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PumpkinAle's Journal
PumpkinAle's Journal
May 31, 2014

Bilderberg - why democracy is going down the toilet

Thursday is the opening day of the influential three-day summit and it's also the 60th anniversary of the Bilderberg Group's first meeting, which took place in Holland on 29 May 1954. So this year's event is a red-letter occasion, and the official participant list shows that the 2014 conference is a peculiarly high-powered affair.

The [British] chancellor, at his seventh Bilderberg, is spending the next three days deep in conference with the heads of MI6, Nato, the International Monetary Fund, HSBC, Shell, BP and Goldman Sachs International, along with dozens of other chief executives, billionaires and high-ranking politicians from around Europe. This year also includes a visit from the supreme allied commander Europe, and a return of royalty – Queen Sofia of Spain and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, the daughter of the Bilderberg founder Prince Bernhard.


The Bilderberg Group says the conference has no desired outcome. But for private equity giants, and the heads of banks, arms manufacturers and oil companies, there's always a desired outcome. Try telling the shareholders of Shell that there's "no desired outcome" of their chairman and chief executive spending three days in conference with politicians and policy makers.

Try telling that to the lobbyists who have been working so hard to push the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal that is being negotiated. Bilderberg is packed to the gills with senior members of powerful lobby groups. Will members of BritishAmerican Business's international advisory board, such as Douglas Flint and Peter Sutherland, express BAB's fervent support of TTIP when discussing "Is the economic recovery sustainable?" Or will they leave their lobbying hats at the door?


May 30, 2014

Palestinian Woman Plants Flowers In Israeli Army Tear Gas Grenades (four photos)

And an Israeli artist makes rockets into roses.

These two restore my hope for humanity.

In a poignant display of peaceful resistance, a Palestinian woman in the village of Bilin, near the State of Palestine’s de facto capital of Ramallah, has planted a garden full of flowers grown inside of spent tear-gas grenades collected from clashes between Israeli soldiers and local Palestinians.

The flowers are being grown on a plot of land located in an area that was reclaimed by Palestinians two years ago in a court battle that re-routed the construction of Israel’s highly controversial security wall. This wall, when completed, will stretch for 430 miles around the entire West Bank region.

Due to the high tensions and frequent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, she has no short supply of materials for these small flower pots. Some of them even have wires attached so that they can be attached to fences or other objects.

The use of a weapon as a plant vessel is a powerful comment on a region in which many people on both sides are tired of the seemingly never-ending violence and conflict. Indeed, the creative human spirit shines through despite the conflict on both sides of the fence – there’s also an Israeli artist who creates metal rose sculptures from the remains of rockets launched by Palestinian extremists.

May 30, 2014

What’s an Octoberfest without beer?

AP - SALT LAKE CITY – What’s an Octoberfest without beer? Utah residents may soon find out.

The Utah liquor commission put Snowbird ski resort officials on notice this week that it might not grant the permit for its Oktoberfest festival, held each weekend from Aug. 16 to Oct. 12. The commission is trying to rein in alcohol permits for special events as it reevaluates who should really be approved.

“We’re trying to send a signal that we are tightening up,” state liquor commission chairman David Gladwell said during a monthly meeting Tuesday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The seven-person board approved a permit for the Snowbird’s Father’s Day Brewfest in mid-June, but only following a lengthy discussion Tuesday. Gladwell said the commission is studying state law to determine if the single-event permits were designed for charitable organizations, and not businesses that use them to rake in profits.

“Maybe we were allowing something that the Legislature had not intended?” said Gladwell, the Deseret News reported.

Snowbird general manager Bob Bonar said he was surprised to learn two weeks ago that the commission was considering rejecting the permit for the Father’s Day Brewfest. He said he’ll work with the commission to ensure that it approves a permit for Oktoberfest, which has been held annually since 1973 and draws about 60,000 people.

“Not having a liquor permit for Oktoberfest would hurt a lot,” Bonar said. “It’s the second best thing we do after powder skiing.”

Utah’s liquor laws are regularly debated during the legislative session with many tourism, restaurant and bar owners pushing to “normalize” the laws to make the state friendly to out-of-state visitors.

They’ve successfully lobbied to change some rules, such as in 2009, when the state did away with a requirement for bars to operate as members-only social clubs, but hit a brick wall in the recent legislative session.

In January, just days before this year’s legislative session, the Mormon church issued a defense of Utah’s liquor laws, calling on lawmakers to leave them alone and saying they keep residents safe.

Most Utah legislators are Mormon, and an estimated two-thirds of residents belong to the faith.

Avoiding alcohol use is a fundamental part of being considered a fully practicing member of the Mormon church, and those who drink face social stigma and are barred from worship in temples.

Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control executive director Sal Petilos told the Tribune that the board should only issue permits for special festivals and galas that are one-time events and last only a few days and are used by a civic or community group to promote a common good, the Tribune reports.

The second requirement is causing the hesitation in approving permits for Snowbird and other businesses. So far, two businesses have been denied.

Gladwell said the commission has not reached a consensus, the Deseret News reports.

Bonar argued before the commission that state law doesn’t explicitly prohibit for-profits from getting the permits, meaning they shouldn’t be automatically denied.

“Adopting that takes Utah back 25 years,” Bonar said.

May 30, 2014

Powerful social advertisements

Very powerful................. just three from a lot more. Got to link and you will find actual descriptions of behind the reason for ads.


May 29, 2014

Man Gives Worst Explanation Ever for Abandoning Dog

It's a photo that immediately incensed animal lovers-a German Shepherd chasing longingly after a white car, minutes after his owner tried to dump him at an animal shelter.
But what is even more upsetting is an interview that the man gave to 7 News Denver, where he tries to justify his actions saying, "I gave my dog a choice."
Earlier this week, Daniel Sohn attempted to surrender his German Shepherd named Bronson to the Denver Animal Shelter twice in one day. But when he was asked to fill out paperwork, the man allegedly bolted from the facility, leaving his dog behind. Sohn jumped into his car and drove away with his dog trailing after the vehicle.
"Well I didn't ditch him. I actually dropped my dog off at the shelter where I did pick him up at," Sohn told 7 News in the exclusive video interview. "I actually gave my dog a choice if he wanted to be with me or possibly find an owner he might feel better with."
Sohn told reporters that following the event, he drove to Los Angeles and Bronson jumped out of the car window at a gas station. It is unclear whether or not the dog has been recovered.
The lack of remorse that Sohn feels for his dog is apparent in the video, despite telling reporters that he and his dog had "a bit of a bond." Sohn seemed to believe that since the dog was originally a stray, it wouldn't mind being a stray again. And that is heartbreaking.
There is a silver lining to this extremely sad story-Sohn has been cited for animal cruelty and neglect, according to Denver Animal Control.
Anyone with information about Bronson's whereabouts should contact the Denver Animal Shelter.


Sohn is a real pos - as for his story about the dog jumping out at a gas station - not buying it, why would Bronson do that when he chased after Sohn to be with him - like I said Sohn is a real pos.
May 22, 2014

Minimum wage competitive says receiver of $9.5M pay package

McDonald's offers “real careers” and “competitive wages”, CEO Don Thompson told shareholders on Thursday, as hundreds of protesters chanted for better pay outside the fast-food giant’s annual meeting.

As demonstrators staged a second day of protests against the company’s wage scale outside the company’s suburban Chicago headquarters, Thompson told shareholders: "We believe we pay fair and competitive wages.”

“I know we have people outside,” said Thompson. “I think that McDonald’s provides more opportunity than any other company … We continue to believe that we pay fair and competitive wages,” he said.

Thompson said the company offered opportunities to young people, and the training for them to build careers. “McDonald’s has done that throughout time, and will continue to do that,” he said.

Outside the meeting, from which journalists were barred, protesters called on the company to raise its wages to a minimum of $15 an hour. On Wednesday, 139 people, including 101 fast-food employees, were arrested after staging a protest outside the company’s headquarters.


Thompson comfortably survived a vote questioning his $9.5m pay package for 2013. The “say on pay” protest vote was organised by Change to Win Investment Group (Ctw), which recently won a similar vote at Chipotle, which is now reviewing executive compensation.


May 22, 2014

Restaurant Review Says Waitresses Should “Show More Skin.” You’ll Be Glad The Owner Agrees…

Restaurant Review Says Waitresses Should “Show More Skin.” You’ll Be Glad The Owner Agrees…
May 21, 2014

When a customer of Atomic Grill in Morgantown, West Virginia left a review online suggesting that the female servers “show more skin,” owner Daniel McCawley completely agreed.

You’d think in this day and age such a suggestion would be ignored, but that’s not how they roll at Atomic Grill, apparently. This weekend, show up at the Morgantown eatery for all the skin you can handle.
Potato skins, that is…


Over Memorial Day weekend, if you order their loaded potato skins, you will be making a donation to help women. The restaurant is donating 100% of the sales from that appetizer to the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services.

Says McCawley…

I’m a husband and a father of a 12 year old girl. I have five sisters and it was just offensive. If you have a minute, have some potato skins, try some fresh, local barbecue and give to a good cause. It’s important to us, it should be important to the community.

McCawley - you are awesome!! If you are near the Atomic Grill considering grabbing some skins this weekend!

May 21, 2014

McDonald's closes corporate HQ in Chicago as 2,000 protesters gather


McDonald’s closed part of its corporate headquarters in Chicago on Wednesday in response to a mass protestplanned by workers and activists calling for a hike in the minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation.

The protest, by 2,000 people, is believed to be the largest McDonald’s has ever faced, and is expected to include 500 fast-food workers from three dozen cities as well as local church groups, union activists and community groups. It comes a day before the fast food company’s annual meeting when dissident shareholders intend to vote against CEO Donald Thomson’s $9.5m pay package. Protesters also plan to picket that meeting.

Activists said the company feared a "public relations minefield" and had sent workers home in order to derail the protest. Protesters planned to move their demonstration to another nearby McDonald’s corporate facility.

A McDonald's spokeswoman said the company had taken the decision to close the a building on its campus that holds 2,000 staff after consultation with police. The building was close to a busy intersection and the company was concerned about the disruption the protesters could cause to traffic. She said staff continued to work from home.


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