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What Condition Is Our Condition In?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 6, 2020

“I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.”

– partial lyric from “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” as popularized by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, 1968

Some critics would point to the recent economic downturn caused by our nation’s inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic as proof positive that we should completely forego any attempts or efforts to control spread of the disease.

With cries of “I want my freedom!” and other similar remarks, of right-wing extremists, in conjunction with their attacks on states’ capitols (most notably in Wisconsin) with loaded assault rifles, and their attempts to disrupt the legislatures, are evidence, and proof positive that the “wrong wing” is purely misguided, and even

The American Industrial Production Index (IPI) “measures levels of production by the manufacturing sector, mining – including oil and gas field drilling services – and electrical and gas utilities. It also measures capacity, an estimate of the production levels that could be sustainably maintained; and capacity utilization, the ratio of actual output to capacity.”

The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) publishes the IPI in the middle of every month, and revisions to previous estimates are released at the end of every March.

In short, it is a head-on, unvarnished examination of the underlying ability of the industrial sector to meet the demands placed upon the economic infrastructure in order to continue and sustain economic growth.

If you’re really froggy, the Federal Reserve states this about the IPI, which they call the INPRO:

The Industrial Production Index (INDPRO) is an economic indicator that measures real output for all facilities located in the United States manufacturing, mining, and electric, and gas utilities (excluding those in U.S. territories).(1)
Since 1997, the Industrial Production Index has been determined from 312 individual series based on the 2007 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. These individual series are classified in two ways (1) market groups and (2) industry groups. (1) The Board of Governors defines markets groups as products (aggregates of final products) and materials (inputs used in the manufacture of products). Consumer goods and business equipment can be examples of market groups. “Industry groups are defined as three digit NAICS industries and aggregates of these industries such as durable and nondurable manufacturing, mining, and utilities.”(1)(2)
The index is compiled on a monthly basis to bring attention to short- term changes in industrial production,. It measures movements in production output and highlights structural developments in the economy. (1) Growth in the production index from month to month is an indicator of growth in the industry.
For more information regarding the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization index, see the explanatory notes issued by the Board of Governors.

References
(1) Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization.” Statistical release G.17; May 2013.
(1) For recent reports on market and industry groups, please visit the Board of Governors.

Now, if you’ve managed to slog through (or skip over) the preceding information, you’re in good shape to continue.

The American economy as demonstrated by the Industrial Production Index has NOT changed significantly since 1999.

Simply look at the “90” line along the vertical column, and follow it through to April 2020.

Because of President Pollyanna’s approach to governing, decline in the economy – which could have been prevented – the economy is essentially back to where it was in 1999.

Federal Reserve Economic Data, Industrial Production Index, January 1998-June 2020

Up, down, up, down… it’s like a roller coaster – until about 2015, when it hits a high in November 2014 of 106.6634, then “recovers” slightly to March 2016 at 101.4155, then increases again, until it peaks in December 2018 at 110.5516, then pegs along around 109/110, and then, in February 2020 at 109.3246, thereafter falls to 91.1991 in April 2020, where it begins to show some modest improvement through June to 97.4587.

As we all know, things don’t stay down, and once again, it’ll eventually return to elevated levels, but we don’t know exactly how long it’ll take.

Federal Reserve Economic Data, Real Disposable Personal Income (RDPI) 2010-June 2020 –– As shown here, the CARES Act provided a GENUINE and substantial economic stimulus, which is still ongoing.

And in an effort to stave off almost certain practical wholesale economic collapse, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020.

As seen in the FRED graph (Federal Reserve Economic Data), even though Real Personal Disposable Income (RDPI) has declined somewhat since significant boost to a high in April, as of June, the effects of the CARES Act were still ongoing, and have not fallen below February, or March levels – which is a good sign. It means that the economic boost WORKED by placing money in the people’s hands.

And now, the GOP wants to stop it all.

Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it best today on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” program when interviewed by the host Jim Cramer who asked,

 “I like your spirit of being more upbeat, more optimistic so I will offer this: why can’t you go across the aisle and say, ‘Representative Lewis, civil rights legend, would have loved it if we could do something for the totally disenfranchised in this country. No matter what, can we give a huge chunk of money to the people who are disenfranchised, to minorities who want so badly to stay in business and can’t and to people who are trying to go to college or have student loans who are minorities who are the most affected because they had the least chance in our country?’ That’s got to be something both sides can agree to.”

In reply, Madam Speaker Pelosi said,

“Yeah.  That’s the problem.  See, the thing is, they don’t believe in governance.  They don’t believe in governance, and that requires some acts of government to do that.  But just what you described is what Mr. Schumer, Chuck Schumer, is proposing that we do with some of the resources in the bill.  And that – you described Chuck Schumer’s proposal exactly, in addition to the Heroes Act.

If we’re talking about how much and how long and how targeted, if we’re going to juggle some of this money, let’s focus it where it’s going to do the most good.  And basically, economists tell us, spend the money, invest the money for those who need it the most, because they will spend it.  It will be a stimulus or at least a stabilization of – and that’s a good thing.  Consumer confidence is a good thing for the economy.  You know that better than anyone.

And one of the things we want to do just before we leave on this, what we’re trying to do to help hotels, which are big employers, restaurants, which are big employers and the rest, is to lower the threshold for how someone can qualify for a second loan.  Republicans have it at 50 percent.

Nydia Velázquez, our Chairman, is urging a 30 percent threshold or 30 percent of revenues, of losses from the previous year.  It was based on the previous quarter – the similar quarter of the former year.  Now, we’re talking about the whole year, and 30 percent rather than 50 percent, which would make, I’m told by the hospitality industry, a big difference for them.  Many jobs, many entry level jobs, many union jobs, many people of color jobs, and I would hope that they would consider that.

Jim Cramer:  Okay.  I’m so glad you mentioned Congresswoman Velázquez, who is my Congresswoman.  I think she knows small business better than anyone.  I also believe that Chairman Powell would agree with that.

Speaker Pelosi, thank you for coming on Squawk on the Street.

Speaker Pelosi:  My pleasure.  Thank you.  Always a pleasure.  Thank you.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: Former Governor Rick Scott Watched Over Unemployment System Revamp

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

In a recent interview published Tuesday, 04 August 2020, with Jim DeFede Investigative Reporter for WFOR-TV ch4, Miami, FL’s CBS affiliate, Governor Ron DeSantis made some startling comments, the most notable of which was about the state’s Unemployment Compensation system.

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, succeeded Rick Scott, also a Republican

While acknowledging the state’s Unemployment Compensation system was previously aged 40 or 50 years, and therefore, by some means, inefficient, it was revamped in the last 5, or 6 years during the administration of then-Governor Rick Scott, also a Republican.

While he didn’t explicitly blame the former Governor, he left little room for speculation that Rick Scott had a hand in frustrating a system for claimants and claims upon the state’s UC system.

An earlier news item published 28 May 2020 by ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV ch28 in Tampa, identified that Read the rest of this entry »

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How BAD is Trump’s Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 2, 2020

Trump’s economy is so bad, that…

Before we talk about how BAD it is, first…

Let’s turn to some official agencies to answer that question.

We’ll start with information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Economic Data.

Here’s a picture – it’s said that they’re worth 1000 words.

The DARK GRAY is Trump’s term in office, while the white line reflects the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP – “real” means adjusted for inflation year-to-year) – which has consistently increased since Obama’s first quarter in his first term in office.

The MEDIUM GRAY (and DARK GRAY) areas represent the extent of Trump’s Economic Losses.

The LIGHT GRAY (at G.W. Bush’s end of term in office -and- presently) are representative of Economic Recessions.

So now that you’ve had an opportunity to examine the chart, let’s Read the rest of this entry »

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Things Will Get Worse

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 26, 2020

With a little over 330 million people, America has about 4.3% of the world’s population.

And yet, with 26.1346% of the world’s cases, we’re the undisputed leader as the world’s repository for COVID-19.

And with 146,934 lives claimed so far, the United States has Read the rest of this entry »

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ICE Facility Employees Spread COVID-19 -and- Tuberculosis at Home and Abroad

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, July 25, 2020

Richmond Correctional Center, Alexandria, LA is owned by LaSalle Corrections, headquartered in Ruston, located directly SOUTH

Actions by employees of LaSalle Corrections – a Louisiana-headquartered private prison company with operations in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, and extensively in the Pelican State, which runs the Richwood Correctional Center (RCC) in Alexandria in the northern part of Louisiana – have spread COVID-19, and very likely other diseases to other individuals within the company, community, state, nationally, and internationally.

Located at 180 Pine Bayou Circle, Richwood, Louisiana 71202, (ICE facility website) RCC is a medium-security, 1129-bed capacity facility leased to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The immigration detention center is also COVID-ravaged, and employees’ actions have likely created new diseases, and spread others – including Tuberculosis, and COVID-19 – because employees there regularly:

• Quarantined tuberculosis patients with COVID-19 patients, essentially creating Read the rest of this entry »

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Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 13, 2020

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Since before our nation’s founding, the framers of the Constitution had very powerful feelings about religion. Not that they were religious men and women, per se – some were, some weren’t – but that they didn’t want the government to tell them how they ought to worship, if they so chose to do.

In fact, they despised the idea so much that some folks (think “pilgrims”) traveled across an ocean in a small wooden sailboat which was little more than an over-sized primitive row-boat, to a far-away land, where literally no one knew them, just in order to escape the overbearing behavior of the ruler of the government (a king), who also just so happened to also be the head of the officially-recognized, governmentally-supported and approved state-sponsored religion – The Church of England.

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

“Supported” as in “took tax money to give to the church” – the state-sponsored church… the one of which the king was the head – the chief priest, if you prefer.

Yeah.

THAT church.

So, they got so sick and tired of the “long arm of the law” reaching into their pockets and Read the rest of this entry »

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White Lady Antebellum Steals From Black Lady A

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 9, 2020

White Folks Trying To Steal From Black Folks

Southern White Musical Trio Attempting To Steal Name From The Black Woman Who’s Used It For 20+ Years

OH!

The irony!

White folks sue Black woman who’s been known professionally as “Lady A” for 20+ years.

The original Lady A is a 61-year-old black singer who’s released multiple records under that name, and said in part that

“This is my life.
They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that,
for them,
is just a moment in time.”

Lady Antebellum’s very actions exemplify and perpetuate the sense of White Entitlement.

For several years they didn’t give a rat’s rip about the name, and “suddenly” they care.

Yeah… right.

And so now, the racist bastards are gonna’ try and steal it from her… legally.

In a July 8 story in Billboard headlined as “The Band Lady A Files Lawsuit Against Singer Anita ‘Lady A’ White: Exclusive” Melinda Newman wrote in part that

“The suit also alleges that after conversations broke down between the band — whose members are Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood — and the singer and their respective attorneys, White’s new counsel “delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand.” While the dollar figure is not mentioned in the suit, a statement concurrently issued by the band says the amount is $10 million.

““Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the group said in a statement. “She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years.””

Variety picked up the news as well, and in an article headlined as “‘Lady A’: Group Sues Singer for Right to Share Name, Says Lawyers Demanded $10 Million; The Nashville trio says it was granted a trademark on “Lady A” in 2011 after five years of use, but the blues singer of that name first released music in 2010. So much for a planned joint single.” which was published Jul 8, 2020 5:30pm PT.

The information for the story came from an Instagram post made by the trio which in part read:

“It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word ‘Antebellum’ from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by. When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment. We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that.

“Instead, we shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place. We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose.

That kind of drivel – prosaic use of language such as “a stirring in our hearts,” and words such as “heartfelt,” phrases like “all come together and make something special and beautiful” – are purposely designed to pull at the emotional heartstrings of readers, and are nothing but a manipulative tool.

And for Southerners, at least – and Lady Antebellum is a musical ménage à trois of Three White Southerners – one must include religion, so it’s entirely apropos to let folks know that “we prayed.”

They just have the wrong god – mammon.

This entire ordeal stinks to high heaven of racism, and White Entitlement – it is the VERY embodiment, the quintessential substance of everything and every ideal that the Black Lives Matter movement stands for, and fights against – White Power.

It also shows Lady Antebellum’s utter lack of creativity.

A creative person could’ve announced a New Name Contest and given the three runners-up “consolation prizes” of $10,000 each, while the Grand Prize Winner – all which would be submitted and chosen by fans – a $100,000 cash prize.

But no… Lady Antebellum is not that creative.

The Three White Bitches would rather expend much more money to lawyer up and very publicly legally steal from a Black Woman.

There are a variety of names which they now ought to be called:

• Entitled White Thieves
• Three White Folks Stealing Names
• The Southern Bi-Sexual Ménage à Trois
• Three Musical Confederates
• Sorry… Not Sorry
• Three White Lives Matter More
• All White Meat: Two Men and a Woman
• We’re Richer Than You
or, the most apropos…

• Three Clueless White Southern Shitheads.

But if they really want to stay with the architectural theme, they could take:

• Ghost of Frank Lloyd Wright
• Greek Revival
• Dorian Columns
• Corinthian Scrolls
• Split-Level Singers
• Ranch-Style Songsters
• Idols of Excess
• Marble Columns
• Three Colonnades
• Spiral Staircase (that name has been used as “Spiral Starecase”)
• Cupola Singers
• Belvidere’s Belfry

Of course, another altogether unique option is:
The Band With A Racist Name

Joe Coscarelli of the New York Times wrote and confirmed the proceedings which the Nashville trio made “In the weeks that followed [the announcement made by Lady Antebellum to change their name], an apparent détente between the two parties, initially celebrated on social media by both sides, faltered when representatives for White “demanded a $10 million payment,” the band said in a statement on Wednesday. Now, the platinum-selling Nashville group has filed a lawsuit that seeks no monetary damages, but asks the court to affirm “a trademark we have held for many years.”

So apparently, the figure of $10 million came up in negotiations between Lady Antebellum and Lady A, which Lady A seemed to have proposed for use of the name “Lady A.”

The group apparently refused.

They’re only worth about $84 Million… and counting.

Ten million wouldn’t even begin to put a dent in their savings or checking accounts… or in the accounts of their corporations, or their accountants, or army of lawyers, or the numerous members of their extended entourages.

But seriously, the platinum-selling threesome has confessed being lackadaisical in their name choice, so this shenanigans is nothing but pure laziness on their part.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8504311/Country-band-Lady-A-files-suit-against-singer-name.html

Now, before you go off all half-cocked, read on… to become full-cocked.

Yes, this entire ordeal is stupid.

And what exactly is “this entire ordeal”?

“This entire ordeal” is that Read the rest of this entry »

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All The Gold In California

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 6, 2020

Y’know… one thing which I appreciate about the Bloomberg site, is that they don’t seem to be exclusively limited to interests of business, per se.
That is, matters of business MUST, and do, involve people – as employees, and customers – and without either of those two groups of people, no business would exist.
For many years – I don’t know how many, but for a very L – O – N – G time – I have taken exception to, and disagreed with the statement that “the customer is the most important person in any business.”
From my perch in the catbird seat, I demurred, and stated that the EMPLOYEE is the most important person in any business, because a disgruntled employee can cost beaucoup bucks in lost sales/revenues. And many disgruntled employees will sink a company – regardless of who is at the helm. That’s because the adage is true, that the sailors run the ship, not the captain. And they allow the captain to do so (to lead them) by their consent – the consent of the governed. A mutiny is a very serious matter.
Point being, is that happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers buy things, and say good things about the company, and the employees.
It was only relatively recently that I learned that Sir Richard Branson – Founder of the Virgin Group, a privately-held multinational venture capitol conglomerate – says the same thing, that employees are the most important people in any business.
The irony of ironies is that despite the political differences in the many seemingly disparate voices today, is that Republicans, Democrats, and all others, want the same thing: A good job, a decent place to live, secure transportation, ability to feed themselves and their family, education for their children, and to be healthy enough to enjoy it all. Food, clothing, and shelter… those are not hard things to understand. Neither are they difficult to obtain. They’re not like the mythical “unobtainium.”
But we the people, despite what some may say otherwise, are not in a good place in this nation for the long-haul. What has happened, is that within our lifetimes, we the people have been sold a bill of false goods that somehow less is more, that the larger and more populous our nation becomes (we’re right at 330,000,000 – the third most populous on Earth, behind China and India, respectively each with over 1 BILLION more than us), the smaller the government will become, that somehow, mysteriously or magically, at some point, it will eventually disappear – because we’ll all be able to self-govern and therefore do not need external governance.
Nothing could be further from the truth. 
And yet, that’s PRECISELY what “the Great Communicator” Ronald Reagan said in his first Inaugural Address immediately after he proclaimed that “government is the problem.”
 
“From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.”   
Now, my point is NOT to “bash Regan” per se, but to point out the obvious – which is that Read the rest of this entry »

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Adults As Spoiled Brats

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 5, 2020

These are Trump supporters.

America is doomed.

Well, maybe not totally.

VOTE IN NOVEMBER!!!
(And DO NOT vote for Trump!) Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump: An Accidental President

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 29, 2020

Donald Trump was never serious about becoming president, and campaigned exclusively as a lark, in order to better position himself in upcoming contract negotiations with NBC.

Thus said Howard Stern at least 3 years ago.

While it may have been a topic of some minor discussion earlier – and therefore not discussed much at all – Howard Stern, radio “shock jock” and self-described “King of All Media” – has been a long-time friend of the Current White House Occupant, the Liar in Chief himself, Donald J. “DJ” Trump.

As such, when Trump told Stern his plans, Stern said he advised Trump not to run, and later, again advised him to drop out of the running to become the Republican party’s nominee.

Trump has been a guest on Stern’s eponymous “The Howard Stern Show” many, many, many times. And socially, away from the microphone, Stern and Trump have enjoyed a long-running friendly relationship. Suffice it to say, Trump and Stern are intertwined – not quite inexplicably, or even inexorably, but definitely inescapably.

With over 24 appearances over 20 years, it would be reasonable to say that Trump has some level of relationship with Stern.

And, as you might imagine, there’s Read the rest of this entry »

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The Economy WILL Crash. It’s only a matter of “WHEN?”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Economics has long been called the “dismal science.”¹

Perhaps it’s because they either a.) Tell the truth, or b.) Warn about bad things to come. Either way, it’s hardly a French tickler, and more like a Marquis de Sade.

But, some folks don’t enjoy hearing the truth, or as the actor Jack Nicholson’s character Guantanamo Base Commander Colonel Nathan Jessup raged upon the witness stand in the 1992 motion picture “A Few Good Men,” that “You can’t handle the truth!”

Of course, we’re familiar with how that movie turned out.

Free economies are based upon consumer spending. Period. Full stop.

If consumers don’t have money, they don’t spend. That’s easy enough to understand.

And, if anything, the coronoavirus pandemic has shown up how poorly prepared this president’s administration has been, and continues to be.

Again, those aren’t “nice words” to hear or read, but they are the unvarnished truth.

To say that “the economy is improving” is a mischaracterization of enormous proportion, so much so, and to the extent that, it’s either whistling past the graveyard, or Whistler’s Mother – both of whom are dead.

The economy was “doing well” according to some estimates. Those estimates included the DJIA, the stock indices of various firms and select industries, and some hedge funds. The “essential” worker bees were just hanging on by a thread in their retail, meat processing, and low-paid food service industry jobs. And once they got sick, they were fired, and… BAMMO! The shit hit the high-speed fan.

Suddenly, there were no more “worker bees” and the economic house of cards began to collapse with each puff of wind from COVID-19 patients’ coughs.

Fortunately, Congress (as in the House of Representatives) had the wisdom and foresight to actually bail out THE PEOPLE this time, and to give a much smaller hand-out to industry. The familiar cry “Where’s MY bailout!?!” was the primary sticking point with the previous administration in the process of recovery from “the Great Recession” when Big Business and industry got practically everything their hearts desired, but the people got nothing. Literally, nothing. Bupkis. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not even a peck on the cheek after they were screwed.

This time, The People who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 were given an extra $600 per week of Unemployment Compensation, which was set to expire July 31. Ever seeking cheap labor to fill their stores, factories and farms, the Republicans decried the matter, but agreed to go along with the plan, hoping that the administration would  have a more cohesively unified plan to stop the assault of COVID-19 upon America’s lives, young and old, alike.

But as it became increasingly clear that nothing of the sort was going to happen, and that an extension of such benefits would likely become necessary because either businesses went belly-up, or couldn’t guarantee their employees’ safety on the job (as protection against COVID-19), the employees, many of whom were already at risk of serious injury from such infection, declined to return to work, and continued to draw their extra $600/week Unemployment Compensation.

But hey! A bright spot!

Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, and other industry monoliths were doing A-okay, and were even increasing profits! So yah… it was all sweetness and pleasantries once again for the Billionaire Class.

But The People.

Those pesky people.

Those essential sacrificial lambs of industry… what to do with them? Those who could – and still had jobs – worked from their residences. Those who, for whatever reason Read the rest of this entry »

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Iowa Republicans Foul Up Farm Bill

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 22, 2020

Republican Kim Reynolds is Iowa’s first female governor. So far, not good. As Lieutenant Governor, she succeeded to the office upon the resignation of Governor Terry Branstad to become U.S. Ambassador to China in May 2017. She won the 2018 election with a narrow plurality of votes – 50.26%, over Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell with 47.53%.

When I read the headline

Smokable Hemp Possession Or Sale In Iowa Punishable With Fines, Jail In State’s New Hemp And CBD Regulations,”

the VERY FIRST THOUGHT I had was…

I’ll bet “Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds” is a Republican.

Yep.

Sho’ nuff!

What the hell is it with these goddamned GOPers these days, eh?

Stupid mofos!

Seriously.

Stupid.

Kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

They could fuck up a wet dream.

Iowans are NOT happy with her… or with Republicans.

Iowa Starting Line, a news source of Iowa politics wrote a story dated August 6, 2017 and headlined as “Iowa Now Dead Last In GDP Growth Under All-Republican Control” which stated in part that there was

“Very bad news this week for both Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported the second quarter economic growth by state (GDP). Iowa’s economic growth was a negative .7%, dead last among all 50 states. Of the 50 states, 48 had positive growth in this period. Only Iowa (-.7%) and South Dakota (-.3%) had a negative growth rate.

“While one quarter’s performance doesn’t predict future growth, it’s a huge embarrassment for the Iowa Republican Party. The Republican Governor and the GOP control majorities in both branches of the Legislature and have driven Iowa’s economy to last place in the nation. They can’t blame the Democrats for this economic disaster.”

Look what Republicans did to the Voting Rights Act.

Look what they did to money in politics.

Look what they did in Citizens United.

Look what they did to the PPACA, aka “Obamacare.”

Look what they’ve done to Voting access in the various states, through purges and reductions in polling locations.

Look what they did to the economy with a fouled-up practically non-existent Federal response to COVID-19.

Look what they’ve NOT done for American protectorate “shit hole” countries like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Look what they did to minority communities of almost every variety.

Look what they’ve done to healthcare and the disastrously abysmal lack of healthcare for Americans.

Look what they’ve done to Social Security.

Look what they’ve NOT DONE for the nation’s Economic Infrastructure!

Look what they’ve done to the tax system.

Look what they’ve done to schools and public education.

Look what they’ve done to our Law Enforcement, Justice, and Corrections/Penal systems.

Look at what’s NOT happening to online monoliths like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.

Look at what’s happening to your privacy.

If you’re not wealthy and White, you’re trash.

At least that’s how they see it.

It’s time to get those pieces of garbage OUT of the nation’s and states’ capitols.


Smokable hemp possession or sale in Iowa punishable with fines, jail in state’s new hemp and CBD regulations

Smokable hemp possession or sale in Iowa punishable with fines, jail in state’s new hemp and CBD regulations

Published June 19, 2020


New regulations clarifying the types of hemp and CBD products that are legal to sell and purchase in Iowa took effect with the enactment of the Hemp Consumer and Public Safety law on Wednesday.The law changes certain provisions of the Iowa Hemp Act, which Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed to legalize hemp production in the state in May 2019.

Until now, products containing CBD were illegal to be sold or purchased over the counter in Iowa, as CBD still qualified as a controlled substance in the state.

CBD could only legally be sold in a small number of approved pharmacies.

Smokable hemp remains illegal in Iowa and the new rules impose penalties and restrictions on any harvested hemp used for inhalation such as cigarettes, vaporizers and others.Retailers caught selling smokable hemp products and consumers found using them could face “a serious misdemeanor” punishable by up to a year of confinement and a fine of $315-$1,875. Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump… Bless his heart.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Two thoughts.

1.) I am no fan of the current President.

2.) The Current White House Occupant is not only a blithering idiot, and utter incompetent, but is a dictatorially-inclined abuser and bully.

That’s why he demands “loyalty,” rather than honesty and expertise. He micromanages, and fires anyone whom has any disagreement with him – no matter how minuscule.

And to be certain, as I have maintained for years, and continue to maintain, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of any political party. I’m a GDI – God Damn Independent.

That’s also why ALL polls relating to his job performance/approval rating during the past 4 years have ONLY briefly – March 25 – April 6 this year, and May 15 – 19 – been above 46%.

That’s 12 + 5 days = 17 days. Only 17 days out of 1618 calendar days. Expressed as a percentage, that’s 1.0506%.  In 4 years 5 months 5 days, that’s only 1 day out of every 95 days has been a day in which he had the approval of more than a minority of Americans – 46% – not even a plurality.

The majority – 54% – have never approved of his performance.

Not even once.

The highest his approval rating has been is 47.4% which occurred, oddly enough, on April 1, 2020.

Most of the time, his approval rating has floated between 40% and 44%. It’s now at 42.3%, with the lowest being 37.1% on December 16, 2017. Even his beloved Fox News has found that 1207 Registered Voters who were polled May 17-20 this year overwhelmingly disapproved of him by a 10 point margin, 44 to 54.

In fact, in the totality of all polls conducted since the term of his presidency began, by well-known, highly respected, and legitimate polling organizations such as Gallup, Pew Research, Marist College, Quinnipiac University, Harvard-Harris, Reuters-Ipsos, Emerson College Polling, Monmouth University Polling Institute, etc., the OVERWHELMING and EXCEEDINGLY VAST MAJORITY of all polls conducted since the first one which was done by Reuters from the period 1/20-1/24, NONE have ever been over 3 %age points spread.

So, it’s not even close.

But moreover, the claims made about him – that he is racist, and bigoted – merit examination, and warrant genuinely serious consideration.

And it is in that vein in which we must ponder the question:

Is Donald Trump racist?

The aphorism “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” is apropos here, because his late father, Fred J. Trump, was a well-known racist, and was once arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in New York City. And though at the time, it was not “front-page news,” per se, the report of his arrest was a matter of record which was published in the New York Times, and is validated by now-public Census records which verify his address, which was also published in the story.

A Washington Post story about the matter dated February 29, 2016 by Philip Bump, National Correspondent, stated in part, that:

“The predication for the Klan to march, according to a flier passed around Jamaica beforehand, was that “Native-born Protestant Americans” were being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City.” “Liberty and Democracy have been trampled upon,” it continued, “when native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.”

“It’s not clear from the context what role Fred Trump played in the brawl. The news article simply notes that seven men were arrested in the “near-riot of the parade,” all of whom were represented by the same lawyers.”

Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in New York City, on Memorial Day 1927. “Brawls erupted in New York led by sympathizers of the Italian fascist movement and the Ku Klux Klan. In the fascist brawl, which took place in the Bronx, two Italian men were killed by anti-fascists. In Queens, 1,000 white-robed Klansmen marched through the Jamaica neighborhood, eventually spurring an all-out brawl in which seven men were arrested. One of those arrested was Fred Trump of 175-24 Devonshire Rd. in Jamaica.”

A contemporaneous story published about the matter in the “Daily Star noted that Trump was detained “on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so.””

As well, when he was aged 27, Donald found himself – along with his father – named in a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The charge?

Racial discrimination in housing practices.

Fred Trump, as enumerated in the 1930 U.S. Census. The address listed for “Fred C. Trump” is the same address given for Fred Trump in the 1927 story of his arrest at a KKK rally in the Jamaica neighborhood of New York City.

“In October 1973, the government accused Fred and Donald Trump of violations of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 at 39 Trump-built-and managed buildings in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

“The Trumps were drowning in evidence of systematic racial discrimination. On at least seven occasions, prospective tenants had filed complaints against the Trumps with the human rights commission, alleging racially discriminatory patterns and practices. 

“Investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, writing in the Village Voice, reported that the evidence of racial discrimination against the Trumps was overwhelming.”

For 2 years, the Trumps fought the suit with an attorney whom Donald met in a bar while cruising for sex – “Le Club, located on 55th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, an exclusive watering hole for demimondaine café society” – Roy Cohn.



“During their 63 years of marriage, Fred carried on a long-term affair with his secretary, according to Burleigh [journalist Nina Burleigh in her book Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women], who writes that Fred “was such a man of habit that he took her to lunch at the same Italian place near his office in Brooklyn for years.” Trump biographer Harry Hurt wrote that Fred was nicknamed “King of Miami Beach” for his rampant philandering in South Florida back in the day. But Donald himself judged it as a strong union: “I always told my father I made more money than him but he had a very successful marriage, he really did.”

– Elise Jordan, “How Donald Trump’s Mother Did—and Didn’t—Shape His Life,” Vanity Fair, May 7, 2020

From: “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private,” by Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey, May 14, 2016, New York Times

Again, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Some have asserted that support of Trump among the Black/minority community is/was significant, and helped in great part to put him into the White House. There’s no evidence to support that claim.

One only need examine his administration for STRONG anecdotal evidence. Dr. Ben Carson, MD is the token Black in his administration, and serves as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – an agency often associated and affiliated with minorities.

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To Reboot the Economy, $pend on Economic Infrastructure!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 7, 2020

This is nothing new, per se.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has been saying this for quite some time, as well, which is that throughout America – coast-to-coast – we need to repair, enhance, and expand American economic infrastructure.

And, I’ve been saying that what we TRULY need to reinvigorate the economy since the onset of economic woes via the novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, began to take its toll on our nation’s economy, is a wholesale reinvestment – top to bottom – in a repair, and expansion of our nation’s economic infrastructure.

While the “bailouts” for the individual citizens was good, and some of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses was also good, we STILL need to do MUCH, MUCH MORE!

And there’s something else which – of necessity – must be done. And that is, to CHANGE the Income Tax structure for ALL Americans, to expand and increase the Personal and Corporate Income Tax brackets (which since about 1980 has been compressed and reduced, so that now, the net effect is a flat tax), and to increase the rates upon the rich, wealthy, and well-to-do, and to lower, or eliminate them upon the impoverished, and disabled. And that includes ELIMINATING the Income Taxes Reagan imposed upon Social Security, and the “Paris Hilton Tax Cuts.”

Such a measure WILL “pay for itself” through enhanced, and expanded economic capability and capacity, and will prepare America for the next 50 or more years.

Oh!

And one more thing.

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.”

You can read that, and other entries associated with economic infrastructure, on this site by searching for the term “economic infrastructure.”

A final, parting thought:

We aren’t out of the woods yet… not by a long shot. Such economic prognostication is shared by many within, and without various universities, educational institutions, economic think-tanks, governmental, and non-governmental agencies throughout this, and other nations. And economic infrastructure spending would be like putting the country on a defibrillator, and giving it steroids, all at the same time.

The Chinese have.


Rebuild the Stalled Economy With Infrastructure Investment

By Scott Paul
Scott Paul is president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

There are two discussion topics that federal policymakers should be having right now: relief and recovery. Relief, for the estimated 40 million people this pandemic has put out of work as well as the millions of others impacted by the steps taken to slow its spread. Recovery, for the day when it’s safe to return to work but the demand for goods and services is still missing.

Some economists predict many jobs will simply disappear as industries use this moment to reorganize, compounding the economic crisis our nation faces.

But, as we all know, this isn’t the first time we’ve faced an economic crisis. In the 1932 presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt decisively beat President Hoover because of the latter’s inability to revive the economy in the early years of the Great Depression. Democrats eschewed Hoover’s volunteerism and leveraged the power of government to spur an economic revival, passing a landmark domestic preference bill that the lame duck president signed – the Buy American Act of 1933 – and then cleared the way as FDR expanded the federal response to the crisis.

The banking system was reorganized. Labor protections were established in exchange for regulating industrial production levels and price coordination. Farms were Read the rest of this entry »

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BLS On Unemployment Figures: We Know We Were Wrong – We Were Just Kidding… Just Kidding!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 7, 2020

If the workers who
were recorded
as
employed

but
absent from work

due to
“other reasons”
(over and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical May)
had been classified
as

unemployed on temporary layoff,
the overall unemployment rate
would have been

about
3 percentage points higher than reported
(on a not seasonally adjusted basis).

However,
according to usual practice,
the data from the household survey
are
accepted as recorded.

To maintain data integrity,
no ad hoc actions are taken
to reclassify survey responses.

Below is the full image of their addendum on the report “THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MAY 2020,” which may be found on the BLS website as linked here.

The pertinent part is the final paragraph, which is pasted above, and appears in red.There you have it.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has OFFICIALLY STATED that the Present Unemployment Rate is THREE POINTS HIGHER than officially stated.

They noted also that in the three preceding months of March, April, and May 2020, that responses to the monthly survey were down -9.5%, -12.6%, and -15.1% correspondingly to the month, from last year for the preceding 12 months, and averaged.

Th agency noted also that “BLS and our partners at the Census Bureau take the misclassification error very seriously, and we’re taking additional steps to address the problem.”

Part of the problem, as they note, is with classification.

In a lengthy explainer, the agency wrote that, “In May, 8.4 million workers were classified as employed with a job but not at work during the survey reference week (not seasonally adjusted). Although lower than the 11.5 million not at work in April, this measure remains about twice the typical level at this time of the year. This likely reflects the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Their explanation of “with a job but not at work” is apparently integrated into the idea of going to a central, or common location to work (such as at an office building, or factory site), and of that they wrote in part that, “BLS tabulates data on Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: U.S. to LOSE $4 TRILLION GDP, 2.5 MILLION Jobs in 5 Years

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 11, 2020

“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.”

There you have it!

Why focus upon repairing, rebuilding, replacing, and expanding America’s deteriorated economic infrastructure?

Because not only will YOU lose money and unemployment will increase, but American Gross Domestic Product will seriously decline, and that means reduced profitability for businesses of all types and all sizes – from Mom & Pop small and minority-owned businesses, to corporate giants, as well.

That finding is from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and their report “Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future,” which was published in May 2016, as the final update from four previous reports in the Failure to Act series published in 2011 and 2012. In those reports, the ASCE examined 10 infrastructure sectors critical to American economic prosperity.

Those reports were followed by a fifth, comprehensive final report entitled “Failure to Act: The Impact of Infrastructure Investment on America’s Economic Future,” which focused upon the total economic loss which would occur because of America’s failure to act in more than one sector.

The purpose of the report was to provide a total overall analysis of the economic implications of continuing to fail to invest in multiple infrastructure categories.

Even the Central Intelligence Agency sees America’s problems for what they are. It’s as plain as the nose on one’s face. And it’s NOT a partisan, Republican versus Democrat type of issue. It’s a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY.

Even America’s spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), sees the problem clearly, and has recognized not only it, but the increasing inequities of income distribution, as well.

“Long-term problems for the US include stagnation of wages for lower-income families, inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure…

“…the rise of low-wage producers such as China, has put additional downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on the return to capital. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and capital gains have grown faster than wages or any other category of after-tax income.”

Now that we’ve identified the problem, let’s consider a workable solution.

Nothing is free in this nation, nor anywhere else, for that matter. And EVERY government runs on taxes, and has done so at least since the time of the Roman empire. And face it… if the Romans built aqueducts and roads that have lasted for at least 2000 years, we can too – and should.

Simply put, income tax rates WILL Read the rest of this entry »

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11 States’ Attorneys General Ask DOJ To Investigate Meat Packers’ Price Fixing

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Everything old is new again.

1919 characterization of BIG BUSINESS interests

Earlier, I had written about the obvious, which was that the concentration of meat processing facilities and a corresponding reduction in their numbers, does not portend well for the American consumer, neither for the competitive market, nor for farmers – and ONLY for Wall$treet-traded international conglomerate BIG BUSINESS.


The Attorneys General of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming have jointly signed a letter requesting United States Attorney General William Barr to investigate concerns of Price Fixing by the nation’s largest meat packers.

The AGs’ request comes after a March 19, 2020 letter sent from Senators M. Michael Rounds (SD-R), Kevin Cramer (ND-R), Steve Daines (MT-R), and John Hoven (ND-R) to AG Barr urging the “Department of Justice investigate continued allegations of (meat-packer) price fixing within the cattle market and to examine the current structure of the beef meatpacking industry for compliance with U.S. Antitrust law.” Reuters had earlier reported the Senators’ request 30 March.

Drovers, the nation’s oldest livestock publication, and beef industry specific news reporting agency, earlier reported 31 March 2020 that “Cattlemen have complained that surging meat prices due to the COVID-19 crisis hoarding did not translate into higher cattle prices. During the crisis, CME futures prices plunged lower along with the stock market, but wholesale beef prices rose 22% to a peak near $257 per cwt.”

The day prior, 30 March, Drovers reported an increase in beef and poultry production, by writing that “U.S. meat and poultry production increased an estimated 10% during the week ending March 28, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). Over the past four weeks, combined production of beef, pork, chicken and turkey was up 8.5% compared to the previous year.”

Numerous meat processing facilities nationwide have closed, after many of their employees became sick after infection with COVID-19 novel coronavirus. In response, Tyson Foods CEO John Tyson purchased a full-page advertisement in the Sunday edition New York Times which contained a letter he had written claiming that “The food supply chain is breaking.” Tyson is the nation’s 2nd largest food producer.

The ostensible cause of such plant closures he blamed upon others, not upon his company’s practices, and stated that “there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”

And on April 12, the American CEO of the Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods had earlier written that “Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced today that its Sioux Falls, SD facility will remain closed until further notice. The plant is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the U.S., representing four to five percent of U.S. pork production.”

On April 28, the Editorial Board of Newsday, a daily newspaper serving the greater New York City, and surrounding areas, wrote in part that,

“The federal government, late to react to the food crisis, must work with meat processing plants to get more protective equipment for workers, clean shared equipment, and reconfigure workstations so that physical barriers create at least six feet of space between them. Farming operations should be more nimble when markets change. Local food banks, which banded together after superstorm Sandy to improve their response to disasters, must do the same for pandemics.

“We can do this. We have enough food. We need to be smarter and better prepared so it’s not wasted and gets to those who need it.”

Soon thereafter, on April 30, Forbes magazine writer Jim Vinoski also took exception to the claims made by the executives, and wrote in concluding part that,

“Dave McLennan, CEO of Cargill, struck a much better note than Tyson did. He’s another guy we should listen to. Cargill is the largest privately-held company in the U.S. based on revenue, producing and distributing agricultural products such as sugar, refined oil, chocolate and turkey, and providing risk management, commodities trading and transportation services. They have sales of $115 billion annually, with $8.9 billion of that in food, and they employ 160,000 people. Appearing on “Leadership Live With David Rubenstein,” he said, “I think I would characterize it as the food supply chain is under strain. But there’s a lot of supply chains that are under strain due to what’s happening… I think basically, the ability of us to produce food is still there… The food industry and the food supply chain is resilient. I think the people that work in it every day are resilient. So I think it’s under strain, but I don’t think it’s broken.””

Even the President has jumped into the fray to investigate the highly-concentrated meat processing industry, and said he has asked the DOJ to investigate if the big industry’s players may have acted wrongly, or broken any laws – particularly the Sherman Antitrust law.

On Tuesday, April 28, citing the Defense Production Act, the President issued an Executive Order for meat processing facilities to remain open. Critics pointed out the obvious, which was that if employees could not come to work because of their own, or others’ sickness or disease, that the executives could not begin to operate those facilities.

A year earlier, following a fire at a Tyson-owned Holcomb, Kansas beef processing facility, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue had directed the USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an “investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if Read the rest of this entry »

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Beef, Pork, Chicken Prices to INCREASE Significantly

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Concentrated American Business Operations Spell Economic Disaster

We apparently either forgot, or didn’t learn our lessons in the events which led up to the Great Depression.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-04-30/the-coronavirus-won-t-bring-the-end-of-big-meat-processing-plants

Colloquially, through our nation’s Federal laws governing business practice and ownership, etc., we’ve “put all our eggs in one basket.” As a result, when one factory or industry hiccups or sneezes, the entire system gets sick. The same principle is true for many other businesses and aspects of our economy.

You’ve probably read my expressions on a topic very much like this before.

“The concentration of America’s meat packing industry is ultimately a symptom of its weakness, rather than its strength.”

Despite being the world’s second-largest meat consumer after China, the U.S. slaughters almost all of its annual production of meat in just 835 facilities.

Five decades ago (in most American’s lifetimes) there were OVER 10 times as many such facilities. Anecdotally, an Epidemiologist friend share that, “Growing up in the 50’s there were dairy farms all over the South. There are very few now.”

That’s:
🐖130 million pigs
🐄33.6 million cows
🐑2.3 million sheep

If anything, those figures significantly understate how extremely concentrated the slaughter industry is.

In fact, about 66% of America’s pork is processed through 24 giant facilities owned by just 4 companies:
1.) Smithfield Foods Inc.; 2.) JBS SA; 3.) Tyson Foods Inc., and; 4.) Clemens Family Corp.

Over 80% of beef comes from just 12 abattoirs owned by 4 companies:
1.) Tyson; 2.) JBS SA; 3.) Cargill Inc., and; 4.) Marfrig Global Foods SA.

And of the two groups of meat processors which represent 50% of the meat categories consumed in America, pork and beef, 2 companies – Tyson, and JBS SA – own or control a significant portion of that market, 25%, based upon the number of competitors in the 2 categories, pork and beef.

Tyson, which is headquartered in Arkansas, is American-owned, unlike Smithfield which is headquartered in Virginia, and owned by Chinese interests. However, a full 66% of Tyson’s operations are overseas, and the company boasts that they control 20% of the entire American market share of meat by writing that “1 in 5 pounds of chicken, beef, & pork in the U.S. is produced by Tyson Foods.”

Chicken farmers are modern-day sharecroppers, and Tyson acknowledges as much by writing that, “We supply the birds and feed, and provide technical advice, while the poultry farmer provides the labor, housing and utilities.”

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a Washington, D.C. based lobbying organization for the major players in the corporate-owned industrialized meat industry – NOT mom & pop-owned Family Farms, which are increasingly rare – writes this on their website about the meat industry in America: Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Tax Cuts Aided & Abetted Economic Collapse

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 20, 2020

The parallels are eerily similar. Republican POTUS, tax cuts, rising stock market, job losses… Great Depression.

Of course, there are other markers along the way, but the primary ones are self evident.

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase wrote no less than twice that a recession was coming in the company’s April 6, 2020 letter to shareholders. “Recognizing the extraordinary extension of new credit, mentioned above, and knowing there will be a major recession [emphasis added] mean that we are exposing ourselves to billions of dollars of additional credit losses as we help both consumer and business customers through these difficult times.” p10
-and-
“Halting buybacks was simply a very prudent action – we don’t know exactly what the future will hold – but at a minimum, we assume that it will include a bad recession [emphasis added] combined with some kind of financial stress similar to the global financial crisis of 2008.” p15

Bluntly put, it wasn’t China that started this problem.

Just like in the Great Depression, and the “Great Recession,” it was the United States.

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase

And the entire world suffered.

Not only did Dimon unequivocally state that we will suffer “a major recession,” and reiterated it writing “the future… will include a bad recession,” but he also identifies problems that most Democrats (Bernie Sanders notably among them) have long identified, which Republicans refuse to even hear – critical problems in health, healthcare, education, (within the purview of domestic security), infrastructure, declining wages, increased poverty, failed immigration policies, governmental inefficiency at Federal and state levels, and more.

Dimon continued by writing,

“Of course, America has always had its flaws. The current pandemic is only one example of the bad planning and management that have hurt our country: Our inner city schools don’t graduate half of their students and don’t give our children an education that leads to a livelihood; our healthcare system is increasingly costly with many of our citizens lacking any access; and nutrition and personal health aren’t even being taught at many schools. Obesity has become a national scourge. We have a litigation and regulatory system that cripples small businesses with red tape and bureaucracy; ineffective infrastructure planning and investment; and huge waste and inefficiency at both the state and federal levels. We have failed to put proper immigration policies in place; our social safety nets are poorly designed; and the share of wages for the bottom 30% of Americans has effectively been going down. We need to acknowledge these problems and the damage they have done if we are ever going to fix them.

There should have been a pandemic playbook. Likewise, every problem I noted above should have detailed and nonpartisan solutions. As we have seen in past crises of this magnitude, there will come a time when Read the rest of this entry »

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Greedy Corrupt U.S. Senators

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 20, 2020

The United States Senate is controlled by a corrupt cabal of Republicans, none of whom are racial/ethnic minority. It’s LITERALLY (at least on the GOP side) an all-White enclave.

Yesterday at his incessant bully pulpit coronavirus harping press conference, the Liar in Chief claimed to not have known about her insider trades. That, coming from a man who prides himself, and publicly boasts about having all sorts of knowledge, and whom is well-attuned to media (especially television, and Twitter) of all kinds.

Senator Kelly Loeffler, R-GA

Q Mr. President, why on that task force did you include Senator Kelly Loeffler? There’s some questions about whether she may have —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, because she’s the senator from a great state, a state that I love: Georgia.

Q But there’s some insider trading issues with her.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I — that, I don’t know. I really don’t know about that. But she’s a senator from Georgia, and she was included in the list, absolutely.

Go ahead. A couple of more. Go ahead, please. Yeah.

Most folks want to talk about Richard Burr, the first known case of Insider Trading on coronavirus information in the Senate..

But when we’re talking about Insider Trading, let’s not forget the gubernatorially-appointed Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, whom $old million$ of dollar$ of $tock THE VERY DAY (January 24) she attended a private, Senators-only meeting about coronavirus, and Tweeted about it. The Daily Beast was the first news outlet to report her nefarious deed.

But, let’s take a look at who’s shafting the American public by NOT playing fair and square and abusing their insider knowledge:

• Richard Burr, Republican North Carolina Senator – Net Worth $3M+

• Kelly Loeffler, Republican Georgia Senator – Net Worth $500M+

• James M. Inhofe, Republican Oklahoma Senator – Net Worth $9M+

• Ron Johnson, Republican Wisconsin Senator – Net Worth $30M+

Senator Richard Burr, R-NC

• Diane Feinstein, Democrat, California Senator – Net Worth $90M+

Nope, no trend or common denominators at all. Totally random. /sarcasm

All Senators,
80% Republican,
60% Male,
100% White,
100% Multi-Millionaires

• When he retires from the Senate in 2022, Burr will have been in Congress (House & Senate) a TOTAL of 27 years

• Loeffler is married to the CEO of the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, and others, is a political “newbie” appointed by Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp to temporarily fill the unexpired 2016 term of Johnny Isakson who resigned 31 December 2019 to care for his Parkinson’s disease. Loeffler intends to campaign for the office during a Special Election.

• Inhofe has been in Congress 33 years, and 17 years in Oklahoma State & Local politics TOTAL POLITICAL TIME=50 years

• Johnson is a political newcomer, and was first elected in 2010 to the US Senate
TOTAL POLITICAL TIME=10 years

• Feinstein was first elected to the Senate in 1992, before that she was 18 years in California Local politics
TOTAL POLITICAL TIME=46 years

Here’s a very simple solution:

Require all such financial assets (stocks, bonds, securities, including real estate, etc.) to be placed into a Blind Trust for the duration of their term of office.

Problem solved.

Insider trading by Congress? It’s time to fix the law

By Patrick Augustin, Francis Cong and Marti G. Subrahmanyam, Opinion Contributors — 04/19/20 01:30 PM EDT


Is trading by Congress illegal? Should members of Congress be allowed to trade financial securities that are sensitive to private information? The “coronavirus trades” made by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and his wife just prior to the March ’20 market crash raise these questions and signal the need for changes to the law. Some proposals go as far as banning stock trading by members of congress outright. The other extreme is to allow full discretion. The right solution is in between: Only allowing public officials to trade securities based on broad market indices.

The concern over insider trading by members of Congress is not new. Academic research shows that investment strategies that mimic trades by members of thU.S. Senate and thHouse of Representatives outperform the market by more than Read the rest of this entry »

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Billionaire Explains Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 18, 2020

linkedin.com

Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed (Parts 1 & 2)


By Ray Dalio

Co-Chief Investment Officer & Co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates, L.P.

Summary

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a middle-class family by parents who took good care of me, to go to good public schools, and to come into a job market that offered me equal opportunity. I was raised with the belief that having equal opportunity to have basic care, good education, and employment is what is fair and best for our collective well-being. To have these things and use them to build a great life is what was meant by living the American Dream.

At age 12 one might say that I became a capitalist because that’s when I took the money I earned doing various jobs, like delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and caddying and put it in the stock market when the stock market was hot. That got me hooked on the economic investing game which I’ve played for most of the last 50 years. To succeed at this game I needed to gain a practical understanding of how economies and markets work. My exposure to most economic systems in most countries over many years taught me that the ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is the most effective motivator of people and allocator of resources to raise people’s living standards. Over these many years I have also seen capitalism evolve in a way that it is not working well for the majority of Americans because it’s producing self-reinforcing spirals up for the haves and down for the have-nots. This is creating widening income/wealth/opportunity gaps that pose existential threats to the United States because these gaps are bringing about damaging domestic and international conflicts and weakening America’s condition.

I think that most capitalists don’t know how to divide the economic pie well and most socialists don’t know how to grow it well, yet we are now at a juncture in which either a) people of different ideological inclinations will work together to skillfully re-engineer the system so that the pie is both divided and grown well or b) we will have great conflict and some form of revolution that will hurt most everyone and will shrink the pie.

I believe that all good things taken to an extreme can be self-destructive and that everything must evolve or die. This is now true for capitalism. In this report I show why I believe that capitalism is now not working for the majority of Americans, I diagnose why it is producing these inadequate results, and I offer some suggestions for what can be done to reform it. Because this report is rather long, I will present it in two parts: part one outlining the problem and part two offering my diagnosis of it and some suggestions for reform.

Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed

Before I explain why I believe that capitalism needs to be reformed, I will explain where I’m coming from, which has shaped my perspective. I will then show the indicators that make it clear to me that the outcomes capitalism is producing are inconsistent with what I believe our goals are. Then I will give my diagnosis of why capitalism is producing these inadequate outcomes and conclude by offering some thoughts about how it can be reformed to produce better outcomes.

Part 1

Where I’m Coming From

I was lucky enough to Read the rest of this entry »

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“Radical reforms” are needed to stabilize economy.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 6, 2020

The Financial Times is no slouch organization – neither are they “left-leaning,” nor “liberal,” per se – at least not in the common, modern political sense.

They’re as “conservative” as they come.

And to read that “an irregular and precarious labour market,” combined with “monetary loosening by central banks [that] will help the asset-rich,” the loss of income by ” the young and active,” multiplied by

In short, nothing but “radical reforms” – defined as “reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades” – will save individual nations’ economies, and the global economy at large.

The “laissez faire” attitude toward business, economy, and finance must be replaced by governments taking “a more active role in the economy,” including making “labour markets less insecure.”

Investing in public economic infrastructure, i.e, considering “public services as investments,” reconsidering the notion of “redistribution” of wealth, in conjunction with eliminating “the privileges of the elderly and wealthy,” and implementing “basic income and wealth taxes” will no longer be “considered eccentric.”

In short, “you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.”

Suddenly (it seems), Bernie’s ideas aren’t so “radical,” anymore.

Suddenly (it seems), Elizabeth Warren’s ideas aren’t “way out in left field.”

Suddenly (it seems), Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” isn’t “extremist.”

Suddenly (it seems), everything old is new again.

But, you know the saying,

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

–– George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish philosopher, writing in The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress (1905-1906), “Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense”

The post-WWII Bretton Woods agreement, which pegged international currencies to the U.S. Dollar, which was itself based upon the “Gold Standard,” will again be in the fore of discussion, and was unilaterally abolished by then-POTUS Richard Nixon through a series of measures called the “Nixon Shock” which effectively destroyed the Agreement, which was created when the world’s nations assembled in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to establish a globally stabilizing economic system.

The Federal Reserve writes this about the Bretton Woods agreement:

“The international monetary system after World War II was dubbed the Bretton Woods system after the meeting of forty-four countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944. The countries agreed to keep their currencies fixed (but adjustable in exceptional situations) to the dollar, and the dollar was fixed to gold. Since 1958, when the Bretton Woods system became operational, countries settled their international balances in dollars, and US dollars were convertible to gold at a fixed exchange rate of $35 an ounce. The United States had the responsibility of keeping the dollar price of gold fixed and had to adjust the supply of dollars to maintain confidence in future gold convertibility.”

Up until the time of the “Nixon Shock,” employees’ wages in the United States had generally kept pace with increases in GDP, or economic output. But after the “Nixon Shock” in 1971, wages have essentially flat-lined, while GDP has risen.

In response to Nixon’s unilateral decision, the ten leading developed nations in the world – Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States – entered into an agreement monikered as the Smithsonian Agreement which was a temporary agreement negotiated in 1971 which adjusted the system of fixed exchange rates established under the Bretton Woods Agreement and created a new standard for the dollar, to which other industrialized nations then pegged their currencies to the U.S. dollar.

As Certified Financial Analyst Michael Lebowitz, wrote in 2016, “unshackling the U.S. monetary system from the discipline of a gold standard, allowed the Fed to play a leading role in replacing the Virtuous Cycle with an Un-Virtuous Cycle. Eliminating the risk of global redemption of U.S. dollars for gold also eliminated the discipline, the checks and balances, on deficit spending by the government and its citizens. As the debt accumulated, the requirement on the Federal Reserve to drive interest rates lower became mandatory to enable the economic system to service that debt. And this effectively changed the course of U.S. economic history.”

These observations, and others, are, and have been, borne out by others, as well, such as in February 14, 2019, by Bloomberg writer Noah Smith, who wrote about wage stagnation in part that, “Workers lost a lot of ground between 1973 and 1994, and didn’t make up enough of it between 1994 and 2009. Stronger worker representation within companies, as well as government health care, would help restore some of those losses.”

But perhaps the simplest explanation I’ve ever heard, or read, about the value of good, strong and effective regulation is one which I’ve said for many years, which is this:

Regulations strengthen markets the same way that regulations create competitive sports, and operate machinery. Remove regulations and games become a pointless free-for-all, while removing or changing regulations on an automobile engine (such as through changing timing), and it will self-destruct fairly quickly.

But again, it seems that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Are our memories truly that Alzheimered?

Or, do we just not give a damn?

I contend that for some, Read the rest of this entry »

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America: Very nearly 105,000 COVID-19 cases… and INCREASING

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 28, 2020

Yesterday (Friday, 27 March 2020), at 7:20 AM CST DST, there were 85,991 Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the good ol’ USA.

That’s an INCREASE of 21.9162%.

If that pattern continues to hold, we could expect to see at least 127,902 cases by Sunday, 29 March 2020.

In stark contrast to China, or even Italy, the United States today has 21.7871% MORE cases than does China, which yesterday, had 81,894 confirmed cases. Today, China’s 81,996 morning figure is a mere 0.1245% increase.

Some experts attending the Hospital Association of America have predicted that America could see 96,000,000 US coronavirus Read the rest of this entry »

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10 GOOD Things COVID-19 Will Cause.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Every period of change in human history has been preceded by chaos and upheaval.

COVID-19 novel coronavirus is exposing our weaknesses, our strengths, where changes are needed and must occur, and where we are performing well.

This illustration reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. Image credit: CDC.

There will be positive outcomes, of course, one of which will be that it is no longer necessary for some people to assemble, or congregate in one place to work. It is being proven that work which can be performed remotely, i.e., from one’s residence, will be increasingly utilized, and that will be a net positive outcome in several ways.

Here’s a list of…

10 GOOD Things COVID-19 Will Cause.

• One, it will reduce going-to, and coming-from work-related commuting traffic volume.

• Two, it will increase employee satisfaction, insofar as one will not fight traffic in order to get to work, or home from work.

• Three, because fewer automobiles will be on the roadway, it will reduce automobile emissions, and therefore yield an environmentally net positive result.

• Four, because traffic will be reduced, navigation will be Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Renewable Energy Cheaper

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Read the original report here:
https://carbontracker.org/reports/handbrake-turn/

Nearly $640 billion coal investments undercut by cheap renewables: research

by Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly $640 billion of investment in coal power capacity worldwide is at risk because it is cheaper to generate electricity from new renewables, research by think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative showed on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows out of the towers of the coal-powered Kosovo Power Plant A in Obilic, near Pristina December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Hazir Reka/File Photo

Institutional investors are increasingly withdrawing from fossil fuel companies due to the risk their assets will become stranded as tougher emissions-cuts targets discourage their use and renewable energy becomes even cheaper.

The report examined the economics of 95% of coal plants which are operating, under construction or planned worldwide.
Globally, 499 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power capacity is planned or under construction with an investment cost of $638 billion.

More than 60% of global coal plants are currently generating electricity at a higher cost than could be produced by building new renewables.

By 2030 at the latest, it will be cheaper to build new wind or solar capacity than continue operating coal in all markets, the report said.

The capital recovery period for new investments in coal capacity is usually 15 to 20 years, making these investments risky.

“Renewables are out-competing coal Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome to our Incestuous Fiscal Orgy – State Farm Privacy Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 5, 2020

Take notice of this text of the upper area of the note:
Why are we sending you a Notice of our Privacy Policy?

“Federal law permits banks, investment companies, and insurance companies to provide all their services under one organization. This same law requires State Farm to share our Notice of Privacy Policy in writing with you each year you are insured with us or maintain an account with us.”

Let me re-emphasize this point:
“Federal law permits banks, investment companies, and insurance companies to provide all their services under one organization.”

This law – the Glass-Steagall Act – since its inception in Great Depression era America in 1933, FORBADE the incestuous fiscal orgy under which this nation now suffers.

The Glass-Steagall Act was the subject of intense lobbying efforts by Banks, Insurance Companies and Stock Brokerage Houses to repeal the law, and especially intensified circa 1960’s, climaxing in the late 1990’s under a Republican-controlled House and Senate.

The 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act allowed commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to consolidate, or commingle, their business.

Previously, it prohibited any of those institutions (banks, insurance companies, and stock brokerage houses) from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, or insurance company.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, (Public Law 106-102, 113 Stat. 1338, enacted November 12, 1999), was signed into law by President Clinton.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU and ME, AND HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU and ME?

The recent financial melt-down in this nation – now being called “The Great Recession” – is due in large part to the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act, because the banks that made bad loans, the insurance companies that insured the real estate and commercial paper, and the stock brokerage houses that traded the stocks of both, and owned both, were greedy for more gain, and eventually began to invent complex mechanisms and artificial commercial paper which came to be known as “derivatives.”

In essence, those “derivatives” were based upon Credit Default Swaps – another complex and inherently evil type of financial thing/device – which was described by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in March 2010 as “Credit-default swaps, where you insure your neighbor’s house just to destroy it and make money from it, that’s exactly what we have to curb. We must succeed at putting a stop to the speculators’ game with sovereign states.”

The types of investments that most people tend to be familiar with, such as stocks and bonds, involve betting that a company or government will do well. In stark contrast, a credit default swap (CDS) allows an investor to bet that a certain bond issuer will do poorly, or fail – not be able to meet its obligations. In financial markets, the CDS is sometimes thought of as a form of Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Cars He Didn’t Own: Where’s the crime?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 24, 2020

According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama, and various related published stories, 35-year-old Robert Brandon Malone of Prattville, AL plead guilty Tuesday, February 18, 2020 in Federal court to three counts of wire fraud, and one count of transporting a stolen vehicle in a scheme in which he sold cars he did not own.

United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr., FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell, and Prattville Police Chief Mark Thompson made the announcement.

The United States Attorney’s Office issued a news release 20 February which outlined the facts of the case, as follows:

“According to court records, in April of 2017, Malone posted a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck for sale on the advertising website craigslist. However, the truck was actually a trade-in vehicle to the dealership for which he worked at the time. After the post, he was contacted by a potential buyer and represented to him that he was the actual owner. The buyer made the purchase, but returned the vehicle after learning that Malone did not own the truck. Malone did not refund his money.

“Later, in January of 2018, Malone was working on a Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck for someone and was storing it at his shop. Once again, he created a craigslist post listing it for sale although the owner had not given him the authority to do so. A potential buyer contacted Malone and arranged a trade for another vehicle. Once he learned that Malone did not own the truck, it was returned to the rightful owner. However, the vehicle that was traded was not returned.

“Finally, in November of 2018, Malone went to a car dealership in Georgia and was in the process of completing the paperwork to purchase an Audi R8. However, before the purchase was complete, he drove the vehicle off the lot and back to Prattville. He contacted someone that he knew was in the market for an Audi and they drove to Prattville to look at the vehicle. The purchaser gave him a down payment for the car and left his F-150 with Malone to hold temporarily until he could return to pick it up. Malone did not wait for the owner to return, instead, he listed the truck on Instagram and sold it to another individual. Ultimately, the Audi was returned to the dealership and the truck to the Audi purchaser. However, neither victim recovered their losses.”

Now, this is where things get interesting.

Just in the case you’re not aware of it (and I wouldn’t expect 95-98% of readers to be, though I could be surprised), such an activity isn’t illegal on the stock market… per se.

First, let’s review the core facts of the above-mentioned case.

1.) In the first instance, by virtue of his employment, he (Malone) was in possession of a vehicle, which he sold to a willing party. The willing party returned the truck when he discovered that Malone didn’t have title to it, and Malone didn’t refund his money. A case for theft could possibly have been made, but was not, because under Federal law, Read the rest of this entry »

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Woman Is STILL The Nigger Of The World: Violence Against Women, A Global Problem

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 1, 2020

What do Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Angela Merkel of Germany, Brigitte Macron of France, Aung San Suu Kyi of Indonesia, and Sonia Gandi of India have in common?

If you guessed that they are subjects of Italian artist Alexsandro Palombo, then you’d be correct.

In the images, all the women all have black eyes, numerous additional wounds to their face, cuts and bruises to their neck and upper torso, including fresh blood… it is explicitly clear that they all have suffered at the hands of an abuser.

Fortunately, the pictures are pure fiction.

In each of the images of the women, the artist digitally altered photographs of them to make it appear as if they all have been victims of savage assault.

The artist Alexsandro Palombo‘s work is on display in Milan, Italy, and his FaceBook site is linked to his name.

Using a computer software to alter the images, the Read the rest of this entry »

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Milk… it STILL does a body good!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Food color.

What a compelling subject, eh?

Doubtless, it’s a spell-binding topic, and certainly one bound to keep readers’ rapt attention!

Thrilling and exciting!

Compelling even!

Except that, things aren’t always what they seem.

First, however, you’ll need to be buttered up for this one.

In an unobtrusive article cross-published in Smithsonian Magazine (also at https://www.ZocaloPublicSquare.org/2020/01/15/when-the-government-decided-the-spread-on-your-toast-should-be-pink/ideas/essay/), author Ai Hisano addresses food color.

Instead of being professionally prepared as a chef, restaurateur, food historian, or nutritional anthropologist, author Ai Hisano is Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Economics at Kyoto University, Japan, and has been the Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellow in Business History at Harvard Business School, where she most recently authored Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat.

Though her article isn’t difficult to swallow, it was rather bland and under-cooked, because while she did the job fairly well enough sharing some interesting tid-bit details about the history of oleomargarine, she failed overall to address the underlying concern – and therefore the premise of – the rationale for the existence of laws regulating the color of oleomargarine.

Again,
the unspoken and underlying concern
for the color of margarine
– the question
Why was it a concern?
–  failed to be addressed.

That concern is fraud.

Sadly, food fraud remains a concern today – even in the United States.

For example, producers of plant-based non-dairy imitation milk products such as “almond milk” are rapidly being caught in the cross hairs of public intrigue with their highly-processed, made-in-a-chemistry laboratory pseudo-natural products by making numerous varieties of claims about their product(s), none of which are proven, nor represent any improvement in public health, though their marketing obliquely intimates as much.

It is inherently fraudulent to label a product as being a certain thing when it is not.

That is plain and simple.

And I write this with all sincerity: It makes me Read the rest of this entry »

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Politics, Religion, And Sex

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 10, 2020

https://www.statesman.com/news/20200109/court-rejects-appeal-arguing-that-latex-clad-dancers-are-nude-under-texas-law

PPL can be so stupid.

I think we’re living in an extraordinarily stupid era.

Sure, there are ~some~ smart folks, and some genuinely genius things have been, and are being done. But, on the whole, this age is small-minded, and inordinately consumed with a desire to make, by force of law, others behave according to the privately-held sacrosanct tenets of select individuals or groups who are, in effect, writing private law, instead of public law.

Most such individuals and groups are ultra right-wing religious radicals, zealots of the First Order, who, legally mandate others to behave according to their private principles. The ostensible effect is impressing casual observers that the adherent/practitioner believes, because their behavior demonstrates adherence and obedience to those rules and regulations. It also thereby gives automatic imprimatur to them. In such tenets, they see themselves as performing the will of their god/ess, and by extension, being pleasing to the same. It is a form of wholesale cultural appropriation and subjugation.

It is, in effect, a hypocrisy, a type of lip service which has been ridiculed and mocked via memes such as “Jesus is coming. Quick! Look busy!,” and others similarly.

In essence, in its simplest, purest form, it boils down to one group of people wanting to control another group of people, and to force them into submitting to their privately held beliefs, most of which are religiously motivated, and often predicated upon a “thou shalt not” type law.

However, the highest, if not entire, notion of religion is not only freedom, but of self-improvement and self-regulation. Religion ostensibly seeks the betterment of the individual, and by natural extension, the whole, the collective, the corporate, the community.

By working on an Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Should Churches Should Be Taxed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Ownership of these churches in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was transferred to the parishes. As a result, the churches are excluded from the bankruptcy estate available to clergy abuse victims. [Photographer: William LeGoullon for Bloomberg Businessweek]

Tax churches because they’re businesses, plain and simple. The product or service they provide is religion and/or spirituality.

Bloomberg Business News published the findings of their most recent financial investigation, which showed that – as expected – like any nominally competent business organization, or conglomerated international corporation, the Catholic Church in the United States has moved to protect its assets from being considered part of any potential judgments/settlements arising from individual or Class Action lawsuits initiated by individuals (plaintiffs) who as children were abused by priests, and now are adults.

From a business perspective, one could think of it as the Church opposing members who may be potential or prospective “creditors” in any liability arising from sex abuse cases.

The Federal Government needs to RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) them, because they’re clearly corrupt as evidenced by:
• Perpetrating, and perpetuating, sexual abuse, by;
• Deliberately hiding and shuffling perpetrator priests, and by;
• Deliberately shifting and hiding assets in response to lawsuits.

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-01-08/the-catholic-church-s-strategy-to-limit-payouts-to-abuse-victims

“In many cases, churches precede bankruptcy by transferring and reclassifying assets.

The effect is to shrink the pot of money available to clergy abuse victims.

“That and Chapter 11’s [bankruptcy] universal settle­ments and protections from further claims have been an effective Read the rest of this entry »

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Enjoying Your Trump Tax Cut? You’re Paying The Trump Tax.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 29, 2019

In September of this year alone, Americans paid a record $7.1 billion in Trump Taxes.

That’s tariffs, for those who don’t understand.

And, just to be certain… tariffs are taxes (duties) one nation places upon certain imported goods from another nation(s) which are NOT paid by the nation from where the goods originate (exporting nation), but are paid by the ultimate consumer of the importing nation.

Trump’s little “trade wars” with China, Mexico, Canada, and goodness knows who else, have now been proven to have harmed the American Economy, and the American Employee.

Yes, it’s official – the Federal Reserve published findings of their research “Disentangling the Effects of the 2018-2019 Tariffs on a Globally Connected U.S. Manufacturing Sector” and concluded in part that:

“We find that the 2018 tariffs are associated with Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Reserve Study: Trump Tariffs Hurt Economy & Employees

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 28, 2019

It’s official!

In their research work “Disentangling the Effects of the 2018-2019 Tariffs on a Globally Connected U.S. Manufacturing Sector,” Aaron Flaaen, a Senior Economist, and Justin Pierce, a Principal Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, make their findings that Trump’s Tax Increase – aka “tariffs” – have actually harmed the Economy, and Employment.

“Since the beginning of 2018,
the United States has undertaken unprecedented tariff increases,
with one goal of these actions being
to boost the manufacturing sector.
In this paper, we estimate the effect of the tariffs
—including retaliatory tariffs by U.S.trading partners—
on manufacturing employment, output, and producer prices.”

“Higher tariffs are also associated with relative increases in producer prices via rising input costs.”
– Abstract; p.1

“We find that tariff increases enacted in 2018 are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices.”
– Section 1; p.3

“Since the end of 2018, however, manufacturing output has declined noticeably and manufacturing employment growth has stalled.”
– Section 2.1; p.5 Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Unhinged

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 28, 2019

But, we’ve known that for quite some time.

WYSIWYG.

It wasn’t as if he was participating in a “bait and switch.”

We’ve seen and heard his errant behavior live, 24-7-365 via satellite, cable, and network news, radio and television, for many years, and now, the cash-strapped media for whom he has been a practical godsend – a true answer to prayer for increased ratings and advertising rates – is obliquely questioning his legitimate fitness for office?

So OF COURSE they’re covering him like white on rice!

Once he was impeached, the media scrambled to find out if impeachment had affected his bowel habits – if he was becoming excessively gassy – especially in public; or if instead of smoothly flowing stools, he was experiencing slight constipation.

–//–

Once again, POS45 is mentally obsessed with Read the rest of this entry »

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Even MORE Famous Last Words

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 7, 2019

“You all just got a lot richer.”

– POTUS Donald Trump, to friends Friday night, December 22, 2017 at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, FL, after signing his tax cut bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-97)

In response, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Tweeted that “At least Trump is finally telling the truth about his tax bill.”

The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan, objective investigative branch of Congress, reported that the Trump tax cuts did not benefit the average American worker. Only $28 Read the rest of this entry »

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Feds Investigate Giuliani

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 16, 2019

“Oh! What a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!”

– from the play “Marmion,” Canto VI Stanza 17, by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Scottish author & novelist

Rudy Giuliani (RIGHT) at the James J. Fox cigar bar in London, with Lev Parnas (lower LEFT) and, Igor Fruman (speaking on the phone), and a third, unnamed associate. (Obtained by ProPublica)

Yesterday, Friday, 15 November 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported around noon Eastern Time, that Federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating whether Rudy Giuliani – a former Federal Prosecutor who is Trump’s personal lawyer – stood to profit personally from a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) venture in Ukraine, which has been linked to corrupt oligarchs, and other corrupt officials, some of whom may have been, or may be yet, associated with the Ukrainian government – including two Naturalized American Citizens, Lev Parnas, and Igor Fruman.

Lev Parnas was born in Ukraine to Jewish parents who emigrated with him to the United States when he was aged three, while Igor Fruman was born in Belarus to Jewish parents, and later moved to Detroit.

Federal authorities arrested the two men October 9, 2019 at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. as they both sought to leave the United States with one-way flight tickets on Lufthansa Airlines flight to Frankfurt, and charged them with illegally contributing to Trump’s election campaign. Deeming them flight risks, a Federal Judge in Northern Virginia set bail at $1 million each, and the pair are still in custody.

Lev Parnas (left) and Igor Fruman are shown after their arrest on Oct. 9 at Dulles International Airport, outside Washington, D.C.

The Federal indictment said Parnas acted “at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” and though none were named, it was well known that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s primary critic in the Ukrainian government was Yuriy Lutsenko, who at the time was the Ukraine’s Prosecutor General and well-known to use the law as a weapon for his own personal political fights.

Federal Prosecutors indicted two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, along with Parnas and Fruman, and accused them of funneling money to state and federal candidates in exchange for potential influence, noting that the four men wanted to set up recreational marijuana businesses in Nevada and other states, and sought political help to obtain the necessary licenses.

NPR reported 23 October 2019 that, “a company called Global Energy Producers (GEP) gave $325,000 to America First Action, the superPAC supporting Trump.” GEP is a shell company created by Parnas and Fruman.

According to Trevor Potter, a Republican former Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), General Counsel to the now-late Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain in his 2000, and 2008 presidential campaigns, who is now an investigator and founder of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a non-partisan, non-profit legal advocacy group which monitors money and political campaigns, CLC found that the campaign contribution came from GEP which appeared to be a shell company, and as he described, was “a blank slate.”

As Potter recalled, “The company hadn’t existed. It had been formed literally a couple weeks before the contribution. It had no website, no history of political activity, so you’re thinking this is most likely a company created to make this contribution. You have to disclose on the FEC reports the true source of the money, who the contributor actually is.”

Establishing a shell company to donate political contributions is an illegal act under Federal law.

As CLC further investigated, they found that GEP – through Parnas and Fruman – had donated to then-Representative Pete Sessions, a Republican who represented Texas’ 32nd Congressional District. Sessions was defeated by Colin Allred, his Democratic challenger in the November 2018 election.

In his official capacity, then-Representative Sessions, who was Chairman of the House Rules Committee, wrote a letter in 2018 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch should be fired, and accused her of expressing “disdain” for the President and administration.

In July 2018, CLC notified the FEC of possible campaign finance violations by Parnas and Fruman.

Interestingly, in a totally separate, and seemingly unrelated turn of events, Dale W. Perry, the American owner of a large energy company doing business in Ukraine, first got wind of Parnas and Fruman after they’d met with one of his former business partners in March 2019, and described an unusual plan.

Perry characterized Parnas and Fruman’s scheme saying, “What was so troubling was, it was basically the presentation of the intent to take the gas sector back to where it was during the Yanukovych regime.”

Viktor Yanukovych is the former Ukrainian President, who, as Perry said, was “a heck of a lot more corrupt,” was friendly with Russian president Vladimir Putin, in office 2010-2014, was removed from office by the Ukrainian parliament February 2014, went into self-imposed exile in southern Russia that same month, and in January 2019 was tried and convicted in absentia of treason by Ukrainian court after it was discovered he had written a letter to Putin March 1, 2014 asking him to use Russian army and police forces to restore order in Ukraine, which in turn, led to the Russian invasion of Crimea. He has been in exile since 2014.

Petro Poroshenko, considered a Ukrainian oligarch, succeeded Yanukovych, who in turn was defeated May 2019 by Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, and won with 73.22% of votes cast.

In May, as part of the celebration and acknowledgement of Zelenskiy’s election victory, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry traveled to Kiev, Ukraine to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at his inauguration. While there, in a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed him to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Those in attendance left with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former Diplomat and Energy Representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles.”

Rick Perry, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy – official portrait

During that same trip, a second meeting occurred at a Kyiv hotel, which included Ukrainian government officials and energy sector business individuals. At that meeting, Secretary Perry was explicitly clear that Trump wanted to Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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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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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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“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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Could “Uncle Joe” Biden become POTUS?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 16, 2019

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) official portrait

Joe Biden (D), official VP portrait

Much is being made about the impending Sanders v Biden match-up in the Democratic party for the 2020 General Election.

Detractors of the Democratic party say that Biden has a better possibility of being the party’s nominee because – as one Republican pundit wrote – “Biden, and others running for the Oval Office, are terrified that Hispanics and blacks – who reliably vote Democratic – might be swayed by rising wages or better job prospects, to vote for Trump.”

News writers, who are supposed to have (one hopes) some degree of objectivity, seem to have also fallen prey to the Biden 2020 siren song, and have written remarks like “Mr. Biden’s advantage with black voters not only helps him amass delegates ahead of the Democratic convention, but helps counter the widespread perception that he is a candidate running on a bygone appeal to the white working class.”

Recently, a Quinnipiac University Poll published May 15, 2019 found that in Pennsylvania, “former Vice President Joseph Biden is over the 50 percent mark in a matchup with President Donald Trump, leading 53 – 42 percent.” Quinnipiac University is “a private, coeducational university in Southern New England” with campuses “in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut.”

Overall, the poll found that “Trump leads 90 – 7 percent among Pennsylvania Republicans. Biden leads 93 – 6 percent among Democrats and 51 – 37 percent among independent voters.”

Other top Democratic contenders matched up against Trump as follows:
• Senator Bernie Sanders (I) VT 50% – 43% Trump
• Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 47 % – 44% Trump
• California Senator Kamala Harris 45% – 45% Trump
• South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg 45% – 44% Trump
• Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) 44% – 46% Trump

In stark contrast to assertions by GOPers and other naysayers of the Democratic party that economic conditions are favoring the GOP and Trump’s re-election, Mary Snow, a Polling Analyst for the Quinnipiac University Poll said that “More than half of Pennsylvania voters say they are better off financially than they were in 2016. But the economy isn’t giving President Donald Trump an edge in an early read of the very key Keystone State.”

Other general detractors to the Democratic party note with some sense of disdain that Vermont’s Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has called himself a “democratic socialist,” and seek to add credence to their argument by noting that some national-level GOP elected officials and others have said that “If we can run a race against a person that’s an out-of-the-closet socialist and promoting socialist ideas, it’s a great contrast for us.”

Donald Trump

Yet the poll also found that among respondents, 53% said “it is more important for a presidential candidate to be a great leader” while 38% said “it is more important for a candidate to have great policy ideas.” And that sets up an immediate turn away from policy to personality – a veritable cult of personality.

In the modern sense, the term “cult of personality” refers to a scenario in which Read the rest of this entry »

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POTUS Obama: Sen. Warren is “absolutely wrong” on Trans-Pacific Partnership. But is she?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 2, 2019

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written 11 May 2015, though unpublished. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), is/was a “free-trade” pact among the nations of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and United States signed on 4 February 2016, though it was NOT ratified, and thus, did NOT take effect. All 12 members nations signed the TPP 4 February 2016.

However, because it was NOT ratified by all signatories before 4 February 2018, it will become effective ONLY after ratification when at least 6 nations with a combined GDP of more than 85% of the GDP of all signatories have signed.

Further, because the United States withdrew from the TPP, it also significantly and adversely affected it. The TPP agreement will become active only after all signatories have ratified it within two years of signing.

—//—

President Obama recently criticized Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) for her clarion call warning of the potential damage the Trans-Pacific Partnership could do to United States’ economy.

Sen. Warren has said that “This is hardly a hypothetical possibility: We are already deep into negotiations with the European Union on a trade agreement and big banks on both sides of the Atlantic are gearing up to use that agreement to water down financial regulations.”

The President countered saying, “This is pure speculation. She and I both taught law school, and you know, one of the things you do as a law professor is you spin out hypotheticals. And this is all hypothetical, speculative.”

President Obama further dismissed her criticisms out of hand saying, she’s absolutely wrong,” about the concerns she and others have raised, and appeared to throw down the gauntlet for open, frank discussion of the still-secret trade pact which would include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

The President gives the USTR broad power to keep secret information about the trade policies it advances and negotiates.

United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing.”

A Senate bill – S. 3225 – which would require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to disclose all its TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) documents to every member of Congress was introduced May 23, 2012 by Sen. Wyden, who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness. In that capacity, his office is responsible for conducting oversight over the USTR and trade negotiations.

Speaking from the Senate floor, Sen. Wyden said the purpose of the bill was “to ensure that the laws and policies that govern the American people take into account the interests of all the American people, not just a privileged few. Congress passed legislation in 2002 to form the Congressional Oversight Group, or COG, to foster more USTR consultation with Congress. I was a senator in 2002. I voted for that law and I can tell you the intention of that law was to ensure that USTR consulted with more Members of Congress, not less.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Government Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

About that “government spending” thing being a boost to the economy:

Yes, it’s true. We found that out early on, which was how our nation recovered from the Great Depression.

So… here’s the spending we need now (no, it’s not the “Green New Deal”) – INFRASTRUCTURE!!

Oh, and EVERY red cent that “we the people” spend through our government comes from the Private Sector.

Every material – raw or finished – and all manpower comes from the Private Sector; and only after public notices via competitive open (public) bidding.

Yeah. Think about that one for a while.

There is NO “government factory” in our nation. Never has been, never will be.

So, yeah… every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers rates the overall quality of American economic infrastructure “in the familiar form of a school report card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.”

In 2017, American Economic Infrastructure’s quality was graded as Read the rest of this entry »

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Make America Great Again: A How-To Guide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jim Cooper, a Democrat, is the US Representative for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

Jim Cooper, who represents Tennessee’s 5th Congressional Distict, and is a Democrat, is also a Rhodes Scholar (economics & politics, Oriel College), and Harvard JD grad, after earning the BA in economics from UNC Chapel Hill.

He’s a fiscal conservative, and has long said that, because our government uses a cash accounting system (which is ILLEGAL for businesses to use), our government’s debt is very likely much larger than is estimated.

For that reason, he’s also long advocated changing the accounting method the United States government uses.

TN CD5 is essentially Davidson County (metro Nashville), and includes the adjoining Cheatham & Dickson counties to the WEST.

See:
https://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/cong_dist/cd113/cd_based/ST47/CD113_TN05.pdf

Oh… and as you might surmise, cutting taxes is NOT how to stimulate the economy. It is by government spending. Which is also why cutting taxes is a very bad idea, since it kills the goose that laid that golden egg. (This Internet thing came about by government spending, which has created an entirely new economy, and billionaires… and, it began as a DARPA research project. Just like GPS.)

As I continue to maintain,

our government is NOT “too big,”
it is MUCH TOO SMALL to be
either efficient,
or effective.

Think about what it’d be like going to a restaurant with a 100-seating capacity, finding it filled with patrons, and only one waiter and one cook. No one would get any service, and they’d be a fool to think otherwise.

That’s what has happened, and is continuing to happen to our government.

With very nearly 329,000,000 people, we are the THIRD LARGEST (most populous) nation on Earth – China ( 1,419,124,987) and India (1,365,986,094) are 1st & 2nd, respectively.

The GOP’s “starve the monster” approach to governance, i.e., kill/reduce/eliminate the source of the “monster’s food,” e.g., taxes, and you’re well on your way to a privatization scheme the likes of which neither our nation, nor the world has ever seen. Hopefully, that won’t happen. But, that’s what you get when Grover Norquist has said, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
– from an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, May 25, 2001. Read the rest of this entry »

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