Saturday, May 31, 2014

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE TIMES 1000


Dinesh D'Souza's 'America' warns Hillary Clinton will 'finish off' the country
In his highly anticipated new book and movie "America," conservative author Dinesh D'Souza is warning that Hillary Clinton won't be a clone of her moderate husband, but will instead take the baton from President Obama to...
Read More...

SLAVE CHAINS OR ELECTRONIC LEASHES ... YOU DECIDE

New federal database will track (electronic incarceration) Americans' credit ratings, other financial information ... info-gps-existence
 

As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives -- including their Social Security numbers -- in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.  Illegal aliens (undocumented, untraceable) are free inhabitants of America. 
USED TO DO WHAT ... KEEP US IN OR "THEM" OUT?
The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy.

FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions. Where you live and the quality of accommodations as well as indebtedness.  Rounding out the "electronic leash" is Obamacare tracking your health and your family.  You must ask yourself how far your government has wandered off the reservation of "limited government" of the "general public".
   


FHFA officials claim the database is essential to conducting a monthly mortgage survey required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and to help it prepare an annual report for Congress. Congress makes the laws they break and exempt themselves.

Critics, however, question the need for such a “vast database” for simple reporting purposes.
  

A PORTRAIT OF A "FREE" AMERICAN CITIZEN IN CYBERSPACE
In a May 15 letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt and CFPB Director Richard Cordray, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, charged, "this expansion represents an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of ordinary Americans."

Critics of the database span the financial spectrum, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
A CAPTURE DEVICE ...
In a May 16 letter to FHFA, NAFCU's regulatory affairs counsel, Angela Meyster, said the database "harbors significant privacy concerns" and "NAFCU believes greater transparency should be provided by the FHFA and CFPB on what this information is being used for."  
 
A GLASSHOLE BEING CAPTURED
Meyster told the Examiner that "it goes back to the breadth of information that they’re asking for without really speaking to what they will be used for."

Meyster said she was unconvinced. "It seems they’re just adding information and they’re not really stating where it’s going or what it’s going to be used for. There’s no straightaway answer. They say they are trying to assemble as much information that they can."
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

THE RUB ...
A December report from the Government Accountability Office on breaches containing personally identifiable information from federal databases shows unlawful data breaches have doubled, from 15,140 reported incidents in 2009 to 22,156 in 2012.

A May 1 White House report on cybersecurity of federal databases also recently warned, "if unchecked, big data could be a tool that substantially expands government power over citizens.”

BEHIND BARS!!! BUT DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG???

IN A RELATED STORY ...

U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations ...
  
THE BREAK-IN!
The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.
  
THE MUG SHOT!
Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences.

THE MAGNITUDE OF THE AMERICAN PRISON SYSTEM ...

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars (more than the combine population of North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming), more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College London. In terms of population, the United States has more criminals behind bars than any one of over 100 different countries.

China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China's extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.)

San Marino, with a population of about 30,000, is at the end of the long list of 218 countries compiled by the center. It has a single prisoner.

The United States comes in first, too, on a more meaningful list from the prison studies center, the one ranked in order of the incarceration rates. It has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.)

The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England's rate is 151; Germany's is 88; and Japan's is 63.

The median among all nations is about 125, roughly a sixth of the American rate.

There is little question that the high incarceration rate here has helped drive down crime, though there is debate about how much.

Criminologists and legal experts here and abroad point to a tangle of factors to explain America's extraordinary incarceration rate: higher levels of violent crime, harsher sentencing laws, a legacy of racial turmoil, a special fervor in combating illegal drugs, the American temperament, and the lack of a social safety net. Even democracy plays a role, as judges — many of whom are elected, another American anomaly — yield to populist demands for tough justice.

Whatever the reason, the gap between American justice and that of the rest of the world is enormous and growing.

It used to be that Europeans came to the United States to study its prison systems. They came away impressed.
"In no country is criminal justice administered with more mildness than in the United States," Alexis de Tocqueville, who toured American penitentiaries in 1831, wrote in "Democracy in America."

No more.
"Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror," James Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. "Certainly there are no European governments sending delegations to learn from us about how to manage prisons."
Prison sentences here have become "vastly harsher than in any other country to which the United States would ordinarily be compared," Michael Tonry, a leading authority on crime policy, wrote in "The Handbook of Crime and Punishment."

Indeed, said Vivien Stern, a research fellow at the prison studies center in London, the American incarceration rate has made the United States "a rogue state, a country that has made a decision not to follow what is a normal Western approach."

The spike in American incarceration rates is quite recent. From 1925 to 1975, the rate remained stable, around 110 people in prison per 100,000 people. It shot up with the movement to get tough on crime in the late 1970s. (These numbers exclude people held in jails, as comprehensive information on prisoners held in state and local jails was not collected until relatively recently.)

Despite the recent decline in the murder rate in the United States, it is still about four times that of many nations in Western Europe.
But that is only a partial explanation. The United States, in fact, has relatively low rates of nonviolent crime. It has lower burglary and robbery rates than Australia, Canada and England.

People who commit nonviolent crimes in the rest of the world are less likely to receive prison time and certainly less likely to receive long sentences. The United States is, for instance, the only advanced country that incarcerates people for minor property crimes like passing bad checks, Whitman wrote.

Efforts to combat illegal drugs play a major role in explaining long prison sentences in the United States as well. In 1980, there were about 40,000 people in American jails and prisons for drug crimes. These days, there are almost 500,000.

Those figures have drawn contempt from European critics. "The U.S. pursues the war on drugs with an ignorant fanaticism," said Stern of King's College.

Many American prosecutors, on the other hand, say that locking up people involved in the drug trade is imperative, as it helps thwart demand for illegal drugs and drives down other kinds of crime. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, for instance, has fought hard to prevent the early release of people in federal prison on crack cocaine offenses, saying that many of them "are among the most serious and violent offenders."

Still, it is the length of sentences that truly distinguishes American prison policy. Indeed, the mere number of sentences imposed here would not place the United States at the top of the incarceration lists. If lists were compiled based on annual admissions to prison per capita, several European countries would outpace the United States. But American prison stays are much longer, so the total incarceration rate is higher.

Burglars in the United States serve an average of 16 months in prison, according to Mauer, compared with 5 months in Canada and 7 months in England.

Many specialists dismissed race as an important distinguishing factor in the American prison rate. It is true that blacks are much more likely to be imprisoned than other groups in the United States, but that is not a particularly distinctive phenomenon. Minorities in Canada, Britain and Australia are also disproportionately represented in those nation's prisons, and the ratios are similar to or larger than those in the United States.
Some scholars have found that English-speaking nations have higher prison rates.

"Although it is not at all clear what it is about Anglo-Saxon culture that makes predominantly English-speaking countries especially punitive, they are," Tonry wrote last year in "Crime, Punishment and Politics in Comparative Perspective."

"It could be related to economies that are more capitalistic and political cultures that are less social democratic than those of most European countries," Tonry wrote. "Or it could have something to do with the Protestant religions with strong Calvinist overtones that were long influential."

The American character — self-reliant, independent, judgmental — also plays a role.

"America is a comparatively tough place, which puts a strong emphasis on individual responsibility," Whitman of Yale wrote. "That attitude has shown up in the American criminal justice of the last 30 years."

French-speaking countries, by contrast, have "comparatively mild penal policies," Tonry wrote.

Of course, sentencing policies within the United States are not monolithic, and national comparisons can be misleading.

"Minnesota looks more like Sweden than like Texas," said Mauer of the Sentencing Project. (Sweden imprisons about 80 people per 100,000 of population; Minnesota, about 300; and Texas, almost 1,000. Maine has the lowest incarceration rate in the United States, at 273; and Louisiana the highest, at 1,138.)

Whatever the reasons, there is little dispute that America's exceptional incarceration rate has had an impact on crime.

"As one might expect, a good case can be made that fewer Americans are now being victimized" thanks to the tougher crime policies, Paul Cassell, an authority on sentencing and a former federal judge, wrote in The Stanford Law Review.

From 1981 to 1996, according to Justice Department statistics, the risk of punishment rose in the United States and fell in England. The crime rates predictably moved in the opposite directions, falling in the United States and rising in England.

"These figures," Cassell wrote, "should give one pause before too quickly concluding that European sentences are appropriate."

Other commentators were more definitive. "The simple truth is that imprisonment works," wrote Kent Scheidegger and Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in The Stanford Law and Policy Review. "Locking up criminals for longer periods reduces the level of crime. The benefits of doing so far offset the costs."

There is a counterexample, however, to the north. "Rises and falls in Canada's crime rate have closely paralleled America's for 40 years," Tonry wrote last year. "But its imprisonment rate has remained stable."

Several specialists here and abroad pointed to a surprising explanation for the high incarceration rate in the United States: democracy.

Most state court judges and prosecutors in the United States are elected and are therefore sensitive to a public that is, according to opinion polls, generally in favor of tough crime policies. In the rest of the world, criminal justice professionals tend to be civil servants who are insulated from popular demands for tough sentencing.

Whitman, who has studied Tocqueville's work on American penitentiaries, was asked what accounted for America's booming prison population.
"Unfortunately, a lot of the answer is democracy — just what Tocqueville was talking about," he said. "We have a highly politicized criminal justice system."














Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WE WROTE CHECKS ONLY OUR BODIES AND LIFE CASH ... OBAMA HAS BOUNCED THOSE CHECKS!!!

Ben Carson: This VA Scandal is a 'Gift From God'

Carson is a measured, accomplished gentleman, so the tone-deafness of these remarks comes as a disappointing surprise:
"I think what's happening with the veterans is a gift from God to show us what happens when you take layers and layers of bureaucracy and place them between the patients and the health care provider," said conservative pundit and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson Saturday on Fox News. "And if we can't get it right, with the relatively small number of veterans, how in the world with are you going to do it with the entire population?" Radio host Rush Limbaugh built a similar case this week, saying the problems with the VA, which include reports of misconduct and crushing wait times that have been linked to dozens of deaths, provide only a glimpse of the broader havoc Obamacare will wreak.

FALL IN, WE'LL LEAD EVEN IF OBAMA WON'T

IN 2008 OBAMA WAS MADE AWARE OF THE ISSUE ... HOWEVER, LISTEN TO THE LIAR IN CHIEF IN HIS OWN WORDS ... CLICK BELOW!

Monday, May 26, 2014

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, OBAMA, AND CASEY JONES

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad Will Continue Until America is No More

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, all but said on Sunday that negotiations over the country’s illicit nuclear program are over and that the Islamic Republic’s ideals include destroying America.
“Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason,” Khamenei told a meeting of members of parliament,according to the regime’s Fars News Agency
OBAMA IS TAP DANCING ON QUICKSAND ...
Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”

“The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself,” he said.

“Today’s world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor, dignity and morality who are equipped with knowledge, wealth and power, and under the pretense of humanity easily commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world.”
In response to a question by a parliamentarian on how long this battle will continue, Khamenei said,“Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought. … This requires a difficult and lengthy struggle and need for great strides.”
Khamenei cited the scientific advancement of the country. “The accelerated scientific advancement of the last 12 years cannot stop under any circumstances,” he said, referring to the strides the regime has made toward becoming a nuclear power.

As reported on May 19 on The Daily Caller, Iran has put up new roadblocks to reaching a deal with the P5+1 world powers over its illicit nuclear program. The powers are the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.

Three days of negotiations in the fourth round of Geneva meetings ended recently without concrete results when the Iranian team presented the country’s new “red lines” — diminishing any hope by the Obama administration to claim victory in its approach to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, according to reports from Iran.

The Obama administration had hoped that with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif showing an eagerness to solve the nuclear issue and address the West’s concerns, there would be a possibility for a negotiated solution. An interim agreement penned last November in Geneva was touted as an “historic nuclear deal.”

Under that agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, limited its enrichment activity to the 5 percent level with a current stockpile of over 10 tons (enough for six nuclear bombs), converted much of its 20 percent enriched stock to harmless oxide, and agreed to allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspections were limited to only agreed-upon facilities.

The Iranian delegation last week presented new red lines that could not be crossed, including the expansion of the country’s research and development for its nuclear program, the need of the country to continue enrichment, and the fact that the country’s ballistic missile program — despite U.N. sanctions — is not up for negotiation.

At the same time, IAEA officials met again with their Iranian counterparts last week in Tehran to discuss information on the work on detonators and needed collaboration by the regime to clear outstanding issues on its nuclear program as part of seven transparency steps Iran had agreed to fulfill by May 15, which has yet to take place.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).









Sunday, May 25, 2014

BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, DISPOSITIONS, VALUES AND WAYS OF SELFIE'S ...

NEW TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PUSHED BY FEDS ALLOWS FOR DATA COLLECTION ON EVERY CHILD
A new study released by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute finds that new technology development that has been encouraged through the use of federal grants has served to threaten children’s privacy by allowing the collection of data on every child.
Authors of the study Emmett McGroarty, Joy Pullmann, and Jane Robbins make the case that by means of the nationalized Common Core standards, which states were lured into adopting through competitive grants in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top (RttT) stimulus program in 2009, the federal government has used grant funds to induce states to build identical, increasingly sophisticated student data systems.
McGroarty, executive director of the Education Project at the American Principles Project (APP), said the study, entitled “Cogs in the Machine: Big Data, Common Core, and National Testing,” exposes “an idea that dates back to the Progressive era.”
GOVERNMENT EXPERTS CONFERENCING ON EDUCATION AND TRAINING
“It is based in a belief that government ‘experts’ should make determinations about what is successful in education, what isn’t,” he said, “and what sorts of education and training are most likely to produce workers who contribute to making the United States competitive in the global economy.”

Though violations of citizen privacy have become major news stories of late, the federal government has urged private sector design of student data collection systems at the same time it encourages individual states to participate in data collection initiatives such as the Data Quality Campaign, theEarly Childhood Data Collaborative, and the National Student Clearinghouse, all of which help to increase the collection and sharing of children’s data.
In addition, the National Education Data Model suggests that states provide for the collection of over 400 data points on every child in the construction of their data systems.  
Last year, Congress gutted the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), leaving protections for student data significantly weakened. As more private companies donate education apps to schools in exchange for children’s information, the increasing threat of hacking the data of vulnerable children has become very real.

The U.S. Department of Education (USED), however, in its report published last year and titled "Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance," expressed a strong interest in monitoring students’ “beliefs, attitudes, dispositions, values and ways of perceiving oneself” and to measure non-cognitive attributes such as their “psychological resources.” 
USED goes on to suggest that researchers employ “functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and physiological indicators [that] offer insight into the biology and neuroscience underlying observed student behaviors.”

“This sort of character development and monitoring has traditionally been the domain of parents,” says “Cogs in the Machine” co-author Pullmann, research fellow of the Heartland Institute. “But the Grit report clearly implies that families can’t be trusted to inculcate values and attitudes.”
In addition, co-author Robbins, an attorney and senior fellow with APP, observed the “fine-grained” data that can be collected on non-cognitive attributes through children’s interaction with certain digital-learning platforms.

“The manufacturers of these technologies certainly know what they mean for classrooms,” Robbins said. “But few teachers are aware of it and even fewer parents are.”
 
Pioneer Institute notes the connections between the Common Core standards and the student data collection.

“Any information from the data initiatives mentioned above that is given to the two federally funded national assessment consortia aligned with the Common Core State Standards will be made available to the USED,” Pioneer observes.
The national standards will also create a unified “taxonomy” that facilitates creation of common instructional materials and data-collection technology. Because Common Core focuses not on academic knowledge but rather on “skills” that involve attitudes and dispositions, it paves the way for national assessments and digital platforms that measure such attributes.
Authors McGroarty, Pullmann, and Robbins suggest that, to protect children’s privacy, parents should ask the types of information that are being collected on digital-learning platforms and whether the software will record data about their children’s behavior and attitudes as well as academic knowledge. Parents should opt out if they object to such data collection.
Furthermore, the authors urge state lawmakers to pass student privacy laws and Congress to correct the 2013 relaxation of FERPA.

“A person’s right to his own information must be considered a property right. Especially in the area of education, laws must change to grant parents control over the collection and disclosure of their children’s data,” the authors write. “And parents must educate themselves about what is really happening in the schools, so that they can know what types of data are being collected and what is done with it. Parents must be empowered to draw the line.”

Saturday, May 24, 2014

CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME AND JOKERS TO THE RIGHT ...

Putin on Obama: "Who Is He to Judge? Seriously?"
May 23, 2014 - 10:45 AM


Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to Obama's accusations that he's lied about the Ukraine with: "Who is he to judge? Who is he to judge, seriously? If he wants to judge, why doesn't he get a job in court somewhere."
I TAKE THAT BACK ... HIS PROBLEM IS WORSE THAN IT APPEARS ... TOO MANY DRUGS!
Putin's answer brought cheers and clapping from the crowd at the St. Petersburg economic conference where he was interviewed.


The CNBC interviewer asked Putin: "You have said 'we are a room full of adults,' so let's have an adult conversation. President Obama has accused you of untruths, as you know, when it comes to supporting some of the separatist groups in the Ukraine..."

Putin responded through an interpreter:

"Who is he to judge? Who is he to judge, seriously?" The crowd began to laugh and clap. "If he wants to judge people, why doesn't he get a job in court somewhere?"

"I don't think he accused me," Putin added for emphasis. "It's his point of view. And I have my point of view when he comes to certain things."

Then, after a pause, "What is it that interested you about what [Obama] said?"
  


At that point, both the interviewer and the crowd broke out in  laughter.


Friday, May 23, 2014

BLAME IT ON BUSH ...

Nancy Pelosi blames George W. Bush for Veterans Affairs scandal ... after 6 years of the Obama presidency and administration ... WTF!!!
WHAT BUSH IS NOT ... TO BE TAKEN OUT WHEN THE DEMOCRATS NEED A FALL GUY!!!
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly put the blame for the Veterans Affairs scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years.
  

Pelosi took a shot at Bush while saying that the scandal is a high priority for Obama. "He sees the ramifications of some seeds that were sown a long time ago, when you have two wars over a long period of time and many, many more, millions more veterans," she told reporters during her Thursday press briefing. "And so, I know that he is upset about it."

The Democratic leader never mentioned Bush by name, but she alluded to him early and often in the press briefing. 
IT'S MORE THAN A POINT OF VIEW ... IT'S A RESIDENCE
"Maybe when we go into war, we should be thinking about its consequences and its ramifications," Pelosi said while discussing the scandal. "You would think that would be a given, but maybe it wasn't. And so, we go in a war in Afghanistan, leave Afghanistan for Iraq with unfinished business in Afghanistan. Ten years later, we have all of these additional veterans. In the past five years, two million more veterans needing benefits from the VA. That's a huge, huge increase."
PELOSI IS A BIGGER ASSHOLE THAN EITHER OF US AND THAT'S IS SAYING A MOUTHFULL!!!
She suggested that Obamacare might hold the key to solving the problem. "We have the Affordable Care Act that is out there that is providing resources for more federally-qualified health clinics around the country," Pelosi said. "Maybe we should take a look at how we deal with our veterans' needs in a way that says let's help them closer to home, whether that's a federally qualified health clinic or in some other institution that provides health care closer to home. [It's] especially important for our veterans who live in rural areas."






MCDONALD ENTRY LEVEL EMPLOYEES BECOME 2ND LIEUTENANTS ...

THERE GOES THE DOLLAR MENU AND THE HAPPY MEAL ...

More than 100 McDonald’s (MCD) employees and some labor and clergy members were arrested after protesting for increased wages near the fast-food chain’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.


The event, the latest in a series of demonstrations by workers demanding $15-an-hour pay and the right to form a union, began at 1 p.m. local time yesterday, on the eve of McDonald’s Corp.’s shareholder meeting.
HOW MUCH ARE WE WORTH???
HOW MUCH IS YOUR FREEDOM WORTH???

About 2,000 protesters, including about 325 McDonald’s workers in restaurant uniforms, stormed though the company’s campus entrance at Jorie Boulevard and Kroc Drive in Oak Brook, according to the organizers, holding signs that said, “We Are Worth More” and “My Union My Voice.” The Oak Brook Police Department estimated the number was 1,000 to 1,500.
The protesters -- brought to the scene by 32 buses -- were joined by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry and William Barber, an official from the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. About 110 people were arrested for trespassing, police said. The protesters who were arrested included McDonald’s workers and 36 community, clergy and labor leaders, including Henry, according to the organizers.
While McDonald’s respects the protesters’ right to peacefully demonstrate and to choose whether they want to join a union, the company is “focused on welcoming our shareholders tomorrow,” said Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a spokeswoman, in an interview yesterday.

PERHAPS THE MILITARY SHOULD BE PART OF THE SEIU UNION?
YOUR FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, WE LEAD AND PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS EMBODIED IN THE US CONSTITUTION
Employees Stay Home

Ahead of the protests, McDonald’s encouraged most of its 3,200 headquarters employees to work from home because of traffic concerns, Sa Shekhem said. Of its five headquarters buildings, McDonald’s closed one, which houses its U.S. business and employs about 2,000, she said.

The protesters were planning to picket the headquarters at 2111 McDonald’s Drive. Because of the shutdown, they instead targeted the nearby McDonald’s campus that houses Hamburger University and a Hyatt Lodge.

“The closing reflects McDonald’s refusal to address the growing concerns of workers and failure to take action to raise wages,” Deivid Rojas, communications director for the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, said in a statement. The protesters had planned to return to McDonald’s headquarters today when its shareholder meeting begins.

McDonald’s and other chains are facing growing criticism for not paying workers enough. Since November 2012, when fast-food employees picketed in New York for wages of $15 an hour and the right to form a union, protests and strikes have spread to McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King (BKW) across the country. Earlier this month, some fast-food workers also demonstrated overseas.

‘Livable Wage’


HOW'S THE MONEY?

Your Army Basic Pay as a Soldier depends on how long you’ve been in the Army and your Army rank (most enlisted Soldiers enter the Army as a private). Your Army base pay will increase as you climb in rank and years of experience.

BASIC PAY FOR ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERS*

Well let's calculate the hourly rate for a private (E1) ... $18,378/52=$353.42 per week, divided by 40 = $8.84 per hour.  

Chart reflects Basic Pay only and does not include bonuses, allowances and other benefits. Learn about
total Army compensation
.


Rank
<2 experience="" th="" years="">4 Years Experience6 Years Experience
Private (E1)$18,378**
Private (E2)$20,602.80$20,602.80$20,602.80
Private First Class(E3)$21,664.80$24,418.80$24,418.80
Specialist or Corporal (E4)$23,994$27,936$29,127.60
Sergeant (E5)$26,172$30,661.20$32,814
Staff Sergeant (E6)$28,569.60$34,171.20$35,578.80

BASIC PAY FOR ACTIVE DUTY OFFICERS*

Well let's calculate the hourly rate for a Second Lieutenant (O1) ... $34,862.40/52=$670.43 per week, divided by 40 = $16.76 per hour.

Chart reflects Basic Pay only and does not include bonuses, allowances and other benefits. Learn about
total Army compensation
.


Rank
<2 experience="" th="" years="">4 Years Experience6 Years Experience
Second Lieutenant (O1)$34,862.40$43,866$43,866
First Lieutenant (O2)$40,165.20$54,464.40$55,587.60
Captain (O3)$46,486.80$62,013.60$64,983.60
Major (O4)$52,869.60$66,196.80$69,987.60

“I’m here fighting for $15 and a union, so that my path does not become my children’s future,” Melinda Topel, a 43-year-old McDonald’s store employee who makes $7.50 an hour, said in an interview. Topel traveled from Kansas City, Missouri, to protest in Oak Brook.

“We deserve a livable wage,” said Topel, who receives government assistance to buy food. She’s struggling to afford school supplies and shoes for her two kids at home, she said.

While the U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, some states require higher pay than the national minimum. Fast-food workers in America make about $9.08 an hour, or $18,880 a year, on average, if they work full time, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, also is contending with sluggish demand and increasing competition. Sales at its domestic locations open at least 13 months were little changed in April, the company said earlier this month.

McDonald’s has more than 35,400 restaurants worldwide. In the U.S., about 90 percent of its locations are owned by franchisees, who determine pay, Sa Shekhem said. McDonald’s pays above the minimum wage in most cases, she said. Still, raising pay to $15 an hour is unrealistic, Sa Shekhem said.

“But we know that a minimum wage increase will happen over time and we’ll look to the folks in Washington to determine what that is,” she said.