100 Words – I’m not a bad person

I’m stuck at the red light on 4th street across from the shelter. I try not to stare at the men shivering in the afternoon rain. Instead, I think about my wife at home with the fragrance of happiness in her hair, my comfortable chair and how good my bed will feel even though its mattress refuses to grow accustomed to my body’s shape. I don’t want to think about these old men and their soup kitchen dinner, or the newspaper blankets that they’ll use to shelter them from the cold. I only think…I wish this damn light would change.

Dear Americans

“The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but the one fear; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away. They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah, for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy’s warren and paying his price?”
Watership Down – Richard Adams

For those that may not be familiar with the story, it is about a group of rabbits that have been forced to leave their homeland or face certain destruction. On their journey to find a new home they come upon America a warren where all the residents live in happiness. Their is an abundance of food for which they do not have to work, no worries of any kind. Oh yes, it seemed that someone had made their warren ‘Great Again’. Only the outsiders could see what was really happening. They were being kept fat and happy by The Orange Man humans for a reason.paella-2794836_960_720

Perhaps the moral of this story is,

If our leaders tell us what we want to hear and give us what we think we want then we will not pay any attention to the knife that is slowly slicing away our freedoms.

To that, I must scream

“Siflay hraka, u embleer rah!”

Free Form Friday – My weekly rant about things that no one else gives a shit about

They Sold Your Soul

There is a place that exists
Between Hell and Heaven
And we’re doing a tightrope balancing act
On the center rail of humanity

America I pledge allegiance but I can’t tell anymore which country you are
I’ve asked the questions  but never get a straight answer
There are times when I can feel the sun shining on my back
But it  quickly fades back to hate and blame

When did life get so damned hard
When did the answers to the questions become more questions
When did the light at the end of the tunnel
Turn out to be a street lamp on the corner of Lies and Mistrust

They all run around screaming silence at each other
Each one wanting to know why the other can’t understand the lie
When it’s as plain as the  pimple in the ass crack of their insanity
It itches but they won’t scratch it for fear we’ll smell the shit on their hands

So somebody please tell me where did the innocent children go
I know they were here just a few minutes ago
I heard them laughing and playing out on the lawn
But when I turned back to look they were suddenly gone

They’re in the bathroom with a razor slash across their wrists
Because they know the big white house on top of the hill
Is just a meeting place for the worlds auctioneers
And what is for sale and who is in line to buy it

The Fall of an Empire – Another Rant that no nobody else gives a shit about

Let me tell you a little story of a once great empire that existed long ago and in a land far away…or is it?

This empire consisted of an Emperor, who held the power to rule over civil and military affairs. The Senate, made up of men of character acted as the advisory counsel for the Emperor. However, the powerful, wealthy and spoilt members of the Senate inevitably became corrupt and many lived a debauched, deluded and immoral lifestyle, leading to constant antagonism of the Emperor and an inability to create laws to govern its citizens; resulting in a moral decay of society.

This decline in morals, ethics and values especially among the wealthy upper class had a devastating impact. Sexual promiscuity, including adultery, orgies, homosexuality and bestiality ran rampant. ‘Religious festivals’ were held where lewd acts would be performed openly. Widespread gambling, massive consumption of alcohol and sadistic cruelty were held in public venues.

The elite leaders that once protected the Empire became so politically corrupt that eventually they could decide who would become Emperor. At one point they held an open auction and sold ‘the throne of the world’ to the highest bidder.

Heavy military spending to support the constant wars against the barbarians led to increased taxes. The military was eventually spread too thin to defend its borders. High spending soon led to threats of government bankruptcy, even higher taxation, failing economics and out of control inflation. The currency was devalued to such a point that a barter system returned.

An invasion of ‘slave labor’ from other countries eventually led to a high unemployment rate among its citizens. This caused increased dependability, government hand-outs and subsidies. Many citizens chose to live strictly off these subsidies, sacrificing their standard of living for an idle life of ease. They divide between rich and poor grew to massive proportions.

As thousands of these idle and unemployed citizens grew bored civil unrest and rioting in the streets became common. Violence and bloodshed lost its ability to shock the spectators. Basic principles and the standards of judgement about the value of life declined. The views of what was right or wrong, good or bad grew perverted as all ethics and standards of human behavior were lost.

Many natural disasters such as fires, floods, violent storms and earthquakes took their toll and left the population looking for anyone to blame. Many different types of religions were sought out as the citizens searched for answers.

The Empire had created many enemies worldwide; some out of envy and others out of hatred. This resulted in the Empire being under constant attack from foreign armies. Eventually, these barbarians laid waste to the capitol and brought the Empire to its knees, leading to its inevitable decline.

The Top 9 Best Rated Charities – to get the best bang for your pennies.

We all know that I work in retail and all throughout the holidays, from sunrise to the wee hours of the night, I was bombarded by the ringing bell and gleaming red kettle. I must have heard this comment a thousand times,

“Don’t throw your change in the bucket. It only goes to line some CEO’s pocket. Nothing really gets to the people in need.”

So with tax time coming upon us so quickly and people looking for a charity where they can make their hard earned penny count for as much as possible… just where should my donation go to do the most good?

So, I jumped to the internet in search for the truth and here is what I found.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organisation structured in a quasi-military fashion. Wikipedia

The combined stats on the Salvation Army (National Corporation) according to http://www.give.org. meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. The following financial review covers the National Office of the Salvation Army and all of its affiliates in the USA. This information is based on the unaudited combined financial review in The Salvation Army’s 2013 annual report.

Total Revenue: $4,078,331,000

Programs: $2,705,832,000

Fundraising: $202,624,000

Administrative: $380,938,000

*A worthy cause indeed but one that comes with a few problems that this article will not address.

So if you are wondering where I can get the biggest bang for my measly pittance. Have no fear, here is a list of:

The Top 9 Best Rated Charities

#9 National Council of YMCA of the USA (Founded 1844) – For Youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibilities.

  1. Total Revenue: $143,906,903
  2. Administrative Fees: 8.7%
  3. Fundraising Expenses: 1.9%
  4. Mission: Build strong kids, strong families, strong communities
  5. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 89.3%
  6. CEO Compensation: $ 819,512
  7. Fundraising Expenses: 1.9%
  8. Website: www.ymca.net

#8 Patients Services Incorporated (Founded 1989) – Ground breaking premium and co-payment assistance foundation for the chronically ill.

  1. Total Revenue: $128,352,7162.
  2. Administrative Fees:
  3. 4.4%Fundraising Expenses: 1.3%
  4. Website: www.patientservicesinc.org
  5. CEO Compensation: $ 570,296
  6. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 94.1%
  7. Mission: PSI helps chronically ill patients with affordable medical expenses.

#7  Americares (Founded 1979) – With good health anything is possible: education, employment and active community life. That’s why we are committed to placing health at the center of action and conversation.

  1. Total Revenue: $915,733,646
  2. Administrative Fees: .5%
  3. Fundraising Expenses: 1.3%
  4. Website: www.americares.org
  5. CEO Compensation: $ 363,186
  6. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 98.1%
  7. Mission: Save lives and improve health for those people affected by poverty or disaster so they can reach their full potential.

#6  Doctors Without Borders (Founded 1971) – Helping people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care.

  1. Total Revenue: $296,059,937
  2. Administrative Fees: 1.1%
  3. Fundraising Expenses: 10.4%
  4. Website: www.doctorswithoutborders.org
  5. CEO Compensation: $ 163,783
  6. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 88.3%
  7. Mission: Medical aid where it is needed most. Independent. Neutral. Impartial

#5  The Carter Center (Founded 1982) – Commitment to human rights and alleviation of human suffering.

  1. Total Revenue: $407,514,800
  2. Administrative Fees: 3.0%
  3. Fundraising Expenses: 3.5%
  4. Website: www.cartercenter.org
  5. CEO Compensation: $ 125,178
  6. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 93.4%
  7. Mission: Prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

#4  The Conservation Fund (Founded 1985) – Creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense.

  1. Total Revenue: $215,096,466
  2. Administrative Fees: 1.4%
  3. Fundraising Expenses: .4%
  4. Website: www.conservationfund.org
  5. CEO Compensation: $ 576,224
  6. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 97.5%
  7. Mission: Practicing conservation to achieve environmental aid and economic outcomes.

#3  Rotary Foundation (Founded 1905) – A global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem solvers

  1. Total Revenue: $284,602,519
  2. Administrative Fees: 3.0%
  3. Fundraising Expenses: 5.9%
  4. Website: www.rotary.org
  5. CEO Compensation: $ 294,925
  6. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 90.9%
  7. Mission: To advance world understanding, goodwill and peace.

#2  MAP International (Founded 1954) – A Christian organization providing life changing medicine and health supplies to people in need.

  1. Mission: In times of disaster, MAP provides immediate humanitarian assistance and relief aid including medicines and health supplies to those left homeless and without access to basic services.
  2. Total Revenue: $606,488,670
  3. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 99.3%
  4. Administrative Fees: .1%
  5. CEO Compensation: $204,233
  6. Fundraising Expense: .5%
  7. Website: www.map.org

#1.  Direct Relief (Founded 1948) – humanitarian aid organization active in all 50 states in the USA and over 80 countries worldwide.

  1. Mission: Improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty and emergencies.
  2. Total Revenue: $772,762,184
  3. Administrative Fees: .3%
  4. Fundraising Expenses: .2%
  5. Website: www.directrelief.org
  6. CEO Compensation: $384,276
  7. Program Expenses (amount spent on the cause): 99.4%

 

Now, I can hear those numbers cha-ching-ing like the Vegas slot machines on Saturday night. Wow, charities paying their head honchos over 800 thou??? Sign me up. But wait, how does that stack up to the private sector where these people could land some ‘Easy Street’ jobs? Let’s just take a little look see?

#10-Time Warner(32.6 Million), #9-Hewlitt Packard Enterprises(32.9 Million), #8–Activision Blizzard(33.1 Million), #7–Discovery Communications(37.2 Million), #6-Oracle(41.1 Million), #5-Walt Disney(41 Million), #4-Nike(47.6 Million), #3-Estee Lauder(47.7Million), #2-CBS(68.6Million), and #1-Charter Communications(a staggering 98 Million). As a matter of fact, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, of the 350 companies surveyed, the average CEO compensation for 2016 was $15.6 million.

I think I can feel secure in saying that, with these charities at least, my money will be put to good use. There are many other charities across the world that also do some great things. This is just a list of, in my opinion, those with the highest ratings.

However, I’m not saying that all charities are run by saints. There are hundreds of charities that are hell-bent to milk you dry. Stay tuned for next week when we take a look at the 9 worst charities to give your money to.

Meanwhile, it only takes some simple Googleing to find the answers you are looking for. So, whether it’s electing a president or donating money, never make an uninformed decision. You know what happens if you do…