subjects of a 49-count federal indictment for the theft, fraud, kickbacks, and cover-ups that plagued their charity, Angel Food Ministries (AFM), a Georgia-based nonprofit.

Joe Wingo, who also served as a pastor at a church he founded, started AFM in 1994, a few years after he served a one-year prison sentence for extortion. The organization’s stated purpose was to sell affordable food to the needy by purchasing food in bulk and distributing it through a network of volunteers and churches. It was partially funded by the USDA through an almost $7 million low interest loan issued in 2005.

In September 2011, the Wingos shut their charity down. Two months later federal investigators concluded a four-year investigation of AFM with an indictment that listed numerous alleged illegal activities. These included the use of charitable funds for extravagant personal spending (including cars, sporting goods, electronics, and a down payment on a jet aircraft which the Wingos then leased back to the charity), issuing millions of dollars in “bonus wages” to family members, who then paid the charity back the money in a scheme to cover up the Wingos’ debts to the charity, setting up a complex system requiring vendors to pay kickbacks to the charity as a condition of doing business, using charity funds to support political campaigns, and attempting to hide and destroy evidence being sought by federal investigators.

According to the Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office’s release of August 2013, Joe Wingo had admitted to prosecutors that he used his position at AFM to make personal purchases with charity funds and then tried to hide these expenditures. Joe and Andy have each been sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Joe and Andy must forfeit about $1.5 million and $2.4 million, respectively, and Joe must pay a $15,000 fine. Linda has been sentenced to five years of probation and must pay a $25,000 fine after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony (having knowledge of a crime and concealing its commission).

http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/CharityWatchHallofShame.html

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Script

Script

This is a big machine we live in and we supply the fuel to run it by going to work everyday and spending the money we make, pouring it back into what it had just come out of yet none of it is guaranteed, its borrowed.  My old father said it is “script”.  The term used by coal miners who lived and worked everyday in coal mines, yet remained poor.  They were handed a piece of paper called script and could buy against it but on payday the check went to pay off the borrowed script.

How many vacations have you taken in the past 5 years?  How many has our President taken, including reprieves.  When was the last time you spent $5000.00 to bring a “call girl” to another state for a fun-filled weekend like some politicians?  Have you ever asked yourself why the President’s wife hangs out with Oprah, and her children with Hanna Montana?  Well, they have made the “big time”!  They are living the American Dream!

Then ask yourself:  “How did Oprah become so “elite”?  Where did ALL that money come from?”  And Hanna Montana…how did she get so crazy rich, so fast?  Please tell me you know that answer, please tell me you realize that most of America would go hungry to see an outrageously priced movie at the theater, or watch a minor; a child pole dance.  This IS America and those are some of the wonderful things we spend all our money on.

What you spend your money on is in fact your business, don’t get me wrong.  But when the day comes when you cannot pay your bills and someday it will, and soon.  Please do not come crying to me or the system to pay your way, go crying to Oprah.  The system will help you I am sure in some way or another but ask yourself this:  “Will Oprah?”  That is a major downfall in America; placing people on pedestals who essentially do not give a damn about you.

For you diehard Oprah fans, try to ask her for one hundred dollars, or even $5.00 to pay for a chicken sandwich when your broke and hungry.  I challenge anyone reading this to try to contact Oprah.  She is bigger than the people who made her what she is, hell she is bigger than life itself…SHE IS HOLLYWOOD!  Go find one of her mansions, step on the lawn and see what happens.  You paid for that lawn, didn’t you?  You have a right to step on don’t you? 

When is the last time, if ever Oprah went into Walmart or somewhere similar?  When is the last time you did?  The “rich” spend money where the rich spend money.  Does that money make it back into the society most of us live in?  I highly doubt it.  Most of it goes to fancy homes, cars and boats from other exotic places and the purses of those providers of services to the wealthy, the caterers to the elite.  It is a world most of us will never know.

We live on script or credit, we put it in, it gets taken away every single day in one form or another.    The super rich delegate the script, we give them that absolute power by putting it in over and over until they become bigger than life as we know it, inflating their egos and suddenly we become submissive to monsters we create.  Yet we continue taking that last few dollars to go see that movie or buy that CD.  It sounds crazy because it is, think about it. 

We only get back what we are able to put in and that makes sense for the average Joe, but when you put in and someone takes without giving back, then a mismatch occurs, balance is off.  When balance is off, something usually falls and something usually gets broken.  When someone has a net worth a hundred times greater than the most money average people will make in an entire lifetime, balance is off.  Yet day after day it never changes.

The next time you are standing in Walmart, in a line of 30 people trying to spend your hard-earned money, thinking I just want to go home and lay down.   And you pick up a magazine to pass the time because the headline states some catching Hollywood phrase.  Really look at that story and wonder why you are standing in Walmart while the pictures you are gloating over gave the person you are looking at the life they live.  Wonder then, if ever they felt like you do at that moment.

Then pass your script to the cashier, while he puts the items you waited so long and patiently to buy because you desperately need them in a bag so cheap that it rips and all of your items fall on the floor.  Although you might feel like crying, just remember the magazine you gloated over just minutes before and know all your hard work is making someone very happy in a world you will never know…then you can cry, you have every right.     

The Rich, the Poor, and the Ugly

The Rich, the Poor and the Ugly

If you believe for one second that the current economic state of the nation does not affect you, don’t waste your time reading this. Come back to read this and talk to me in six months, a year if you are lucky enough  to have made it that far.  I am happy for you!  For those of you who know that trouble is just around the corner and you are wondering why, how did all this happen and what our future is, read on.  There may just be something here to spark an idea.

I cannot save you.  Hell, I am wondering what is going to happen to my life within the next year or so.  Being unemployed at the moment, I thought there might just be time to try to figure a few things out.  In a few short minutes of research, I realized that we Americans, compared to the most of the world are “spoiled”.  We seem to harbor a “Hollywood” attitude as though we are a rich nation, powerful, and as MC Hammer once said:  “Can’t touch this”, arrogance.

That is how we got here.  Do not get me wrong, it is good to have positive thinking skills, arrogance to a point and a “no fail” attitude but taking into consideration the rapid decline of the middle class; the working poor, those attributes are failing us.  We have no time for one another because we have to work so hard to survive.  We do not even have time for our own children, or our own lives.  There is an old American saying:  “United we stand, divided we fall.”

We are falling and fast!  In America according to the U.S. Census of 2007, there are an estimated 227,719,424 people in America.  In February 2010, the number of unemployed persons in America was 14.9 million (9.7 percent) according to a labor statistic update (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm).  Think about 14.9 million people who are unemployed!  Let’s look at the numbers or The Great Depression of 1933.  http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar03p1.htm

From an estimated annual rate of 3.3 percent during 1923-29, the unemployment rate rose to a peak of about 25 percent in 1933.  At the height of the Depression in 1933, nearly 25% of the Nation’s total work force, 12,830,000 people, were unemployed.  We have already surpassed that number by 2 million.  http://www.todaysteacher.com/TheGreatDepressionWebQuest/BriefOverview.htm  The total est., population in 1930 was 122,775,046.

There are now an estimated 105,000,000 more people in the United States since 1930, more mouths to feed and needs to be met.  The cost of living is higher, taxes are higher, everyday survival is higher.  There are more working people-true, but there are also more people who need assistance, who cannot or in some cases do not give back into society and drain resources causing the rest of society to carry the burden with nothing given in return.

The good is simply that if all of this has not effected you personally yet, you have been lucky or you are not the middle class working poor.  If you are middle class, sit down and count exactly how many resources you have to survive a collapse of our system v.s months before you are homeless or cannot meet the needs of your family or yourself.  You may just be surprised.  You may find that you are just a few paychecks away from total devastation.

Those of you or us or them who pay mortgages and credit card debt actually have nothing except borrowed time.  Just because what you have sits neatly in your castle, ponder this…if you don’t have the deed, it is not your castle.  And even if you do have the deed, what happens if you become ill or have an accident?  Your castle you worked for your entire life will pay the hospital bills, you’ll recover and come home to someone else’s castle where yours used to be.

The bad…you’ve just read it and it is a very, very small piece of a much bigger, much uglier picture.  Not long ago I overheard a conversation between a man (a doctor) and his brother (a manager of a homeless shelter).  The doctor said  “I have a million dollar home”, and the brother said  “I have an apartment”.  The doctor said  “So that means you don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.”  The brother said  “Either do you brother, either do you.”

What is a Hemorrhage?

If all the people in the world were to lose the total of all of their blood, would the depth of it reach the moon?  If it did, would the moon turn “blood red”?

 

From the Beginning:  Hemorrhage

Bleeding, technically known as hemorrhaging or haemorrhaging (see American and British spelling differences) is the loss of blood or blood escape from the circulatory system.  Bleeding can occur internally, where blood leaks from blood vessels inside the body or externally, either through a natural opening such as the vagina, mouth, nose, ear or anus, or through a break in the skin. The complete loss of blood is referred to as exsanguination,  and desanguination is a massive blood loss. Typically, a healthy person can endure a loss of 10-15% of the total blood volume without serious medical difficulties, and blood donation typically takes 8-10% of the donor’s blood volume…Death from bleeding can generally occur surprisingly quickly.  Cited from Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleeding

Definition of Hemorrhage

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=14263

Hemorrhage: Bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood.

…an internal hemorrhage that is invisible or an external hemorrhage that is visible on the outside of the body. Bleeding into the spleen or liver is internal hemorrhage. Bleeding from a cut on the face is an external hemorrhage.

The term “hemorrhagic” comes from the Greek “haima,” blood + rhegnumai,” to break forth = a free and forceful escape of blood.

Hemorrhage and The Revelation Painting

Related to The Revelation Painting-Hemorrhage is tied to three major circumstances which are draining the life-sustaining blood from the fabric of our nation; first and foremost Politics, followed by Religion, and lastly corporate greed and deception.  Those factors influence us as human beings in our everyday lives and interactions with one another.  Therefore weakening our morals, our values and our beliefs.

From childhood we are taught to believe in our leaders, our teachers, our science and legal entities, our icons as role models and business.  Technically it is all business, like a big machine feeding off of the support of its people.  We are feeding this machine its fuel and our children are learning to feed this machine, followed by their children and so on.  What is currently breaking the machine is awareness.

What used to be a black and white, lifeless and impersonal “story” or article in a newspaper in which visualization was left to the imagination is now visual with color and aspects of humanity, and animated (ALIVE) images imprint our brain.  This imprint causes intelligent people to question what is happening when the foundations we were raised upon seem to be crumbling.

What happens to a society when you are a parent try to teach your child to respect the President of the country when the newspaper is open on the table with a comic of a girl under a table with her face pressed in the President’s pants, or the television is blaring “I did not have sexual intercourse…”  In order not to share the TRUTH with your child it would require no interaction with society.

Are you supposed to say:  “Honey, the President did something bad, something that was wrong but for the time being respect him because he is our leader, and the next President won’t do that.  We are all human beings and we have faults.”  True, but the simple fact of the matter is that we all do not represent our country as The President of The United States of America!  This is not only a disgrace but a hemorrhage!  

What do you tell your child Sunday morning when they are afraid to go to church because in a restaurant he heard a family talking about the priest with his hand in some little boy’s pants?  What possible cover story can we give for that!  “Oh honey, that priest was sick, not all priest are like that.”  Then in the evening news the child hears hundreds of priest are pedophiles.  This is a hemorrhage!

Your child comes home from school and says the teacher kissed me on the mouth mom…You think, well…maybe it was an innocent showing of affection, inappropriate but it showed love and not the hate exploding all over the world…you let it go.  A month later a teacher’s face is plastered all over the media that she had sex with her minor students!  Another hemorrhage!

You, now because of your leaders, priests’ and teachers have become the bad guy in your child’s eye.  Why?  Because YOU are a liar!  You have now damaged that child, your child forever.  Respect is lost by your honest effort to play the game.  All adults are liars and freaks and what they do or say can and will change at anytime.  Trust is lost.

Your child’s grades begin to suffer because they become confused.  Respect for our leaders begin to dwindle away, therefore respect for one another because we all become liars and potential violators in a society…The general attitude becomes:  if a President, Priest, or teacher will do something like that you’d better believe you will too!  We as a society begin to bleed-a hemorrhage!

America is changing and changing fast.  We are in the midst of a hemorrhage, we are bleeding and if we bleed long enough we will not recover no matter how hard we try.  The Revelation Painting is one effort to stop the flow of blood, to help society and the world understand that we disapprove and we are not like them-our “leaders” who have fallen from grace.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I AM NOT ANTI-GOVERNMENT, I AM NOT A COMMUNIST, I am an intelligent person, a parent and a member of  a once empathetic society which genuinely cared for one another as some still do.  I am aware of my community, my nation, and the world…it is as close to me as feeling my own heartbeat and the America I used to know.