Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

The United States is Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 8, 2019

I considered naming this entry “It’s All Bad: Bridges, Schools, Roads, Dams, Aviation, Drinking Water, Energy, Inland Waterways, Ports, Schools, Wastewater, Solid Waste, Transit, Public Parks, Hazardous Waste, etc.,” but decided to change it.

Perhaps the initial title was some help to guide the reader in the direction the entry would go.

Eventually, it’ll cost you money… but it’s already doing that.

Read on to see how.

Bluntly, America’s Economic Infrastructure sucks, and blows gnarly chunks.

What’s “Economic Infrastructure”?

Glad you asked.

Broadly, “Economic Infrastructure” refers to several categories of physical improvements which facilitate civil society, providing it an opportunity to grow.

Sometimes also simply called “infrastructure,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines 16 categories, or Critical Infrastructure Sectors, including (in alphabetical order):

1.) Chemical – converts various raw materials into over 70,000 different products essential to modern life, including Basic, Specialty, and Agricultural chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer products

2.) Commercial Facilities – diverse sites that draw large crowds of people for shopping, business, entertainment, or lodging.

3.) Communications – provides a critical, enabling function and integral component of the U.S. economy, underlying the operations of all businesses, public safety organizations, and government via terrestrial, satellite, wireline and wireless transmission systems

4.) Critical Manufacturing – metals, machinery, transportation equipment, electrical, appliance, components

5.) Dams – dam projects, navigation locks, levees, hurricane barriers, mine tailings impoundments, and other similar water retention and/or control facilities.

6.) Defense Industrial Base – enables research, development, design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts to meet U.S. military requirements.

7.) Emergency Services – paid and volunteer at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels of government, including city police departments and fire stations, county sheriff’s offices, Department of Defense police and fire departments, and town public works departments, including private sector resources, such as industrial fire departments, private security organizations, and private emergency medical services providers

8.) Energy – provides an “enabling function” across all critical infrastructure sectors. More than 80% of the country’s energy infrastructure is owned by the private sector, supplying fuels to the transportation industry, electricity to households and businesses, and other sources of energy integral to growth and production across the nation.

9.) Financial Services – depository institutions, investment products providers, insurance companies, other credit and financing organizations, and providers of the critical financial utilities and services that support these functions, and allow customers to: Deposit funds and make payments to other parties, Provide credit and liquidity to customers, Invest funds for long and short periods, Transfer financial risks between customers

10.) Food and Agriculture – composed of an estimated 2.1 million farms, 935,000 restaurants, and more than 200,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.

11.) Government Facilities – a wide variety of buildings, located in the United States and overseas, owned or leased by federal, state, local, and tribal governments. Many government facilities are open to the public for business activities, commercial transactions, or recreational activities while others not open to the public contain highly sensitive information, materials, processes, and equipment. These facilities include general-use office buildings and special-use military installations, embassies, courthouses, national laboratories, and structures that may house critical equipment, systems, networks, and functions. In addition to physical structures, the sector includes cyber elements that contribute to the protection of sector assets (e.g., access control systems and closed-circuit television systems) as well as individuals who perform essential functions or possess tactical, operational, or strategic knowledge.

12.) Healthcare and Public Health – protects all sectors of the economy from hazards such as terrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. While healthcare tends to be delivered and managed locally, the public health component of the sector, focused primarily on population health, is managed across all levels of government: national, state, regional, local, tribal, and territorial.

13.) Information Technology – operated by a combination of entities — often owners and operators and their respective associations — that maintain and reconstitute the network, including the Internet, central to the nation’s security, economy, and public health and safety as businesses, governments, academia, and private citizens

14.) Nuclear Reactors Materials and Waste – provide electricity to millions of Americans, to the medical isotopes used to treat cancer patients.

15.) Transportation Systems – moves people and goods quickly, safely, and securely through the country and overseas. Includes Aviation, Highway and Motor Carrier, Maritime Transportation System, Mass Transit and Passenger Rail, Pipeline Systems, Freight Rail, Postal and Shipping.

16.) Water and Wastewater – Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for protecting public health and all human activity. Properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment. Thus, ensuring the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment and service is essential to modern life and the Nation’s economy.

Altogether, every item in those categories all facilitate commerce, private enterprise, are component parts of a local, and state economy, and as a whole, comprise the national economy. Some of the sectors, such as Food and Agriculture, and Communications, are almost wholly owned by private enterprise. In fact, the only publicly owned, i.e., governmentally-owned, are Government Facilities. There are perhaps a few others, but there are very few, and very far in-between.

Each sector is interconnected; there is not one sector which stands alone, self-sufficient and isolated. Some sectors are more interconnected than others, such as the Communications sector, while others, such as Dams, may not have as many connections. But each one is interdependent upon the others. What affects one, affects all others. It is like a line from the John Donne poem Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, most often called “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” which states in pertinent part that, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

All of that brings us to our next point.

As it pertains to common use by all, Economic Infrastructure is considered by Engineers, Architects, Urban Planners, Politicians, and even Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders as being – at the most fundamental level – those faculties and facilities which enable and promote commerce, and improve the lives of residents.

Before going further, let me interrupt that train of thought to say this about socialism.

Properly defined, socialism is a condition in which the government controls the means and the method of production – such as with a government-owned factory. The former Soviet Union (now known as “Russia”) had many such government-owned factories.
The United States has NEVER had any such thing.
And, if one considered the coinage and currency in their pockets
– minted and printed by the United States Treasury Department on government-owned machines –
it is STILL not considered an example of socialism.

Why not?

The raw materials – the paper, ink, metals, and machines to make it – all came from the Private Sector via publicly bid contracts.

Continuing…

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) rates America’s Infrastructure a “D+.” https://www.InfrastructureReportCard.org/

The ASCE identifies some 16 very similar categories of capital improvements as being (in alphabetical order):
1.) Aviation
2.) Bridges
3.) Dams
4.) Drinking Water
5.) Energy
6.) Hazardous Waste
7.) Inland Waterways
8.) Levees
9.) Ports
10.) Public Parks
11.) Rail
12.) Roads
13.) Schools
14.) Solid Waste
15.) Transit
16.) Wastewater

About the report, they wrote in part that “Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes The Infrastructure Report Card, which grades the current state of national infrastructure categories on a scale of A through F. Since 1998, America’s infrastructure has earned persistent D averages, and the failure to close the investment gap with needed maintenance and improvements has continued. But the larger question at stake is the implication of D+ infrastructure on America’s economic future. The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card found the national grade for infrastructure remains at a “D+” — the same grade the United States received in 2013 — suggesting only incremental progress was made over the last four years toward restoring America’s infrastructure. ASCE evaluated 16 categories of infrastructure in the 2017 Report Card, with grades ranging from a “B” for Rail to a “D-” for Transit.

Consider also this: “The need for wastewater infrastructure exceeds $271 Billion.”

So… how does this affect you, and your family?

Check this out.

In 2016, the ASCE published a document titled “Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future,” which stated in part the following:

“The cost of deteriorating infrastructure takes a toll on families’ disposable household income and impacts the quality and quantity of jobs in the U.S. economy. With deteriorating infrastructure, higher business costs will be incurred in terms of charges for services and efficiency, which will lead to higher costs incurred by households for goods and services due to the rising prices passed on by businesses.

“As a consequence, U.S. businesses will be more inefficient. As costs rise, business productivity falls, causing GDP to drop, cutting employment, and ultimately reducing personal income.

“From 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies; and if not addressed, the loss will grow to an average of $5,100 annually from 2026 to 2040, resulting in cumulative losses up to almost $34,000 per household from 2016 to 2025 and almost $111,000 from 2016 to 2040 (all dollars in 2015 value).

“Over time, these impacts will also affect businesses’ ability to provide well-paying jobs, further reducing incomes. If this investment gap is not addressed throughout the nation’s infrastructure sectors by 2025, the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP, resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025.

“Moreover, workers who are employed will earn lower wages, and in the long term, many higher paying jobs in technology and other leading sectors will be replaced by jobs that fulfill needs brought on by the inefficiencies of deteriorating infrastructure.

“Closing each infrastructure investment gap is possible, and the economic consequences caused by these gaps are avoidable with investment.”

Does that hit home hard enough?

And yet, we’re almost there.

What about the roads in your town, city, state, and nationwide? Are they in pristine condition? I sincerely doubt it. Pothole-filled roads tear up your car, don’t they? That costs you money, and time, because you gotta’ find another way around the rotten roads so your car won’t be destroyed by traveling upon them. But, what if you can’t?

Business Insider magazine recently published a story headlined about America’s most dangerous bridges in all 50 states.
https://www.businessinsider.com/most-dangerous-bridges-america-2017-5

Reckon what it’d cost to fix ’em ALL? Not just to fill every pothole, or fix every cracked roadway, but to (if necessary) rebuild EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY road in the United States? And while you’re at it, expand and build more – and add to it coast-to-coast high-speed, mag-lev monorail trains. China, Germany, England, France, Japan, and other nations already have high-speed trains, and monorail trains are even in Disneyland.

WHY CAN’T WE BUILD A BETTER SYSTEM FOR EVERYONE TO USE?

Imagine what it’d be like to be able to Read the rest of this entry »

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Green New Deal? How about Economic Infrastructure New Deal, instead?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 7, 2019

Whether one “believes” Climate Change is “real,” or not, is totally a specious argument.

Specious means “superficially plausible, but actually wrong.”

Why is it specious?

Arguing about what causes rain while your roof is leaking is pretty stupid, don’t you think?

And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening.

This map shows federal flood damage claims from 2008 to 2018. Flood risk in many parts of the U.S. is on the rise, in part because climate change is driving more frequent and intense storms, higher seas and extreme rain. Extreme rain in 2013 caused catastrophic flooding in Boulder County, CO, including dangerous flash floods. Similar storms in 2011, 2014 and 2019 flooded much of Holt County, MO. –– Flood Insurance Claims Per 1,000 People, 2010-2018

Some people (Climate Change Science deniers) are arguing about the causes, while the devastation it wreaks continues UNABATED.

Instead, what we NEED TO DO is REBUILD -and- EXPAND our crumbling national Economic Infrastructure to – as much as possible – reduce the influence these events have upon us.

Even BIG INSURANCE companies all agree that the economic losses our nation is suffering CANNOT be sustained without serious lasting damage to our national economy.

The Geneva Association (properly, The “International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics”) is a leading international think tank of the insurance industry, which detects early ideas and emerging debates on political, economic and societal issues concerning the insurance industry.

In November 2018, they published a research paper titled “Global Weather Catastrophes, Trends, Losses, Insurance Costs Source: Managing Physical Climate Risk—Leveraging Innovations in Catastrophe Risk Modelling,” and in it, wrote in part that,

“Over the last three and a half decades, we have observed a trend of rising economic losses from extreme events globally. Between 1980 and 2017, Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE reported 17,320 disaster loss events. Of those, 91.2% were caused by weather-related extremes (meteorological, hydrological and climatological events), accounting for 49.2% of the total of 1,723,738 lives lost, 79.8% of the total USD 4,615 billion in reported economic losses and 90.1% of total insured losses of USD 1,269 bn.

“In 2017, weather-related extremes accounted for 97% of total reported economic losses and 98.2% of Read the rest of this entry »

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Mexico President Obrador Rejects Trump’s “Offer” to “Help” Mexico… Reckon Why?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Here’s the lowdown on the latest horrific murder of a Mormon family with USA/Mexico dual citizenship.

The LDS church (Latter Day Saint) denies association with them, i.e., they’ve already been “thrown under the bus” by their leaders because they were “fundamentalist” and practiced polygamy – an historical Mormon practice, which they now deny… because of historical political pressure.

The modern Republican party has pushed the “one man, one woman” Evangelical version of marriage, despite the fact that historically, Mormons went West to practice their faith without intrusion by government.

And yet… in 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act to prohibit that exclusively religious practice by Mormons.

So much for religious tolerance, eh?

A peace-loving family was killed Read the rest of this entry »

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Virginia Woman Who Flipped Off Trump Motorcade Elected

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Last night, after the House and Senate of the Old Dominion state was recaptured by a Democratic majority, Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam said:

“I’m here to officially declare today, November 5, 2019, that Virginia is officially blue.”

Bicyclist Juli Briskman gives the middle-finger salute to President Donald Trump’s motorcade, Saturday, October 27, 2017 3:15PM ET as it returns from Trump National Golf Course, in Potomac Falls, VA.

Democrats now hold all major Virginia state offices, and control the Virginia state assembly – a condition which has not happened since 1994.

Juli Briskman, the lone bicyclist whose image of her giving a left-handed middle finger salute to Trump’s motorcade in Virginia in 2017 and was later fired over the same, defeated the incumbent Republican to win election as a Democrat to the Loudon County Board of Supervisors where she’ll represent the Algonkian District, where she resides – which also happens to include Trump National Golf Club, Lowes Island Boulevard in Potomac Falls 20165. According to the club’s website, it is located “just 45 minutes from downtown DC.”

Her election is a purely and poetic ironic turn to an otherwise silent event which garnered national attention almost immediately after Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump’s Smoke and Mirrors

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 4, 2019

“Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

– Donald J. Trump, July 24, 2018, addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City, MO

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/398606-trump-what-youre-seeing-in-the-news-is-not-whats-happening-inbox-x

-AND-

Just Remember:

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

It’s all fakery.

I’m the great and powerful Trump!

(If ever there was anyone with a “God Complex,” he’s it. And, who would know better – right?)

Only I tell the truth!

And more lies from the Liar in Chief…

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”
November 13, 2015, Fort Dodge, Iowa

“There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me.”
June 2016 Read the rest of this entry »

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Open Letter To Joe Biden

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 2, 2019

Dear Joe Biden,

 

It’s time to say “Bye-Bye” Sleepy Uncle Joe!

C’mon… quit already, Joe!

Geebus!

Look… it’s not your age (related dementia), I hope, because historically, we all know that you’re prone to gaffes – some worse than others.

VERY!!

Everyone knows it.

But FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

This is purely absurd!

Presidential mix-up: Biden confuses Andrew Johnson with Andrew Jackson as he slams Trump in Iowa

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/joe-biden-confuses-andrew-johnson-with-andrew-jackson-in-iowa

Joe Biden confuses Andrew Johnson with Andrew Jackson in Iowa

See also: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/joe-biden-confuses-andrew-johnson-with-andrew-jackson-in-iowa/ar-AAJJkOs

You just DO NOT have what it takes, your ideas are NOT what America needs now, and
• Your campaign treasury is low,
• POS45 actually ~wants~ to campaign against you (then who’ll be beaten “like a drum,” eh? Seriously!), and
• You’re clearly running on Obama’s coat-tails.

And, that’s beside the fact that history is AGAINST you.

It’s important to consider the historical record, Joe, because, well… because we learn from history.

Since our nation’s founding, ONLY 5ive former VPs have ~ever~ been independently elected to the Presidency – on their own – apart from succession.

The last one was George H. W. “Poppa” Bush.

Perhaps you recall Mr. “Read My Lips, ‘no new taxes'”?

I think everyone does.

That singular promise was what charted the course of his presidency, trying to fix what Reagan messed up after tripling America’s national deficit with his tax cuts, which the Department of the Treasury warned him in advance that the economy and budgeted revenue would take a 9% hit.

He ignored them.

And, to his everlasting credit, Poppa Bush attempted to remedy the problem after taking office, and seeing the devastation which Reagan caused Read the rest of this entry »

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Kamala Harris WON’T Be Nominee, Or POTUS

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 2, 2019

At least not now.

Look… I’m not bashing her – in fact, I really like and appreciate her and her style, and early on thought she’d be Presidential quality material – or any other Democratic or GOP candidate.

Ad hominem attacks are only valid on, and for, reprobates like Donald Trump.

BTW, for the record, I’m not a Democrat – I’m a GDI, and always have been.

But, when a candidate seeking the party’s nomination says to attendees at an early voting state’s event that, “We’re gonna’ need a nominee on that stage with Donald Trump, who has the ability to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump. And Iowa, you’re lookin’ at ‘er.,” it just doesn’t bode well as an answer to the question “what will you do ‘for the people?'”

Criticizing her political campaign, no one has heard what her plans are for rural America, Economic Infrastructure, tax policy, international relations, or any other intermediate or long-range economic policy. Or, at least she’s not made them the centerpiece or cornerstone of her campaign.

Almost every Democratic candidate is in practical philosophical agreement with almost every issue in this election cycle: Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Praises Military Working Dog Smarter & Braver Than Him

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 1, 2019

Yup.

‘Tis true.

Commander Bone Spurs lavished praise upon a canine trained to work with the Delta Force.

“These dogs are specially selected and trained to handle the most stressful situations while keeping their cool. In the spirit of the Marine Recon motto, these dogs are swift, silent, and deadly. Barking is forbidden. With the secretive nature of their work, much of the information regarding the selection and training of these dogs is classified.”

Barking is FORBIDDEN.

That means Trump is out.

The mother-fucking son-of-a-bitch (apologies to the well-trained military canine) can’t keep his treasonous trap shut, or his goddamn Tweeting fingers of his Twitterific Highness’s mobile phone.

“They are the special forces of military working dogs, attached to special operations forces, such as the Navy SEALS and Army Rangers. Trained to find explosives, chase down human targets, and detect hidden threats, these Multi-Purpose Canines, or MPCs, are also trained to rappel out of helicopters, parachute out of airplanes, and conduct amphibious operations on Zodiac boats. Highly skilled, an MPC named Cairo even assisted in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.”

Again, that leaves Corporal Bone Spurs out of the picture.

The Cowardly Cock-a-doodle-doer chickened out of service in our nation’s Armed Services because his rich daddy found a doctor to say that he was unfit for military duty because of “bone spurs.”

And that chicken shit is now President.

“Four times per year, a team of canine handlers, trainers, veterinarians, and other specialists from the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas — the home of the Military Working Dog Program — make the trip abroad to buy dogs. They evaluate each dog to Read the rest of this entry »

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“Dear Santa, Can I cook microwave popcorn on the stove-top?,” and other preposterously absurd questions.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 1, 2019

Some years ago, while attending university, during the Christmas season, I portrayed “Santa” on a local television station.

The show was aptly called “Letters to Santa,” and was a LIVE TELEVISION BROADCAST PRODUCTION, which aired, appropriately enough, in the late afternoons after grade-school children were out of school for the day.

The show’s tenet was simple enough, children would send their letters to Santa, care of the television station – some of which would be read during the show (live, on the air), in conjunction with live participants who would attend with their parents to tell the Jolly Old Elf if they’d been naughty, or nice, and what they’d like for Christmas.

The show’s Executive Producer (who has long since gone to the great broadcasting center in the sky) did his best to prepare me for the role, which included off-the-air role-playing scenarios, and other tips and tricks for how to handle the attendees, and studio viewing audience, which also included how to effectively deal with children who might be fearful, belligerent, timid, crying, or demonstrating any other of the numerous emotions for which they’re renown for demonstrating – including their parents, who can sometimes also act like their children.

Fortunately, such a topsy-turvy scenario didn’t present itself… as best I recollect.

Because it was important to him, to the station (for community relations purposes) – and to the parents – to not place the parents in a untenable scenario by being perceived as an anything-you-want wish-granting jolly old elf (whose promises to children the parents might not be inclined, or able to keep), it was crucial to give as non-committal an answer as possible when the children sat on Santa’s knee to make their requests – however scant, or numerous they may have been.

While most children were reasonable in their requests – and honest about their year-long behavior – some children (very few) were not, and had lengthy lists with seemingly endless self-centered wants. Again, like standard normal distribution in statistics tells us, those children were very few, just as were the ones who had no requests for themselves.

Of course, there were a few occasional socially-related requests such as getting mama, or daddy out of prison or jail, wanting family members to get well (some who had terminal illnesses), and the like.

Not very many wanted world peace, or any such thing.

And naturally, there were a few who, for whatever reason, simply didn’t “believe in” the Jolly Old Elf.

I guess for some parents, it easier to tell their children a lie, than it is to present a simple truth – there is NO “Santa Claus” who flies around the world in a reindeer-driven sleigh delivering toys to children. Besides, Jolly Old St. Nicholas might get arrested for Breaking & Entering if he was able to scoot his corpulent carcass down a soot-laden chimney… which might be in use during the winter.

That wouldn’t end well.

But the 1952 song “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” written by native Mississippian Jimmy Devon Boyd (1939-2009), does a well-enough job of explaining the truth about the matter, anyway.

Speaking of which, the song was banned in Boston by the Catholic Church the year it was released, which claimed it was overtly sexual.

Of course, that only made the recording by the then-13-year-old boy sell better.

But… if you stop to think about it, Santa Claus is banging your wife!

And, it gives an entirely new meaning to “Ho, ho, ho!”

There’s a reason that Jolly Old Elf is so jolly!

And, that’s exactly what the Catholic Church taught. (Never mind the pedophile priests.)

PRO TIP: Write a Christmas-themed song. It’ll provide money to you annually, and for your heirs – 70 years after your death. Not a bad deal, eh?

Anyway… back to the Santa story.

It took me aback to Read the rest of this entry »

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Literacy Is Way Overrated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 1, 2019

Apparently, literacy is way overrated.

At least, that seems how some see it.

</sarcasm>

“There had been a whistleblower complaint and a partial transcript of a phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. Both could be read as damning, even dramatically so. But both were documents. To be outraged, you probably had to read them. Most people didn’t.

 

Impeachment May Gain Momentum From First Big Moment

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/01/775259234/at-long-last-launch-impeachment-may-gain-momentum-from-first-big-moment

 

“There had been nothing like the thunderclap in September 1998. That’s when a flotilla of black SUVs came to the Capitol bearing the report of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, with 18 boxes of evidence, and President Bill Clinton’s impeachment became all but inevitable.”

Gotta’ hand it to the Republicans.

They know how to manipulate public opinion using media and showmanship.

That’s a somewhat diplomatic phrase meaning to pull the wool over your eyes, or “fool you.”

Just look at their current president.

He’s a goddamned Liar in Chief.

And a true scumbag, if ever there was one.

Democrats gotta’ feel the outrage and get emotional.

So, I’m all for this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Makes a Non-Educator Secretary of Education, Then Reading Scores Drop. What’d you expect?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 1, 2019

Trump selects a billionairess (Betsy DeVos) to be the Secretary of Education – a woman who has:
• Only attended elite private schools her entire life, has
• Never stepped foot in a public school, and has
• Never even once been a teacher, teacher’s aide, or in any administrative capacity of any school whatsoever, and
• Doesn’t have an advanced degree, and her 1979 Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree is in Business Economics from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Then, reading scores “suddenly” dropped.

What’d you expect?

Seriously.

At least she was honest about what she wants to do to you with her money.

“But DeVos understands political interests, and that money is the mother’s milk of politics.  And she does expect something in return.

“In a 1997 op-ed for RollCall, she wrote, “My family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party … I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence,” the piece reads. “Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues.  We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government.  Furthermore, we expect the Republican Party to use the money to promote these policies and, yes, to win elections.”

Of course, her only “solution” to the problem is to increase school vouchers which purposely drain public tax dollars AWAY from public schools to private schools.

Yeah, that’ll fix it.

Starve the monster.

––//––

Reading Scores on National Exam Decline in Half the States

The results of the test, which assesses a sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students, will inevitably prompt demands for policy change.

By Erica L. Green and Dana Goldstein
Oct. 30, 2019

WASHINGTON — America’s fourth and eighth graders are losing ground in their ability to read literature and academic texts, according to a rigorous national assessment released Wednesday that is likely to fuel concerns over student achievement after decades of tumult on the educational landscape.

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, speaking at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, 30 October 2019. Photo by Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times.

Two out of three children did not meet the standards for reading proficiency set by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department.

The dismal results reflected the performance of about 600,000 students in reading and math, whose scores made up what is called the “nation’s report card.” The average eighth-grade reading score declined in more than half of the states compared with 2017, the last time the test was given. The average score in fourth-grade reading declined in 17 states. Math scores remained relatively flat in most states.

Only 35 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2019, down from 37 percent in 2017; Read the rest of this entry »

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How did we ever get into the mess we’re now in?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Democratic Presidential nominee candidates Senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) continue to make the case that corporate America has harmed, and continues harming, the very field upon which they sow the seeds of their profit.

They further make the case that such governmentally-approved behavior is not merely injurious, but is unsustainable – if not fatal – to those same corporations, and ultimately, to the American economy upon which it feeds.

Citing examples of such greed and rapacious corporate profiteering by their über-wealthy owners and Wall Street overlords (to whom they are fiscally accountable and must share profits), and in conjunction with misguided Federal tax policy (led almost in whole part by Republicans), Senators Warren and Sanders show how overseas and foreign “outsourcing” – all in the name of increased corporate profits – have damaged average American families, including the cities, towns, and states wherein they reside, whom have all witnessed and suffered from wholesale corporate abandonment to foreign soil.

Slow learners are discovering that America’s narsicisstic wealthy “businessman” president – whom they elected, hoping he would be their knight in shining armor coming to their economic rescue – has also sold them out for his own self interests, exactly like his party’s predecessors. They were merely expendable pawns whom he deceived in his egocentric reality show/chess game. They’re merely the red-capped collateral damage in his monkey-business trade war.

Nowhere are the result of such policies more
plainly and painfully evident than in middle America,
where once-thriving factories have become hollowed-out shells

the veritable rotting skeletal corporate detritus which has
fostered and driven
the Opioid Epidemic in many states.

Once-renown industrial cities like Detroit, where the Big Three of the automobile industry – Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors – reigned since the early 1900’s, and supplied high-paying Labor Union wages with genuine, and significant healthcare and retirement benefits to generations of families. Children attended well-funded public schools, states and cities prospered, thrived and expanded exponentially. Teens who chose to attend college or university did so without incurring debt, and training for technically-skilled jobs and labor was supported by almost all secondary schools.

Then, as if seemingly unnoticed, small things began to change. It was if America’s hard-working men and women, and middle-class families had become the proverbial frogs in a pot of water, never noticing the water temperature was increasing, until they were boiled to death… while yet alive.

Life-saving medications like insulin for diabetics, antibiotics to treat and cure once-deadly infections, blood pressure medications which reduced strokes and many other hypertension-associated health problems, even the plastic bags which contained Normal Saline – typically given as adjunctive intravenous therapy in hospitals – began to be manufactured overseas, and along with it, came precipitous price hikes. So-called “pharma bros” took shockingly unjust and unimaginably avaricious pecuniary advantage of old-line medications – which had for years been off-patent – and jacked up their prices 5000%, or more, which placed them out of reach for many whose very lives depended upon them.

The giant, sloppy, wet kiss given to the Pharmaceutical Industry by Republicans under President George W. Bush in Medicare Part D didn’t help. Pharmaceutical companies were allowed to, and did, raise their prices, and Medicare – the single largest purchaser of medications in the world – was forbidden from negotiating for better, lower prices by that same law, which in turn, passed the price increases along to the insured, most of whom live on nominal, and fixed incomes.

Exorbitant pharmaceuticals hold patients hostage to disease,
as hapless physicians and feckless regulators are
paralyzed to become
Wall Street extortionists’ socioeconomic ransom.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/southernbreeze/4611472833/

The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” which solidified corporate personhood, and essentially said that “money is free speech” has neither helped. For if money was free speech, then the poor man would have none (thus violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and the First Amendment which guarantees Freedom of Speech), and our laws were, and are, written for all equally.

Neither has the subsequent 2014 Alabama case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission which “struck down Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump isn’t America’s asshole.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 28, 2019

Donald Trump isn’t America’s asshole.

Donald Trump is America’s hemorrhoid.

As a demonstration about how much (or little) attendees of America’s Favorite Pastime think and feel about him, he was booed for quite some time, and lauded with chants of “Lock him up!” when he was shown on the in-stadium giant video screen, between the 3rd and 4th innings at Game 5 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., October 27, 2019.

Donald Trump, United States President, official portrait

Of that occurrence, The Guardian wrote in part, that “That, perhaps, was predictable: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and both Bushes were all booed while attending baseball games as President. What came shortly afterwards was a little more personal in a city that is heavily Democratic as cries of “Lock him up!” [and “Impeach Trump!” rang out at nearly 100 decibels loudness], a reference to the chants about Hillary Clinton used at Trump’s rallies in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections.” Trump only won 4% of Read the rest of this entry »

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To Trump, or Not To Trump: Religion, Politics, and Voting

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 28, 2019

As I pondered how to begin this entry, numerous thoughts occurred to me about the possible pathway it could take. But the bottom line (Already? Yes, already.) is that what I really want to do is talk about politics and religion.

Sure, almost everyone has heard the adage and encouragements to avoid talking about those two subjects, and almost always to avoid them at holiday family get-togethers. And then, there’s “polite company,” in which one doesn’t want to appear controversial, start a quarrel, or possibly offend someone.

But this is none of the above, and you’ve read this far, so here we go.

Globally, within the last 50 years, and more so since the 1990’s in this nation (the United States), there has emerged a politically active religious movement which has innervated the halls of government at the national and state levels. Local politics has some effect, but nowhere is it more seen and felt than at those two levels.

We have seen the emergence of right-wing extremism in almost all religions, and it’s certainly most visible in the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – three sects of a common religion from the same family which essentially share the same god.

In recent history, we have seen it demonstrated as a revolt against liberalism (which is properly defined as “freedom”) in Iran in 1979, in which right-wing religious extremists of the Islamic religion, led by the Ayatollah Ruholla Kohmeni (1902-1989) overthrew the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980). Since that time, the nation has remained under the oppressive religious regime of the Islamic Republican Party.

We have also witnessed events such as the rise of radical Islam in the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS, or ISIL), and numerous sects in other Middle Eastern nations, many of which were formerly free from religious influence in government.

While there are many other complicating features of those nations’ internal struggles, such as governmental oppression, totalitarianism, involvement by foreign governments in propping up leaders seen as useful to those same governments, etc., suffice it to say, it is true that the revolutionary forces were almost exclusively religiously motivated by fear of losing their religion at the hand of the existing governmental state.

In the United States, led in large part by the Reverend Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), founder of Liberty University, and supported by Evangelicals such as Pat Robertson (b.1930) and his 700 Club and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) led by Paul (1924-2013) and Jan Crouch (1939-2016), and a veritable host of other high-profile religious leaders who used television, such as Oral Roberts (1918-2009), Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), Kenneth Copeland (b.1936), Jerry Savelle (b.1946), Marilyn Hickey (b.1931), Jimmy Swaggart (b.1935), et al., have exercised significant political sway upon a large portion of the American voting public, which in turn, elected officials and politicians who would do their political bidding in Washington, and in states’ capitols nationwide.

Once described as “values voters” who measured candidates on high moral character, Evangelicals now unify behind an unholy trinity of nativism, xenophobia and White grievance. They have exchanged ethics of accountability principles, to thinking “the end justifies the means,” and have stopped searching for personal character and leadership quality in political leaders, and instead have accepted the actions and morality of their chosen candidates if their election objectives are met.

Such actions are problematic not only for religion, but for government as well. Because if religion has become a tool used by government, it has lost its own internal moral compass, and its influence and usefulness as a force for public virtue, private morality, and social unification has become worthless. And even if that is true (and increasingly, it seems so), then America has lost its own unique character of adherence to principles of tolerance, seeking peaceful resolution to problems, and its own commitment to equality under law.

All those groups and people have one thing in common: they constrain freedom in people by using religion to manipulate government. And yet, as evidenced by numerous hind-sight observations in the 2016 General Election, the irony – and disturbingly eerie parallel – of the matter, is that Evangelicals are no longer adherent to orthodoxy, or traditional “old time religion,” which has become as equally a motivating religious fear factor for them, as much as it is for radical Islam.

In Middle Eastern nations, it has been more violent, but the objectives are the same: Wrest control of the existing government away from its leaders, and install religious extremists in power; curtail personal freedoms; subjugate and limit women to child-rearing and housekeeping roles; deny women education – keep them illiterate; deny women access to contraceptives or abortion services, thereby forcing them to become pregnant and give birth; deny women – and others – voting rights; deny women and others freedom of movement by forbidding them to drive automobiles; force everyone to adhere to the state religion, or face harsh punishment or execution for disobeying, or speaking against it.

While in the United States such drastic measures have not all occurred, little by little, led largely by Republicans, states and the Federal government are enacting laws limiting hard-won civil rights, such as 18-year-olds’ Right to Vote; denying women access to contraception, and limiting therapeutic abortion.

While the argument has changed in tenor and is now couched as a “right to life” (a phrase not found in the Constitution, but only in the Declaration of Independence – “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”), its beginning is unmistakably religious in origin, having first been promulgated by the Catholic Church, and later adopted by Evangelical Protestants as a tenet of their faith, as well.

But, because many don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on that subject, those who would restrict others’ freedoms, instead, take a circuitous, surreptitious route to force their beliefs upon others, ultimately, by making voting more difficult, and hoping they’ll stay away from polls on Election Day. Because when voters don’t vote, freedom is the ultimate loser. And sadly, that is how some want it – because they think there’s just too much freedom – and wrongly claim that responsibility is absent from freedom.

This Spring, the Republican-dominated Texas State Legislature enacted legislation which forbids any early voting polling place from being open less than the full 12 days of the early voting period. The net effect is that 9 sites on college and university campuses in the state – as well as 6 campus polling locations in Fort Worth, 2 in Brownsville, and others throughout the state – will be forced to close, effectively disenfranchising very nearly 14,000 full-time student voters.

In Wisconsin, despite the fact that there has never been a case of deliberate student voter fraud in state history, the Republican-led state legislature passed legislation that requires poll workers to check signatures ONLY on student IDs, even though many schools have removed signatures from them because it’s a security risk, since the IDs are also used as debit cards, and room keys. As well, that same law mandates that IDs used for voting purposes must expire in 2 years, while most Student IDs are valid for 4 years. Not only that, but students with acceptable IDs must also show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote. While the state’s colleges and universities have diligently tried to meet all ID requirements for the students to use school IDs to exercise their voting rights, the end result has been statewide student voter chaos.

In New Hampshire, a Republican-led effort which became law now requires newly-registered voters who also drive, to establish “domicile” there by obtaining a New Hampshire Driver License and automobile registration, which can cost hundreds of dollars annually. The catch is, it affects students almost exclusively, because 60% of the state’s students come from outside the state. That too, was a Republican-led effort by the former Republican Speaker of the House, William O’Brien, who in 2011 promised to restrict student voting and said they are “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”

In Texas, which ranks dead last in voter turnout, the state’s Republican legislators have restricted student voter pre-registration to 2 months before the student’s 18th birthday, excludes use of college and university-issued ID cards, mandates that state driver licenses be used -and- only if they sign a form swearing that they could not reasonably obtain an “accepted” voter ID, and explain why.

Tennessee isn’t too far behind. That state’s Republican legislators use a convenient loophole in the law requiring election officials to help register high school students to avoid fulfilling their obligation, do not accept student IDs as valid for voting purposes, and have excluded out-of-state Driver Licenses as forms of valid Voter ID. The state’s 4 most populous cities – Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Chattanooga – also have significant student populations, and no on-campus early voting polling locations. However, a recent law requires those who would – for pay – register voters, to take a 30 minute course offered by the Secretary of State, while those who would – not for hire – register voters out of a sense of civil service, are not required to take the course. Although, the state’s General Assembly does allow expired IDs such as United States Passport, military photo ID, TN driver license, and TN handgun carry permit with photo, and photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, to be used as valid forms of Voter ID.

Sunny Florida doesn’t fare so well, either. That state’s Republican Secretary of State outlawed on-campus early voting sites in 2014, but following a Federal court challenge, the decision was overturned and 60,000 votes were cast on campuses statewide in the 2018 election. Not to be outdone, the state’s legislators re-enacted the ban and required all early voting sites to have “sufficient non-permitted parking,” which is often difficult to find.

The Tarheel State hasn’t been very friendly to student voters, either. North Carolina’s Republican legislators passed a Voter ID law in 2018 that accepted student IDs as valid for voting purposes, albeit with caveats so burdensome that even major state universities couldn’t comply. While the law was relaxed somewhat, confusion still exists, and consequently, less than half of the state’s 180 accredited institutions have sought Voter ID certification for their students’ IDs.

Aside from the common denominator of student status, the single greatest factor in all these cases is that students reliably vote for Democratic candidates.

Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government found in a March 2019 poll that Read the rest of this entry »

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Praise Be To Leader Trump!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 27, 2019

“I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.”

— White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham in a statement to CNN criticizing John Kelly, former White House Chief of Staff

Gee… that sounds very much like the obsequiously subservient style of Read the rest of this entry »

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“LET US IN!” House Republicans LITERALLY Scream

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

While for many years it has been common practice to exclude some Members of Congress from sensitive Congressional investigations if they are not committee members – such as when Republicans began an investigation into the 2012 attack upon the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya – apparently, Republicans think the rules don’t apply to them, and when things don’t go their way, behave like petulant children.

About 2 dozen House Republicans staged a protest outside the closed-door, secure room committee where depositions were ongoing, and screamed “LET US IN! LET US IN!”


Flanked by about two dozen House Republicans, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., argues that all GOP lawmakers should have access to closed-door depositions in the impeachment inquiry. Committee rules dictate that only those on the panels conducting the probe can attend.
Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The area is designated as secure — meaning that classified materials and witness testimony is discussed there, and only select lawmakers and a small number of staff are allowed entry.

Republican lawmakers tried to enter with their cellphones, which is a violation of the rules for a secure information facility and a breach of national security protocols. Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33, D) said that the Republican effort to enter the secure area without authorization was Read the rest of this entry »

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Honesty Will Drive Trump From Office

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

This one, honest man – a West Point graduate, where the honor code is “I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do” – a career Army officer who later became a diplomat, will be Trump’s undoing, simply because he TOLD THE TRUTH – unlike President Trump, who is incapable of truth-telling.

This honest man’s testimony (who Trump ordered to not testify) provides an openly and starkly contrasted picture of a publicly and brazenly corrupt President and administration, the likes of which our nation has never seen, surpassing even then-President Richard M. Nixon’s lies and other criminal conduct for which he resigned in shame.

Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor is escorted by U.S. Capitol Police on Tuesday as he arrives to testify before House committees as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump. – Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The second and third paragraphs in his 15-page testimony read as follows:

“I have dedicated my life to serving U.S. interests at home and abroad in both military and civilian roles. My background and experience are nonpartisan and I have been honored to serve under every administration, Republican and Democratic, since 1985.

“For 50 years, I have served the country, starting as a cadet at West Point, then as an infantry officer for six years, including with the 101 Airborne Division in Vietnam; then at the Department of Energy; then as a member of a Senate staff; then at NATO; then with the State Department here and abroad — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, and Ukraine; and more recently, as Executive Vice President of the nonpartisan United States Institute of Peace.”

Ambassador Taylor is a man of honor… unlike President Trump.

And, Ambassador Taylor makes it explicitly clear the reason why policy toward Ukraine matters when he wrote that:

“I am convinced of the profound importance of Ukraine to the security of the United States and Europe for two related reasons:

“First, if Ukraine succeeds in breaking free of Russian influence, it is possible for Europe to be whole, free, democratic, and at peace. In contrast, if Russia dominates Ukraine, Russia will again become Read the rest of this entry »

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So Far, It’s Liz’s To Lose

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 19, 2019

Biden Struggles To Reverse Fall

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/466515-biden-struggles-to-reverse-fall

“Biden has consistently cast himself as the candidate best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020, and electability has always been at the center of his message.”

—//—

It’s helpful to recall that Biden was the creator of the “electability” argument.

Think about it: Why would ANYONE make such an inane argument?

Such a matter or concern has never before been made.

Candidates and POTUSes have always been (and will continue to be) elected based upon their appeals to voters who think they’ll do the best job.

Vice President Joe Biden, Official Portrait 2013

To express concern for “electability” (defined as “who can beat candidate _X_?”) is to Read the rest of this entry »

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One word: Plastics.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 14, 2019

Film buffs may recall the 1967 classic motion picture which cast Dustin Hoffman as the central character/protagonist, and included vocal music by Paul Simon (performed by Simon and Garfunkel), and instrumental music by Dave Grusin.

Featuring enduring classic Simon and Garfunkel hits as “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Scarborough Fair,” the music may be the most enduring part of the film.

It was Dustin Hoffman’s first serious motion picture acting role, and became the foundation upon which he would later build his career, and later, achieve international stardom.

While two movies in which he was role cast were released that year – The Tiger Makes Out, and The Graduate – it was the latter for which he became most renown.

Based on the novel by Charles Webb, the screenplay was written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, and though described as a blended comedy, drama, romance genre film, its high-brow humor on a low-brow topic edges on the dryly sardonic-to-noir, while the drama is real.

And romance?

Well, it’s hardly romantic.

Read the July 19, 1968 critique of “The Graduate” by Jacob R. Brackman published The New Yorker, which essentially makes the same conclusion.

What else could be said for an early horny housewife MILF movie?

Because that theme – that “Ben Braddock” (played by Hoffman), a soon-to-be recent university graduate, is dating Elaine Robinson, a as-yet-ungraduated peer at an in-town university, and their relationship progresses to the point of marriage (for Elaine, but not for Ben), all while a steamy, purely sexual relationship is developed between Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft) who first initiated overtures toward Ben, to which he later succumbed – is what drives the story along.

As his natural senior, Mrs. Robinson clearly takes unfair selfish advantage of Ben’s naiveté, and in that sense, demonstrates not merely manipulation, but abuse.

Naturally, all such relationships of that type are mostly kept secret and frowned upon in polite society, and this case is certainly no different, which provides the tension for the drama in the film. Only this one turns toward blackmail, and the farcically shallow, emotionally manipulative, dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship is only suggested, and is rarely fully displayed in the film – though there are moments – and again, demonstrates the vacuous depths of Mrs. Robinson’s emotional, psychosexual needs, and the treachery to which she goes to fulfill her unmet needs.

Moreover, the humor is frequently dead-panned, and is by no means slapstick. A 1968 review of the movie in The New Yorker described it as “European moviemaking done right in the heart of American movieville,” and I couldn’t agree more – which is not to say that the film (and book) are unworthy as art, or entertainment, for they are. But as a genre, “because American films straggle so far behind literature and European films in reflecting the actual quality of modern life, rudimentary negativism can easily be taken for truthfulness, and a decade-old vision can appear to be “ahead of its time.””

And so it is with “The Graduate.”

But the movie and its themes were not my intended target.

Instead, the subject I wanted to focus upon is Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Warren Campaign Spoofs Facebook And Trump Campaign To Make A Point

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hillary: “I Saw Donald Trump Secretly Have Sex With Giant Chinese Pigs in Beijing !”

Of course it’s false.

Of course it’s a lie.

Of course it’s outlandish.

Of course it’s absurd.

Of course it’s preposterous.

Of course it’s – to borrow Trump’s words – “bullshit.”

But you know what?

It’s 100% legal to publish such tripe.

As long as it’s called “political” advertising.

Seriously.

100% legal.

And the Chinese are developing a breed of GIANT pig that, on average, is well over 1100 pounds – bigger than a polar bear.

Seriously.

Read the story on the Daily Mail website linked above, or on Bloomberg Business News website here.

A visitor rides on a 750-kilogram (1653 lbs) pig at a farm in Zhengzhou city, Henan province, China. Source: ImagineChina via AP Images

But, more to the point.

The campaign of Democratic candidate for Party Presidential Nominee Elizabeth Warren has recently purposely posted a false political advertisement on Facebook.

Why did her campaign do that?

To Read the rest of this entry »

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Hail to the Idiot in Chief

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

This photograph was published by Getty Images on 1 January 1996 with the following caption: “Partygoers, including Ivanka Trump (center, in white) who her sits on her father, businessman Donald Trump’s lap during a concert (by the Beach Boys) at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1996. Also visible seated front row left is Trump’s wife Marla Maples.”

And so… the Current White House Occupant and Twitterer in Chief has blasted out yet more asinine absurdities, which demonstrates yet again, his utter ignorance and ineptitude for governance.

“I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump And The Republican Party Are Like A Bob Seger Song

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The unhinged surreality made-for-television game show world that is the Current White House Occupant’s mindset is now laid bare.

Amidst the debacle that is playing out on the world’s stage in the open air of the Washington, D.C. Beltway, Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States has unilaterally taken it upon himself to rule as an authoritarian demagogue, and – as much as possible (legally, or not) – to fire, discharge, or force the resignation of seemingly countless honorable career public servants; to compel the engagement of numerous Federal agencies to perform his private political dirty work, and to stymie Congress as much as possible by claiming either Executive Privilege, or unlimited Constitutional authority under Article 2, despite the fact that the Congress (the House and Senate) is significantly and Constitutionally charged with oversight of the governmental operations.

He has played friendly with America’s enemies, including Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and others, while making enemies of America’s long-standing allies such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and others.

He has abused the power of the Office of the President to unilaterally reveal National Security secrets to the world, and to America’s enemies.

He has treacherously abused, mocked and belittled America’s Intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Director of National Intelligence, and by so doing, harmed the morale of those revered agencies, but by so doing, has compromised American National Security in the world.

America is not respected in the world any longer. And, it is exclusively because of Donald J. Trump.

This bizarre presidency is like no other – literally, in every way – and despite his campaign sloganeering to Read the rest of this entry »

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Love Is Not Like That

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 6, 2019

(Previously titled: Thoughts on Religious “Free Will”)

Recently, in conversation with friends over the evening meal (supper) at a nearby restaurant, a comment was made observing something to the effect of recent global events, specifically, Iraqi uprisings in that nation, which in turn quickly segued into a remark by that same one, which was something to the effect of “the LORD is doing wonderful things in that nation,” or very similar.

About two days later, in conversation with another different friend, I shared that experience, and the remarks, and commented that, “You know, it’s as if the people who say things like that are proud of their god, as it like they trained it. ‘Attaboy, god! You go! You’re doing such a good job! We’re proud of you!’ It’s as if they’re praising a child for doing something good, proper, or right.”

Additional remarks might be something like, ‘There you go, god! You’re doing a good job! Keep up the good work! You’re doing SO MUCH BETTER! Earlier, you weren’t worth a shit… but NOW!?! You’re doing FANTASTIC work!’

You see how absurd that is?

If a person has a god which is an omniscient, omnipotent being, why would that one need praise? It’s wholly, entirely, and totally absurd. People only praise those whom are doing things they approve of, and who have some semblance of commonality – who share an often-unifying common bond – either by sharing national origin, or some other similar factor.

Praise the astronauts who were the volunteer human subjects who sat atop rockets destined (hopefully) for outer space, for their heroic actions, and intestinal fortitude. But, they were mere men, as well. It’s the same thing for firefighters, who, instead of running out of a burning building, rush headlong INTO it.

It’s totally contrary to what our natural instincts (the preservation of life) are.

And yet, some even died in those processes – of space exploration, and saving others’ lives and property.

And if they survive, all of them age, and eventually later die.

And by golly, if a god is all that and a bag of chips, what’s the point?

Seriously.

Heaping praise for an omniscient, omnipotent being from those who are utterly the epitome of stupidity?

C’mon…

If that’s not a case of putting the cart before the horse, I don’t know what is.

It’d be like having a child heaping praise upon Albert Einstein (1879-1955) for developing the Theory of Relativity, or praising Robert Boyle (1627-1691) for discovering Boyle’s Law, or congratulating Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856) for discovering Avogadro’s number/constant.

It’s utterly inconsistent with the idea of praise for congratulations, adulation, or adoration to come from below. Properly, praise comes from above. Your boss, or supervisor praises you. Or, even a colleague praises you. But hardly ever does an inferior praise a superior. While it does, and has happened, it’s certainly not the norm.

But again, I digress.

The point I had hoped to express was about the idea of “free will” as often expressed by Baptists, and other right-wing extremist Christian faith traditions.

Over supper, I expressed my thoughts to the friend, that I Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald J. Trump: Petulant Man-Child

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Current White House Occupant – Donald J. Trump – is blatant.

He acts as if he tells something openly and very publicly, that it can’t be wrong, unethical, immoral, or illegal. Thus, he has a habit of “doubling down” when any allegation of wrong-doing is made against him. We saw that when allegations of him paying hush money through his now-Federally-convicted lawyer/”fixer” Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, aka “Stormy Daniels,” and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to conceal the fact that he had sex with them, when he and his campaign became concerned that public knowledge of his affairs with them would harm his public approval ratings.

Put simply, his tactic is deny, deny, deny, deny… and then, when denial doesn’t seem to work, embrace the wrong, then unashamedly publicly state the wrong behavior as if it’s A-Okay to do the act, and justify it using faulty rationale… like “everybody does it,” or falsely claiming some absurdity that “it’s a common practice.”

And that is why, in response to the question by a reporter among the gaggle outside the White House on October 3, 2019, “What exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?”, Trump publicly stated that,

“Well I would think if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens. Because how does a company newly formed and all these companies — by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens. Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked. That was a crooked deal, 100%. He had no knowledge about energy, didn’t know the first thing about it, all of a sudden he’s getting $50,000 a month, plus a lot of other things. Nobody has any doubt. And they got rid of a very tough prosecutor. Now they’re trying to make it the opposite way, but they got rid of him. So if I were the president of Ukraine I would certainly recommend that.”

– President Donald J. Trump, to reporters assembled on the White House lawn, October 3, 2019

Read the rest of this entry »

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Do We Own Relationships?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 4, 2019

In an email exchange with a long-time friend about human sexuality and religion, I expressed an idea which I’ve been developing for quite some time, but had never written it. Though I’d talked about it with others, I’d never written it.

The idea concerns itself with the proposal that our sexuality has been, and largely continues to be, a tool by which we are controlled for others’ purposes, most notably religious and political.

Christendom, and other religions – including the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, and Islam – have continually said “no” to the expression of human sexuality, even though sexual response and the orgasm itself is but a mere function of the autonomic nervous system, which is but one of many in a collection of bodily functions over which we have no control, including pupillary response, digestion, rate of respiration and heart rate, blood pressure, and micturition (the creation of urine), most notably.

So it seems more than odd that we should be punished by religions for something over which we largely have little-to-no control. And yet, within many religions, it is precisely that sort of thing which (the attempt to control one’s uncontrollable functions) has innervated religions for eons. We see it in the flagellation associated with the Passion of the Christ in annual displays worldwide. We see it in the writings of the Desert Fathers whose asceticism is renown. We see it even in the daily functions of Abrahamic religions. It is pervasive.

Raquel Welch, in Los Angeles, on a cross; 1970 photograph by British photographer Terry O’Neill; wearing a fur bikini from the 1966 motion picture “One Million Years B.C.,” in which she starred, which was a remake of the original 1940 “One Million B.C.”

As well, a sense of shame and guilt is brought with it in order to continue to subdue others. None of it makes any sense. And yet, amidst it all, faithful adherents are told to become “more Christlike,” or “godly” by taming other genuinely negative behaviors and expressions such as selfishness, anger, hatred, lying, and numerous other unbecoming attitudes.

However, the root cause of it all has largely, to date, undefined – though it has been touched upon in numerous homilies, sermons, and teachings.

And so, while it is largely unrefined, per se, the core of the idea which I have been long considering is expressed here below, and is excerpted from an email to a long-time friend.

––//––

The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that: Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Warren in Three Charts

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

MA Senator Elizabeth Warren -D

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is steadily rising as the Democratic Party’s favored nominee for President.

As of October 1, 2019, aggregate polling averages from Real Clear Politics indicated that she was within 4.2 percentage points of tying with former VP Joe Biden in public approval to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President.

Today’s aggregated average polling (10-2-19) shows that Warren has gained 1.4% points from yesterday, while Biden has slipped 1.1%.

Polling: 10-2-19

At this rate – given her candidacy’s current trajectory and trend, the current conditions, and barring unforeseen circumstances – by the end of the week, Elizabeth Warren will very likely tie with Joe Biden by the week’s end, and establish a commanding lead over Biden in popularity no later than 30 days (by the end of October 2019) early-to-mid January 2020.

Clearly, her message is increasingly, and rapidly resonating with voters.

In comparison, former Vice President Joe Biden’s ratings are largely flat-lined-to-declined, having started out at 29.0% on December 9, 2018, moved through a high of Read the rest of this entry »

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“Take Back” Our Schools, Government, and Teach Mythology

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

For the record, while I receive their emailings, I have NEVER been a part of, nor have I EVER in any way supported the Family Resource Council. The reason I receive them is because it’s always good to know what kind of shenanigans your adversaries are up to. And, I’ve marveled, and continue to do marvel, at their, and other right-wingers’ “take back” this-that-or-the-other diatribes. The only problem with that is that they never say how far back they want to take whatever it is they want to steal. Before 18-year-olds had the right to vote? Before the Civil Rights Act? Before Women’s Suffrage? Before Alabama became the 27th state to ratify the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery? How far back? They never say.

But you see, by creating an “Us vs Them” mentality, they immediately establish a simplistic either/or “we’re the ‘good guys,’ and you’re the ‘bad guys'” mind set, which then also allows them to couch their the language of their argument as if some evil adversary stole something from them, i.e., “take back.”

How can anyone “steal” public schools? Steal from them by denying tax dollars, or funnel tax dollars to private corporations, I can see. But “steal” them? Hardly possible. Of course, that has never been the case – nor will it ever be the case – because no one stole anything.

Unfortunately, we also see that fallacious and petty mindset in politics, as in Read the rest of this entry »

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Voters With 2020 Vision See Elizabeth Warren Trumping Trump

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, September 26, 2019

Donald Trump, United States President, official portrait

To many, Trump v2.0 would be an inconceivable, unimaginable nightmare.

However, I sincerely doubt that we – and the world – will have to be concerned with a 2nd Trump term.

POTUS George W. Bush, official portrait

Why?

Not only are many Trump voters abandoning him, they are disavowing him in record numbers. Or, as then-POTUS George W. Bush said in Nashville, TN on September 17, 2002, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, ‘Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.'”

In addition to the other shenanigans and bad behavior for which Trump is notoriously infamous – including the rude necessity of Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia “witch hunt” investigation which conclusively demonstrated several instances of Obstruction of Justice by Trump, and resulted in 199 criminal charges, 37 indictments or guilty pleas, and 5 prison sentences for those in Trump’s inner circle – the suggestion from this latest debacle with Ukraine that Trump would unconscionably abuse of the power of the office of United States President to even consider collaborating with a foreign government to achieve his personal political objectives is not merely treasonous, it is confirmation to many on the political sidelines that he is selfishly duplicitous and connivingly unscrupulous, and it is reason enough to oust him from office not just at the 2020 ballot box, but by impeachment.

Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, official portrait

Trump’s phone call is the tipping point, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back – and Read the rest of this entry »

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Trumpty Dumpty

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Trumpty Dumpty made a fake wall.

Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.

And all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men,

Couldn’t keep Trumpty out of the pen.

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Versace Recycles J’Lo’s 20-year Old Green Dress

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Steven Tyler (right), the 71-year-old legendary lead vocalist of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, makes a clandestine appearance in drag alongside Jennifer Lopez at fashion designer (House of Gianni) Versace’s latest runway show by Donatella Versace – in their Spring 2020 Ready-To-Wear collection – during Fashion Week, recently in Milan, Italy.🤣

By the way, J’Lo’s Versace-designed green dress seen here, is Read the rest of this entry »

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Homemade Tomato Sandwich

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, September 19, 2019

I’ve never been much of a ‘mater sammich kind of guy.

But I had to do something with the 2 HUGE ones which I purchased a few days ago.

So, I made one.

…which I’m eating w/a fork and knife.

Seriously.

I’ve always hated having dirty hands, and eating w my hands.

In fact, I have long known how to eat fried chicken w/a fork.

But that’s beside the point.

What’s on it?

Between two sourdough heels, there’s fresh basil (sweet & chocolate), tomatoes, Vidalia onions, garlic powder, coarse kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, Duke’s mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, with sambal oelek, and a sweet pepper. Read the rest of this entry »

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Florida Couple Gets Naked In Cop’s Car

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 18, 2019

USA Today, ever the paragon of journalistic integrity (hardly), has reported on a young man and woman who were arrested around 11:30PM ET in Nassau County, FL for DUI.

The problem began while they were riding their bicycles.

According to Jordan Culver, writer of the article, an unnamed “Nassau County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw Megan Mondanaro, 35, and Aaron Seth Thomas, 31, riding bikes without lights on around 11:30 p.m. Friday in Fernandina Beach.”

According to the article published September 17, 2019, 6:49PM ET, “Both riders cut into the middle of the road and were nearly hit by a car, which led the deputy to conduct a traffic stop, according to the [Deputy’s] report.”

In the report, the Deputy wrote that when the pair was stopped, he “detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from both of them.”

The news story stated that the Deputy “also noted Mondanaro and Thomas both had bloodshot and watery eyes and were slurring their words.”

The story then states that the two were “arrested on DUI charges and placed in the back of the deputy’s patrol car.”

The arresting Deputy then searched Mr. Thomas’ backpack and found 7 full cans, and 1 empty can, of the alcoholic malt beverage “Four Loko.”

The arresting officer’s report then stated in part that, “While I was outside my patrol vehicle, Megan and Aaron took their clothes off and Read the rest of this entry »

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2020 Democratic Trends… and Pocahantas

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren

Who’ll get the nod?

My money is on Warren.

Why?

She identifies a problem, lays out a case, and states a solution. She’s a mom, teacher, an attorney, a law professor, and now, a politician – a small-town Oklahoma girl who made good, despite the odds against her.

She gets it.

Despite the Current White House Occupant’s attempt to slap a derisive nickname on Senator Elizabeth Warren (ironically defaming Native Americans in the process), Senator Warren has done exceedingly well.
For those unaware of American history, Pocahontas was a Algonkian indigenous American, and daughter of Chief Powhatan, a princess who fostered peace among the Jamestown, Virginia English colonists/settlers.

She may be most renown for saving Captain John Smith’s life after he was captured by her father’s men.

Later, she converted to Christianity, was baptized as Rebecca, and accepted a marriage proposal by prominent settler and tobacco farmer John Rolfe, and was wed April 5, 1614.

“The Baptism of Pocahantas,” by John Gadsby Chapman, Artist; Oil on canvas 12′ x 18′, 1839; placed 1840 Rotunda U.S. Capitol

So the history is a dignified, and marvelous story, despite the Idiot-Ignoramus in Chief’s attempt to use a good name to defame her. It only shows what kind of miserably pitiful character he is.

But, more to the point.

The Marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe

If you’ve ever read a prospectus for any financial or investment vehicle – either stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. – you’ve probably read the following disclaimer:
“Past performance is Read the rest of this entry »

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Warren Shines At Third Debate

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 13, 2019

Warren Acts Like Frontrunner Though Polling 2nd or 3rd

At last night’s Democratic candidate debate at HBCU Texas Southern University in Houston – the 3rd in a field winnowed nearly in half – Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren continued to demonstrate how and why she will be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is also clearly indicating that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will likely become the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nominee.

“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren.”
– Ted Cruz, at a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast

“We’re going to see record-shattering Democratic turnout. The only element missing to ensure Democratic victory is demoralizing conservatives so they stay home. I hope we don’t do that.”
– Ted Cruz, in response to Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump is the Charles Manson of Presidents

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Despite his increasingly bizarre and contemptuous behavior, and bull-in-the-china-shop approach to almost everything, I could support perhaps a few of the President’s efforts and positions, and, I could even overlook some of his behaviors as merely eccentric, quirky, or even slightly off-kilter –– much like his well-known penchant for ketchup on steak.

But increasingly, his ill-advised actions – like publicly posting TOP SECRET surveillance satellite images of our enemies’ military efforts (even though as Commander In Chief he had the absolute right to do so), and meeting with despotic totalitarian Korean ruler-family killer Kim Jong-Un, and scheduling a secret peace talk summit at Camp David with arch enemies the al-Qaeda friendly Taliban 2 days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11 – are placing America at risk with our enemies.

That’s beside his unilaterally-imposed Trade War with China, Mexico, and Canada which continues damaging American families, farmers and industry, and diversion of monies meant for the Military, Coast Guard, TSA, and FEMA to Read the rest of this entry »

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Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

There’s absolutely and utterly no reason for the senseless gun violence and deaths in our nation which have resulted from laxative gun laws.

Period.

Congress has the authority to act, and efforts to protect our people from such predators is hampered by the GOP, especially and particularly in the Senate.

Full stop.

Offers of “thoughts and prayers” will no longer cut it. Besides, “We the people” do NOT elect national prayer leaders, or religious folks for their alleged ability to call down from the heavens acts by the gods and/or goddesses they purport to represent and/or serve… instead of the people who elected them, who are their constituency.

There’s always truth in humor, and often, satirical illustrations serve to explain the problems sometimes much better than actual explanations of the problems at hand. Comedians such as Dave Chappelle – winner of the 2019 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, awarded annually by the Kennedy Center for the Arts, will be given to him October 27, 2019 – has become renown for his absurdist skits and comedy routines which have included one colloquially known as “The Black White Racist” in which a reporter for Frontline (an actual investigative journalism documentary news show on PBS – see here: https://www.pbs.org/show/frontline/) finds and interviews a blind racist who “has been the leading voice of the White Supremacist movement in America” sequestered in the remote hills of an unnamed rural Southern state.

The skit, recorded when Chappelle was then performing for The Comedy Channel, remains one of his most well-known skits, and may be viewed online here ( ARTICLE CONTINUED BELOW):

So, along that line… what if Wal-Mart banned dildos?

Realistically, that idea is not too far-fetched.

Here’s why.

In Alabama, that state’s legislators some years ago – in 1998 – forbade “any person to knowingly distribute, possess with intent to distribute, or offer or agree to distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for any thing of pecuniary value.” (Code of Alabama 13A-12-200.2)

It became known as the state’s “anti-dildo law,” and a challenge to it was defeated by a three-judge panel in Federal court by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005, and was subsequently refused to be heard by the United States Supreme Court, which marked the legal end of the road for that effort.

In 2007, the law was openly mocked by several individuals in the state who challenged its legality on state constitutional grounds, and illustrated its absurdity and invasion of privacy. On September 11, 2009, the state’s Supreme Court ruled against a legal challenge from the owner of a chain of sex toy stores in the state, and the law became settled. And because almost every law has a legal loophole (exception), the Code of Alabama in Section 13A-12-200.4 Affirmative Defenses states that “It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating Sections 13A-12-200.2 and 13A-12-200.3 that the act charged was done for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose.”

But regardless of the law, those items continue to be sold in the state because they’re marketed as novelty or educational items, while garments are sold as costumes. Because the state has refused to enforce the law, the state’s stance amounts to nothing more than hypocrisy. Politicians who run on the GOD ticket have to make themselves look good to their pastoral flock, you know.

Which again, brings us full-circle to absurdity.

What if Wal-Mart banned dildos?

The GOPers in the Congress have taken a passive aggressive stance by refusing to act, which effectively allows deaths from gun violence to proliferate. The mostly-GOP crowd says they’re not going to do anything but offer “thoughts and prayers,” while GOP Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell from Kentucky has said he won’t even consider legislation when he made the following remark on a far right-wing extremist talk radio show hosted by Read the rest of this entry »

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Dorian Is Trump’s “Perfect Storm”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hurricane Dorian will be the “perfect storm” to end President Donald Trump’s autocratic regime.

His administration has mishandled the events in Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria. Those American citizens STILL haven’t recovered, and his anemic administration has kept the FEMA from doing their job.

Maybe it’s because they’re one of his so-called “shithole countries.”

Imagine that. Puerto Ricans are American. But again, his racism is also equally well known.

But he did toss them some paper towels. That’s been a BIGLY HUGE help. Maybe this time, he’ll airdrop a planeload of them from Air Force One to affected areas.

He has wasted the summer break by not campaigning, and all polls show his approval ratings are well under water. With the storm surge predicted from Hurricane Dorian, it’ll be the end of the USS Trumpanzee in Chief.

There’s great irony in the fact that hurricanes come from Africa. And Hurricane Dorian is Read the rest of this entry »

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Two Southern Mass Shootings In One Day

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 1, 2019

What the hell!?! Damn!

I was ready to go to bed after wrapping up a blog entry on Joe Biden’s support of the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) which was responsible for the “measure that allowed dealers to sell rifles, shotguns and ammunition through the mail, and, eventually, the internet. It limited federal inspections of firearms dealers while allowing them to sell guns at gun shows, which helped them grow in size and popularity. And it made it easier for private collectors to sell guns without obtaining a federal dealers’ license, which would play a role in what later became known as the “Gun Show Loophole.””

ref: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/biden-voted-nra-when-senate-nation-were-very-different-n997311

And what do I see?

Shooting At High School Football Game Injures Multiple Teens In Mobile, Alabama

First thought that came to my mind was the lead sentence in this entry.
The next thought was, “Ban all guns. The motherfuckers obviously can’t handle them, and don’t need them.”
Then, I thought, “Well… maybe we need to make it more difficult for just anyone and everyone to obtain firearms. Something that’d be ‘Constitutionally-approved.'”
Seriously, this shit has got to STOP!!!
Why couldn’t we pass a law mandating Read the rest of this entry »

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Reading Democratic Tea Leaves III

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 31, 2019

In keeping with the “Who will be the Democrats’ 2020 Presidential nominee?” theme, I present the following for your perusal.

According to the trend lines, barring any unforeseen events, Elizabeth Warren will overtake Joe Biden in average public support polling within the next couple months. And by July 13-16 – dates of the Democratic National Convention at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI – she will be within “striking distance” of becoming the presumptive nominee by being only 5 points below Biden in average polling popularity.

That is, of course, if “Sleepy” “Uncle Joe” Biden’s continued demonstration of foot-in-mouth disease, and discovery of his other troubling and long-time political faux pas and other problematic voting track records – such as being the father of the “Gun Show Loophole” by being instrumental in, and voting for the 1986 Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) which the National Rifle Association (NRA) called “the law that saved gun rights” because it rolled back numerous regulations.

The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) created the so-called “Gun Show Loophole,” rapidly accelerated popularity of gun shows, allowed firearm sales via the U.S. Mail, and the Internet, allowed “straw purchases” of firearms, over-ruled at least 33% of the hundreds of lower court rulings interpreting the Gun Control Act, and undid at least 6 Supreme Court rulings.

Joe Biden, as Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committe was not merely a proponent of, and voted for the FOPA, he significantly helped advance it by unanimously voting it out of committee. So realistically and ultimately, he bears significant responsibility for the increase in mass shootings and gun violence in America.

“I give credit to Senator HATCH and the National Rifle Association for their willingness to compromise and develop a revised bill that would strike a fair balance between unnecessary restrictions and regulations on lawful owner-ship of rifles and handguns and the legitimate interests of law enforcement in carrying out their responsibilities. I believe the compromises that are now a part of this bill have resulted in a balanced piece of legislation that protects the rights of private gun owners while not infringing on law enforcement’s ability to deal with those who misuse guns or violate laws. During my 12% years as a Member of this body, I have never believed that additional gun control or Federal registration of guns would reduce crime. I am convinced that a criminal who wants a firearm can get one through illegal, nontraceable, unregistered sources, with or without gun control. In my opinion a national register or ban of handguns would be impossible to carry out and may not result in reductions in crime. … However, on the whole, I am satisfied with the revisions to the bill made in committee, and I believe this bill makes improvements to existing law. ”
– Delaware Senator Joe Biden, July 9, 1985 in Congressional Record – Senate, p18229

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1985-pt13/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1985-pt13-4-2.pdf

Note that when other candidates’ support declined, Warren’s increased – as seen by Read the rest of this entry »

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To Trump, or Not to Trump?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Will History Repeat Itself?

Why Trump Worries About GOP Contenders

For the past four decades plus, regardless of party, every incumbent president who faced a serious primary opponent was weakened enough to ultimately lose re-election.

In 1968, Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy (NOT to be confused with U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin)) nearly upset then-POTUS Lyndon Baines Johnson in the New Hampshire primary by winning 40% of the votes to Johnson’s 49%.

Weeks later, Johnson stunned the nation and announced he would not seek another term.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford survived Reagan’s challenge from the right wing of the GOP, but lost to former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

Four years later, Carter faced a strong opponent in Read the rest of this entry »

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Dying Skills

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 25, 2019

America is a wealthy nation.

There’s no question about it.

Even with the scourges of poverty, and homelessness affecting it, the United States is, per capita, among the wealthiest nations in the world.

The United States Census Bureau reports that “The official poverty rate in 2017 was 12.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from 12.7 percent in 2016. This is the third consecutive annual decline in poverty. Since 2014, the pov­erty rate has fallen 2.5 percent­age points, from 14.8 percent to 12.3 percent.”

The 2018 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that “On a single night in 2018, roughly 553,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. About two-thirds (65%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters or transitional housing programs—and about one-third (35%) were in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation. Homelessness increased (though modestly) for the second year in a row. The number of homeless people on a single night increased by 0.3 percent between 2017 and 2018.”

According to various census measures internationally, there are very nearly 7.6 BILLION people in the world today. The United States ranks third globally in population with very nearly 330 Million. Only China and India respectively, are more populous, each with over 1.3 BILLION residents.

Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, and Mexico, in order, round out the Top 10 most populous nations.

Extrapolating from the population, that’s nearly 1 out of every 597 people who are homeless in the United States. Expressed as a percentage, that’s 0.16757575% – a little over 1/10th of 1%… well UNDER 1%.

The International Monetary Fund in 2018 ranked the United States as the 10th wealthiest nation globally. The World Bank in 2017 ranked the United States as 11th wealthiest, and the Central Intelligence Agency from 1993-2017 ranked the United States as the 13th wealthiest nation as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita.

When measured by adult median wealth, the United States ranks 21st, according to a 2018 Credit Suisse report.

That’s among a ranking of 170-190 nations for all four measures.

And when a ranking of total wealth is considered, the United States ranks first globally – again, according to the Global Wealth Report 2018 by Credit Suisse.

Using the Gini Index – a measure of the overall equality of life – the United States ranks Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the Banana Boat Sunk?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 17, 2019

You’re fixing to lose the bananas in your breakfast cereal.

And banana pudding will become only a sweet memory.

Grocery stores may no longer be selling bananas.

Why?

The global crop is dying, and will soon be dead.

Global as in worldwide.

Dead as in extinct.

Extinct as the Dodo bird.

Which, by the way, is thought to have become extinct c.1690 – a very long time ago. So naturally, there are no photographs of the Dodo bird, since the development of photography (yes, it’s a bad pun) was begun c.1826 with the image entitled “View from the Window at Le Gras,” which was made by Nicéphore Niépce, a French inventor in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France.

A harmful soil fungus, for which there is no known remedy, has begun to affect banana crops worldwide. Found in Taiwan in the 1990’s, the fungus, which resides naturally in the soil, is a variant of Read the rest of this entry »

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Bizarre Never Stops

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 16, 2019

‘Nuff said, eh?

Readers, what bizarre product placement have you seen in any of the stores you’ve visited?

Share away!!

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“Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Self dealing.

You’d think it was a crime, eh?

But, did you know that it is NOT illegal to shift campaign money into your private account?

Actually, directly, it is.

On their website, the Federal Election Commission states in part that, “Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited.” (https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/making-disbursements/personal-use/)

They state further that, “Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder.”

But indirectly?

That’s a horse of an entirely different color.

In the white-collar criminal underground, that’s called “money laundering,” which is the practice of shifting money through legitimate business enterprises in order to make it appear as if the money was obtained legitimately.

And that is but one reason why the FBI encourages accounting majors in university to consider joining their service – because scouring the financial books of businesses and other entities takes a well-trained eye to discern criminal wrong-doing.

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump stood in Trump Tower, New York City, and said, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-donald-trump-announces-his-presidential-candidacy/)

With that remark in part, he announced his candidacy to be the GOP’s nominee for President.

Of note, that was also when he’d made his now-infamous remark that, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

But earlier – 5 years earlier, in fact – he’d said to Fortune magazine in April 3, 2000, that, “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” (https://fortune.com/2000/04/03/what-does-donald-trump-really-want/)

In December 2018, Forbes magazine reported that Read the rest of this entry »

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Automattic To Buy Tumbler from Verizon

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 12, 2019

It’s just fun.
Or money.
It’s the same thing, isn’t it?
Can you hear me now?

–//–

Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress.com Owner

Carrier sheds blogging site for nominal amount as part of media unit revamp

Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been overshadowed by rival social-media sites.

By Sarah Krouse
Aug. 12, 2019 4:00 pm ET

Verizon Communications Inc. (stock symbol VZ) has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress.com, unloading for a nominal amount a site that once fetched a purchase price of more than $1 billion.

Automattic Inc. will buy Tumblr for an undisclosed sum and take on about 200 staffers, the companies said. Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been dwarfed by Facebook, Reddit and other services.

Verizon became Tumblr’s owner through the carrier’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo (symbol AABA) as part of a bid to build a digital media and advertising business. The wireless carrier began seeking a buyer for Tumblr earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It discussed a potential transaction with a handful of parties, people familiar with the matter said. The sale price isn’t material to Verizon, one of the people said.

Verizon is in the process of revamping its media group, which struggled to meet revenue targets in recent years. The business, home to legacy Yahoo and AOL web properties such as HuffPost, TechCrunch, feminist media brand Makers and celebrity-interview site Build, is increasingly focused on subscription and original content.

The Tumblr acquisition is the largest ever in terms of price and head count for Automattic, the company’s Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg said in an interview. The San Francisco company has a stable of brands focused on Read the rest of this entry »

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Democratic Tea Leaves II

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 11, 2019

In a recent entry dated August 8, 2019, entitled Reading Democratic Tea Leaves I noted one, or two very fine, somewhat minor points overlooked by most pundits.

One, that like most other Democratic nominee candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden’s support has largely stagnated – even though it has been higher than most other candidates.

Vice President Joe Biden, Official Portrait 2013

And second, only two other candidates have had any SIGNIFICANT INCREASE in their level of support (as defined by polling) since the inception of their candidacy: South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Since the announcement of his candidacy as the Democratic nominee for President, former Vice President Joe Biden’s support has gone from 29.0% to 30.8%. That’s an increase of only 6.21%.

October 26, 2016; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg

In sharp contrast, “Mayor Pete” has gone from 1.0% and is now (August 10) at 6.5%, and has polled as high as 8.4% from April 20 through May 2. That’s an increase of 550% to date. If fluctuations are considered (low to high), that’s 740%.

Senator Warren, however, has gone from 5.3% and is now at 18.3% – her highest ever polling. That’s an increase, and fluctuation of 245.28%.

Senator Sanders started at Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeffrey Epstein Found Dead

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 10, 2019

NOTE TO READERS: Effectively, because no other parties were named in the indictment against Jeffrey Epstein, the case against him is now just as dead as he is. As well, it’s highly doubtful that any information obtained in the Grand Jury process will be released to the public. However, Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, “Today’s events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in Court. To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing.” Such a statement strongly suggests that the government’s investigation into Epstein’s sex trafficking case will continue. There is at least one other potential co-conspirator, and that is Epstein’s long-time confidant-cum-occasional-sexual partner, Ghislaine Maxwell. –Editor
––//––
According to a Press Release by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons – including numerous independent reports from validated, and verified sources – convicted pedophile, and accused sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein has apparently Read the rest of this entry »

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Reading Democratic Tea Leaves

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Democratic candidates’ field is as great for the upcoming 2020 General Election as the Republicans’ 2016 was – and, that may, or may not be a good sign.

The 2016 GOP clown car was populated by, among others, Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Aside from them, there were 10 others who withdrew before the primaries, so say it was a crowded field, was a gross understatement.

Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn.

The 20-candidate field has not yet been winnowed, per se – at least not by prospective primary voters.

Among them, is one of the last candidates to join that field was former Vice President Joe Biden, who had the advantage of name recognition among all voters, and potential voters.

Because of his name recognition advantage, Biden’s “popularity” within the massive field has led the next closest competitors – which are Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren – sometimes by double digits.

A notable game-changing exception was made following the first Democratic debate at The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, with NBC Moderators Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart on Night 2 (June 27) when California Senator Kamala Harris took former Vice President Joe Biden to task for his opposition as then-Senator from Delaware to busing to remedy and resolve the problem of segregation in California pubic schools.

Up until that time, Harris was polling 7.0%, while Biden was at 32.0%. After that night, support for Harris doubled to 15.2%, while Biden experienced a corresponding 6-point drop to 26.0%.

Since that high, Harris has continued to fall, and as of August 7 was polling at 8.3%.

Up until then, Sanders, the next-closest competitor, had fluctuated from 16.5% to 24.0% (his highest), to 14.0% (his lowest), and as of August 7, was polling at 15.8%.

Biden’s polling has been as high as Read the rest of this entry »

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