debbie6487...and the textbook example of Concern Trolling you have displayed here is simply priceless...why not just cut to the chase and type NahNahNahNahNah when confronted with factual information...at least then you would display a modicum of honesty.
Andrew, that was perfect. You couldn't have done a better job of writing a completely irrelevant, nasty, non-response to the points I've brought up. Your post was a great example of exactly the kind of bullying rhetoric that Weinstein's supporters use, over and over, to defend the indefensible. By all means, post some more. Keep digging. You just keep making yourself look like the type of slavering, irrational zealot you claim to hate.
"In the real world Debbie, Mikey is considered an SME (subject matter expert) by the Department of Defense and MRFF has been compensated in the past, *and most likely will be again,* for employing this expertise to the tune of $1,089 per day."
Sure. Whatever you say. I thought there was that whole thing where the Pentagon had explicitly been told not to hire Mikey again? And that it has been quite a number of years since Mikey even set foot in the Pentagon? But you have all the answers, bro, so I guess we're just supposed to take your word for it. The military is lining up outside Mikey's door to pay him a thousand dollars a day for a bunch of disjointed ranting. Seems legit.
FYI - just because the truth is uncomfortable for you? That doesn't make it a lie. :-)
Debbie6487 asks: What are you getting for that $279,000 annually? Have you ever asked yourselves that?...then supports her ‘awareness’ of the answer to these questions by referencing “the reporting of others”. Although Debbie’s advice to ask these legitimate questions is extremely sound, the willful ignorance displayed in how she found answers is stunningly naïve (giving the benefit of doubt that Debbie’s not just being aggressively stupid). Debbie has obviously failed to fully appreciate the hilarious hypocrisy created by the confluence of her advice and ignorance.
While Debbie is too shy to name “the reporting of others” for some reason, I’ll provide appropriate credit to Stephen Losey’s editorial on Mikey’s compensation masquerading as ‘reporting’. Here are just a few facts, which were clearly known to Mr. Losey that failed to make it into his ‘reporting’ on Mikey’s compensation for some odd reason:
-Mr. Losey’s relied heavily on the Charity Navigator 2013 Charity CEO Compensation Study in his reporting, yet he failed to note the following advice contained in this study:
Consider the performance of the charity in relation to the CEO's pay. If you come across a charity whose CEO pay is higher than other similar charities, don't immediately dismiss that charity's request for funding. You're better off supporting a charity that is fiscally efficient, accountable and transparent, achieving its programmatic goals and paying its CEO well, than a charity that has substandard fiscal health, fails to live up to its mission, but under-pays its CEO. Charity Navigator’s ratings can be of help in your research into the charity’s Financial Health and commitment to being Accountable & Transparent. If possible, also conduct your own review of the charity’s size and performance to determine if it is delivering on its intended results.
-Daniel Borochoff, the President of Charity Watch (one of America's most independent and assertive charity watchdogs and a leading resource for donors and the media), reiterated this point when he specifically told Mr. Losey during an interview that “nonprofit organizations must consider the necessary skills, education, and experience needed for the job when setting nonprofit pay levels. The size of the group’s budget is not the most important factor and may not even be a significant factor in setting pay levels.” Mr. Losey curiously made absolutely no mention of having interviewed Mr. Borochoff or ‘reported’ any of his comments.
-Mikey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense by Defense News in December 2012, a notable recognition that was known to Mr. Losey since it was made by the same media organization that employs him.
-Mr. Losey blatantly misrepresented and willfully miscalculated compensation benchmarking information provided to him and was forced to issue a correction to his ‘reporting’ by his editor, without identifying the correction as such, thus furthering his willful violation of well-established ethical standards for journalism.
Although Debbie clearly relied on this ‘reporting’ to answer legitimate questions that should be asked by any potential donor to a nonprofit organization; Debbie, like Mr. Losey, clearly has chosen to employ the extremely hypocritical practice of filtering her answers through her pre-ordained narrative.
Debbie digs herself deeper by emphatically stating that “Mikey doesn't have substantial relationships in Washington or anywhere else where he might really be able to influence policy.” In the real world Debbie, Mikey is considered an SME (subject matter expert) by the Department of Defense and MRFF has been compensated in the past, and most likely will be again, for employing this expertise to the tune of $1,089 per day. A compensation amount selected by the DoD, and paid to MRFF not Mikey, as the most cost effective compensation since hourly options for Mikey’s services based on well-established benchmarks ranged from $197 to $248 per hour. This is the information by the way that was provided to Mr. Losey (i.e. your ‘reporting’ source) that he mis-represented so badly he was forced to correct his ‘reporting’.
For those who really want an answer to the questions posed by Little Debbie and her snack sized ability of actually finding answers, I suggest you compare Mikey’s compensation and MRFF’s budget in light of their record of achievements (http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/ac…) against the likes of organizations such as the Family Research Council, The Navigators, Campus Crusade for Christ (aka Cru), Officer Christian Fellowship. I think you’ll find that Mikey/MRFF’s numerous successes while acting alone against this array of multi-million dollar (and often taxpayer supported) religious non-profits seeking to transform the U.S. Military into Christian Missionaries provides a simply mind-boggling Bang For Your Buck. And for you Debbie, and to Mr. Losey by extension, my only advice is to always remember that seeking answers to important questions with the Lie-Rinse-Repeat method may make you feel warm and fuzzy…it will never have even a passing relationship with the facts, no matter how many times you chose to Lie-Rinse-Repeat.
So, what happened to the $6 in sales tax that I paid at Costco yesterday?
It seems that University Village is the model for what is wrong with the current version of urban renewal - it rewards the site developers but costs everyone else money. Just who do you think is on the hook for the defaulted bonds?
"What business is it of yours what Mikey’s annual salary is? Because he leads a controversial cause, are you suggesting that he is supposed to live a life of poverty?"
He runs a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and so therefore is not subject to the same taxation a for-profit business is subject to. That takes money away from all of us. It is absolutely EVERYONE's business what Mikey Weinstein pays himself. If he wants to keep his salary secret and make it not our business, he should shut down the nonprofit and start a for-profit entity.
And many people of high ideals and strong morals have chosen to live a life of poverty to advance their cause and fight for what is right. It's not necessary for a person advocating change to be poor to be an advocate. But I don't think those advocates deserve to drive a Lotus, either.
"How is the number of Facebook fans connected to the validity of Mikey’s work?"
Because it's such a simple way for people to indicate their engagement and support of a cause. All it takes is one click. One simple click, and you've aligned yourself with a cause. If Mikey has so much support, and so much influence, why have only 3,000 people chose to move their mousing finger one inch and click a button?
I'm not jealous of Mikey. On any level. The more I read his writing and tracked his activities, the more I realized that he's a fundamentally very unhappy person, grappling with his own increasingly irrelevance and lack of influence. Donations to MRFF are dropping. I am sure he doesn't get much royalty revenue, if any, off his writing, as his books don't appear to sell well. I am sure it's very anxious and depressing to be Mikey, most of the time. And for that, I have empathy. But I still feel it is extremely disingenuous for someone to bill themselves as a populist freedom fighter, and pay himself a salary that puts him very firmly in the 1%, from donations people have given for his cause, and not for his personal enrichment. I can't reconcile that, personally.
Wounded Warrior provides a different kind of services than MRFF. To the best of my knowledge, there is no other organization that is wholly focused on ensuring that service members are protected from coercive proselytizing and that the top loyalty of America's military is to America, not a religious sect.
I suspect that Mr. Weinstein's salary is comparable to what it has been much of his professional life as an attorney--as a Regan appointee and as a consultant to Ross Perot, for example. If he were merely administering this organization, the percent of revenues going to his salary would be problematic. But he is the primary service provider, which is a different role altogether. The people who fund him are paying him to act as an advocate and attorney on behalf of service men and women who seek assistance.
OldCrank-It is an immense success for the developers. However, UV is currently unable to pay its bonds. UV will not pay any property tax nor sales tax to the City for the next 25 years. So just how do you measure success? If you had been told that this development would cost $145 million over 25 years, would you have voted for it? Due to its location, near the interstate and west of UCCS, I would have thought a development would be likely without TIF funding. Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul? Further pulling folks from downtown shopping? Wait until they build the new 1st and Main at Interqwest. It will rival the one on Powers and keep those of us NE..NE. A stadium only attracts sharks, not whales. Bars and restaurants will come and go. But the essence of a community, its citizens will go elsewhere. To live, enjoy and shop.
Besides resorting to personal attacks on people, Debbie doesn't seem to understand what many of us who served in the military had to put up with when it came to unsolicited proselytizing from Christian fundamentalists. I served 20 years, and, as a Catholic, I got the "you can't be saved" talking points from these folks, both peers and superiors. During my 20 years as an officer, I only had to report or correct fundamentalist Christians for violating the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment of our Constitution. I never experienced these problems with any other religious or non-religious group. The current tactic by fundamentalists in the military is to say their freedom of religion is under attack. The reality is that the military has gone out of its way to ensure members receive religious accommodation. Everyone should know who their respective chaplain is and where their office is located. Those are the right folks and venues for religious conversation until their hearts are content. There is simply no room for it in the professional workplace. The vast majority of cases handled by the MRFF have to do with defending religious and non-religious service members from these blatant violations perpetrated by these fundamentalists. Our military is diverse, like our country. Evangelizing is disruptive and harmful to morale. If the mission of the MRFF was to dismantle religious accommodation, then I would not support MRFF. Furthermore, if having available personnel and facilities to meet the spiritual needs of a person in the military is not enough, that person needs to reconsider their profession. Lastly, I suggest the "Christian" people who are sending threatening messages or praying for harm to happen to the Weinstein Family, take some time to reflect on how Christians should really behave.
I simply can't find you to be authentic, real name or not. I watched Mikey's congressional testimony and after the break, those asking questions sympathetic to MRFF had left to attend another hearing and what followed was essentially a kangaroo court. If you had been in the past a SINCERE supporter of MRFF, you'd be more concerned with the evil overtaking our armed forces than undermining Mikey's excellent, high profile work. Enough said .. Ciao
Will the DEA ever stop lying?
A Real Conservative - what are you talking about! I don't know much about the FPPA retirement since PERA dominates the news, but a city employee in PERA pays in approx. 8% of salary and the city kicks in 14.6%. Some school districts will soon be paying over 20% of salary for each teacher/employee due to changes for PERA in SB1. The state may "manage" the system, but the employer has to pay in the amounts I stated - not the state. I will add about FPPA, however, that I believe the city was required to pay in several million additional dollars a couple of years ago for that fund to remain solvent. So I'm sorry, but PERA & FPPA pensions are a huge issue for the city budget. Oh, may I also add that I am a retired member of the Federal Civil Service Retirement System in which the employee and employer pay matching amounts into the system of approx. 7% each. It has always been that way, and unlike PERA, no one has ever “tinkered” with the contribution amounts or the original agreed upon vested payout of 50% of high-3 year average salary after 30 years of service. Unless you forgot, back in 1997-1998 the state legislature arbitrarily increased benefits for PERA retirees to 70% of their high-3 salary after 30 years (up from 50%) and also allowed them to purchase credits at very low rates if the employee didn’t have the necessary 30 years. While SB1 made an attempt to reign in those benefits for future retirees, thousands retired under the 70% rule, thus SB1’s need to raise employer contribution rates.
Ronald - My real name is Deborah, I'm registered on this site under my own name.
Addressing a few points from "Kasia," above:
"If Mikey “has no real voice or seat at the table” then why was he invited to appear before the House Armed Services Committee on religious accommodations?"
There's a BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC difference between Congress inviting Mikey to Capitol Hill to ask him "So, Mikey, what do you think about this?" and inviting him so they can tell him "Mikey, you are a jerk." Read the transcript of Mikey's appearance in front of the committee. It was VERY MUCH the latter, not the former. They didn't invite him there because they think he has thoughtful, meaningful things to say about religion in the military.
"As far as effecting change, they are too numerous to post here. In 2012 Mikey was listed as one of the '100 Most Influential People in US Defense.'"
By whom? And what was his rank? 79? 89? 99? It's not exactly like being named Time's Most Influential Person of the Year, is it?
Mikey is ignored by mainstream press. Coverage in niche military and religious publications, and his own submissions to AlterNet and Huffington Post are not meaningful national "coverage" for a supposedly national organization. Widely-read, mainstream publications avoid talking about him. A simple Google search confirms this fact.
"Mikey is credited by Defense News as having 'driven real change in religious policy throughout the military.'"
What is the real change? Can you unpack or quantify this for me? Anyone can say anything about anybody, any time.
"Mikey and MRFF has been nominated 7 times in 6 years (including this year) for the Nobel Peace Prize."
Mikey keeps getting nominated by a friend of his who is on the MRFF board. There is no way Mikey is EVER going to win a Nobel prize. The nominations are the equivalent of a kid in high school getting his friends to nominate him for the yearbook's "best dressed" award. ONE person can nominate someone for a Nobel Prize and thousands of people get nominated every year. Has Mikey ever WON the Nobel Peace Prize? Or come close? No, and he never will.
"Your comment here is reminiscent of the hate mail we receive from arrogant, judgmental Christians."
Who's WE? Is Mikey paying you part of his gigantic salary? And P.S. - I'm not a Christian. I'm an ex-MRFF supporter and donor. And then I opened my eyes. What Mikey is doing is no different than what Greg Mortensen did with Three Cups of Tea, that was exposed by Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes. There's just less money involved. But Mikey is using his 501(c)3 to dodge taxes and enrich himself, not to do real benefit work that benefits military servicepeople and veterans. I now donate to Wounded Warrior - an organization that takes in $150 MILLION a year, and can show records detailing exactly what they've done with that money and how it helps veterans. The head of that organization gets paid less than one percent of what the organization takes in as donations. They are much more worthy of my support than King Mikey.
When someone leads an important yet controversial cause, and he garnishes a lot of attention for doing so, and he happens to enjoy that attention, it does not make his cause any less vital and important. By any measure, you cannot claim to be an expert of what Mikey craves in his heart and if he does derive some measure of pleasure from the attention he gets, a reasonable person can argue that at a minimum he deserves that much for the great personal sacrifices he must make to lead this cause, including enduring the vile threats on the safety and lives of his family. Furthermore, by suggesting he is “trying” to get attention for himself, you are intentionally insulting Mikey to change the subject from the real issue here.
If in fact, Mikey has “no real voice or seat at the table” then why are you wasting your time in print here? You leave readers no choice but to believe you have no winning argument against what MRFF fights for, so you instead hurl insults like “maniac,” “personality-disordered mouth-breathing zealots,” or my personal favorite “crazy pants,” at MRFF supporters.
What business is it of yours what Mikey’s annual salary is? Because he leads a controversial cause, are you suggesting that he is supposed to live a life of poverty? So what salary should he draw? Who gets to decide? How is his salary connected to the worthiness of the MRFF cause? How is the number of Facebook fans connected to the validity of Mikey’s work? Are the most popular causes the only ones that are right? How do you know what the Washington Post wants or does not want? Testifying before Congress is the farthest thing from “Policy-makers, influencers and others with the REAL POWER TO CHANGE THINGS won't touch him with a 20-foot pole.” What greater policy making body is there?
To answer your question: “Doesn't the very idea of a book that's nothing but hate-mail letters seem desperate, pathetic and egotistical to you?” No. It demonstrates the utter depravity and moral bankruptcy of the people that are vomiting their ignorant hatred in those poison pen emails. Had I never read those emails, I could not believe that someone claiming to be a Christian could be capable of uttering such bile to a fellow human being.
The fact that Mikey does not have to respond for himself and has so many capable and willing to respond so intelligently and eloquently on his behalf speaks volumes about the man and our mutual cause.
I don’t know you but the impression you leave me with is that you are somehow jealous of Mikey’s salary, think that a book full of vile threats is an act of ego, and that there is a threshold number of Facebook fans that you must reach before you can be taken seriously.
No alias speaking for Mikey here debbie6487 (is than an alias?) Lots of good lampoons of bigots at www.ronaldthomaswest.com (category 'satires', I recommend "Michele Bachmann & Wild Indians") ... I served in Vietnam and consider Mikey a super investment in combating fascism wearing a cloak of 'godliness' along the lines of the generals who sat in juntas who went on to murder too many innocents to count. Now, why would I say that about our Pentagon? Because if they prefer looking the other way when it comes to enforcing the rights of others not to have 'jesus' shoved down their throats, the day may come when they'll altogether overlook the rights of people who don't see things like they do. I expect that would be fine with you but there are others who read here and some of them might pause to think about whether they wish to live in a future fascist state along the lines of Pinochet's Chile or Franco's Spain. I'll gladly pay more to Mikey as a top gun attorney with a tremendous legal resume and will up my monthly donation in the new year, dedicated to this conversation, and invite other MRFF supporters to up their pledges
And by the way - all the responses here are extremely typical of what happens any time ANYONE criticizes Mikey - he never responds himself (at least, not using his name - I do believe that about five of the regular commenters on stories about him are Mikey, using aliases). Instead, his supporters pour in to heap approbation and vitriol on the disagreeing party, offering only in Mikey's defense the idea that "Mikey is great." Sorry. Not very compelling. When I hear from Mikey himself why he feels that his nearly-$300,000 salary is justified (and BTW - in the Southwest, that is a LOT of money) I'll be willing to consider that he's someone worth paying attention to.
So, here's the bottom line. All of you who support Mikey and his "nonprofit" are really just sending donations so that Mikey can pay himself a salary of $279,000 a year - almost HALF the total amount of donations raised by the organization in a year - and live in a VERY nice home and drive a VERY nice car, all while "fighting the good fight."
What are you getting for that $279,000 annually? Have you ever asked yourselves that?
- After 11 years, Mikey has 3,000 fans on his Facebook page and a few places where he can place columns - mainly AlterNet and Huffington Post, both of which take submissions from anyone who sends them in, without compensating writers. The Washington Post wants nothing more to do with him.
- Mikey doesn't have substantial relationships in Washington or anywhere else where he might really be able to influence policy. In fact, he is BARRED from going to the Pentagon to talk with military leaders, unless Congress is notified first. His recent appearance in Washington just made it clear what an unwelcome outsider he is. He has no platform other than the people who follow his blog. Policy-makers, influencers and others with the REAL POWER TO CHANGE THINGS won't touch him with a 20-foot pole.
- His nonprofit, after ELEVEN YEARS, takes in a mere $550,000 annually. As I said above, half of that goes to paying Mikey. Where does the rest of it go? To billboards in Colorado Springs? You can't buy very much with what's left over after Mikey makes his Lotus payment.
- His latest book isn't even something he's written. It doesn't contain policy points or suggestions for change or stories of people he's helped. It's a compendium of the hate mail he's gotten. Ask yourselves: is this really the best use of Mikey's time and brain, and the money all of you have been donating to his "cause"? Doesn't the very idea of a book that's nothing but hate-mail letters seem desperate, pathetic and egotistical to you?
If you believe that by supporting Mikey, you are really keeping religion out of the military, you're fooling yourselves. What you're really doing is giving a pathological egomaniac a small audience to continue his ranting. Every dollar going to his "nonprofit" is personally enriching him, in some way. That's why he keeps doing what he's doing. 11 years later, other than some "awareness," things are no better and no different than they were when Mikey got started. You want to continue funding that and supporting it? Be my guest. As for myself, I realized back in the summer when I found out about Mikey's gigantic salary (thanks to the reporting of others, that he never even commented on in his own blog!) that I was throwing support and dollars down the drain.
I am familiar with the MRFF and hold their work in the highest regard. debbie6487 lost credibility by using the phrase "attention whore". Why was that necessary, and how did that help? All can debate and disagree, but please be honest and not take things into a misogynist realm.
Can we all just treat others as we would like to be treated? Then we could solve a problem without the unproductive drama.
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